Intro to Critical Theory

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Critical theory is a broad area of knowledge that originated with the Frankfurt School in the 1930s and has expanded and evolved dramatically since then. It has spawned entire disciplines such as Critical Race Theory, Critical Pedagogy, and Queer Theory and is highly influential within the social justice movement. Contemporary critical theory views reality through the lens of power, dividing people into oppressed groups and oppressor groups along various axes like race, class, gender, sexuality orientation, physical ability and age. While I disagree with contemporary critical theory on a number of grounds, I’m particularly concerned as an evangelical Christian with the way in which it is influencing segments of the evangelical church. This site contains numerous resources that will help people, both Christians and non-Christians, understand the claims of critical theory, evaluate them carefully, and critique them rationally.

Feel free to browse, but if you’re interested in particular subjects, see below:

For key quotes from a popular undergraduate text on critical theory and social justice, see my article “Quotes from Sensoy and DiAngelo’s Is Everyone Really Equal?”

To understand terms like “antiracism,” “white privilege,” and “white fragility,” see my Antiracism Glossary.

For my those interested in a brief summary of the conflicts between critical theory and Christianity, see my Gospel Coalition article with Dr. Pat Sawyer, “The Incompatibility of Critical Theory and Christianity.

For the a longer treatment of critical theory and its conflict with Christianity, my talk on “Social Justice, Critical Theory, and Christianity: Are They Compatible?” will be instructive.

For a more academic treatment of these issues, see this free, 30-page booklet published by Ratio Christi “Engaging Critical Theory and the Social Justice Movement.”

For a reading list of important primary sources related to critical theory, see my Critical Theory Reading List.

If you’re skeptical that critical theory is influential among evangelicals, “Critical Theory Within Evangelicalism” provides important documentation.

To find quotes and links to key articles on critical theory from both secular and religious thinkers, see “Important Articles on Critical Theory.”

Finally, if you’re curious to know how an educated person could believe that Christianity is true, see the four-part series “Why Believe?” or “Science and Religion: Is it Either/Or or Both/And?”

My contact information is on the Bio page. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.

Sincerely,

Neil


For all content on critical theory, see here.

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