Wednesday 9 May 2018

Jordan Peterson - saviour, or antichrist?

Does he have to be either? - you ask. And the answer is, in principle, of course not.

But in practice Jordan Peterson is indeed being treated as if a saviour, or potentially such; therefore - since he is nothing of the kind! - in practice JP is indeed an antichrist.. and such by a precise definition of being a person who rhetorically uses aspects of a Christianity he disbelieves and opposes to deny Christ; someone who advertises to superficially-Christian agenda but who is fundamentally pursuing an un-Christian agenda.

(An antichrist is not supposed to be explicity against Christ - as some people mistakenly imagine; an antichrist is someone who seems a Christian or Christian supporter; who might indeed appear 99% Christian - but the missing percent is their real agenda. Because the Antichrist is a deceiver, in-practice. Whether an antichrist is a purposive deceiver, or has deceived himself before he deceives other people, is not a crucial distinction - an antichrist can do his evil work even if he is unaware of his own true motivations; and perhaps more effectively. For example: antichrists abound among 'Liberal Christian' church leaders - who may speak 99% Christian-talk, but whose real agenda is an aspect of Leftist materialsm, such as progressing the sexual revolution.)

But is Jordan Peterson really being treated as a saviour? Well, yes! Obviously!

Now of course anyone who - in their hearts - is regarding JP as a saviour may deny it to themselves or others; but my personal experience over the past year or so has been to have an unprecedented number of individuals write to me to recommend Jordan Peterson.

It was not just the fact of them having written to inform and enlist me; it was the starry eyed enthusiasm of their advocacy that was so striking. The tone was that 'Here, at last!" was someone to inspire faith and hope, someone to get-behind... (CoughAntichristCough)

By unprecedented, I mean that this has never happened before with any other person, nothing like it; yet these letters were frequent enough that I at first assumed that there was an organised campaign, or that they all emanated from a single besotted 'troll'... however, it became apparent that there was indeed a 'movement' who regarded JP as their personal saviour and the world's potential saviour.

Am I sure that Jordan Peterson is not a saviour? Yes! Of course he isn't! He lacks the 'one thing needful' - which is to be a Christian; and the other linked needful, which is to advocate a non-materialist, a transcendental metaphysics that acknowledges the objective reality of the spiritual.

What Peterson advocates is merely a moderately libertarian variant of modern, mainstream, Leftism - and those who can't see that fact at a glance are merely revealing their own unconscious complicity in the assumptions of secular, hedonic/ utilitarian materialism.

To base a world-view, a morality in (this-worldly) psychology just-is Leftism; and the disagreements and differences among Leftists are merely quibbling over the most effective means to that end.

This is a plain fact of categorisation: Peterson is a Leftist and a materialist - and there is absolutely no way in which yet-another Leftist materialist is going to awaken, inspire or lead anybody in the direction they need to be going... except, perhaps, in seeing-through and understanding the deception being practiced, and reacting-against JP.

In principle, of course, one can read/ watch/ listen to JP for what he is worth - just as we do with any other non-Christian materialist. I personally have read a great deal of Jung and his disciples and followers, and there is certainly value in it.

Yet this is not what is needed. No psychology addresses what is fundamentally wrong in us, or in modern society. And if we overvalue any kind of psychology as an aim in life, it will block what is needed. Sometimes a half-correct, semi-satisfying, moderately-useful answer becomes a trap that does more harm to us than an answer that is more-obviously inadequate and impels us to continue seeking the truth.

However, if/ because/ when circumstances force us to make a choice between embracing Jordan Peterson as saviour or rejecting him as antichrist; well, the answer is a no-brainer.


Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - Your link doesn't work, I may have found the piece - but anyway disliked it heartily (don't like SA, or what he says - a smug fool).

But it reminded me of something important about JP: he is a psychotherapist...

SA calls him 'a great psychotherapist'... It's an oxymoron: there is No Such Thing.

Professional psychotherapy is an immoral, corrupting, ineffective and intriniscally-dishonest activity that (unsurprisingly) harms people. Psychotherapists prey-upon their clients and clients collude due to a kind of Stockholm Syndrome. The whole thing is repellent.

This is important when it comes to evaluating the credentials of a saviour/ antichrist.

Seijio Arakawa said...

Having been aware of JP long before his current mega-notoriety, I think he's turning out to be a striking cautionary tale of how swiftly mass-media popularity can corrupt someone who is vaguely 'well-intentioned' rather than following a clear philosophy. Indeed, he is a striking and well-documented cautionary tale because -- if one really wants to bother looking -- there is ample video footage of his lectures before as well as after the meteoric rise to popularity. The little I watched of his most recent stuff left me with a heavy impression.

Nigel Worthington said...

Bruce wrote:

He lacks the 'one thing needful' - which is to be a Christian;

What in your mind qualifies one to be a Christian? I've gathered from other posts of yours that you do not subscribe to many beliefs that are traditionally orthodox Christian including (if recall correctly) biblical infallibility. So what do you mean when you use that term?

Desert Rat said...

Peterson talks a good game but is not able or willing to make the final step and acknowledge that while personal responsibility and virtues can be very good things they are not worth much at all if not grounded in the reality of God the Father and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Absent the divine all the morals and ethics and virtues simply put one in thrall to the demands of the world and are rather easily subverted into being used for quite evil ends. When did evil ever portray itself as anything but the pursuit of the "good"?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Siejio - Thanks. I have read a great deal of Jung, Hillman, Joseph Campbell and others in that tradition - indeed I made serious efforts (before I was a Christian) to live by these ideas. So I have a strong sense of the nature and limitations.

I have also studies, and done a little (as medical student and psychiatrist) professional psychotherapy - and am sure it is A Bad Thing; indeed it shares responsibility for the corruption of the American soul from the middle 20th century.

