On Critical Race Theory as “a Set of Analytical Tools”

Last summer, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution titled “On Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.” This resolution commendably affirmed “Scripture as the first, last, and sufficient authority with regard to how the Church seeks to redress social ills.” However, it also asserted that “Critical race theory is a set of analytical tools that explain how race has and continues to function in society, and intersectionality is the study of how different personal characteristics overlap and inform one’s experience.” The resolution implied that these “analytical tools” (as the Resolutions committee termed critical race theory and intersectionality) can be helpful “to diagnose and redress the root causes of the social ills that they identify.”CRT

I have read some, but not a great deal, from and about Critical Race Theory [CRT]. In earning my minor in Philosophy and in other personal studies, I’ve read quite a bit from post-modern and Buddhist sources. Post-modernism points out some flaws in modernism, and Buddhism points out some flaws in Hinduism (or how people in general try to live their lives under an illusion of comfort and pleasure); in their critiques of the previously-established systems, there are some genuine insights, which overlap with how these systems would be critiqued from a Christian worldview. However: I would not call either post-modernism or Buddhism “a set of analytical tools… to diagnose and redress the root causes of the social ills that they identify“. These philosophies cannot adequately diagnose the root cause of social ills, because they do not have the biblical doctrine of sin. They cannot adequately redress social ills, because they do not have the biblical doctrine of salvation. I believe that a similar point could be made about CRT, and I believe that this is crucial to understand at this time, when there is (understandably) so much societal unrest over racism.

If I meet a person who has already embraced Buddhism or a post-modern mindset, I want to be equipped to show how the critiques offered by those systems over-lap critiques found in the Bible. However, unless (perhaps) someone is operating from a mindset of modernism or Hinduism, I would not take “analytical tools” from post-modernism or Buddhism. I see no reason to talk someone into being a half-baked post-modernist or Buddhist in order to lead that person to Christ. Similarly: if someone is already immersed in CRT thought, we may want to be equipped to show how the critiques offered by that system over-lap with critiques found in the Bible. But I do not think that we should try to talk people into being half-baked CRT theorists. We should skip straight to the sufficient Scripture to “diagnose and redress the root causes of [ALL] social ills”.

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