Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Problem with Jordan Peterson

The phenomenon of Jordan Peterson has undergone some critical examination.  Vox Day has read much of Peterson's ouevre and finds a number of startling--if not shocking--statements.

Another approach is to examine Peterson's work against the screen of Catholicism.  Joseph Shaw undertook to do just that and has a brief but useful essay here.  (Scroll a bit)

Excerpts follow.

...What I’ve seen of this can be summarised, very crudely, as ‘Jung meets evolutionary biology’, and it is this which I want to talk about here.  Jungians take mythology and religion very seriously as psychological phenomena: they regard mythical and religious stories and world-views as embedding deep truths about human traits and the human condition.  This YouTube video of Peterson’s about the Easter message shows how he does it. Thus, human socialisation involves establishing a reputation for generosity and engaging in reciprocity, and this can be taken to a higher level in sacrificing things in the present for the future. This can in turn be represented in terms of sacrificing things for the sake God, in the hope that God will be good to us in the future. This kind of psychologising interpretation can be applied across the Bible and indeed to other religious traditions...

Ermmmm....'buying' an eternal reward is certainly not a Catholic position, regardless of how many people think that it is so.

....it consistently leaves out the operation of grace: as Alastair Roberts points out, it is Pelagian.  Unless you commit yourself to God being a real actor in the human story, you can’t expect Him to intervene to help you out, even in the subtlest ways....


IOW, without grace, one will not enter Heaven, and grace is a gift from God.  As a gift, it is NOT "earned."  Period.  Works are fine (that's my nod to the Prot brethrens) but totally insufficient for Heaven without grace.


Oh, yes, there's more!


...What Peterson is doing goes back to Kant, who looked for moral allegories in Scripture. Christ is the ‘Ideal Man’ and so on. Kant’s approach influenced the liberal tradition of interpretation which claims that brotherly love and the Golden Rule comprise the ‘real message’ of Jesus, and not any of that stuff about being God or sacrificial offerings. Peterson’s interpretation is different, because his own moral outlook is different: and maybe because he’s a bit more sensitive towards the authentic message of the Bible....

Peterson has a few good points, such as taking responsibility for one's own actions, etc.  But his foundations are weak.  The house is built on sand.



No comments: