Well, it has been quite the ride. Jordan Peterson and Christianity…quite an engaging topic. I have decided to stop responding to comments at the post – very complicated and I don’t think I could keep up. Instead, perhaps a few thoughts here.
While not surprising, it is worth noting: just in the comments here, how many different views about what it means to be a Christian, a believer, the meaning and purpose of the Bible, etc. And this audience is a mere speck in the universe of diverse Biblical interpretations.
From what is perhaps the most studied book in the history of the world, we don’t have a single answer; we have had 2000 years to figure it out, and it seems we have only become more confused.
Is it possible that God is too complicated for us to grasp fully? Certainly. Is it possible that this might be why Peterson has difficulty dealing with such questions? Maybe. Is it possible that people who get so upset about “the wrong” interpretation might be the ones with the wrong interpretation? Often. Is it possible that Sola Scriptura only served to add confusion instead of bringing clarity? I won’t touch this one with a ten foot pole.
There are a few reasons I do not allow (much) discussion of theology at this blog – talk about going down a rabbit hole! Libertarians can’t hold a candle to Biblical scholars (and especially wanna-be Biblical scholars) when it comes to endless debate.
Now that he has chosen to make himself known, I am free to mention Mr. Spock as the author of the email. Mr. Spock, clearly I misunderstood the entire direction of your thoughts. After reading some of your comments, this seems to be the case.
May I ask: what was your purpose in sending me the email and the link? Because what you were apparently looking for (given your subsequent comments) I clearly didn’t deliver.
If your primary purpose was in regards of a proper theologian to address Peterson’s theological views, you have been around here long enough to know that this is not a subject I would address; assuming that my position about discussing theology was obvious, I went in a different direction. Clearly I was wrong.
If your purpose was to use the theological argument to get me to change my views about Peterson…I don’t know. Whatever Peterson’s faults, in a world that is driven by evil he is bringing some good – or, if some in the audience prefer, I will say he is bringing less evil.
I will certainly take Peterson over just about every mainstream (i.e. warmongering, Israel-worshipping) pastor in America – I just think about the clear line set by his “no more stupid wars” comment.
Regarding his theological faults: in the land of confusion that is Christianity, in all of its sects and denominations (reasonably mainstream congregations large and small), is Peterson alone in believing wrong things regarding the Scripture? Is he the only one with more questions than answers?
My mind keeps coming to Ayn Rand – and I know this is a terrible comparison, but it is the best I can come up with in my very limited brain: she is quite clear that she is not a libertarian, yet she has brought more people to libertarianism than perhaps anyone. Sure, a few get stuck in objectivism, but perhaps these were lost to libertarians anyway.
Peterson has opened up the Bible to millions of people. Who are any of us to say that this is a bad thing? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Perhaps some of those millions who are doing the hearing might open a Bible and discover faith. Absent Peterson, who was reaching them? Certainly not the laughingstocks that make up most of Sunday morning evangelical television.
Sure, some might get stuck in some bastardized theology or philosophy, but such as these were lost anyway – and it isn’t Peterson’s doing that thousands of theologians and preachers have failed at reaching these individuals. Peterson isn’t leading sheep astray – sheep such as these were already astray.
A million sheep in the pasture of unbelievers; a million sheep who have heard the mainstream Christian message and have rejected it; a million sheep who are now paying attention to Peterson’s message. If one lost sheep of these million is found via Peterson’s introduction, it seems to me a victory.
I have found Paul VanderKlay to be a great example in this discussion. He takes value from Peterson as he finds it; he has a group of “Peterson” followers (both in the virtual world and in the physical world) who find little of value in what would traditionally be called Christianity, yet they engage with PVK on topics of Christianity.
Might there be some of these that PVK has reached who find faith due to the hearing? Could be. Would there be any to find PVK absent Jordan Peterson? To ask the question is to answer it – PVK certainly knows the answer.
Mr. Spock, I agree: trained theologians have a duty to properly address Peterson’s comments regarding Scripture. I am not qualified for this. I already write about enough topics for which I am not qualified – as I am too often reminded.