The "God-shaped hole left by the retreat of Christianity" has given way to a "censorious and authoritarian" secular public morality, free speech campaigner Toby Young has said.
This 'Woke' morality is leading to the cancellation of orthodox Christians and others who dare to challenge it, he warns in an interview with The Christian Institute released today.
Young, director of the Free Speech Union, said that the prevailing "woke cult" was being driven by a "feverish group of identitarians on the Left" who had borrowed the "bad bits" of Christianity, while leaving behind the good.
"They've taken on quite a lot of aspects of Christianity," he said.
"It's as though as the Christian tide has ebbed away, so it's left some things behind.
"And these have been taken up by people to help fill the kind of God-shaped hole left by the retreat of Christianity, and the decline of Christian worship.
"But they've taken the bad bits and left out the good bits."
Unlike Christianity, Young said that many of the people falling foul of cancel culture were orthodox Christians.
"We've embraced this new secular public morality, which is ... much more puritanical and censorious and authoritarian than the seemingly much more gentle Christian public morality, which at least allowed for forgiveness and a path back," he told The Christian Institute's Simon Calvert.
"That's why if you don't sign up to the shibboleths of the 'woke Church', you end up cast out and curiously, lots of people who do find themselves at odds with the articles of faith of the new public morality are orthodox Christians."
Young admitted that his own experience of being cancelled had been "really difficult" and said that 'cancel culture' has "metastasised" in the last two decades to the point where it has become "such an all-encompassing kind of blight" on society.
"One of the attractive things about modern Christianity is this distinction between the sin and the sinner. And if you transgress, but you are penitent, then you can be readmitted into the community.
"But in the 'woke Church', there is no forgiveness. Once you've transgressed, that's it. You're cast out, and there's no way back.
"So ... after a brief interlude, one public morality has been replaced by another, and if you don't sign up to the articles of faith of that public morality, you're now outcast, probably more outcast than you were if you didn't sign up to the articles of the Christian faith in the 19th century, the early 20th century."
Young was interviewed as part of The Christian Institute's 'In Conversation With' series on YouTube. The full video can be watched here.