Friday, October 9, 2020

The Heretical Religion of Wokeism

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell, but as for me and my house, we shall serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15)

This verse has given many Christians the courage to stand up to the world and serve the Lord Jesus, but if you look closer you'll see that it's more than just a declaration of faith, it's also an intellectual challenge.
Joshua invites his hearers to choose the God they would like to serve best, but in so doing he takes it for granted that the people need a God, and will serve a god whether they want to or not. That is, he presupposes that they, being men, will always be slaves, that they are feeble creatures like sheep, and cannot get along without something reigning in their lives. In light of this he asks the people to consider if they will serve the gracious Living God, or the cruel god of the nations. It's a question for us as much for them since we do not get to answer "Is there a god over us?" only, "Which god will we serve?"

Our service to our god must necessarily exist in the form of rules. (As an aside I think this is simply fundamental to the universe/our existence.) We can't fly a plane, do the dishes, or even eat without having rules attached to it, so it should not surprise us that serving God must come with fixed rules as well. Everything else has a process attached to it that can be written down and understood, so why should serving God be any different? Eating food raw can make you sick, so cook it. Cook beef at W degrees for X minutes gives a more flavorful result than cooking at Y temperature for Z minutes. Well that's really no different than, "thou shalt not covet" or "if you love me you will keep my commandments." Even those who would say "Christianity is not a religion it's a relationship" can't get away from the fact that relationships have rules as well. Omit the rules of time, presence, or faithfulness, and you'll lose your relationship.

I'm told the word religion comes from the Latin word religare, meaning 'to bind', so that 'religion' is a short-hand word to speak of the number and type of rules we've bound ourselves to. That has the ring of truth, and it seems to obvious that I don't need to add any more to it. Now hold that thought, because I want to circle back to it after a brief interlude. Now that we got the flour in the pot it's time to add the eggs.


The previous 30 years of contemporary American civic religion was more or less Oprah's brand of telegenic Moral Therapeutic Deism. It was psychology and soft-soap, and to a large extent it permeated and change the thinking patterns of the visible church herself. I don't want to talk about what characterizes Moral Therapeutic Deism, but instead I only want to briefly show how it set the bounds for our evangelism, then our parachurch work, then our church work. 

I take it as self-evident that Christianity more or less got rid of talking about hell and instead talked about the positive benefits of accepting Jesus into your hearts. We moved away from judgment and toward affirmation and discussion about how much God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives. We comforted, we didn't confront. We soothed, we didn't sting. We had a message of therapy better than those other therapists because we had the genuine cure, since "our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God." We were mothers, and not fathers, and we largely passed on those hard truths that make us squirm or feel uncomfortable. Things like sacrifice, and doing what's right even if there is no reward in it, or being willing to tell someone to be quiet and sit down. We had less to say about holiness (if anything) and had much to say about love. God is love, but He's also a consuming fire, and is as the four living creatures constantly remind us, Holy Holy Holy, so any theology that is only half the truth is headed for a crash. 

Not that what we said was wrong per se, or that the church was generally unfaithful (I wouldn't say that either). Don't hear me say that we gave up being obnoxious and pugilistic and I'm lamenting about how that's bad. Because that's not bad, that's good. What I mean is, we generally overemphasized certain truths because we judged the culture would be more receptive to them, and we could get them to consider the whole of Christianity if they could find a point of relation to us. But we also got comfortable, or lazy, and stopped catechizing our kids with knowledge of the Scriptures and the catechisms and instead armed them to talk about their testimony and how Jesus makes them feel good. Pietism with the help of culture won the war for our evangelism strategy. And that was ruinous, because now the culture has changed and we've spent the last 30 years building up our infrastructure to exploit what we thought were good inroads, and poof, just like that the time we spent specializing in penetrating a culture is worthless because that culture no longer exists. In fairness, Jesus warned us ahead of time that if we built the church with wood hay or straw He would test it with fire, so we should have taken Him at His word ahead of time. 

