It seems that we are watching the birth of a new religion right before our very eyes. It's spreading like wildfire, with adherents and zealots in every corner of the globe.
What is this new religion?
It goes by many generic names, and I'm sure you'll recognize some of them: political correctness, cancel culture, social justice, and identity politics, to name a few. But, for the sake of discussion, let's combine them under one term that more adequately describes the religious fervor behind it all: "Wokeism."
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, if you are woke. you are, "aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)."
There are a number of schools of thought as to the origin of the "wokeness" concept. Some attribute it to an early 20th-century social philosophy called Critical Theory, that describes a movement to “liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them." Others say it began in the 1960's, growing out of black liberation theology.
But, regardless of its origin, today's progressive left has taken the idea of political correctness, ethnic division, and social justice to the level that it has now become a religion.
Given that most religions share some, if not all, of the same characteristics, let me show you how these common traits apply to Wokeism and the Church of Woke...
All major religions have their sacred texts--the New Testament for Christians, the Torah for Jews, and the Quran for Muslims. The holy scriptures for the indoctrination of Wokeism are Critical Race Theory, a book which outlines the tenets of cultural and ethnic division; the 1619 Project, which re-imagines the founding of the United States as being illegitimate; and of course, Karl Marx's, The Communist Manifesto. Wokeism also considers as sacred the apocryphal book, "Rules for Radicals," by Saul Alinsky.
Non-adherents are excluded
Most religions have some form of doctrine that addresses the treatment of non-adherents. In Christianity, if one is not "born again," one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Muslims punish the "infidels." In the Church of Woke, if you commit the deadly sin of not speaking in accordance with sacred doctrine, you are cancelled, vilified, boycotted, doxxed, impugned, ridiculed and de-platformed. It's not, "If you aren't with me, you're against me;" it's, "If you aren't with me, you WILL be--or ELSE!" This treatment of non-believers ranks Wokeism as one of the harshest religions in the world.
Rituals of worship
All religions have some form of ritual behavior--whether it's the sacrament of communion or morning prayer or the Seder meal. In Wokeism, rituals include spontaneously kneeling and genuflecting. These rituals have even infiltrated the hallowed halls of Congress. Here, our elected leaders are seen kneeling in a moment of reverent worship to honor their martyred saint, George Floyd.
Rituals of worship also take place in public places.
Fervent public demonstrations of worship (singing, chanting)
Singing and chanting hymns of praise have been a common part of religious practice for thousands of years. In Wokeism, you will rarely find any public demonstration that does NOT include some of both.
Confession and penance
Confession of one's sins is a common form of atonement in most religions. The Church of Woke does something a bit different here. Even though it demands that sinners repent, it offers NO absolution. If the high priests of woke judge someone guilty of being a member of the "oppressor" class, there is no forgiveness--no matter how much one grovels. Here is a Swedish police officer, surrounded by a baying mob, holding a sign that reads, "White silence is violence." As she begs forgiveness for her sin of "white privilege," her cries for mercy fall on deaf ears.
Messiah figures and martyrs
Most religions have a messianic figure (e.g., Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Joseph Smith). Wokeism has them, too. This is an image of George Floyd portrayed as the martyred Christ in artwork displayed at the Catholic University of America.
Great paintings like Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," or Michelangelo's painting of the Sistine Chapel are awe-inspiring. Wokeism also has inspirational art:
Most religions have architectural shrines as monuments to their beliefs. Since Wokeism is relatively new on the scene, there is evidence that it is hijacking some iconic structures that have stood for centuries. Take the Notre-Dame cathedral, for example. This majestic example of French Gothic architecture has stood in the heart of Paris for over 850 years. After it was partially destroyed by fire in 2019, this magnificent structure is being rebuilt and re-imagined as "kind of a woke Disney 'theme' park" dedicated to the worship of Wokeism. Plans include an immersive. multi-media "discovery trail" focusing entirely on environmentalism.
Conversion of non-believers
Many religions require their followers to evangelize and convert others to the faith. Wokeism is gaining ground on this front. Even The Salvation Army has called upon its members and donors to apologize for their racism. (The Salvation Army has since removed that statement from their website. However, it appears it is still asking its own members to repent on behalf of themselves and other people, including the larger Christian Church, for their complicity in racism.)
Rules for living
Christianity, Judaism and Islam all believe that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai. The Church of Woke has their own version of the Ten Commandments. Here they are (with tongue firmly in cheek), courtesy of the Babylon Bee Guide to Wokeness:
1) Thou shalt have no other Gods before the all-powerful State (duh!)
2) Thou shalt not make for yourself any graven image (unless it’s a giant bronze BLM raised fist you bow down to every morning)
3) Thou shalt not take the name of your Lord God in vain (unless you’re reminding everyone that Jesus was actually a Socialist revolutionary)
4) Remember Pride Month, and keep it holy
5) Honor your father and your mother (unless they are evil MAGA racists. In that case, you should cancel them.)
6) Thou shalt not kill (Unless you’re killing a fascist by beating them over the head with a “tolerance” sign)
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery (unless it’s consensual)
8) Thou shalt not steal (unless you’re looting a Nike shoe store for justice)
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness (unless you’re living your truth!)
10) Thou shalt not covet (unless you are coveting the possessions of a rich white oppressor. Then, it’s totally ok)
All this is not to say that we shouldn’t care about issues of justice or socioeconomic disparity. ALL lives matter. We should try to eliminate poverty. We should strive to eradicate racism. However, we should be seeking God's direction and answers to these problems...not man's.
“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Matthew 6:24
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