The Dangers of Weaponized Intersectionality
I feel like I woke up in a burning building late last week. If the United States is not on the brink of political revolution, it is certainly already in the thick of an ideological one. And one of the primary drivers behind this situation is what we now know as critical theory.
How has this affected our nation and churches?
The military knows that in order to change a nation you must win (control?) the hearts and minds of the people. This is the hallmark of the Counter Insurgency methodology (COIN) implemented in the theaters of the Middle East. For nearly 20 years in Afghanistan, ideological transformation is precisely what our government has been trying to accomplish. But I am more and more convinced that something similar has been occurring here in the US for much longer.
Ideological transformation has two advantages over open warfare. First, it is far more subtle and (usually) bloodless, though it does not always remain that way. It can continue on covertly for generations by manipulating language, indoctrinating the young, and by simply overwhelming a nation with an endless stream of mis- and/or over-information. These links provide just a small sample of what I mean.
The second advantage of ideological transformation is that it is far more enduring. As arduous as physical warfare is, uniformed soldiers can be killed or captured, violent dissidents identified and eradicated, and their influence largely removed. Securing hearts and minds is different. While dead soldiers leave a legacy, they no longer make plans or pull triggers. When hearts and minds are changed, not only are enemies neutralized, but new recruits are added.
The Bible makes this very clear: “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Though the examples I cited above are certainly not Christian, the principles of transformation remain true for both Christianity and its competing ideologies. The force of Christian effort must be upon the preservation of language (1 Tim. 6:3), godly instruction (Deut 6:6-7), and the fortification of the mind against the deluge of deceit (Rom. 12:1-2, cf Rev 12:15).
But there is still a major difference: Christianity seeks the glory of Christ and the City of God, while other ideologies seek the city of man and the glory of self.
Consider the events of last week in our nation’s capital and the immediate aftermath. Without question, it was illegal and wrong for crowds to force their way into the Capitol Building. This was a sinful act. What is more, if the desire of the protestors was to have some public debate about election questions, their actions were profoundly counterproductive. In response, we saw swift, universal, and unequivocal public condemnation rushing from both ends of the political spectrum, from corporations, and from many church leaders—not to mention the outcry of individuals on social media, etc.
Here is my question: why has the response differed so significantly from the violence and destruction our nation witnessed over the summer and into the fall?
The answer, in my opinion, is something I have begun referring to as the danger of weaponized intersectionality. Intersectionality proper is one of the applicatory thrusts of modern critical theory. Simply stated, if someone happens to belong to multiple intersecting ‘oppressed’ groups, that person is granted greater "experiential authority" or moral truth. In the critical theory mindset, this means the weight of truth becomes relative to and dependent upon someone’s identity and experience. This results in greater moral weight being awarded to the words of those who are ‘oppressed’ as opposed to those who are ‘oppressors’. This is a twisted, unbiblical, postmodern epistemology (theory of knowledge).
Now, epistemology is never static because it drives ethics. In other words, people act the way they act (ethics) because they think the way they think (epistemology). What is the ethical thrust of an intersectional epistemology? In its worst forms, we get the dangers of weaponized intersectionality. If greater moral weight is granted to the words of the ‘oppressed’, then it follows that their actions will receive wider moral latitude than if the same or similar actions are carried out by ‘oppressors’.
I am deeply concerned that the united and unqualified condemnation of these actions and the resultant cancelation purge demonstrates the dark side of weaponized intersectionality. Burn streets and cities in the name of justice?Marching for equity. Illegally and violently break into the Capitol? Insurrection.
This is why I recently preached a sermon about Satan, deceit, and the great war between the Church and the World. I made one application by very simply explaining critical theory and intersectionality, assigning it to a category of deceit common in our day. Satan seeks to mislead, divide, foment discord, and destroy life. He would have all of us call good evil, and evil good, a sin that is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34; Isaiah 5:20). These godless, secularist categories being foisted upon the minds of our citizenry, especially in our colleges and universities, and astonishingly in evangelical churches, can only bring bad fruit. Indeed, it already has.
We can find an incomparably better foundation in the Triune God of glory and His inspired, authoritative Word. He tells us that the weight of truth is not relative—it cannot be. Many today ask along with Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). The Bible teaches that truth is whatever corresponds to the mind of God. Indeed, God is the God of truth (Isaiah 65:1), and His Word is truth (John 17:17).
I plead with you, reader, do not fall for the satanic lies found in critical theory and intersectionality. How? Here are five exhortations:
1. Prayerfully fill your mind with the Word of God. While God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), the prophetic Word is a divine lamp shining in our dark generation (2 Peter 1:19). Ensure that you and your family are often reading the Word and hearing good preaching.
2. Take a few minutes to hear to what Francis Schaeffer had to say in 1977 about media manipulation. If you think that our modern media is any exception, you are sorely mistaken.
3. Do not take the bait. The goal of critical theory and intersectionality is not merely to deceive and distort, but to divide. Think carefully through the concepts and scrutinize them according to Scripture, not vice versa. When confronted with these lies, be comfortable and confident enough in the truth that you can answer calmly and with conviction. You will not convince everyone, but you can maintain a good conscience in the sight of God and men.
4. Search your heart and ask yourself, from where are you taking your cues to navigate our increasingly godless culture? Do you spend more time in God’s Word, historic creeds and confessions, public and private worship, and good books? Or are you more powerfully drawn to social media, news, YouTube commentaries, and pop culture? While the latter is not inherently sinful and some even helpful, you will not find yourself growing as effectively in the grace and knowledge of Christ through them.
5. Love truth above all things and Christ above all men. Many years ago Samuel Rutherford wrote from prison to a congregant, “I beseech you sir, let nothing be so dear to you as Christ’s truth, for salvation is worth all the world, and therefore be not afraid of men that shall die.” May the Word and Spirit work in you an enduring and life-giving ideological transformation. In this way, by the grace of God, we will be able to make our stand for truth.
Mike Myers is the pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Royston, GA. He and his wife Katy have six children, four sons and two daughters.
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman
"Notes from the Revolution" by Brad Green
"Dwelling Among Those Who Hate Peace" by Jonathan Landry Cruse
"The War of the Words" by Mike Myers
"Sobriety and the Gospel" by Gabriel Williams