Tag Archives: critical race theory

What is “Critical Theory”?

Have you ever heard the term “critical theory”? Specifically, have you heard of “critical race theory”?

With all of the discussion about “Black Lives Matter,” many are not aware that the concept of “critical theory” has made “BLM” the watchword for today. For some, critical theory is simply a tool for understanding how power dynamics work between oppressor and oppressor groups, in societies. Historically, this is fairly close to how Christians have talked about “social justice” and “fighting racism,” etc. Yes, there are genuinely oppressed people…. and yes, justice is a theme that runs all through the Bible, as is combatting racism. In this sense, we as Christians can surely affirm the idea that “black lives” really do “matter.” What could be wrong with that?

But is there more to this movement? Many are not aware that “critical theory,” whether it is applied towards race, gender, or sexual orientation, also has its roots in postmodern philosophy (think Michael Foucault, Jacques Derrida, JeanFrancois Lyotard, etc).

(Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

As it has been taught in many American universities, since about the early-mid 1990s, “critical theory” in this sense has come across as being very, very different, even to the point of being antithetical to the Gospel. According to James Lindsay, a scholar at New Discources, this version of critical theory has almost become a new religion, where there is no such thing as absolute truth. In this sense, “critical theory” goes even beyond “politics.” Many Christians lump all of this into “identity politics,” but this is merely a symptom of a deeper problem, rooted in postmodernism.

So, what is the fundamental idea, associated with the “critical theory” approach to postmodernism?In a nutshell: Claims to truth are simply attempts by an oppressor group to oppress others, in order to hold onto their power. Gone is the vision imagined by Martin Luther King, Jr., whereby a person should be judged, not by color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Now, the color of a person’s skin means everything. In other words, what Christians have historically meant by “social justice” does not mean the same thing as what “critical theorists” today mean by “social justice.”

So, what do people actually mean when they say, “Black Lives Matter?”  I do not really know. Perhaps it means something like what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned… OR, perhaps it means a NeoMarxist view of reality. The meaning appears to differ from person to person.

Confusion about critical theory is causing a crisis for Christians. Sadly, as a result, critical theory is dividing the evangelical church today. Some, like popular Christian author Jemar Tisby, referenced in an earlier Veracity blog post, believe “critical theory” to be very useful for Christians. Monique Duson, of the Center for Biblical Unity, on the other hand, rejects this use of “critical theory,” as actually undermining Gospel.

What makes this even more difficult is that a growing number of secular thinkers are catching onto what is going on (see atheist, mathematician James Lyndsay, in this provocative and alarming YouTube video) , while many Christians remain puzzled. When we can not even agree on what the words mean, we get into serious trouble (Where is C.S. Lewis, when you need him?).

We need a conversation about this. How should we respond, yet as followers of Jesus?

In recent months, I have blogged about conspiracy theories, on the right, that fascinate a number of my fellow Christians. But the “uncritical” acceptance, without sufficient nuance, of critical race theory, among other of my fellow Christians, has a lot of the same properties of being a conspiracy theory, but this time, on the left. It is as though we are all caught in the middle of ideological cross-fire, where one extreme is the mirror image of the other extreme. We live in strange times, that require great amounts of wise, Spirit-led discernment.

Here below is a helpful video, where Christian apologist Alisa Childers interviews Monique Duson, of the Center for Biblical Unity, who explains, why she, as a black Christian, rejects critical race theory. If the first 10 seconds of the video do not interest you, I do not know what will.

YES: I recognize that the video is an hour long. I am sorry, but this type of stuff is exceedingly complex, and can not be summed up in a Twitter tweet or a sound bite.  But if you really only have 4 minutes to spare, I have also included a 4-minute clip of an interview by Bobby Conway with Neil Shenvi, one of the top Christian thinkers who understands critical theory, where he sums up his advice for Christians and Christian leaders (link to full interview):

Let the conversation begin: What do you think?:

Is Paul Contradicting Genesis, Regarding Gender, in Galatians 3:28?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past twenty years or so, you will know that some elements of Western culture have been chipping away at the classic, historical Scriptural distinction between male and female. Some well-meaning, well-intentioned folks, even in the church, have been encouraging this movement along, in some unfortunately unhelpful ways.

