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Wokism: The Moral Theology of the Devil
Thomas Merton had their number
I’m currently reading New Seeds of Contemplation by American Trappist Catholic monk and wonderful writer Thomas Merton. Recently, I got to a chapter titled, “The Moral Theology of the Devil,” and I was blown away by what an accurate description it was of the modern woke progressive mindset.
The chapter begins:
The devil has a whole theology and philosophy, which will explain, to anyone who will listen, that created things are evil, that men are evil, that God created evil and that He directly wills that men should suffer evil.
Simply replace “evil” with “bigoted,” “phobic,” “hateful,” or “alt-right” and you have a description of the attitude that characterizes progressive movements like gender ideology and critical race theory. Humans are bad and must be perpetually scolded to “do better,” even though nothing we do will ever actually be good enough.
The devotional life of those who are “faithful” to this kind of theology consists above all in an obsession with evil. As if there were not already enough evils in the world, they multiply prohibitions and make new rules, binding everything with thorns, so that man may not escape evil and punishment. For they would have him bleed from morning to night, though even with so much blood there is no remission from sin!
I wonder if Merton could have imagined that, even though he was describing religious people at the time, his words would one day serve to accurately describe people who by and large do not consider themselves religious. In fact, many woke people would be quick to tell you how much they hate religion while acting exactly like the types of evil-obsessed “faithful” described by Merton above.
This is the chief mark of the theology of hell, for in hell there is everything but mercy.
There is no mercy in woke progressivism. Once you have been canceled, it will only get worse for you if you try to apologize or talk your way out of it. As I’ve written before for The Distance, gender ideology is a religion with no salvation. It ends only with the punishment which your detractors are salivating for.
The people who listen to this sort of thing, and enjoy it, develop a notion of the spiritual life which is a kind of hypnosis of evil. The concepts of sin, suffering, damnation, punishment, the justice of God, retribution, the end of the world and so on, are things over which they smack their lips with unspeakable pleasure. Perhaps this is because they derive a deep, subconscious comfort from the thought that many other people will fall into the hell that they themselves are going to escape.
These progressive movements are characterized by a veneer of goodness that actually hides exactly the kind of sadism that Merton speaks of. By talking about how irredeemable everyone else is, the wokists feed their own ego and are assured of their own righteousness.
It sometimes happens that men who preach most vehemently about evil and punishment of evil, so that they seem to have practically nothing else on their minds except sin, are really unconscious haters of other men. They think the world does not appreciate them, and this is their way of getting even.
This statement shows that Merton absolutely has the number of such evil worshippers. The feeling that they aren’t given the proper recognition for their own righteousness makes them hate everyone, though they may speak of acceptance, inclusion, and even love.
I am viscerally reminded of the way the mob went after Caylan Ford and the mob that shut down Robert Wintemute’s talk at McGill University earlier this year.
Another characteristic of the devil’s moral theology is the exaggeration of all distinctions between this and that, good and evil, right and wrong. These distinctions become irreducible divisions. No longer is there any sense that we might perhaps all be more or less at fault, and that we might be expected to take upon our own shoulders the wrongs of others by forgiveness, acceptance, patient understanding and love, and thus help one another to find the truth. On the contrary, in the devil’s theology, the important thing is to be absolutely right and to prove that everyone else is absolutely wrong.
This is psychological splitting. Black and white thinking. The idea that individuals are either all good or all bad. If you are not properly progressive enough and up to date with the latest woke thinking as of five minutes ago, then you are not chosen or saved. It’s a constant race up an escalator that continually speeds up as you get more and more tired. You will never be good enough. The only option is not to participate in the race.
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