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A new soteriological policy is taking over the Western world. Its origins are academic, albeit unscientific and anti-academic. Blending politics, religion, puritanism and ideology, it echoes the darkest times of witch hunts. In this series of four articles, we will shed light on this new religion that is captivating the Western elites.

The topic of gender theory, encompassing issues such as pregnant men and bearded women, is gaining momentum. The notion of the Great Replacement fueled by substantial migrations is somewhat concerning. Europe is experiencing a profound shift away from its traditional identity, while Lebanon is becoming the exact opposite of what it genuinely stands for. Lebanese citizens have become strangers in their own country, one that has morphed into a third-world country.

Even more staggering is the phenomenon of Lebanese expatriates returning to their homeland and enrolling their children in Catholic schools to escape the madness of Western education. However, the gender theory is catching up with them, making its way into some Lebanese schools that were forced to rely on subsidies from the French ministry since the 2019 economic collapse and the August 4, 2020 port explosion. Not to mention the requirements of the French baccalaureate, that some Christian schools must prepare their students for, and which sometimes clash with existent family values.

What exactly is this disease sweeping over a segment of the intellectual and politically correct elite? What exactly is this doctrine followed by those who have just recently protested against the Good Friday processions, cleverly drawing dishonest parallels with Islamist paramilitary parades? They were seemingly shocked by the fervor of this people which is enduring countless hardships, yet is armed with a steadfast belief in a crucified Christ. One of the so-called pundits was even shocked upon hearing that restaurants close on Good Friday. He is quite unaware of this old and well-established tradition. One that will not be the trigger factor for “reshaping the image of Lebanon,” as he put it.


This raging frenzy, storming through the West, originated in American universities, where it earned its legitimacy. Yet, it transcends mere philosophy, bearing all the characteristics of a religion. This craze, this cult, is best known as Wokism. Its followers strongly believe that they are fully aware and cognizant of their reality; one that supersedes all others deemed obsolete. They were previously referred to as SJW (Social Justice Warriors), “Cancel culture,” or, in France during the 1980s, as “politically correct.” However, these labels carried negative undertones.

Therefore, the term “Woke” has gained prevalence ever since the 2010s. It originates from the Afro-American term woken, meaning awakened, conscious, cool, informed, as Pierre Valentin explains in The Woke Ideology. Thus, a woke is someone who has awakened and liberated himself from a lethargic world, but is still shackled by medieval beliefs.

Attributes of a Religion

The wokes have established their sacred texts, rituals and symbols. According to Jean-Francois Braunstein, author of The Woke Religion, their sacred texts encompass race theory, decolonization, gender theory, intersectionality, inclusive language and post-colonialism. Braunstein identifies clear rituals, such as the significant act of kneeling to seek forgiveness for all the wrongs attributed to the white race. He also highlights the foot-washing ceremony held in Cary, North Carolina.

Some viewed Wokism as an American evolution of the French Theory (1950s-1960s), suggesting that it made its way back to Europe like a boomerang effect. However, French intellectuals are challenging this notion, highlighting the fundamental differences between de-constructivist philosophy and wokist ideology.


While the former engages in deconstructing heritage with a spirit of evolutionary continuity, the latter firmly rejects Enlightenment thought and any form of rationalism. Unlike French de-constructivists, who persistently challenged all norms, including their thoughts, the woke people embraced the absolute certainty of their ideology. They disengage from the realms of philosophy or culture to adopt methods reminiscent of puritanical Protestant preachers.

Far from any form of academicism, we are confronted with a new wave of purification. It’s a whole new puritanical resurgence, similar to the witch hunts of 1692-1693 and the Red Scare (hunt for communists) of the early 1950s.

If, as Claude Levi-Strauss famously said, The scientist is not the one who provides the right answers, but the one who asks the right questions,” then the woke seems to be veering far from the realm of true scholarship. Wokism cannot lay claim to the intellectual legacies of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida or Gilles Deleuze. It is bound by its convictions, whereas philosophy thrives on perpetual self-examination. Michel Foucault said, “There is always an inner struggle inside of us”. The woke is fully cognizant of the notion of Good, and promotes it at times with condescension, and at others with totalitarianism.


Empowered with their convictions and the legitimacy bestowed upon them by academic platforms, the woke marches forth to battle all the injustices of the world. Unfortunately, this isn’t humanity’s first brush with puritanical awakenings. Protestantism had previously weathered the Great Awakening of the 1730s-1740s, with the English preacher Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, along with his famous “letter to the residents of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina.” This fervor would reach its peak by the late 1770s, as the American Independence War took a turn against the state-aligned official church of England.

A second wave of ideologies emerged between 1790 and 1840. In regards to our examination of Wokism, our focus turns to the Shakers who thrived in the United States between 1830 and 1840. This group believed in the bisexuality of God and the paramount role of women as intermediaries in the afterlife. Furthermore, the Shakers were against marriage, thereby challenging the traditional concept of family.

Joseph Bottum was the first to trace the origins of Wokism to Puritan Protestantism. He observed a shift in the understanding of sin, transitioning from an individualized concept in Christianity to one with a collective character. The burden of historical sin falls upon the white race as a whole. Likewise, all heterosexuals must pay for their presumed homophobia. Joseph Bottum notices the permeation of faith into every sphere including politics. Consequently, politics takes on a soteriological dimension. He wrote the following about Wokism’s worshippers, When how we vote is how our souls are saved.”