Granted, for the past hundred years, many evangelical egalitarians have sought to restore a sense of balance, by advocating for more women in church leadership, at the local church level, by citing Paul’s “magna carta” passage Galatians 3:28. In general, most Christians support this understanding, at some level:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

The original context for Paul’s writing in Galatians is to address who can and can not be baptized, in the church. For Paul, gender is no prohibition to baptism, as opposed to something like circumcision, which was just for Jewish males. But many Christians today have appealed to Galatians 3:28, as having a broader application, advancing causes, such has encouraging women to serve as elders in the local church. Such proponents of this interpretation contend that Paul is eliminating the distinction between male and female, when it come to exercising spiritual authority, in the local church.

This is a disputable matter, in much of evangelicalism today (though for some, on either side of the debate, the issue is “indisputable,” favoring their particular reading of the Bible). Many are quite correct to say that there need not be a slippery slope here, away from more difficult matters concerning gender. I would agree.

Yet it is amazing to see how many corners of the church manage to find creative ways of sliding here, anyway. At one level, it is understandable. There is still sexism in the church. Correcting past wrongs is something all Christians need to pursue, and Galatians 3:28 has an appropriate application here. Affirming the gifts of both women and men, for ministry, is essential. But it is also very easy to go too far with Galatians 3:28, and get caught up in extremism.

For example, quite a few in the church now appeal to Galatians 3:28 as sanctioning same-sex marriage, and a growing number are now affirming transgenderism, in such a way, as to go beyond the traditional understanding of gender dysphoria, as a psychological condition. Such a broad range of advocates all agree, in putting forward the thesis, that gender is no big deal to God, though the applications differ. Along with the surrounding culture, such advocates now treat gender as merely being a social construct, even to the point of denying the traditional basics of human biology, which is an attack on modern science.

Just recently, I heard the newest argument, being advanced in at least one mainline Protestant, or what some would call “progressive Christian” circle, that Paul’s teaching in Galatians 3:28 is actually CONTRADICTING the teaching in Genesis, regarding humans being created in the image of God: male and female, God created humanity. Underlying this belief is the assumption that because male and female are inherently equal, male and female are therefore inherently interchangeable.

Here is the crucial passage, that Paul is supposedly contradicting:

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 ESV)

Has gender really become irrelevant today?

Regardless of how this question is answered, what it clearly has become, is a free speech matter, in the surrounding culture. Consider the “cancel culture” attempt to silence Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling.  Rowling voiced her concerns that some elements of the transgender movement are harming women, and she paid dearly for making such statements. Yet Rowling is not alone.

Journalists and academics are now finding that their careers are under threat, if they do not bow to the “new orthodoxy” advanced by “critical theory.” Note that it is not specifically conservative evangelicals, who find themselves under threat. These are also liberal, secular minded people, including atheists and agnostics, who nevertheless share the historical Christian claim, and scientific observation, that there is a distinction between male and female. Christians therefore, should be careful not to lump all “liberals” into the same basket. Some of these leftward leaning, secular thinkers recently signed an open letter in Harper’s Magazine, urging that all respect the freedom of speech, including statements that claim that gender actually matters, and that gender is not merely a social construct.

Let me be clear: We should not overreact, as some have unfortunately done (The recent debacle that has almost destroyed one of my favorite podcasts, the Mortification of Spin, is a good example of extremism, on the conservative evangelical side).

Instead, we should encourage women to use their gifts for leadership and ministry in the church. We should affirm justice in society (including those areas pertaining to race). We should encourage those who experience same-sex attraction to have a solid network of supportive friendships, as they seek to honor God regarding their sexuality. We should also have compassion on and extend grace towards those who are experiencing gender dysphoria.

But let us also be united in affirming the teaching of Scripture: We were created in the image of God, male and female. This means that while male and female are indeed equal, they are not interchangeable. This is a mystery that reflects the very character of God. It is vital for the church to uphold a means of honoring that distinction, within the structure of corporate worship, and the Christian life.

Affirming the unity of our baptism into Christ’s church does not go against the rest of Scripture. So, let us stop misusing Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28 in a misguided effort at supposedly “contradicting” Genesis.

