James Lindsay and the Dangers of Anti-Wokeness

I am here to sound a warning about James Lindsay and anti-wokeness.

Dr. Lindsay is a mathematician and atheist who has been platformed by numerous evangelical leaders, including Al Mohler, leaders of the Founders Ministry, and Michael O’Fallon because Lindsay shares their opposition to awareness of minority oppression (wokeness). Even though Lindsay has been promoted by these evangelical leaders, his views are antithetical to theism and have the potential to lead many evangelicals astray.

Below, I will share some representative citations from Lindsay’s 2015 book, Everybody Is Wrong About God and then speak plainly to fellow believers.

Lindsay’s goal for society is to become “post-God and post-faith.”

Lindsay declares theism to be “intellectually bankrupt.”Lindsay considers theism to be absurd. All of those Christians platforming Lindsay should know that he publicly believes your views are fallacious and absurd.

Believers platforming Lindsay may think he has respect for your views because he supports anti-wokeness. Believers might want to consider that Lindsay’s rejection of wokeness might stem from his atheism. Anti-wokeness teaches that white people are not sinners and that they have nothing from which to repent. This low view of sin is very consistent with an atheist’s view of human nature.

One formerly evangelical theologian who has been drawn away by this teaching is Owen Strachan. Recently, Strachan told Religion News Network that the gospel is warped by teaching that majority whites are “in the wrong.”

When you embrace a system like critical race theory or intersectionality that teaches you that people who are in the majority basically are in the wrong — so, for example, that white people by virtue of being part of the white power bloc have privilege, have responsibility, honestly, when we’re not speaking politely, have complicity in oppression — that warps the gospel,”

Gospel teaching is that all have sinned — including the majority — and come short of God’s glory.  Strachan goes so far as to recommend that those who are aware of racial oppression be excommunicated as heretics, thus adding something to the gospel. Of course, the simple gospel is belief in the substitution of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and includes nothing more.

Who has bewitched people like Strachan? Could it be someone like James Lindsay who considers theism and especially evangelicalism to be absurd and a myth? Strachan makes use of Lindsay’s work in his book on wokeness. Remember, Lindsay’s goal is for society to become post-God and post-faith.

Believers who platform people like Lindsay may soon find they are preaching another gospel.

(If you have gotten this far with me, you might recognize that this post is intended as satire, particularly of this post by Neil Shenvi. Hopefully, this will provoke thinking about how a focus on issues peripheral to the gospel may lead, not only to perversions of the gospel, but other consequences. Rejection of awareness of the true situation of minorities in the U.S. has caused a significant division between white Christianity and just about everybody else in the church, on average. If you don’t believe me, watch the following presentation by Michael Emerson.)

23 thoughts on “James Lindsay and the Dangers of Anti-Wokeness”

  1. So appropriate that when I tried to look at the Disqus profile for the poster of the previous comment (not “our” ken — and with luck it may be deleted by the time you read this), the page served up ads for nuts.com.

  2. Great article!
    I might point out tho that your definition of woke as “awareness of minority oppression”, whilst accurate to it’s origins, is not what people like Strachan or Mohler or Lindsay mean by it. Tbh, I don’t think it really has any coherent meaning – it’s just a bludgeon and a dog-whistle with no meaning. The same applies to CRT. It’s a skunked term, an inflamatorry one at that, and so I generally try to avoid it.

    1. Allowing others to re-define words for you, means they control what you can say. Instead, I think people should use the words as intended (as Warren did in his post).

    2. You are right about the term woke, but there is an academic description of CRT. However, as you suggest, in popular usage, conservative critics have made it a catch all for any discussion of race conservatives don’t like.

    1. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be sarcasm or not. I don’t think “white people” even existed at this point in time.

        1. And looking up Semitic from online dictionary – “relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family.” So then following your logic, “darker skinned” people are responsible for “original sin”? Not some place I want to go.

          1. Big K is a troll and best ignored.

            ken is not a troll — I think he was just highlighting how the dominant “white” cultures of our era have tended to erase the reality that the Hebrew nation (including Jesus!) was of darker skin than indicated by their typical portrayals as white in Western art, etc. Sunday Schools and movies show us a brown-haired white Jesus, rather than the real Middle Eastern Jewish Jesus whose ethnicity would be unwelcome for some modern white people.

  3. Atheist James Lindsay is understandably attractive to U.S. White Nationalist Evangelicals following their own gospel of self-serving self-worship. Thank you Dr. Throckmorton for your informative commentary.

  4. The legalists who are platforming an atheist just because he is for some political viewpoint that is found nowhere in our own scriptures are already condemned. Paul battled them in his time and the scriptures clearly describes legalism, which always goes very political because God is neutered, and boldly proclaims such as heretics. So it is no surprise that those who are already heretics preaching a different gospel are promoting someone who is plainly anti-Christ. Legalism has always been a lie, one that has remained popular now for 2 millennia. “Oh foolish Galatians…”

  5. “stop living in fear!”….”unless you’re in a history class or hearing the term ‘woke’ – then be afraid, be very very afraid”

    – I can’t keep up with what I’m supposed to be terrified of or blithely ignore.

  6. Prejudice certainly does make for strange bedfellows, especially, it seems to me, in the White Evangelical community.

    1. It makes a lot more sense once you get over believing that they care about what they claim to care about, or are otherwise acting in good faith.

    2. They’re only strange bedfellows if you make the mistake of believing this is about religious faith and not the culture war. It’s always about the culture war (i.e. right wing politics). Lindsay is popular because he belongs to the IDW strand of “former liberals” who blame the Democrats and their “wokeness” for making them vote for Trump.

      Once upon a time, evangelicals despised and distrusted Mormons and Catholics, but these days they’re more than happy to line up shoulder to shoulder with Mormons and conservative Catholics (i.e. any Catholic who is in lock step with the Catholic Church’s doctrines but is suspicious of Pope Francis) in their war against the left.

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