Darrow Miller and Friends

Intersectionality Smothers the Individual

  1. Intersectionality, the New Tribalism
  2. Intersectionality Smothers the Individual

Postmodernism wants to deconstruct the West, to smash the individual, and one of the key tools in its tool kit is intersectionality.

For all of history, tribalism has divided the human family, as we have discussed in our post Intersectionality, The New Tribalism. But the Bible clearly reveals the One and Many God who created a universe that reflects unity and diversity. God made humankind of one blood, and every human with individual uniqueness as well. This is affirmed in the penultimate vision of Revelation 7:9: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

US founding fathers believed in the importance of the individual

From this vision came the principle modeled by the United States, e pluribus unum – “out of many, one!” With some exception, the US founding fathers affirmed the absolute uniqueness of the individual, as well as the equality of all people in dignity and worth.

But the postmodern vision is a return to pagan tribalism. The postmodern has rejected the three R’s that built Western civilization: revelation, reason and reality. The goal of postmodernism is the utter destruction of the West: its ideals, its culture and its frame—out of many, one.

In postmodernism, identity is not established by individual uniqueness but socially constructed by divisions of age, sex, skin color, skills, and interests. Individuals are dissolved into a collectivist identity made up of competing subgroups. This is the antithesis of individuals forming community that provides the liberal principle of freedom and personal responsibility.

Intersectionality cannot abide the individual

Postmodernism wants to rid the world of Western Civilization. This is why Jessie Jackson, speaking at Stanford University in the 1980’s, led a chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, western culture’s got to go!” Why would he call for the demise of western culture? Because he sees as a threat the biblical concept that human beings are created equal and diverse at the same time. We are united by one blood, one origin, one mother of us all—Eve. At the same time each of us is a unique individual.

The classic liberal studies that shaped Western Civilization have been jettisoned, replaced with black studies, women’s studies, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT, gender studies, etc. Instead of seeking to integrate diverse peoples, postmoderns promote Neo-Segregation, the ghettoization of black, feminist, Hispanic, LGBT students. But heaven forbid that white students should form a white student union or study center. This would clearly be racist.

Nancy Pearcey writes about the importance of the individualNancy Pearcey writes of this phenomenon in Finding Truth.

[Cultural Marxism] reduces individuals to puppets of social forces … it implies that individuals are powerless to rise above the communities to which they belong. It … dissolves individual identity into group identity.

Individuals are little more than mouthpieces for communities based on race, class, gender, ethnicity and sexual identity.

Individuality is not the same as individualism

We need to distinguish between individualism and individuality. Individualism is an ideology that puts the individual at the center of the universe to be worshiped, glorified and separated from the larger community. Individuality, on the other hand, recognizes the uniqueness of the individual without degenerating into idolatry of the individual. Dr. K. Alan Snyder, writing in If the Foundations Are Destroyed, says,

The Biblical concept of individuality can be stated succinctly: God has created all things distinct and unique and for a specific purpose. He has given an identity to all parts of His creation, whether material objects, animals, or of human beings.

Our individuality is comprised of such things as age, ethnicity, race, sex, skills, natural abilities, intelligence, intuition, creativity and station in life—that is, employment status, marriage status, and responsibility for children or older parents.

The balance with human individuality is that each one of us is part of a community. We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and thus are the children of God. We are of one blood (Acts 17:26) and have the same set of first parents, we are the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2). All the redeemed of the Lord, we and the human communities we are part of—family, clan, tribe and nation—are on a journey to be united under the authority of one King as citizens of one kingdom, at the end of history.

Postmoderns are wrong. It was not a race (white) and a sex (male) that made the West. It was a text, the Bible, that made the West. It was largely a group of Middle Easterners, the Jews, that gave the world the Old and New Testaments and thus laid the foundations for Western Civilization.

  • Darrow Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).