Is Jordan Peterson the New Messiah?

I’m not a big fan of self-help books. But in that I appear to be in a minority because they remain phenomenally popular, especially in airport bookshops. The latest in the genre comes from an unlikely source – a Canadian professor from the University of Toronto, clinical psychologist Dr Jordan Peterson.

Dr Peterson has gathered quite a following through his psychological analysis of narratives and myths – especially of the Bible. His lectures, which have received over 35 million views on YouTube, demonstrate a superb mind being able to communicate the most difficult ideas in a captivating and inspirational way.

But he really hit the headlines when in 2016 he refused to use gender-neutral pronouns at his University and opposed the infamous C-16 bill of the Canadian government that makes it a criminal offence to ‘misgender’ people. Instead of giving in, he made a stand and as such has become a love/hate figure.

Last week he was in the UK being interviewed on numerous media and giving sell-out lectures to enraptured audiences. As Douglas Murrayasked in The Spectator: ‘Why are young Brits flocking to hear a psychology professor talk about morality?’

The devil

Jordan Peterson is not the devil. The cultural elites of the West regard him as though he were the anti-Christ. He is accused of being an alt-right, transphobic, racist, misogynistic Nazi apologist. The sad thing is that just making the accusation seems sufficient for some to regard it as true. But those of us who have actually read his work and viewed his lectures know that is it not true. His life seems to have been driven by a passion to understand and oppose extremist ideologies, whether of right or left. The fact that some on the alt-right speak of him approvingly, no more makes him a Nazi than Hitler approving of motorways makes road engineers Nazi sympathisers.

The interview

His interview with Cathy Newman of Channel 4 has become an online smash. It was an absolute train wreck (for her) and gives a fascinating insight, not only into Jordan Peterson but also into how too much of our media works today. Newman from the beginning sought to ridicule his position, portray him as alt-right and clearly struggled to listen and grasp what he was saying. Peterson on the other hand, calmly answered the accusations and even turned them on their head. It is a stunning interview. Kudos to Channel 4 for broadcasting a 29-minute interview that showed their star presenter in such a bad light.

However what was even more interesting was the reaction afterwards. The Channel 4 news team clearly had a contemptuous view of Peterson with its head of communications, Hayley Barlow, tweeting mockingly of him as ‘lobster guy’. When their mockery backfired they tried a different tactic. Given the popularity of the interview (already viewed millions of times) it was inevitable in today’s social media world that there were going to be abusive tweets. (I have a small Twitter following and yet I regularly get abuse and threats, so someone with Newman’s and Peterson’s followings will get even more.) When the inevitable happened Channel 4 tried to capitalise on it by putting out a press release stating that they had to call in a ‘security specialist’ – and the gratifying headlines followed. Of course as Peterson himself said, it is wrong to abuse or mock anyone online. But if there were serious threats, that is a criminal offence which should involve the police, not ‘security specialists’.

We know where this is going. The narrative will change from Newman being a bully trying and failing to intimidate her interviewee, to being a victim and heroine for standing up to the patriarchy. The notion that a private school educated, Oxford graduate with a millionaire’s salary should be presenting herself as an oppressed victim tells us a great deal about where the illogicality of identity politics has taken us.

The book

418XEBsiT-L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Peterson’s12 Rules for Life is already a bestseller and deservedly so. Having spent the weekend reading it I found it challenging, stimulating and frustrating. It is a wonderful mix of psychology, theology, history, narrative and social philosophy from someone who is clearly influenced by Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Freud, Jung and above all, the Bible. Unlike most self-help books it deals with sin, suffering, morality, humanity and good and evil, with a depth that I did not expect. He deals with the gender confusion debate with great clarity and insight. The chapters on parenting, telling the truth, being precise in speech and why we shouldn’t bother children when they are skateboarding, are superb. This is real. Authentic. And biblical. So is Peterson the great hope for Christians today?  For a full review of the book click here – 12 Rules for Life – A Christian Perspective

The Messiah

‘I knew that the cross was simultaneously, the point of greatest suffering, the point of death and transformation, and the symbolic centre of the world’

Peterson is a superb communicator who speaks about sin, hope, and the Bible and espouses what many would regard as common sense Christian values. The left-behinds and the frustrated seem particularly drawn to his message of hope and healing. Some secularists think he is a Christian preacher who is seeking to smuggle in Christianity through the back door. But when asked in an interview in The National Post, ‘Are you a Christian? Do you believe in God?’ he responded, ‘I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid he might exist.’ He is not a Christian but that does not mean that the Lord cannot use him to speak his truth into our culture.

