Has it dawned on you that 21st Century American culture is not unlike the Roman culture of the 1st Century Church, dominated by idolatrous pseudoreligion and pagan ideas antithetical to Christianity?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #64 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
There are those who describe American religion today as a combination of beliefs they label Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. And certainly, a case can be made for this. Moralistic therapeutic deism is a made-up worldview with which many Americans operate, whether consciously or not.
Its primary beliefs include:
God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other.
The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about yourself.
God is not really involved in our lives except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
Good people go to heaven when they die.
According to the veteran researcher George Barna, “Practitioners of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism are not anti-religion or anti-Christianity. They just are not willing to surrender themselves to authentic Christianity’s demands—or to believe that a real faith would even make such demands of them.”
Overlapping Moralistic Therapeutic Deism are a set of radical leftist ideas called Woke philosophy. This is an “Ism” rooted in Marxist thought. It focuses on oppression and victimhood, class, race, and gender conflict. It rejects Judeo-Christian beliefs and values, especially moral absolutes and teachings regarding sexuality and the family, and it seeks to erase everything about America’s past because America is considered bad or even evil.
Woke philosophy, also known as Social Justice Ideology or Critical Race Theory – Yes, I know these terms are used distinctively and have their own definitions, but the overlap is so extensive as to blur the lines between these false ideas. In practice, the terms are used interchangeably.
I called Woke philosophy a pseudoreligion because its proponents, and they are now legion, look not to traditional religion but promote Wokeism as the overarching narrative or worldview that explains all of life. They place their blind faith in Woke assumptions and theories and argue these views must be adopted in civic society. Further, they believe everyone who disagrees is not simply wrong but intolerant bigots, people whose ideas or voice must be “cancelled.”
For example, University of Southern California Social Work department just announced it will remove the word “field” from its academic administrative vocabulary, that is, it will convert its Office of Field Education to the Office of Practicum Education because the word “field” somehow has racist connotations—“going into the field” or doing “field work.” Apparently, the university is concerned this word will trigger certain ethnic students and make it impossible for them to function on the campus.
Odd thing is, back on Grandpa Rogers’ farm in Ohio I earned my first dollar going into the field and doing field work. None of us considered it racist.
The computer sciences at many universities are ditching terms like "master" and "slave" for similar reasons. And in some housing designs and architecture there will no longer be a “master bedroom,” which apparently smacks of patriarchy and racism.
Standford University is encouraging students and faculty—I said encouraging but this is administration policy—not to call themselves American. According to the Stanford University Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative, (this is a mouthful in itself – think about it. This committee is going to eliminate harmful language, something no culture has done since Adam and Eve). Anyway, according to this committee “the term ‘American’ often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas (which is actually made up of 42 countries)."
So, a term that’s been used since the 1500s on maps, was used in the Declaration of Independence July 1776, was declared official by the Continental Congress in September 1776, and is today the actual name of the United States of America is suddenly no longer acceptable on this learned campus.
Professors and staff members who disagree with these mandates, particularly if they dare to push back, are in danger of losing their positions. The same is true for university, government, military, and increasingly corporate policies that require employees to use whatever gender pronouns any staff member, student, or customer wishes to use. Refuse, and you will attract investigation; you may lose your job.
Wokeism argues a person’s identity cannot be separated from the group, usually race or ethnicity. There is no individuality, an idea that is antithetical to Christianity. In Wokeism, the only sin is the sin of the oppressor. Victims get a free pass. In Wokeism, what matters is power.
Wokeism promotes: Pol correctness and a psychological triggering category called micro-aggressions, LGBTQ sexuality including drag queens, the idea sex is not binary but something socially or individually constructed called gender, sex education, or rather, sexualizing of children via explicit curricula in public schools, the politicization and racialization of sports, anti-racism via critical race theory, which in practice reinforces racism with concepts like white supremacy, defunding the police, officials telling police to stand down, prosecutors not prosecuting crimes, looting, or arson, abortion on demand, a concept called “equity,” which means equality of results or outcomes based not on merit but race or gender and perceived oppression, rejects science, reason, history, and biology, and even attempts to curtail or silence freedom of speech because opinions different from the Woke holy list are forbidden.
This means Wokeism is inherently authoritarian; if individuals are lost into the group, and contrary ideas are verboten, the only way to accomplish this is through the coercive power of the state.
Wokeism also advocates for so-called inclusive religion—again a racial/ethnic categorization—and works to suppress religious liberty in favor of its secular left utopian vision.
Wokeism is nauseating in its drive to defeat the traditional and moral in favor of the irrational. Those who embrace these ideas are cultish in their worldview.
This is the pseudoreligion that motivated the people a few months ago who demanded decades or even century-old public statues be torn down if somehow the statue violated their new sensibilities.
This is the pseudoreligion that compels people to sanitize public life and discourse of anything that is remotely Judeo-Christian in character, including holidays, public prayers, even the Pledge of Allegiance.
The pseudoreligion of Woke philosophy, alongside Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, is now the dominant and demanding legalistic false religion of American culture.
Christianity still has a seat at the table but not the head of the table and in many cases is muzzled. This trend will continue.
Politics offers no effective solutions to our cultural problems because what we face today are spiritual problems.
In his book, Strange New World, Carl Trueman makes this powerful observation on how we should then live in the face of a dominant pseudoreligion:
“The Psalms present a view of the Christian life that is marked by joy but that also knows sorrow and loss. They set the struggles of the present in the context of God’s great actions in times past and promises for the future.”
“By setting forth a grand picture of God and the promise of future rest, they help us to keep perspective—theological and emotional—on the events of the present.”
Trueman’s point is that the psalmist, the shepherd king David, faced all manner of threatening circumstances during his life. He shared them all with the Lord, but he didn’t stop there.
David then rehearsed the past works of God in creation and God’s promises of future presence in our lives.
David found hope and peace and strength to fight the good fight, by acknowledging God walked beside and before him.
So should we.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.