Canadian psychologist and Harvard professor Steven Pinker is now among the latest to have experienced threats from the “cancel culture” mob. While I do not share professor Pinker’s atheism, nor his missteps regarding history, as a Christian I fully support his efforts to protect free speech. As Christians, we should honor those values that encourage open debate and wide ranging discussion, without fear of retribution:


Carl Trueman on Critical Theory, and J.K. Rowling as the Victim of Cancel Culture… and More on Race

Some helpful resources on the current cultural crisis….

Grove City College historian, Carl Trueman, has some great observations about the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, and her recent “fall from grace” from the explosively emerging “critical theory” crowd, sometimes called “cancel culture,” that grew up on her children’s books. Calling out people on social media appears to be the favored method of humiliation by the technological savvy among the “cancel culture.”

I blogged about the troublesome trend in my review of Douglas Murray’s book, The Madness of Crowds. Murray opened my mind to a lot of the madness going on in our culture today. Murray is not an evangelical Christian, but Carl Trueman is, and Trueman offers invaluable theological insight into the problem that Murray identifies. This quote from Trueman stands out to me: “in a world where critical theory increasingly drives how the world is conceptualized, today’s victim can very easily become tomorrow’s oppressor.” This split within the “LGBTQ” movement is indicative of the trend.

In a nutshell, as a tool, “critical theory” can indeed be useful, for correcting injustice. But as an ideology, “critical theory” is an intolerant religion, completely opposed to the Gospel of Jesus. But Trueman puts it better than I can.  I look forward to Trueman’s up and coming book on the topic of the “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.” In our troublesome times, Trueman’s Christian perspective is helpful for all of us.

A couple final thoughts, particularly on the race conversation…: It is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between legitimate cases of injustice and protest motivated by blinded rage. As a result, the temptation on one side is to play down legitimate concerns, and on the other, to wildly overreact. Related to the question of police brutality and racism, this essay by John McWhorter, an African-American intellectual, is highly recommended. McWhorter argues that while race is sometimes a component of police brutality, the issues involved are far more complex. This is the type of conversation needed today…..

Confused by how we all got into this mess, especially with race? Two helpful videos:  First, from Jemar Tisby, author of The Color of Compromise, on how racism adapts over time, and then Phil Vischer, of the Veggie Tales fame, giving some of the historical background, which has fueled the contemporary interest in “critical theory.”

The Madness of Crowds

In the introduction to his brilliant book, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, British author Douglas Murray, begins by saying:

“We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant….”
“[Yet] the origin of this condition is rarely acknowledged. This is the simple fact we have been living through a period of more than a quarter of a century in which all our grand narratives have collapsed.”

“One by one, the narratives we had were refuted, became unpopular to defend or impossible to sustain. The explanations for our existence that used to be provided by religion went first, falling away from the 19th century onwards.”

“Then over the past century the secular hopes held out by all political ideologies began to follow in its wake. In the latter part of the 20th century we entered the postmodern era. An era that defined itself, and was defined, by its suspicion towards all grand narratives. However, as all schoolchildren learn, nature abhors a vacuum, and into the postmodern vacuum new ideas began to creep, with the intention of providing explanations and meanings of their own.

What makes Murray’s observations so strangely poignant, is that he is not a professing Christian. Rather, he is an openly practicing gay atheist. Yet Murray manages to highlight the following quote, by G. K. Chesterston, a Christian, who was also one of the most profound cultural critics of the modern world, back almost exactly 100 years ago:

“[The] special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it.”

Chesterton had prophetic insight in his own day. Douglas Murray revives that same insight for where we are in the 21st century.

In The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray lays out what he sees is a new, post-modern religion, that has sought to supplant Christianity in the West. But it has only starting to emerge, with its full-throated dogmatism, somewhere within the past ten years or so.

I recall about ten years ago, when the controversial Mormon and conservative news commentator, Glenn Beck, cautioned Christians to beware of churches that promote diversity and social justice. “I beg you look for the words social justice or economic justice on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words…

My response to Mr. Beck’s critique then, just as it is now, is that Mr. Beck simply does not understand what the Bible is talking about, when it is talking about “social justice,” or specifically, “justice.” As I had learned years ago, the language of “intersectionality” and “identity,” as interpreted through the lens of Scripture, were simply intellectual tools, to help us to understand the fallen world in which we live, and make sense of the lived, life experiences of those who face oppression or misunderstanding, who have yet to experience the full reality of being made new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). As I have outlined elsewhere, the concept of “social justice” actually has its roots in the Bible.

