Scott M. Coley holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Purdue University, a Master’s degree in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. in philosophy and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include philosophy of religion, moral epistemology and political philosophy.
He serves on the philosophy faculty at Mount St. Mary’s University, where he teaches courses in moral and political philosophy, history of philosophy and logic.
Scott is currently working with Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. on a book titled
Ministers of Propaganda: Truth, Power, and the Ideology of the Religious Right
Here’s his own synopsis of the talk:
Ideology is a belief system that is oriented around social or political objectives rather than forming true beliefs. It is facilitated by propaganda that manipulates political or religious ideals in order to preempt dissent and silence perspectives that threaten an ideology’s legitimacy.
Importantly, ideology and propaganda are mutually reinforcing: propaganda discourages us from questioning the legitimacy of social and intellectual patterns into which we’ve been enculturated; and those patterns, in turn, prevent us from recognizing propaganda for what it is.
I argue that American evangelicalism’s social and intellectual scandals play off of one another in a kind of feedback loop: social practices shape beliefs about politics and which authorities are legitimate; and those beliefs, in turn, shape social practices.
I also argue that much of what has come to be known as evangelical “deconstruction” is in fact a process of decoding propaganda that’s embedded in the ideology of the religious right.
By way of illustration and proof of concept, I’ll apply this thesis to a handful of examples (e.g. creation science, illegitimate appeals to biblical authority or sufficiency, Christian colorblindness).
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