Why Racism is Material Heresy : Responding to Questions/Objections to Outline 1


I have been surprised by the amount of negative reactions and wagon circling defensiveness I have received in response to the previous post, “Why Racism is Material Heresy and Ought to be Formal Heresy : Outline 1.” The scope of the piece was quite narrow, targeting only the claim that races as such can differ by superiority or inferiority, even pointing out that if this specific claim does not apply to a given ideology, then it does not fall under this particular critique (though it my the next). Nevertheless, I have been called a Marxist, a Social Justice Warrior, “woker than thou,” and the like. I’ve read Das Kapital and I promise I am no Marxist; I guess I do have concern for social justice (I reject Two Kingdom theology after all); and I promise I’d never even heard the word “woke” until recently.

Many also just don’t seem to like the claim that racism could be considered heresy, either because the word should be reserved for “more important” errors, or because they still do not see it as de fide error. But what else could it be? It is an ideology, a matter of belief and confession. It is not primarily an action. Any other errant ideology, belief, or confession that corrupts essential doctrines is subject to the charge of heresy, why not the belief and confession that some race can be superior to another?

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Why Racism is Material Heresy and Ought to be Formal Heresy : Outline 1

Cappadocians 1

[Many, upon reading this piece, have noted that there is no formal definition of “racism” or even “race” included. This is by design, though I see that it could be confusing. Defining “racism” as such is admittedly difficult and would alone constitute matter for an essay much longer than even what appears here; and even if that were accomplished, there would still remain much disagreement. Therefore, the approach of these outlines is to target and identify specific claims that most would acknowledge as “racist,” regardless of how fuzzy the edges of the set of ideas in question may be. For example, this outline deals only with claims of superiority or inferiority between races (as per Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “myth of inferior peoples”). If one’s specific brand of racist ideology does not include nor imply a claim of superiority or inferiority, then clearly this post does not capture that specific ideology. (Though arguments of implication may often be successfully employed to demonstrate that superiority/inferiority is in fact being claimed, though not directly. For some historical definitions of “racism,” see HERE.)

Further, the concept “race” itself is not defined, but for much the same reasons. The argument of this particular outline proceeds on the assumption that if one believes and confesses superiority or inferiority among races also is assuming that there is such a thing as “race”; this does not logically imply that there is in fact such a thing as “race” (though I think the concept is legitimate and useful if handled correctly as a social construction and as colloquially employed). The reader will see below that, working with the understanding of one who claims superiority/inferiority, race would minimally (not maximally!) include common progeneration. So, rather than defining the term, given abundant disagreement, I assume only what would be minimally included by one who would employ the term to claim superiority/inferiority. (For a helpful discussion of “race,” see HERE.)

And last, the reader should note that there is no specific race or ethnicity targeted in what follows; any claim by anyone that any race can be superior or inferior to any other falls within the scope of criticism below.]

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