But times have changed, and the pace of that change is unrelentingly fast. In particular, I have been increasingly learning, that words can alter their meanings over time, and such words can be spun very differently, in different contexts. What were once merely helpful intellectual tools have morphed into becoming ideological markers, whereby rationality is sacrificed on the altar of sentimentality, and justified on the basis of Neo-Marxist philosophy. When the Biblical concept of social justice gets uprooted from its essentially Christian, Scriptural context, a new religiosity gets formed, promoting a form of dogmatism, just as bad, if not infinitely worse than the most wooden, legalistic forms of Christian fundamentalism.

What is so scary about this, is just how pervasive it is in all levels of society. Take for example, this easy experiment that Douglas Murray shows in his book, as to how Silicon Valley has embraced this new religiosity, and smuggled it into our iPads and iPhones, without most of us ever knowing it. Type into Google’s search engine, “straight couples,” and look for images, and you will immediately notice that a large number of the top hits will be either gay or lesbian couples, with relatively few heterosexual couples to be found. On the other hand, if you type in “gay couples” instead, you will get exactly what you are looking for, countless gay couples, and no straight couples anywhere to be found. Nevertheless, we all know that “straight couples” far outnumber “gay couples” throughout society. So, why are the Google search results so skewed in favor of “gay couples” over and against “straight couples?”

This is “intersectionality” as an ideological project at work, going way beyond the more helpful notion of “intersectionality” as a tool. In oh-so-subtle ways, the world of social media is forming our minds, with the new religion defining the new dogmatism. The supposedly unbiased nature of machine learning algorithms, that tech giants like Google (and they are not alone!!) use to sort their search results, are being employed to further this post-modern agenda.

One could suggest, as Douglas Murray does at times, that such language of “intersectionality” and “identity” has always been rooted in non-Christian, Marxist ideology. Yet this would be news to the writers of the Old and New Testament, such as when Christians make reference to the fact that Christians have a new “identity” found in Christ, as taught by the Apostle, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, mentioned above. But we now live in a world where the new forms of social media, driven by Silicon Valley, available 24/7 on our smart phones, are causing a whole new generation of young people to lose those long held connections to a Christian frame of mind.

Murray’s point is well taken, in that much of the talk of “intersectionality” and “critical race theory” today is decidedly not Christian today, but rather unashamedly Neo-Marxist. In his 1960s “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. argued for a Christian vision of a colorblind society. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But Murray’s central contention in The Madness of Crowds is that the contemporary, ideologically-driven “social justice” movement has flipped King’s colorblind vision upside down upon its head, and freedom of speech has suffered as a result.

The silencing and bullying that seeks to suppress free speech is horrifying enough. The fact that such promotion of this type of “intersectionality” rhetoric shows very little, if any shame, only heightens the analysis that Douglas Murray displays in his prose. But it is not merely shameless, it is frankly unbelievable, or as the title of Murray’s book suggests… it is madness.

Perhaps the most troubling message in The Madness of Crowds comes in Murray’s chapter on “On Forgiveness.” In this new, ideologically-driven “intersectionality” movement there is no opportunity for forgiveness. Once someone has been identified as being a person of privilege, due to their gender, race, etc., the only “moral” way forward is to ally with the identified non-privileged. If such a person of privilege “sins,” in this religious paradigm, not even an apology is acceptable.  Even “sins” of the past can never be forgiven. Unlike the Christian faith, there is no opportunity for redemption. There is only condemnation. This new religion is a view of the world without hope or forgiveness.

The Madness of Crowds is not for the most squeamish. There were moments, when reading The Madness of Crowds, where the author was very explicit in matters delicate and morally degrading, to the point where I felt uncomfortable. But there is a purpose here. Murray is not gratuitous, for he chooses his words carefully to make his points, which are sadly necessary.

