Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Education for Death (Ephesians 2:1-3)



Propaganda has been discussed here (and here) before. Usually one assumes that propaganda is a lesser category of art, but that assumption is often wrong. When it is well done propaganda has to be crafted at a higher level of quality to best produce the desired effect. One does not want ones target audience distracted from the message by a poorly made effort.

“Education for Death” is a strange piece of propaganda. It is very well made. It carries a message that most people would not argue with even today” Nazis are evil, and the government that brought that evil into being used their power to shape a whole generation in their own image. However, the reason this short is not often seen these days is because it didn’t just attack an ideology; it belittled the German people.

It was hard (and still is for some) to distinguish between an evil ideology of the Twentieth Century and a whole nation of individuals with a unique cultural heritage. The same is true today. People have a hard time differentiating between the current evil ideology wreaking havoc and the culture and religion producing it. It is one thing to say that most Islamic extremists are Arabs or Muslim. It is quite a different (and erroneous) thing to say that all Arabs of Muslims are extremists.

Both examples (Nazis and Islamic Extremists) are good examples of the evil that people are capable of producing. This is an extreme end of the spectrum in which we all live. Most people do not go to that extreme, but everyone is influenced by the fallen culture of the world, by negative spiritual forces, and by our own selfish desires that cause us to do things that hurt others and displease God. People like to look to the extreme end of things and claim that not everyone is bad. We all sin, it is just a matter of degree, and in the grand scheme of things we have all fallen short of the standard expected.

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