“wokeness” Part 2: – The Cult.

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“wokeness”

Cult Worship at the Alter of woke.

Not Neo-pagan?

My previous post ended with the idea that post-Christian culture was not reverting to paganism (intended as: the religions of ancient Greece, Rome and the surrounding areas), but had become an apostate culture. C.S. Lewis argues in his Latin letters to Rev. Fr. Don Giovanni Calabria, that “post-modern” culture (I use this term in the broadest sense) cannot possibly be a pagan culture, because it has rejected the moral values that the pagans and barbarians subscribed to. 1” For they neglect not only the Law of Christ, but even the Law of Nature as known by the Pagans. For now they do not blush at adultery, treachery perjury, theft and other crimes, which I will not say Christian doctors, but the Pagans and Barbarians have themselves denounced.” Cited in Msgr. Charles Pope. Remarkable and Lesser Known Insights by CS Lewis on the Loss of Faith in the West. dated 07/03/12 available at http://blog.adw.org/2012/03/lewis/  Christian concerns with culture, date to the earliest generations of Christians. Here, in the first centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection, negotiations with culture were not without its challenges (Werntz 2021).2Myles Werntz. Christianity and Culture in an Age of Crisis. March 23, 2021 available at https://mereorthodoxy.com/christianity-culture-age-crisis/ The writings of the Church Fathers remind us how they have already established “an apologetic” to a pagan culture, determined and rejected heresy, accomplished a consistency of faith by engaging in doctrinal discussions.

If we could redefine ourselves as being in a pagan culture again, we could revert to the writings of these Church Fathers and appropriate ourselves of their rebuttals, to refute a particularity of paganism or heresy. However, this is not the case with “wokeness”: we are left with the very theologically suspect (we cannot integrate Critical Theory into the Gospel, nor advocate a Social Gospel Movement or Christian Socialism in the tradition of Walter Rauschenbusch) emergent Church speaking to the cultural issues of our day, whereas sleeping Orthodox Christians are resting (on their laurels) silently in the background, clueless, because they have not discerned the “signs of the times”. “Atheists” (so called, even though they show a form of religiosity) are doing a better job at discernment, probably because of their heightened sensitivity and “twitchiness” around organisations “pontificating morality”.

The Cult.

“wokeness” has certain attributes that allow it to be described as a cult: The attempt to find meaning in politics, leads a person into that most extreme place, where one is not involved in politics anymore, but a cult. Cults have always conscripted, allured and captivated the vulnerable by exploiting their sense of alienation, isolation and estrangement, by offering them a sense of belonging.

While there is not one commonly accepted definition of the word “cult” most definitions encompass the following characteristics: a group that is critical of or rejects mainstream culture; perceives itself, its leaders and members as elitist and superior; expects conformity to the group’s unique pattern of relationships, beliefs, values, and practices as dictated by leadership; and conformity or commitment is increased or maintained through various psychological techniques and practices (Hassan, 1988, Hassan, 2000, Lalich and Tobias, 2006, Langone, 1993, Langone, 2005, Singer, 2003) (for a much used definition of cults see Langone, 1993, p. 5).3 Dominiek D. Coates, Life inside a deviant “religious” group: Conformity and commitment as ensured through ‘brainwashing’ or as the result of normal processes of socialisation, International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, Volume 44, 2016,
Pages 103-121, ISSN 1756-0616, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlcj.2015.06.002 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756061615000592)

Dominiek D. Coates

The term “Cult” in some academic circles is used in tandem with, or has now been replaced by the nomenclature of “New Religious Movement” known by the acronym of NRM. wokeness has been identified by certain atheists as a secular religion, a religion that isn’t based on God and doesn’t offer a path to redemption. An example is the atheist, Columbia University linguist John McWhorter, who “has identified that wokeness appropriates many concepts found in traditional faiths, such as blasphemers (those who have “problematic” opinions) and heretics (those who are targeted by social media mobs)” (Jivani 2020). 4Jamil Jivani: Wokeness — the new religion of the left. 2020-10-23 available at https://headtopics.com/ca/jamil-jivani-wokeness-the-new-religion-of-the-left-16445790 McWhorter goes on to write “The Antiracism religion, then, has clergy, creed, and also even a conception of Original Sin…….The call for people to soberly “acknowledge” their White Privilege as a self-standing, totemic act is based on the same justification as acknowledging one’s fundamental sinfulness is as a Christian. One is born marked by original sin; to be white is to be born with the stain of unearned privilege…….The proper response to original sin is to embrace the teachings of Jesus, although one will remain always a sinner nevertheless. The proper response to White Privilege is to embrace the teachings of—well, you can fill in the name or substitute others—with the understanding that you will always harbor the Privilege nevertheless.” (McWhorter 2017) 5John McWhorter. Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion. Updated Apr. 14, 2017  / Published Jul. 27, 2015 available at https://www.thedailybeast.com/antiracism-our-flawed-new-religion?ref=scroll Wokeism meets specific psychological and spiritual needs for meaning, belonging, and status, (Shellenberger 2021). 6Michael Shellenberger. Why Wokeism Is A Religion. Introducing the Taxonomy of Woke Religion. Nov 11, 2021 available at https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/why-wokeism-is-a-religion?s=r

