Social justice has become a ‘new religion’, making politics feel ‘already in hell’: Atlantic Article


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Atlantic writer Helen Lewis observed in an article Thursday that many modern Americans have replaced the traditional religions of the past with political ideology.

“A quick question. If someone yells ‘repent’ at you in the street, are they more likely to be (a) a religious preacher or (b) a left-wing activist?” Lewis asked to start the play.

She recalled examples of outraged social justice advocates and said, “We might expect religious concepts – repentance, hell, heresy, apostasy – to have become less salient as a result” of a growing population. more secular, and warned “But it’s not.”

She explained: “For some activists, politics usurped the role that religion played as a source of meaning and purpose in our lives, and a way to find community.

People demonstrate outside the Netflix building in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Critics and supporters of Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special and its anti-transgender commentary gathered outside the offices of the Netflix business on Wednesday.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)


The writer speculated that “non-religious people are younger and more liberal” than the population as a whole, while being “the group most likely to be involved in high-profile social justice outbursts, especially those found on college campuses.” As she summed it up, “They replaced one religion with another.”

Lewis noted many parallels between religions that unite people across society and social justice orthodoxy.

“Many common social justice phrases echo a catechism: announcing your pronouns or performing a land reconnaissance shows allegiance to a common belief, reassuring a group that everyone present shares the same values,” she said. observed. “But treating politics like a religion also makes it more emotionally unstable, more tribal (because differences of opinion become matters of right and wrong), and more prone to outbursts of moralizing and piety.”

Lewis observed that as American politics and norms have changed, the tribal lines along which people divide have also changed, noting: “In countries where racial and religious intermarriage has become commonplace, dating across political lines is the new taboo. Young British writer Tomiwa Owolade told me he often sees dating profiles that insist on ‘no conservatives.'”

Church attendance among <a class=young people has declined in much of the Western world. “/>

Church attendance among young people has declined in much of the Western world.


She raised Atlantic contributing linguist and writer John McWhorter, who spoke and wrote widely about how enlightenment went too far and became a new religion. Lewis explained: “He sees other parallels, suggesting that notions such as white privilege and male privilege are versions of original sin – a stain humans are born with, regardless of their individual circumstances. Problemhe argues, is the new way of saying heretic.”

Lewis cited a statement by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner explaining that traditional religious organizations ensure that communities stay together despite internal strife. “[A person] can be so boring and have different opinions, and you still have to go to their family’s funeral,” Rabbi Janner-Klausner explained. “You always have to bring them something when they have just given birth; you should always go to their mourning prayers.”

Lewis warned readers that as America trades in past religions for political tribalism, it risks heading down a dark path as a nation.

(Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)

(Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)
(2005 Getty Images)


“In real life, churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples bring together, in their congregations, a random assortment of people who live right next to them. But today’s social activism is often hyped through the Internet, where dissenting voices can easily be excluded,” she warned. “We have taken religion, with its innate possibility of sectarian conflict, and fed it into a polarization machine. No wonder politics today can feel like a wasteland of anguished diatribes – and like we’re already in hell.”


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