As an aside, in the Audible version of the title, Douglas Murray reads his own book. Just listening to the cadence and his British accent adds to the effectiveness of driving Murray’s argument home.

While The Madness of Crowds was not the most profound book I read this year, it is surely the best book I read that was released this year. Concerned and thoughtful Christians need to push this book to the top of their reading list.

I have Douglas Murray to thank, to help expose the elephant in the room, regarding how the post-modern phenomenon of political correctness and identity politics gone viral has poisoned the hearts and minds of so many in our day. Unlike Murray, I have not given up on what Murray calls “religion,” which I find to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the true antidote to our difficulties today. Yet many Christians seem to be blithely unaware of what is being propagated, in much of the social media in our post-modern age. Sometimes, when the Church finds it so hard to figure things out herself, God can even raise up a gay atheist, to tell us the truth.

Get this book, and read it.



Is Christianity a “Useful Fiction” to Explain the World, or Is It the Ultimate Truth?

No doubt, my answer is the latter, but I will let the discussion below explain why…

I was planning on writing a blog post about “critical race theory,” “intersectionality,” and the “social justice warrior” movement, but I just got bogged down thinking about it. If you do not know what those terms mean, then you are not alone. The vocabulary is complex and elusive. Additional terms like “identity politics” and “wokeness” abound. But allow me a few paragraphs to set up the story, as to why this topic is so important….. A lot of hysteria surrounds this topic. But some of the craziness is surprisingly far too true.

In September, 2018, a group of conservative evangelical pastors drafted and published “The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel,” discussed here on Veracity. As many as perhaps 9,000 Christian pastors have signed the document, claiming that the modern trend towards “Social Justice” is incompatible with Christianity.

Nevertheless, a number of Christian leaders, ranging from Al Mohler, to Tim Keller, to Francis Chan, have rejected the document, believing that “Social Justice,” rightly understood, is perfectly compatible with orthodox evangelical faith. As Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, the flagship seminary for the Southern Baptist Convention, explains, some forms of “Social Justice” are consistent with Christianity, while others are not.

To complicate matters, in the summer of 2019, a resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention addressed the controversy over “Critical Race Theory” and “Intersectionality.” Some were in favor of the resolution, whereas others believe that it did not go far enough in condemning the “Social Justice Movement.” Some fear that the controversy will split Evangelicalism as a movement, within just a few years.

So, what is this whole controversy about?

Get your thinking cap on. You will need it.

All Christians are children of God, equal in his sight. “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26 NIV). But in a post-modern, post-Christian society, some people adopt a different narrative, whereby the world is divided between the privileged and the oppressed, whereby the oppressed are called upon to silence the speech of the privileged. Can a postmodern world survive this new narrative, or do we need to resurrect Christianity as a “useful fiction” to counter this new narrative? Or is there a better answer?

The Rise of “Social Justice” in Post-Modernity, and Its Impact on the Church

This can get a bit heavy, so some background might help frame what is going on: Just in case you did not know, we are living in an increasingly post-modern, even post-Christian, society.

To be post-modern is in contrast with the idea of modernity. Modernity is the project of the Enlightenment come to fruition. Philosophers tell us that in pre-modern times, people lived in an age of faith. Whereas in modern times, we live in an age of reason. With modernity, religious faith has been marginalized to the preferences of the individual. What really remains supreme in modernity is reason, guided by the all-knowing hand of scientific progress. The so-called subjective talk of God has been pushed aside in favor the human ability to solve all problems, and come to the knowledge of absolute Truth, through reason alone.

The problem with modernity, however, is that the application of universal human reason has not actually delivered what was promised. Post-modernity, in contrast, has a more pessimistic take on human reason, as the pathway to true enlightenment. Two broad approaches to post-modernity are felt in today’s culture.

One approach is simply to say, “Yes, there is an absolute Truth, but we simply can not know it completely. We can only do the best that we can to approximate what that Truth is, but the limitations of reason prevent us from fully apprehending absolute Truth, in its fullness. So while absolute Truth is hypothetically there, we must simply settle for the notion of relative Truth in practice.” One application of this approach is to say that the various competing claims of absolute truth must be adjudicated through conversation and dialogue, at least in the public sphere. At a pragmatic level, this is an acknowledgement that we live in a pluralistic society. We will not all agree with one another, but we must learn how to live alongside one another.

