One of my best friends is in what the vast majority of people, including mainline Christians, would easily consider a religious cult. In all other respects, he is completely normal. Looking at and speaking with him, you would never know it. We have had many interesting conversations over the years on a variety of topics, but I learned long ago not to broach religion in any way that even seems mildly critical of his beliefs. He’ll shut you down quickly, and the friendship suffers.
As a rational person myself and knowing that he is rational and open-minded in all other aspects of his life, sometimes it’s all I can do not to say something because so many of the things his church teaches (not all) are off the wall and so different from mainline Christianity. I won’t get specific, but there are hundreds of churches across the world that believe this way, with hundreds of thousands of people in them, all of whom parrot the doctrine with unflinching dedication. The vast majority, including him, were born into it and know nothing else. They assume – on faith – that it’s all true, and that questioning even a little could lead to serious consequences up to and including eternal damnation.
In a weird way, trying to engage with brainwashed, woke cultists on any issue, especially issues around critical race and gender theory, reminds me of my friend. No matter how reasonable and humble I come across (I’m a lot nicer in real life than I am on Twitter!), no matter how well-crafted the words, no matter how unassailable the science, no matter how common-sensical the argument, I might as well be talking to a brick wall.
It’s frustrating and mind-boggling, but it’s also predictable. If you’re in a religion that you are comfortable with but that has no rational or scientific justification whatsoever, you shut your mind to questions, and you refuse to engage ‘heretics.’ The ‘feeling’ of being right is enough. I think it’s because, deep down, they don’t want their minds to be changed, not just because they’re afraid of the social and spiritual ramifications but also because they fear the loss of what has become an integral part of themselves. It’s their world, their comfort zone, and they don’t want it shaken.
I have never been more convinced that wokeism in all its forms is a religious cult. It is irrational, non-scientific, and goes against every aspect of God and nature’s law. Yet, millions of people believe it and spread and enforce it with a zealous fervor that rivals the fastest-spreading movements of history. Except, it’s far worse than any religion, including my friend’s, because of the trail of divisiveness and destruction it leaves in its wake. My friend and I are still friends because we can separate that aspect from the rest of our lives, agree to disagree, and focus on the things that bring us together. In that sense, his branch of Christianity isn’t as bad as many other cults. With wokeness, like those divisive cults, there is no such thing as agreeing to disagree. Like the most despotic cult leader or king, wokeness demands total fealty, and dissent is not tolerated.
To woke leftists, dissidents aren’t just people with a different opinion; they are evil enemies to be exposed and punished for their heresy. No branch of Christianity has been quite like that since I don’t know … the Spanish Inquisition? In fact, unlike Islam, Christian zealot movements of any kind haven’t seen real political power anywhere in hundreds of years. Woke leftists, on the other hand, control almost all large private, public, and political institutions across the entire West and are angling for far more. They are even attempting to undermine – quite successfully – what’s left of Christianity.
As such, it has never been more critical to bring as many people out of this destructive cult as possible. But how? I know people change their minds and come out of both religious cults and quasi-religious woke cults. It happens, but it’s not easy, nor is it commonplace. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that the same deprogramming techniques used to extract people from religious cults and extremist groups should also be used to extract those we know and love from the woke cult. Because they are essentially the same thing.
Conservative commentator and presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy recently described wokeism, and its sister ideologies of climateism and gender ideology, as “secular religions” that are “symptoms of a deeper cancer: a loss of purpose, meaning, and identity.” Wokeism has replaced Christianity for a vast portion of the global population who long ago abandoned any belief in or obeisance to a power greater than themselves. But in the absence of a creator God, humans, deep down, still want to worship something. Too bad what they’re worshiping now is a fantasy more unrealistic than any “sky god” caricature a mocking atheist could possibly conjure up.