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Barton Gingerich: Countering the “based mind virus”


WORLD Radio - Barton Gingerich: Countering the “based mind virus”

Faithful Christians have the antidote to political errors on the left and the right, whether “woke” or “based” by Daniel de la Hoz

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next: the “based mind virus.” Of course, Christians should be about the business of resisting extremism, whether it’s ideology of the political left or right—whether “woke” or “based”.

Maybe you’re not familiar with the term “based,” B-A-S-E-D. It has its origins in hip hop, describing anyone full of confidence and swagger.

So today, some on the right are using the term for their heroes. And you’ll hear WORLD Opinions commentator Barton Gingerich say it’s time to fight the “based mind virus” saying Christians ought to be able to offer young men a better way to resist woke.

BARTON GINGERICH, COMMENTATOR: Perhaps you’ve heard of the “woke mind virus.” This mindset makes one deeply doctrinaire, authoritarian, and tribal. The opposite side of this coin is what a colleague of mine calls the “based mind virus.” Offending woke sensibilities can be exciting, and it can gain you plaudits from those on the right. Of course, the questions are how far will you go and how honestly will you engage the issues.

Many go too far into the realm of alt-right fascism and racism. What starts with ironic memes becomes increasingly serious. Riling people up is a cheap and easy way to get attention. What happens when this folly enters a context of Reddit and 4chan—a world marked by artificiality, alienation, and isolation? Men whose great-grandfathers stormed the beaches of Normandy toy with Nazi rhetoric, often behind the mask of anonymous social media accounts.

What do we do about this as Christians? How can we pull people (most of them young men) out of this darkness and prevent fellow church members from succumbing to it? There are no sure-fire solutions, but we should consider several important prescriptions.

First off, believers do well to equip themselves with sound, truthful arguments and resources. Pearl-clutching and liberal boilerplate won’t convince someone playing around with alt-right ideas. We need to debunk pseudoscience like the falsehoods behind eugenics and discern moral wisdom from history, philosophy, and theology. In an American context, Thomas Sowell’s works on race, for example, can help pull someone away from the ledge.

Next, we must know when to cut ties with someone over vicious error. On the one hand, we hope to persuade someone of the truth and call them away from sin, and that can take patience. Still, in Ephesians, Paul insists that we are to have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” We cannot be party to racism. Those that embrace racism must repent or face church discipline. Friendships may end when someone stubbornly resists biblical correction.

Today, people can rapidly transform from a “normie” to an extremist of any stripe. That can translate into marching in either a Pride parade or a neo-Nazi demonstration. But Christians work from God’s unchanging standard, which condemns both activities. For faithful Christians who knew the extremist beforehand, the response is similar: “What happened to them?” In either case, we can’t go down the path that person is traveling. We must part ways.

Finally, as others have noted, young men need to be affirmed in their manhood and personhood. They need worthwhile vocations like meaningful work, ministry, marriage, and child-rearing, and they often need practical advice on how to be successful. Older, spiritually mature, “unwoke” men with skills are a valuable asset. They can offer spiritual fatherhood to a generation plagued by fatherlessness. Works of mercy can also help a Very Online person touch the proverbial grass and instill both realism and compassion in his mind and heart.

May the Lord raise up servants who can reach those caught in the darker recesses of the alt-right. And may we all resist the temptation to moral infidelity and short-sighted compromise, no matter the form.

I’m Barton Gingerich.

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