Read Part 1 of this series here.
This is the second of a two-part series examining 14 major problems with wokeness. In Part 1, I looked at seven theological concerns raised by Owen Strachan in his must-read book, Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement Is Hijacking the Gospel — and the Way to Stop It.
Here, in Part 2, I will comment on the seven cultural problems with wokeness that he explores in chapter 4: “Why Is Wokeness an Ungodly System? Part Two: Cultural Issues.”
To set the stage, let’s hear what Strachan has to say about why we need to consider the disastrous effects of this ungodly system called wokeness from both a cultural perspective as well as a theological one. He writes,
“Wokeness is not soft postmodernism; wokeness is hard postmodernism….My analysis here shows us that the postmodern thought we now deal with is not the postmodern thought of days past. It is hard-edged, exclusivist (in a sense), and built for war. It has major consequences for theology…and it has major consequences for society, institutions, and the Christian worldview. The stakes are high here, and we must be like the men of Issachar, knowing the Word and the times in which we live (1 Chronicles 12:32).”
Here, then, are the final seven of the 14 major problems with wokeness.
While some might quibble over definitions, the reality is that there is no such thing as “social justice” — there is only civil justice; that is, justice as enforced by the duly-appointed political bodies of any given community (law enforcement, courts, etc.). When it comes to rightly using civil justice, the question, then, is whether or not the laws and enforcement of justice align with biblical standards or not.
With wokeness, this all goes out the window. As Strachan explains, when it comes to wokeness, “equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity, is the desired result. Said differently, in CRT [Critical Race Theory] thinking, the fundamental concern of civil law is not to apply justice proportionate to human actions, but to enact ‘social justice’ based on cultural considerations.”
Ultimately, using the law not to secure equal justice for all but rather to “redistribute” all kinds of hard-earned or intrinsic “privileges” that some have but others may not (skin color, wealth, etc.) will destroy cultures, countries, and even entire civilizations.
This point no doubt is one of the most personally-felt problems with wokeness. There are countless tales of fractured or ruined friendships and even church relationships due to the poison of wokeness over the last decade.
Regarding Strachan’s point about interracial adoption, recall how when Amy Coney Barrett was nominated as a Supreme Court Justice she got attacked by notorious race-hustler Ibram X. Kendi. He posted a picture of her with her adopted children, outlandishly claiming that
“Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.”
Coming off the top rope, Strachan demolishes this demonic way of thinking:
“This commentary shows us the untamed resentment at the heart of wokeness. What is commendable in scriptural terms is interpreted as evil in ideological terms. Adoption is not driven by human generosity; it is driven by oppressive instincts. In response, we need to be clear: Such ideology is anti-human and anti-Gospel.”
If the woke get their way, even the most glorious and Gospel-honoring acts of generosity, like adoption, will be interpreted through the woodchipper of a pro-CRT filter and denounced as “evil.”
In case you haven’t noticed, nearly every major “race-based” media outrage story of the last decade has been fake at best and completely misleading at worst. Ferguson and “hands up, don’t shoot,” was a lie. Covington Catholic was a lie. Jussie Smollett faked a hate crime. Bubba Wallace faked finding a “noose” in his NASCAR garage (it was a garage-door pull rope). You get the point.
In each of these cases (and the dozens I didn’t list), the woke push a “narrative-driven agenda as absolute.” Strachan rightly summarizes the chilling effect this has on free speech by noting, “In the end, wokeness leaves only one side with the ability to speak. All others must close their mouths, ‘do the work’ of an antiracist, and accept the new social order.”
It’s taboo to state this truth in the woke era, but it bears repeating: Disparities are not proof of discrimination. Disparate impacts are far more often the result of different choices made by individual actors. But the woke refuse such logic.
Strachan quotes Thomas Sowell, who explains that we should always be skeptical of claims that “disparities are automatically somebody’s fault, so that our choices are either to blame society or to ‘blame the victim.’… [for] whose fault are demographic differences, geographic differences, birth order differences or cultural differences that evolved over the centuries before any of us were born?”
I touched on this under Strachan’s third point, but saved the biggest example for right here: What do you think about what happened to George Floyd? If you believe the woke narrative, you think he was murdered in cold blood by racist cops. But as Voddie Baucham sees it, “The George Floyd case was indeed tragic. However, it was not unique. Nor does it represent clear evidence of a particular pattern of police brutality regarding black men.”
If you can’t see that, consider that your culture-interpreting lenses are covered with wokeness, and it might be time to clean your glasses.
There are indeed salient critiques of what can be called “crony” or “globalist” capitalism. But the woke don’t want a better free market system, they want global communism. Strachan rightly points out that “Though woke leaders seek to replace the free market with state-controlled systems that will yield ‘equity’ as they see it, the free market is actually a tremendous engine for good for all peoples.”
If the woke get their way, the free market will be tossed into the dustbin of history. What will replace it? History shows us: Economic Marxism as practiced by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
In this final point, Strachan brings it back to the most important issue with wokeness overall: It isn’t just an alternative worldview, it’s a false religion.
“In the final analysis, wokeness as taught by many is less a direct response to the Gospel and more a reworking of justice and equity to form a this-worldly religion. What does all this mean? It means that the worldview of wokeness is not a Christian one where God is Creator and Ruler, but an atheistic one where man is divinized.”
As Joshua 24:15 charges us, as Christians we must all “choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Wokeness is a false god. It is built on corrupt theology and therefore yields cultural corruption. You cannot serve wokeness and the risen Christ. So, take these 14 total warnings (seven theological and seven cultural) against wokeness from Strachan to heart — and then make your choice: Will you serve God or wokeness? There is no in-between.
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Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.