The second post-modern approach takes a more activist form. “There is no absolute Truth. All claims to absolute Truth are, in reality, merely the exercise of power. The key to living in a post-modern world is then to equalize the power structures that articulate competing narratives of truth.”

It is this second approach to post-modernity that has fueled the contemporary interest in themes such as “Intersectionality,” “Critical Theory,” and being a “Social Justice Warrior.” Perhaps the easiest to explain is “Intersectionality.”

By “intersectionality,” a term coined in 1989 by legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshawmany scholars in the humanities say that different groups of people, who do not have lives marked by privilege, live their lives from the perspective of being oppressed. For example, many persons of color, such as African Americans, experience oppression. Likewise, many women experience oppression, at the hands of men. But when the experiences of being African American overlap with being female, the intersectionality of those experiences produces yet another complex form of marginalization within society.

Those who have lives marked by privilege, who empathize with the marginalized, are said to “ally” with the marginalized. Those who “ally” are encouraged to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who lack privilege, in order to correct social injustices.

Many social theorists find the category of “intersectionality” a helpful tool for understanding how social structures work. Many evangelical Christian thinkers would agree. After all, the Bible talks a lot about “Blessed are the poor,” and how all of us are created equal, within God’s perspective. So far, so good.

However, we must be exceedingly careful here. What might be seen as a helpful intellectual tool for some, could be carried on by others to mean something radically different.

The pursuit for “social justice” can become the basis for building a worldview, predicated on the same intellectual foundation as Marxism. It is as though being a “social justice warrior” takes on the trappings of a religion. As Christian apologist Neil Shenvi puts it, in his explanation of the related concept of “critical theory,”  “it views reality through the singular lens of power, dividing people into oppressed groups and oppressor groups along various axes like race, class, gender, sexuality orientation, physical ability and age.”

This may all seem like foreign territory for the average church-going Christian. But in a university setting, the quasi-religious character of being a “social justice warrior,” in the ideological sense, can be quite evident. It can get really bizarre.

For example, in 2017, a group of students sought to shout-down a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who came to speak at the campus where I work. Many conservative Christians have a less than positive image of the ACLU. But when a group of activist college students protest the mere presence of the ACLU on a secular college campus, then you begin to wonder if something else is going on. In a “social-justice-warrior” as-an-ideology worldview, the only way to respond to oppressive sounding voices on campus is to silence free speech. To my knowledge, aside from a rebuke by our then college president, no disciplinary action was taken against this group of students. Other attempts to shut-down conversations, and deny free speech, instigated by ideologically-minded professors, and/or aggressive school administrators, and propelled by organized groups of student followers, have been growing across college campuses, nationwide.

This is yet a glimpse into a crisis in academia, as the ideological tendency of this “social justice warrior” movement has threatened to compromise the very integrity of the intellectual viability of certain strands of humanities studies. This is not merely a concern of Christians. It also bothers more secular minded thinkers, those who lean towards the more progressive side of culture. If you want to be entertained and horrified, all at the same time, you can learn about the “Grievance Studies Affair,” exposed by left-wing academics James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose, in 2018. Following the YouTube playlist for this is mind-blowing.

In a postmodern world, where the premodern categories of religious faith have been deemed obsolete, and the modernistic hope for a view of scientific progress, that can solve all of humanity’s problems, is seen to be elusive, the postmodernist can see the world as merely the realm for power struggles. Orthodox Christian faith is left off to the side, for those who advocate an ideological commitment to “critical theory” and “intersectionality.”

But not only is historically orthodox Christian faith rejected, as being a form of privilege, the practice of science, as generally understood, is also under threat, due to an idealogical embrace of Marxist-inspired “critical theory.”  As a result, evangelical Christian thinkers and secularized atheists are finding some common ground, with their concerns, about the idealogical application of “intersectionality,” and the like. It might seem strange that evangelical Christians might have something in common with atheists, in working against a growing intellectual trend, but keep reading….

