By John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos.
Tokenism is one of the great intellectual plagues of our time, infecting right and left, Christians and non-Christians. Tokenism is making a big deal out of a small example. Tokenism is toxic when a company thinks hiring one person of color solves their “diversity problem.” Tokenism is also debilitating when one pretends that one’s little corner of reality represents a “trend” or another point of view.
Tiny minorities are sometimes correct, but they should not claim “equality.”
I am a creationist (of a sort) but have to concede that almost all scientists disagree with my position. If I were to make a list of scientists that agree with me and then make another list of scientists that disagree and put together a graphic that made the two groups look equal, I would be guilty of tokenism. If creationism is to be discussed, and I think it should be, a good argument for the discussion will not be because “many scientists” agree with it.
A common case of “tokenism” happens when people cite the tiny number of global Christian groups that support same sex marriage and pretend there is a huge controversy or “big change.” I have seen this Pew chart [at right] used several places.
Study the chart: it is a classic example of tokenism. The entire religion of Islam (1.6 billion) is placed opposite the PCUSA (1.7 million)! The PCUSA is not even a rounding error in the number of Muslims or Catholics!