Batuhan: Damned lies and gospel truth

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By Allan S. B. Batuhan

Foreign Exchange

Sunday, July 27, 2014

“IF YOU repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” (Joseph Goebbels, Publications Relating to Various Aspects of Communism).

Paul Joseph Goebbels was the consummate propagandist, a man who could turn damned lies into gospel truth. While it is doubtful that he actually did say the quote attributed to him above, what is clear is that the man truly lived his life governed by this very principle.

In all of recorded human history, we have often seen this doctrine come to fruition, culminating perhaps in the greatest deception that ever was – Hitler’s Nazi Germany.


It is unthinkable now – given the benefit of 20/20 hindsight – how a whole nation of ninety million people (what was then called The Third Reich) – give or take a few million silent, but conscientious objectors – were all fooled into believing a message that is so contrary to all human principles of morality and social order. And yet they did. Many of them fervently did, such that they saw no wrong in people being marched to their deaths in gas chambers, believing this to be the solution to the problem plaguing their society.

The thing is, we can now criticize the Hitler phenomenon after the fact, and not be chastised for our criticism. This is because we classify the oddity to be part of social phenomena, and therefore open to human examination and criticism. The problem is when such oddities fall into the realm of theology – of the divine, in normal parlance – that it becomes more difficult to try to put a deception into closer scrutiny. All too often, people cry foul when their beliefs are cast into the spotlight. Words like “respect” are then thrown about, as if to say that however weird the belief, however out-of-this-world the assertions, everyone should just let it be, in the name of mutual harmony and agreement.

The problem becomes more acute in the microcosmic world of religious cults, who demand “respect” and “tolerance” from the major religions, but behind the backs of the very same religions, themselves engage in sniping and the propagation of – as Goebbels would probably say – their own version of damned lies dressed up as gospel truth.

The Catholic Church has probably been the victim of much of the sniping, mainly because the Church does not fight back in the traditional sense.

Much less does it cry protection in the name of “respect,” and then turn around to bite the accuser, as its detractors constantly do to it.

There is a very famous argument used by many of these cults – and that is one of the false, tautological arguments kind. Say you read up in a famous, authoritative magazine that Jacob is a very powerful name for a man, and one that connotes great power to someone so named. So, when you then have a son some time after reading the piece, you name him Jacob, and start claiming that he is someone of great power, because his name is Jacob. To this, even someone like Moose’s character in the Archie Comics would remark “Duh!” But believe it or not, people use this a lot to prop up their claims to being the “true” religion. And, just as Hitler’s and Goebbels’ millions believed them when they claimed that Nazism was the supreme political ideology – their followers believe them too.

I don’t point out these things in the spirit of meanness, but simply as a matter of useful information. And also, to warn people not to be so gullible, as to allowing a cult grab hold of your life, and your purse strings too. After all, Catholics are not exclusivists, as the encyclical “Lumen Gentium” takes pains to point out.

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation”

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Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 28, 2014.


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