The War Against Biology: The “Social Justice Movement” as Becoming an Ideology for Some

Take for example, the case of evolutionary biologist, Brett Weinstein, when he taught as a professor at Evergreen State College, in 2017. When a group of students, invigorated by ideas taught by certain other professors of the humanities, sought to ask white faculty and students (particularly those who were male) to leave campus for a day, Professor Weinstein objected to the planned event as ill-conceived. In response, a group of student protestors interrupted his class, sparking a national conversation. WARNING: OBJECTIONABLE LANGUAGE IN THE VIDEO BELOW:

Professor Weinsten, and his wife, also an evolutionary biologist, and both who are not professing Christians, resigned from Evergreen State College, as they felt that their lives were being threatened by this student movement, and the school administration did little to intervene. This sets us up to get to the reason as to why this blog post is so important.

Brett Weinstein is now a public intellectual, a member of what some call the “Intellectual Dark Web,” populated by other public intellectual figures, such as Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson and orthodox Jewish commentator, Ben Shapiro. Weinstein’s experience at Evergreen State helped him to see that there are intellectuals, within the humanities, who advocate for a more ideological approach to intersectionality, such as in the case of what constitutes “gender” in a post-modern world. Such intellectuals have been convincing a new generation of students to think that the category of “gender” is merely a social construct. Weinstein sees this as an attack on the very foundations of biology, as a scientific discipline, where the distinction between male and female is a fundamentally biological description, not merely a social construct.

Weinstein suggests that the modern approach to evolutionary biology has failed, as evidenced by his own experience at Evergreen State. He is still an evolutionary biologist, but he believes the current secular hostility towards “religion,” including Christianity, has created a cultural crisis. The postmodern rejection of absolute truth, being promoted by certain disciplines in the humanities, has led to the development of distorted forms of traditional religiosity. For Weinstein, this new situation requires that scientists need to rethink how to approach evolutionary biology.

Secular, Atheistic Thinking That Wishes to Revive Christianity/Religion as a “Useful Fiction”

In his mind, Professor Weinstein contends that “religion,” which would include Christianity, still serves as a “useful fiction,” necessary for the survival of the human race. So while Weinstein rejects Christianity as an ultimate truth claim, it is nevertheless an invaluable aid that should be tapped to help secular society transcend the current cultural crisis, marked by the rise of ideologically-driven “critical theory” and “intersectionality.”

At the recent Unbelievable? conference in London, podcaster Justin Brierley sat down with Brett Weinstein and theologian Alister McGrath to discuss Weinstein’s ideas, as part of Brierley’s Big Conversation program. Given the background of Weinstein’s academic experience, the discussion is pretty amazing.

Brett Weinstein rejects the New Atheism of a Richard Dawkins, that negatively views Christianity as a disease or “virus of the mind.” (If you do not understand what Dawkins is talking about, view the following video. Otherwise, skip it, and move on to what I have written below):

Brett Weinstein believes that Dawkin’s approach to religion deserves a much better explanation. Ironically, for Christian listeners, Brett Weinstein thinks that Neo-Darwinian evolution holds the key for understanding and accepting “something” like Christianity, as a positive force for good for humanity. In that sense, something like Christian faith can be a “useful fiction,” to help humanity survive. This is the same type of message being propagated by those like Jordan Peterson. It is just that Peterson and Weinstein seem unable to make that jump of seeing Christianity as actually being true, in and of itself. This is a massive topic, and this blog post merely reveals the tip of a really, really big iceberg.

What interested me the most about the conversation below was the lack of enthusiasm for Alister McGrath’s response to Brett Weinstein, among a number of Christian listeners. But since McGrath does NOT subscribe to the “conflict thesis”; that is, the idea that evolutionary science and biblical faith are in direct opposition with one another, there was not a whole lot to disagree with, aside from Weinstein’s wishful thinking for something like Christian faith, but not exactly Christian faith, to emerge, to address our current problems, as a human race. McGrath’s answer was straight-forward enough, suggesting that historic orthodox Christian faith is sufficient to address the challenges that Weinstein brings up….(plus Christianity is true, and not merely a “useful fiction”).

Two hours, yes, but worth the intellectual workout. Enjoy.



For a similar discussion/debate that Alister McGrath had with skeptic Michael Shermer, please view it here.


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