Monday, June 03, 2019

My Liking of Jordan Peterson Is Not Fellowship or an Endorsement of Him: Why?

Maybe every next generation is a new and troubling day.  I don't want to overestimate the degree of perversity of the present generation.  However, I think we have taken a unique plunge into the abyss.

You've perhaps heard of Moore's law.  The Wikipedia article states:
The observation is named after Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and CEO of Intel, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975, looking forward to the next decade, he revised the forecast to doubling every two years.
His "law" has proven true, but in 2015 Moore "foresaw that the rate of progress would reach saturation," and said, "I see Moore's law dying here in the next decade or so."

Perhaps as Moore's law has materialized, to the same degree of progress in technology has occurred a parallel spiritual regression.  Moore's law portrays a steep trajectory upward as we have fallen off a cliff in the other direction morally and biblically.  The two might even be interrelated.

In a day such as today, Jordan Peterson could seem to be a bright alternative.  Only in such darkness would he come off as light, when in fact he is a near or sort of modernist.  I've read modernists.  I know how they read.  I hear modernism in Jordan Peterson.  Only in such dark days does a possible modernist seem bright in comparison to postmodernism, nihilism, and political correctness.

I wrote here that I attended a Jordan Peterson speech in San Francisco, and I did on May 2. I had written some things about him since he burst into public awareness a short time ago (here, here, here, here, and here).  Someone gave me his book for a gift for my birthday, which was a little less than a month before the San Francisco speech, and I read it before his speech.  His speech isn't posted at youtube yet, and we were told it was unlawful to record, so I didn't even though I had a digital recorder with me.  I listened carefully and got the gist of what he said, and can remember it.

Someone wrote two critical articles about Peterson at The Federalist that would be worth reading (part one, part two).  I'm not suggesting myself that someone look to Jordan Peterson for his theology or interpretation of scripture.  He's a problem.  I'm glad The Federalist, not a Christian organization, recognized it and allowed the articles they published.

Peterson used Genesis as his authority for his San Francisco speech.  I would not have thought that he would have done that, even though I know he's been renting out and filling a theater for his teaching through Genesis up in the Toronto area of Canada.  His first Genesis lecture is his most watched youtube video.

I agreed with every one of Peterson's points, even though I know he does not have a true or right view of the Genesis account.  The title of his speech was "The Meaning and Reality of Individual Sovereignty."  I think the founding fathers of the United States would have proceeded from similar thinking as Peterson, which some might call "natural law." He said, one, that God created order, two, that God created man in His image with the Word, so, three, God wants man to bring order through the Word just like God.  All that is true.  Everything Peterson says isn't true, but those three points are true, which were the points of His speech.

In addition to Genesis, Peterson mixes in historical thinking and the evidence from other cultures.  He doesn't interpret all of that, just reports it.  I have titled this type of proof, "feeding off the carcass."  I don't think Peterson understands it in a right way, but he is right to promote it.  Other cultures borrowed from the Genesis culture, because they were perversions of the original culture God created.  Based on God's grace, unfaithful people sustained aspects of what God instituted originally with faithful people.  Noah brought a culture to the other side of the flood and was alive at the time of the tower of Babel.  Abraham sent a servant back to Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son, because there was something still there to find.

Peterson explains through his understanding of science, being widely read in peer-reviewed materials. He warns of danger and destruction from departing from ways established and constituted in Western civilization.  They didn't succeed on a whim.  These ways made their way through, revealed in historical archtypes that stand as laws regulating success for people.  Western civilization capitalized on these and in contrast with the failings of the East.  Good enough?  No, and by far not good enough.

From my watching and listening to Peterson, he seems himself like he knows something important is missing in his own life.  He cries more than ever.  Perhaps the internal contradiction breaks him, especially someone who puts such an emphasis on telling the truth.  There is an underlying lie to all of what Peterson says, that is crucial.  One could call it the big lie in contradistinction to little truths that Peterson bravely tells.

The Independent Institute, which sponsored the event in San Francisco with Peterson, asked ticket buyers and members for questions.  In the end, they read none of them, because all of the question and answer time was taken up by a small panel of board members of the Institute and Peterson riffed so long on his answers that he ate up all the time.  Peterson often gives long answers and goes off on related tangents.  However, I sent in this question:
What do you think of what scripture says, the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17, that if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins?  Is not meaning lost with mere symbolism and not historic reality and then fulfillment of Jesus' own saying in Matthew 17:22-23 that the Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day?
I didn't directly quote the King James Version.  I put the question in more modern vernacular, but my point was to evangelize Jordan Peterson and maybe the crowd there.

Peterson at best improves temporal life on a disposable planet with no future.  He doesn't prepare mankind for eternity, so he misses the point of man's existence.  Man can't please God with Peterson's way.  Peterson's common sense brings no power of sustainability, because man can't be or stay good or better on his own.  He needs the gospel.  Without justification, real salvation, man is lost in his sins, and as a result is not close to better off.  His worst days are still ahead practicing Peterson at his best.  This is a lie, a deceitful lie.

I watched Peterson's speech to Prager U and then the interview with Dennis Prager.  Peterson cried a lot.  The tears remind me of the tears of John in Revelation 5, when no man can undo the seals on the inheritance of all things.  The strong angel tells John not to weep, because the Lamb is worthy to redeem the lost world.  All the problems of the world are rescued by a true and real Jesus, not a metaphorical one that is a mere antitype.  Jesus actually died, was buried, and rose again.  God could wipe away Peterson's tears if he turned to Jesus Christ.


Bill Hardecker said...

I appreciate your attempt to get to Peterson. I long to see the day that He would indeed turn from self and sin and believe in Jesus. That would be great!

JimCamp65 said...

Hi Kent,
I wanted to ask if you felt giving Peterson a hearing was contrary to Col. 2: 8. I like Prager and Peterson also, but am rather wary of them, due to this passage - They are both plainly lost, non Bible believers.
I ask because I was looking for some good reading for my sons, & was hoping for an answer and a suggestion if you felt his book was of benefit.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Jim,

I think Col 2:8 is a good verse to consider. My take would be that he's not going to spoil biblicists or separatists, even though they should beware. He doesn't present any proof for anything that would contradict what we believe, even though he doesn't believe it. I would give a warning and a disclaimer and say it's got good common sense or natural law in it, like reading Thomas Jefferson or Russell Kirk or Edmund Burke.

I'm open to criticism on that front, but that's what I think.

Thanks for asking.

tturner said...

Hi Kent; thank you for the article and observations. It's been released that Dr. Peterson's wife has had some serious complications from a medical procedure and that's the explanation for the emotions during the Prager interview. It's too bad that your question did not make it to him during the talk, perhaps he has a chance to read them after the event. Just like like the salvation of any person we should rejoice if he does turn to Christ in faith and reptenance. It does seem evident from the lectures that he has committed the sin of antichrist as in 1 Jn 2:22. That being a type of liar who specifically denies Jesus as Christ. I say this as he does have extensive knowledge of the Bible but as you pointed out his understanding is wrapped in the framework of historical archetypes, I think he has been infused by Carl Jung. I do find it interesting that in his interview with Dennis Prager that Dr. Perterson has thought through, to some degree, the idea of believing in God; albeit with a false conclusion yet and however many people who do claim Christ should as Dr. Peterson states, "If a person examine the way they live who would dare say that..." Herein resided the truth that belief results in a change. However it's a work of God that enables that change and not self. " cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Ro 10:17 Faith does not reside in the self-willed person but in God's word.