Jordan Peterson is a sincere, intelligent, compassionate, human being who in his search for the truth sometimes gets closer than many professing Christians. Anyone who can write: ‘I knew that the cross was simultaneously, the point of greatest suffering, the point of death and transformation, and the symbolic centre of the world’ is not far from the Kingdom. But he is not the Messiah. He is not even a follower of the Messiah. He just needs the Messiah.

This article was first published on Christian Today – here 

Carillion, Jordan Peterson and Steve Chalke | Quantum 116

22 thoughts on “Is Jordan Peterson the New Messiah?

  1. We watch that interview and the time goes in a flash, there’s so much ‘rapid-fire’ from both parties, and Cathy Newman has to be admired for her speed and knowledge when faced with one of the fastest minds of our time and, we mustn’t forget, her task was to challenge the man, not cow-tow to him. I think she earned a month’s salary on that night and he – well, I think he probably made a huge impression on all of us.

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    1. Cathy Newman does not show knowledge – she shows an appalling ignorance and an inability to listen and engage with the interviewee….it was recognised by most as an absolute trainwreck and has certainly damaged her reputation.

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      1. No, I think she’s doing her job and will have researched the man and his topics in order to provoke him and bring out his responses, even if it means she puts on the appearance of being ignorant. Fortunately his responses took even her by surprise as he turned the questioning back on her, which very few interviewees do (and I dare you to try it yourself sometime, if you haven’t already) simply because they don’t want to lose their platform on the media. We need to be able to see through the bluff and bluster. She didn’t get to where she is today by being ignorant.

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      2. The point is – she didn’t do her research. She didn’t know what he taught and she didn’t listen. She thought she was going to get him with one of her ‘gotcha’ questions… And yes I always turn the question back!

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      3. Peterson’s analysis of the interview can be found on Youtube at watch?v=vXkLaZLSzgM and he, in some ways, gives her the benefit of the doubt, but regardless of whether Newman was ignorant or not the interview illustrates the media’s current methods of influencing the population using apparent ‘journalism’.

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  2. The difficulty with Peterson is that he’s an academic who speaks in very academic terms. If you can get your head around things like multuvariate analyses he actually makes a lot of sense. The problem is on a practical basis most people in their daily lives live on the level of the presenter. For example, it’s all well talking about the social and biological factors which lead to identity, but when my friend comes to me or my social group and timidly and nervously comes out as non-binary after months or years on internal argument, asking us to use ‘ze’ instead of ‘he’ (in my nearly thirty years of being alive and in leftist circles this has only happened once), I’m not going to turn around to them and give them a psychology lecture. If my other friend comes home frustrated from work because once again she has been told that her breasts get in the way of her being a successful surgeon, I’m not going to lecture her about how actual gender discrimination makes up only a small part of the wage gap.

    On a societal level I completely agree with him that we shouldn’t legislate pronouns and we need to approach gender discrimination from the point of view of opportunity rather than outcome. The problem is I think it’s difficult to understand those arguments and I can easily see how he can be misinterpreted as a champion of actual legitimate mysoginy and transphobia by those who are looking for justification of their own daily prejudices and are unable to comprehend things like “multivariate analyses”. I’ve added his book to my list though!

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    1. You said in reference to gender pronouns contrasting your own response to his ‘I’m not going to turn around to them and give them a psychology lecture’. He is often asked whether he, in a personal, one to one, scenario accede to the request to use the gender pronoun that his interlocutor requests or that they clearly manifest, and he says, out of common courtesy, he does.

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  3. The reaction to this interview has been quite extraordinary – I have never seem anything like it before, and I understand that the comments are 80:1 against Newman.

    I think this gives a very clear signal to the secular metropolitan elite that many are sick and tired of being told what to think, and that any views, other than the elite’s, are bigoted and stupid.

