John McWhorter on the Woke Ideology as a Religious Faith

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John McWhorter:

"My point is that religion typically includes a wing of belief that must stand apart from empiricism, that at a certain point one must just “believe.” This is not to dismiss the reams of profound, cosmopolitan close reasoning that theology has produced over the millennia, nor is to dismiss devout people as unintelligent.

Rather, it would seem to me that religious belief requires a person to sequester a part of their cognition for a kind of belief that is not based on logic. Yes, the theologian can slice and dice brilliantly in seeking a rational basis for the faith – but at a certain point, you hit that wall: one must “just” believe, “take that jump and” believe, one must believe … “.. (I don’t know) …”.

My point about The Elect is that its ideology involves – and actually is founded significantly upon – that type of religious thought. No devoted spectator of the emergence of this way of thinking could miss that it has morphed from a sociopolitical stance infused with religion (as in what I pointed out in 2015 here) into a straight-up religion.

The difference is that believers have actually started saying it outright.

Sometimes it’s where the people don’t think they’re being heard beyond their flock. A memo went around in one department at New York University last summer actually laying out “Our first guiding principle is that participation in political movements such as Black Lives Matter is analogous to a decision to attend a religious or spiritual gathering.”

One might picture this written by a black theologian. But it was an especially rich thing to see coming from a white statistician!!! This was a sign of a new era.

(This was not, however, written from the mathematics department, for those who might want to sniff it out, which will be futile – but I guarantee you it was real.)

Another example is the status that Michael Brown, killed by white officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, has taken on among some people of this world. The issue is that difference between fact and “belief.”

The fact is that Michael Brown was not killed with his hands up by a marauding white bigot who couldn’t perceive his humanity. Brown tried to take Wilson’s gun, hit him, and then – for reasons we will likely never fully understand – repeatedly charged at Wilson until Wilson finally fired. This has been corroborated beyond any reasonable doubt by the forensic evidence as well as by neighborhood observers.

What, then, do we make of a theologian who thinks Michael Brown was a modern Jesus?

“As with Christ, the flesh of Michael Brown, Jr. made him imminently killable in the eyes of many and mitigated any claim of empathy on the hearts of too many others,” Stephen J. Ray informs us. “Michael Brown Jr. is and will be our shining Black Prince for from his death God has brought Life to us all and in his gaze we are enveloped in its power.”

Now, the Elect defense here is to say “Oh, this guy is just some ….” – but watch it! He’s “just some” black President of the Chicago Theological Seminary, penning a serious article called “Black Lives Matter as Enfleshed Theology” in this book.

Try again, Elects. “Well, you understand that black people have a special sensitivity to a case like Ferguson because of the long history of cops’ mistreatment of black people in this country.” I do get that, but I question whether we are to give black people a pass on sheer logic because of even that history. It’d be one thing if Ray had written this years ago (some would be surprised at how in line with the Common Consensus on Ferguson I was until the facts came out). But this is from just a couple years ago.

And besides, one also encounters things like this: “God endows Black flesh with the power to communicate life to others in Black Lives Matter. That resembles the plot of Good Friday to Pentecost: the Holy Spirit gathers a new community around the body of Jesus.” That’s from another book. By Eugene F. Rogers.

Another black theologian, of course? But no – he is white, despite the “black” air lent by the middle initial, the name Eugene, and the content of the quote. And no, he’s not “just some …” – he is a celebrated Professor of Religious Studies who has done work at Princeton, Tübingen and Yale who has been awarded a Fulbright, an NEH grant, and … well, I’ll stop. Point being: serious people are thinking this way, and it’s religious." (


Video via

"An excerpt from a Reason debate between John McWhorter and Nikhil Singh on the question of Has Anti-Racism Become as Harmful as Racism... In this clip McWhorter talks about how modern anti-racism is entirely like a religion."