George Orwell’s despairing, dystopic classic makes one thing clear:
People will come to believe what you tell them if you pound it into their eyes and ears, day after day; threaten it into their hearts moment by moment. No matter how absurd your message is on its face; no matter how unproven or unprovable. Eventually, you will wear down their resistance to self-evident truth and they will come to believe it.
Whether it’s “Big Brother loves you” or “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength” or “”We can’t win against terrorism unless we stay the course in Iraq” or “God detests instrumental music in worship.”
Just keep beating the drum, and people will believe. Just keep scaring them within an inch of death, and people will believe.
And you will be vindicated by all, because of course, the people are never wrong.
Then you and your Party can party like it’s 1984.
But, in the end, how does the staying power of such slogans stack up against the enduring grace of the Story?
How many of our hours are devoured by our own temporal desires at the expense of the eternal concerns of God?
How much time do we spend trying to save the lost as opposed to trying to condemn the saved?
How frequently do we turn the gospel into bad news by our bad behavior before a witnessing world?