Sean Thomas writes in Spectator (e-zine) “Wokeness has its early martyrs (eg George Floyd, now honoured with statues across America). It has foundational texts – eg, White Fragility by Robin di Angelo. It has Original Sins, eg whiteness (of course). It has miracles, conversions, saints, sinners, an overt preference for emotion and unreason over materialism and rationality, and it also has its very own, obscure language: ‘cis’, ‘genderqueer’, ‘intersectionalism’, policed by a new breed of clerics, who patrol the cathedrals of academe and social media, swishing their ecclesiastical silks of self righteousness. They hand out their edicts, so that blasphemers may get cancelled” (Sean Thomas 2021).7Sean Thomas. What if wokeness really is the new Christianity? 31 October 2021, available at https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/what-if-wokeness-really-is-the-new-christianity-

The woke canon.

“Scripture” (canonical literature) is produced by “prophets” (enlightened charismatic authors) that codify teachings that articulate woke “deuteronomical law” (values and practices) in order to extricate “gentiles” (humanity) from “evil” (a cultural hegemony). This charismatic nature of the authors tends to lend further evidence for wokeness being a cult. “Cults are systems of social control. They are …….organizations whose aims (be they money, power, sex or something else) are rooted in submission to a dogma manifested by an authority figure: a charismatic preacher or, say, a tenured professor.” (Marzoni 2018)8Marzoni, Andrew. “Academia is a cult” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 01 Dec. 2018. Sun. 6 Mar. 2022.< https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/academia-is-a-cult/2018/10/31/eea787a0-bd08-11e8-b7d2-0773aa1e33da_story.html >.

Denominational CultProphetCanonical Scripture
BLMRobin DiAngeloWhite Fragility
Climate ChangeGreta ThunbergNo One Is Too Small to Make a Difference:
Gay RightsLillian FadermanThe Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle
Radical FeminismGermaine GreerThe Female Eunuch
IntersectionalityAudre LordeSister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
The church of wokeness. A non exhaustive description.

Audre Lorde “A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,”…….. She had two children with her husband, Edwin Rollins”. (Wait what?) 9“Audre Lorde 1934-1992”. Poetry Foundation. available at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/audre-lordeIronically, Germaine Greer the celebrated radical feminist, has been excommunicated (cancelled) by the indefatigably and imperishably woke, for her stance on the trans question. She is denounced as a “sinner” for refusing to recognise trans women as women, attributed TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) status, being no longer considered a radical feminist. (How does all this work? That’s a rhetorical question. Only the woke won’t get this.) Identity politicking puts our society into atomised groups which you can then weaponize against each other. “Identitarian sects, however, define membership through correct state of being. The Chosen are already saved: The African–American, Queer, Femmes Militant, and Rainbow-Reborn. The legacy of Calvinist predestination is clear.” (Vlahos 2021) 10Vlahos, Michael . “Church of Woke: Next American Religion? – The Center for the Study of Statesmanship” css.cua.edu. Center for the Study of Statesmanship The Catholic University of America, Published Volume XXXIV Nos. 1-2 2021. Sun. 6 Mar. 2022.< https://css.cua.edu/humanitas_journal/church-of-woke/ >.

“The key doctrines of wokeness are held in fideistic fashion and are closed off to reasoned refutation. This is especially true with regard to standpoint epistemology, which is predicated on the idea that one’s “lived experience” as a member of an oppressed group provides one with special access to truth which is not open to debate.” (Rev. James R. Wood 2021)”11 James Wood. wokeness as Post-Protestant Neopaganism posted February 9, 2021 available at https://theopolisinstitute.com/wokeness-as-post-protestant-neopaganism/

“Wokeness” is essentially a religion where faith in social justice ideology stands in for belief in a deity, and that regular attendance at social justice protests has replaced the role of religious rituals for many progressives (Romano 2020).12Romano, Aja. “A history of “wokeness” Stay woke: How a Black activist watchword got co-opted in the culture war.” Vox. Vox Media, 09 Nov. 2020. Sun. 6 Mar. 2022.< https://www.vox.com/culture/21437879/stay-woke-wokeness-history-origin-evolution-controversy >.

“Thus, the organic sense of morality that binds the community starts to become a doctrine because, without doctrine to be taught and read, it becomes too difficult to communicate the morality in play. Priests are established who understand this canon and can transmit it to others……….a canon and priests become necessary to keep the whole group in tune with the emerging moral orthodoxy. 13Lindsay, James . “A First-Amendment Case for Freedom from the Woke Religion” New Discourses. New Discourses, 09 Oct. 2020. Sun. 6 Mar. 2022.< https://newdiscourses.com/2020/09/first-amendment-case-freedom-from-woke-religion/#Introduction >.

James Lindsay

Sinners and Excommunication.

Cults require a “religious” devotion to the group; Here are several examples of high profile “sinners” getting excommunicated (cancelled) to add to the Germaine Greer one above..

  • When Kanye West comes out in support of Donald Trump, he is denounced in one of the main American magazines by a very prominent black writer in America as no longer being black.
  • The very prominent gay, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and a high-profile political supporter of Donald Trump, stepped down from the board of Facebook’s parent company (Meta Platforms) in order to support Republican candidates in the US midterm elections of 2016, is denounced in the main gay magazine in America, as no longer being gay, although he may sleep with other men.

Peter Thiel isn’t gay, Kanye West isn’t black, Germaine Greer isn’t an radical feminist. That’s like saying I’m no longer Italian because I put pineapple on my pizza. I need to lie down and take a day off work after all this silliness. Sinners, blasphemers and transgressors, are sacrificed on the alter of woke for uttering profanities against woke dogma, sentenced to banishment by exacration and reviling; in other words “death by Twitter” of a thousand “#IsOverParty” or “#WeShouldCancel” cuts. They (the woke) are guilty of the same crimes they accuse others of: namely hate.

woke Concept of Sin.

“Sin” in wokeness is best articulated in degrees of cleanness and uncleanness. Being clean is synonymous with “righteousness” and being unclean with that of “sinfulness”. James M. Patterson does an excellent job of exploring this concept:

“It’s more useful to think of woke identities in caste terms, wherein the highest-caste identities are “clean” and lower-caste identities are increasingly “unclean.” Unclean identities are those born into “privilege,” while clean identities are those that suffer under oppressive cultural forces like whiteness, masculinity, heteronormativity, cisgenderism, Christianity, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and even humanity (as in the presumption of human beings’ superiority to the rest of the natural world). A person bearing all of these identities is maximally unclean, since he is thought to have experienced no suffering and only privilege. Those individuals bearing oppressed identities — including racial minorities, women, gays and lesbians, transgender persons, religious minorities, and indigenous people — are considered clean.” (Patterson 2021)14Patterson, James M.. “Wokeness and the New Religious Establishment.” nationalaffairs.com. National Affairs, 2021. Web. 6 Mar. 2022.
<https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/wokeness-and-the-new-religious-establishment>.

woke Worship.

Taking the word liturgy to mean “A predetermined or prescribed set of rituals that are performed, usually by a religion”, 15https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/liturgy James Lindsay describes the cult of woke with its own particular liturgical traditions: “engaging in activist social media and petitioning campaigns (as a form of prayer to the systems of power and people who maintain them), bowing down and apologising to members of minoritised groups, announcing one’s positionality or pronouns (or putting them in one’s social media bio), acknowledging one’s positionality and privilege in most or all interactions, promoting the literature of Critical Social Justice scholars (especially of members of marginalised groups), engaging in certain types of symbolic performances (like twerking in front of police), and engaging in highly recognisable forms of symbolic action in protest environments. (Lindsay 2021)16Lindsay, James . “A First-Amendment Case for Freedom from the Woke Religion” New Discourses. New Discourses, 09 Oct. 2020. Sun. 6 Mar. 2022.< https://newdiscourses.com/2020/09/first-amendment-case-freedom-from-woke-religion/#Introduction >. To that I would add the buying of wearables, such as t-shirts, bracelets etc. (to be worn at rallies) or tithing, to morally and financially support and endorse ones particular brand of wokeness.

Conclusion

The biblical worldview is expressed in the two kinds of reality in existence: The reality of God the Creator and the reality of everything else which is creation. The worship of God the Creator is the true religion and the worship of the latter reality is called idolatry (Exodus 20:1-6). There are a multiplicity of things (self, nature, work, another person, material goods, etc.) one can put in the place of God which would constitute idolatry. Wokeness does not worship God the Creator hence, it is an idolatrous, apostate religion, deifying social justice ideology.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

(II Corinthians 13:14 [ASV])

Featured Image: Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Footnotes

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