The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 1: A Survey of the “Traditional Civil Rights Discourse”

CRT Porch Article 1 Image

Though I’ve covered Critical Theory generally, I’ve begun a new series on Critical RACE Theory proper over on The Front Porch! I’m attempting to approach the subject in a more historical manner that I hope will facilitate greater understanding of the subject.

So grateful they were kind enough to publish it! Please take a look and let me know your thoughts!

Link: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 1: A Survey of the ‘Traditional Civil Rights Discourse’

Standpoint Theory is not Anti-Christian

Perspectives

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Lev. 19.18). That is the second commandment, like unto the first (Matt. 22.39), and therein the whole law is fulfilled. This love proves to be such a mercy to the weak and oppressed, to the poor, the strangers, the widows, the orphans, to men-servants and maid-servants, to the deaf, the blind, the aged, and the like, as no other law of antiquity knows. It has been rightly said that Israel’s moral code was written from the viewpoint of the oppressed. Israel never forgot that it had been a stranger and a servant in Egypt. (Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith, pp.69-70)

What Standpoint Theory/Epistemology Is and Is Not

Contrary to much current demagoguery, Standpoint Theory (or, similar, “Standpoint Epistemology”) is in fact rooted in empiricist, evidentialist, epistemology. The epistemic relevance of Standpoint Theory has to do with evidence and justification, not the nature of truth, its objective character, nor its public accessibility. Rather,

The claim is that members of marginalized groups are more likely to have had experiences that are particularly epistemically salient for identifying and evaluating assumptions that have been systematically obscured or made less visible as the result of power dynamics. (Kristen Intemann, p. 791)

Or, in Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo’s words,

Minoritized groups often have the widest view of society, in that they must understand both their own and the dominant group’s perspective—develop a double-consciousness—to succeed.” (Is Everyone Really Equal?, p. 70)

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The “World,” the Social Pathology of Sin, and the Comprehensive Solution : A Brief Reflection

black-and-white-world-map-mural

As Christians, we should be very aware of the pathological nature of both individual and social ills. That is, social ills are not just easily individualized and conceptually isolatable bad actions, ideas, practices, policies, or stereotypes. Rather, just as a pathological liar lies habitually and without even taking note of it, or just as a disease can infect a whole body with looming death yet appear perfectly healthy, so economic exploitation, racism, sexism, and the like can be embedded within whole social systems, producing symptoms that may even seem quite normal and ineradicable, though we feel the existential burdens of their bitter fruit. And this pathology affects even reason itself, both individually and collectively.

We call it sin, and we recognize its far-reaching effects. Not only has sin brought about spiritual and physical death, but sin has broken man’s community with God (Gen. 3:24-25), broken his community with neighbor (Gen. 3:16; 4:1-8; Gal. 5:14-15), corrupted his economic activity (Gen. 3:17; Isa. 3:5; Mic. 2:2), corrupted his habitation and environment (Rom. 8:19-21), and has even distorted his very mind and reason (Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1:28; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:18). The Scripture shows that this corruption of mind and reason is in fact much more radical than even the “instrumentalized reason” of the dreaded critical theorists, such that we are commanded,

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Addendum: I Believe Systemic Racism Exists Because of Biblical Anthropology, Hamartiology, and Soteriology

biblical anthropology

[T]here is nothing wrong with Black people as a group, or with any other racial group. That is what it truly means to think as an antiracist: to think there is nothing wrong with Black people, to think that racial groups are equal. There are lazy and unwise and harmful individuals of African ancestry. There are lazy and unwise and harmful individuals of European ancestry. There are industrious and wise and harmless individuals of European ancestry. There are industrious and wise and harmless individuals of African ancestry. But no racial group has ever had a monopoly on any type of human trait or gene—not now, not ever. Under our different-looking hair and skin, doctors cannot tell the difference between our bodies, our brains, or the blood that runs in our veins. […] Black Americans’ history of oppression has made Black opportunities—not Black people—inferior. (Stamped From the Beginning, p. 11)

Introduction

As I’ve stated before, the existence of SYSTEMIC OR INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM, i.e., “polices, practices, and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities” (Vernellia R. Randal), is a simple deduction from three premises:

  1. Well documented and vast social and economic disparities between black and white Americans, including de facto neighborhood, school, and church segregation.
  2. All racial groups are equal; in Ibram X Kendi’s words, “no racial group has ever had a monopoly on any type of human trait or gene—not now, not ever.”
  3. The majority of Americans are not overt racists, members of a neo-Nazi party, or intentionally discriminating against black Americans due to conscious prejudice and hatred.

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Anthony Bradley & “Cosmic Redemption” : Herman Bavinck & Imago Dei

Cosmic Redemption

Reading Dr. Anthony Bradley’s recent article, “The Great Commission Christianity Keeps Blacks Away From Evangelicalism,” I was reminded of the section of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics entitled, “The Whole Person as the Image of God.” Bavinck is careful throughout to capture all that it means to be created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-28), in order to properly know who man is, what redemption must include to fully restore him, and to rightly know the “Last Adam,” our Lord Jesus Christ, who is to accomplish this redemption.

In this post, however, I hope to narrowly focus on the correlation between redemption and the image of God in man, as I think this aspect of Bavinck’s study nicely reinforces Dr. Bradley’s emphasis on “Cosmic Redemption.”

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