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Publisher's Summary

In American Awakening, Joshua Mitchell compares today’s secular politics of identity - skin tone, gender, and sexuality - to the religious awakenings of America’s past. The book asks where the clerisy of identity politics came from, how identity politics claimed a death grip on liberalism, and how can it be defeated.

We are living in the midst of an American awakening, without God and without forgiveness. The first two awakenings brought religious renewal; the third - the social gospel movement and its aftermath (1880-1910) - invoked the authority of religion to bring about political and social transformation, but lost sight of Christianity along the way.

The awakening through which we are now living comprehends politics through the categories of religion without recognizing it, has no place for the God who judges or the God who forgives, and has brought America to a dead end, beyond which no one can see. Identity politics renders judgment not based on sins of omission and commission, but on the publicly visible, unalterable attributes that precede whatever citizens might do or leave undone. Identity politics offers no forgiveness for transgressions, because they are irredeemable. Liberal politics was once concerned with working together to build a common world. Identity politics has transformed politics. It has turned politics into a religious venue of sacrificial offering.

For the moment, the irredeemable scapegoat is the White, heterosexual, man. After he is humiliated and purged, on whom will innocent victims turn their cathartic rage? White women? Black men?

Identity politics is the antiegalitarian spiritual eugenics of our age. It demands that pure and innocent groups ascend, and the stained transgressor groups be purged. If religious revivals are understood as collective efforts to redeem a stained world, then identity politics is an American religious revival - this time around, without God. 

©2020 Joshua Mitchell (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

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  • Anthony S.
  • 02-03-2021

Stop what you are doing!

Not a joke. This is the most important book a person could read to get a better understanding as to why things are the way they are right now. A fair and level-headed approach to political issues. The author takes logic to a new level. Truly a must read.

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  • Ahnonymous Josch
  • 09-05-2021

Essential Reading

Excellent analysis of where we are and some of how we got here. Absolutely essential Reading/listening for these times. (especially with the Covid-19 related epilogue)

4 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne Clark
  • 27-01-2021

Brilliant insight to major societal issues!

So good I had to listen twice. It made me wish for a means of accessing footnotes.

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  • Cathryn
  • 01-06-2021

Solid Stuff

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect content wise, but I was hooked. The author is very succinct and persuasive in articulating his view. A must read for evangelicals.

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  • Trebla
  • 01-05-2021

Impressive word smith badly drops the ball

Joshua put together a collection (~120) paragraphs or mini essays on his view of the current world. His central idea of Christianity's "need" for original sin and then absolution via the sinless One has been replaced by Identity Politics need to load the blame for just about all of society's ills onto (currently) white hetero males. An interesting idea is then taken way too far in several directions, which make it clear Josh is blind to his own biases. While claiming utter neutrality In the current political debate, he castigates Clinton (both of them) & Obama yet lets Bush & Trump slide free of any misdeed. An obviously erudite word smith, he let his blind spot deeply mar what could have been a useful discussion.

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