Ep 306: How Neil Shenvi Gives a Gracious Approach to Critical Theory

How Neil Shenvi Gives a Gracious Approach to Critical Theory

Summary – How Neil Shenvi Gives a Gracious Approach to Critical Theory

In today’s episode, Doug Stuart chats with Neil Shenvi, a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry, about his work in Christian apologetics. If you think there’s a disconnect between his education and his work, he explains a bit about that in the opening to the episode, as well as the basis for new found expertise in critical theory. Shenvi’s concerns about the influence of critical theory rests in the influence (and resultant damage) to orthodox Christian doctrine by ideas developed by critical theorists. He offers a history of the philosophical discipline; many ways to discern the mechanics of it, how to think through and address the moving target certain nomenclature creates, and much more.

If you know very little about the topic, or believe it’s not as bad some say it is, this episode gives a great bird’s eye view making connections you might not have previous thought to consider. Shenvi has a very gracious demeanor and way about speaking on this topic; he’s sensitive to certain topics of valid concern (racism, abuse, etc), while recognizing the necessary distinctions and why this particular ideology is such a poison. Shenvi is apolitical in his approach. He comes at this with no agenda about politics or political theory.

Main Points of Discussion

00:00 Introduction
01:15 About Neil Shenvi
03:12 How Christians begin expressing wokism and the common trajectory
07:03 What is critical theory?
09:04 How culture effects economics – the connection to Marxism
11:15 How does post-modernism relate to critical theory?
14:11 The convergence of critical theory and post-modernism (and the significance of this)
16:31 Robin DeAngelo is critical race theorist??
18:07 Academics and activists
20:10 Difference between critical theory and critical race theory?
22:18 James Lindsey’s connection of critical theory to neo-Marxism?
25:49 Christians going woke are “just trying to deal with the poor and oppressed”
29:55 How lived experience can be wrongly interpreted
32:48 The woke have a “double consciousness” – lived experience is only valid for those liberated from their (white) blindness.
35:32 Wokeness is internally coherent even if it’s realistically incoherent
37:48 Are there any ideas that are redeemable about crt?
42:00 there are some isolated ideas that are valid truth claims
42:43 Error in identifying problems, or just a matter of solutions?
46:55 Interest convergence theory?
50:39 CRT’s biggest enemy is liberalism
52:00 Shenvi’s book reviews and his professional writing
54:51 Concluding thoughts

Resources Mentioned

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