Critical theory is not biblical justice, it locates evil in the wrong place: Tim Keller explains

"There have never been stronger calls for justice than those we are hearing today. But seldom do those issuing the calls acknowledge that currently there are competing visions of justice, often at sharp variance, and that none of them have achieved anything like a cultural consensus, not even in a single country like the U.S." - Keller

850 reads

There are 3 Comments

Joel Shaffer's picture

I really appreciate Keller's essay on Critical Theory, https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/a-biblical-critique-of-secular-justice-and-critical-theory/ including the visual of the spectrum of justice theories.   Yet there are some Christians that have criticized Keller for oversimplifying Critical Theory and how he ties it to Post-Modernism, especially since many Critical Theory scholars would balk at his generalizations. However, the vast majority of college educators, politicians, anti-racist consultants, pastors, and etc... view and communicate justice through the power lens that he describes (maybe they are putting their post-modern spin on it or maybe its more post-modern than they'd like to admit).  Now it's coming out that some of its scholars (I'm looking at Robin DiAngelo), have said of the most ridiculous things concerning power and "whiteness" among other things (e.g. I read a journal article of hers recently where she agreed with a fellow CT scholar, "we hope to offer a new approach to racial healing by affirming Thandeka’s (1999) postulation of Whiteness as a form of child abuse and tracing what happens when that abuse goes unchecked”) in past peer-reviewed journal articles. Keller does a great job with his bird's eye view, explaining every theory of justice and their shortcomings in comparison to the Biblical view of justice. He really drives home the point that there is no equal to the Biblical view of justice, which I completely agree with.  

JD Miller's picture

One of my fears is that things like critical race theory and BLM (the organization not the message) will cause people to just roll their eyes over any racial concerns and ignore the issue.  I have to admit that because of the extremism, I tend to discount some legitimate concerns because I think people are blowing things out of proportion again (kind of like the boy crying wolf, but in a different way).  I try to guard against that, but it is hard.

Mark_Smith's picture

I think the primary threat inhibiting correcting any bias is the fact that many of the problems happen to hardcore criminals. Breonna Taylor may be an exception, but even George Floyd had problems. Michael Brown had supposedly robbed a convenience store and was not strolling down the street harmlessly pondering his future college experience.

Locally, a black man was killed by two police officers 18 months ago and is the local George Floyd case. The man had just gotten out of state prison for a felony. Had earlier served time for a felony. That's two felonies by the age of 28. Still, he had 4 children with 4 different women... and he was found in a park shooting a pistol into the air. When the police saw him he hid the pistol, resisted arrest, and eventually fled. The police shot him in the back.

So "justice" gets tangled up with "total lack of respect for the law." Not just the law, but basic human dignity and respect for yourself and others.