To their credit the American civic religion has at last remembered that that things like duty, honor, courage, resilience, pain, are all good things too. The old virtues that make boys into men are back. But the pendulum has swung away and now there's no motherly aspect in the new civic values as well. It will fight, it will not reconcile. It will attack, it will not submit. It demands sacrifice and change toward perfection, it will not accept you for what you are or for where you are. 

Now that we've got the eggs and the flour it's time to add the sweet sugar and mix everything together.


Wokeism (I can't think of a better name, although Church of the Holy Wokeness is pretty accurate) is at this moment the dominant civic religion, with a unique set of binding rules and popular civic values. But the more I look the more I see wokeism as both a continuation of Moral Thereputic Diesm and a derivation from Christianity. Just like Islam, Unitarianism, Jehovas Witness, Mormonism, or Liberalism is an offshot of Christianity, so too is Wokeism. The amount of overlap is really astonishing. Consider the parallelism:

Original Sin
Christianity - Adam's breaking of God's command resulted in sin being passed to each person. It is an inescapable propensity to rebel against God and sin. It colors everything we do.
Wokeism - Racism is the original sin. At the founding of our country, at the beginning of Western Civilization, we created iron clad oppressive preferences and institutions that endure to this day. They form the warp and woof of the fabric of our society.  

Christianity - Jesus paid the equivalent punishment of an eternity in hell to a holy God. His payment on our behalf as a true man was accepted and this is shown in His resurrection.
Wokeism - Man is purified and put into a right relationship with the community by being an ally 

Unforgivable sin
Christianity - Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, typically understood as a lifelong committed rejection of Christ.
Wokeism - Racism or racist ideas. Typically understood as an embracing of "right wing" politicians and being unwilling to vote left. 

Christianity - Telling others about the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and how by Faith in Him we can live with Him forever, but the rejection of Him brings eternal damnation.
Wokeism - Telling others about how they need to repent or suffer the consequences.  

Being Born Again
Christianity - Becoming aware of your indwelling sin and need for a savior. Your eyes are opened to the truths of God. Where you once were blind, now you have a new heart and spirit from God. You must be born again to be saved.
Wokeism - Awakening to the truths you were blind to before. Your eyes are open to the truths of oppression/oppresor power dynamic. You must be born again to be saved.

Public Confession 
Christianity - reciting together the ancient confessions of faith that define the boundaries of historic orthodox.
Wokeism - reciting in public gathering the need to be an ally and do better about racism.

Christianity - Not everyone is among the elect. Only a special number is chosen for eternal life, the rest are passed over and reprobated.
Wokeism - The chosen few who reach enlightenment are among the elect. The remainder are not saved, but are deplorable and passed over forever lacking the necessary righteousness. 

Christianity - because Christ lived a sinless life and atoned for our sins by His death, we can have forgiveness with God when we have faith in Him
Wokeism - None. However, the parallel with Penance in Catholicism is almost identical. 

There are other doctrines that parallel each other of course, this is just the list that strikes me personally as noteworthy. 


So Wokeism is a religion that binds its adherents to a life of suffering and servitude. It offers no forgiveness for being born on the wrong side of the class war, but if you come to grips with your part in being oppressive and renounce your privilege, it allows you to live on in the outskirts of the community. It rejects not only the Christianity that permeates American thinking, but in particular the gentle, overly polite winsome form of Christianity championed by Focus on the Family. 
Notice that in every case of doctrine the interesting difference amounts to the person of Christ being absent from the thought patterns. Further, the very idea of an individual personhood is absent from the confessions and thinking in Wokeism. That is, Wokeism uses a pantheistic system where God is everywhere and in everything, and is not a person, and likewise the individual adherent has no real meaning. People are cells in a larger body, and matter only in so far as they can be consumed to further a greater goal. Racism isn't nearly as important as systematic racism.

There's more to say of course, but this has run on long enough and it's time to bake and think though some more.

1 comment:

Paynee said...

You have taken a difficult topic and laid it out ever so easily and it is a shame that it has not been published elsewhere. May I recommend submitting this to Citizen Free Press? Kane is the publisher and owner of that site and it gets millions of looks every day

The Heretical Religion of Wokeism

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served tha...