    Maria Miller MP chaired a parliamentary committee in 2016 looking into LGBT issues. The list of those invited to give oral evidence to the committee consisted entirely of individuals and groups committed to extending LGBT rights. When asked why no one with different views were invited she responded by saying, “Because they are all bigots”.

    This was quoted at a meeting in the House of Commons chaired by David Davies MP, and with a number of other senior MPs present, and no one challenged this.

    It seems we are all bigots if we disagree with the current zeitgeist.

    Good on you Prof. Peterson for challenging this. But I am sure you would recoil in horror at being called a “Messiah”.

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  4. The so called interview of Peterson by Newman, with the rat, tat, tat, multiple questions rolled into one and jumping in with another, when Peterson clearly hadn’t finished, as she didn’t like the way the answer was going, would not be permitted in another adversarial setting, Court.
    It contained many frequent flyer fallacies that have many air miles today. Here is one: Newman, “So what you are actually saying is, I’m a lobster.”
    Well, she did try to boil the pot she was in, by playing to the gallery of the likely Channel 4 TV demographic.
    Heat from friction seems to generate and recycle fallacies.
    The ethic of equality has many jumping-off jetties into lifeboats of pragmatism as the tide ebbs and flows against it.
    In the heat Peterson slowed it down, honoured Newman by listening carefully to what she said and concentrated on the main, underlying point of the question(s). Rare, inde
    indeed in the current high Spring tide of equality. But it came, not just from preparation for a one-off interview, but from higher viewpoint of a lifetime of a longer life lived with much testing and expert learning, without fear or favour.

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  5. Professor Peterson is truly a remarkable intellect. Please, if you do nothing more, listen to this ineterview on Post-Modernism (Marxism rebranded) it will truly bring it home what an assault upon our Western Civilisation we are facing.

    Most worrying of all is that this ‘liberal-progressive’ Post-Modernism is not the select preserve of Left Wing Governments.

    Our own ‘Conservative’ government are now unfolding a full Marxist agenda in our schools and in our society generally/ Our children are literally going to be brainwashed to be good ‘Post-Modernist’ (Marxist) citizens.

    And if you question them on what they have been indoctrinated with, you had better be careful your thoughts are not relayed back to the school. You will receive a phone call asking if you are aware that little Timmy mentioned that you do not agree with the transgender issue? It is happening.

    From there, the state steps in and little Timmy may need to be taken into care for his own welfare against your ‘bigotry’ and your ‘prejudice.’

    This is the modern psychological Gulag which is approaching us like a gale-force wind. Prepare yourself.

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  6. I really have to thank Cathy Newman, when I watched the video of her interview I knew that she was talking to someone with something to say and the intelligence to make it worthwhile to listen. She was so keen to cut him down to size that that her aggressive stance acted as an advertisement for his book – it he gets people this angry there must be a reason. Halfway through the book and I am glad I started.

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  7. While I think God has raised up Peterson for such a time as this, particularlty as he is more likely than any Christian to gain traction with the the secular, astheist world view, I’m not so sanguine on use of Jung and his therapy, particularly from both an evangelical and Catholic view. They are warning, red flags to Jung, which I’d suggest are essential reading for all Christians.
    Jung’s , spirit guide, the occult, view of evil and the Trinity are deeply abhorent to Christianity. He is called an enemy of the church.
    Here are links to atricles from an a Catholic Psychiatrist:
    http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/churpsyc/cgjung.html
    https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4676

    And from Douglas Groothuis :
    https://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.nl/2006/07/carl-jung-beware.html

    There are many Christian critiques of Jung.

    If anything, he, Jung, not Peterson, is Anti-Christ.

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  8. From comments to an Alastair Roberts online blog, “Jordan Peterson’s appeal to young evangelical men”, Joe wrote this:
    “…But my memory is more that I had to allow for “meaning” to exist in my otherwise Dawkins fanboy militant atheist world before Christ gatecrashed his way into my consciousness.”
    It is a quote that could be used, over and over again, and on the blog you have posted earlieron the play inspired by the God Delusion.

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  9. In my opinion, Jordan Peterson joins Dr Hugh Ross (both of whom with ties to the University of Toronto, interestingly) as extremely instrumental in allowing us mortals an historical opportunity to gaze more deeply into God’s universal plan for mankind!

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