I also spent much of the late 90s-early 2000s subscribing to and studying free-market/ libertarian centre-Right politics... and then saw everyone involved, leaders and philosophers, cop-out and sell-out in the 2008 (fake/ engineered) 'economic crisis'. I even 'advised' Boris Johnson who is now a (truly terrible, deeply corrupted) UK Foreign Secretary... when he was supposedly a libertarian.

So I was left with a strong sense of the shallowness of the perspective embodied by JP.

Most modern people *do* get corrupted, especially quickly by success - and (and I will be writing a post or two on this) there don't seem to be any Wise old people nowadays. The elderly are merely pretend-youths and get siller with every passing year.

All this is a consequence of the spiritual malaise (including Christian apostasy) that I write about all the time - I suppose it is a lack of courage, primarily. Because of lack of hope.

Without God, almost every man is a coward. Bravery in a bad cause is not good... but without courage everyone ends up corrupted.

What I am saying is that JP is on a money-making world tour, setting himself up as a public guru, in the same way he clearly does in his private psychotherapeutic interactions. This is evidence of existing corruption and is itself a corrupting activity. The material he advocates is a mixture of trivial, old-hat, half-right, and plain wrong.

His evasiveness on Christianity says it all. This might be acceptable as a brief transitional phase en route to conversion; but to stay in that phase and refuse to move or clarify oneself is itself evidence of corruption, a dishonesty of a very deep kind - evidence of superficiality and selfishness.

I am quite clear about what 'we need', here and now; this is simple to state although hard to do; and it certainly is not JP!

TheDoctorofOdoIsland said...

He's a classic Nehor- popularity, money, no revelation, no Savior.

- Carter Craft

Bruce Charlton said...

@Nigel - I don't like the implications of being 'qualified' to be a Christian! I think that gives the impression we are trying to plead before a judge or satisfy and examiner. But God is a loving Father, who wants the best for us - wants us to accept his gift of creation and join with him in the great work.

The way I regard definitions of being a Christian is that we need to 'believe' in Jesus - that is to have faith and trust in him; we need to believe that he was the Son of God and was creator of this world; that his incarnation, deeath and resurrection enabled us to have 'life eternal' which involves our own resurrection.

The above passage contains several key bits of terminology, and I don't think it is crucial to being a Christian that everybody agrees on that... it is mostly (as usual) a matter of motivation. I think one can be a Christian by accepting that Jesus is 'in some way' personally essential to our salvation - without being sure of exactly how it works, or being sure of exactly what salvation consists in.

As you know, I am reading and re-reading the fourth gospel ('John') as an eyewittness account of the beloved disciple. What Jesus teaches is very simple, and is about 'belief' - the impression I get is that Jesus will lead us to salvation like a shepherd leads his flock... the flock trusts the shepherd (who will sacrifice his life for the least of the sheep) and follows him to safety.

In a simple and profound sense, it is by trusting Jesus that we *follow* him through death and into the life eternal. I think that we need to ensure during mortal life that we are ready to do this after death, that we trust Jesus to lead us.

This implies that non-Christians, who have never even heard of Jesus, can also meet him after death and recognise him and trust him, and follow him to eternal life. Indeed, it is probable that thsoe who have never heard of Jesus are more likely to trust and follow him after death than the typical modern person who has been poisoned-against Jesus.

I think Jesus understood this double-edged aspect of his incarnation, and refers to it several times. In that sense Jesus brought Hell as well as Heaven, and an unavoidable decision - because since the incarnation, many/ most people have *hated* Jesus, when they encountered him. So they actively reject his gift.

I have wandered into making this a blog post!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Carter - Ref:

In a sense I feel like I am over-reacting against JP; who is course nothing like as bad as most leftist atheists!

But the degree to which he has been taken-up and made the focus of so many hopes and aspirations makes it necessary. I suppose this emphasises how much people want salvation but without Jesus; how they will blind themselves to the inadequacy of all substitutes.

I know this from personal experience; I was one of 'them', until a just about a decade ago.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Anyone can end up being set up instead of Christ by others.

It's even happened to me.

The question is whether someone seeks that, and Jordon Peterson doesn't.

The reason that so many people are "being saved" by him is simply because he's the closest thing to a serious Christian prominent in the mass media these days, "these days" covering the last few years.

Your first observation is correct, and you should stick with that. There is only one Savior. That doesn't mean absolutely everyone else is an Antichrist, nor even everyone that happens to get credit for helping save someone.

And while it takes a pretty pathetic Antichrist to never have succeeded in getting credit for saving anyone, I've seen that happen too.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Insofar as that is true, JP has a responsibility to state clearly that he is Not a Christian and also to state what his bottom line beliefs actually are. To carry on as he is - evading, blurring and leaving matters open, is, in context dishonest, evasive, self-serving. Hence an antichrist!

William Wildblood said...

I think at the moment he is doing good because of the very low base the people he is addressing are starting from but he's only a half way house and if people stop there they are no better off than they were before, perhaps in some respects worse because they now think they know the truth.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I don't believe anyone has a responsibility to state they are not a Christian unless they are directly attacking the fundamental tenets of Christ's teachings.

As far as I can tell, JP may very well be a committed and sincere Christian. He's simply chosen to focus his public career on getting people to understand that science doesn't reject Christian morality.

I would agree that this would seem to be a futile effort...except that the evidence disagrees. Peterson is leading far more people towards Christ than away, and gives every evidence of doing so intentionally.

And the vast majority of his enemies recognize this...which is why almost all of them have chosen to be his enemies.

Nigel Worthington said...

Bruce - thanks for the clarification.

Regarding JP, I have watched several of his videos including his talks with Sam Harris and have likewise been disappointed that he has not been clearer about his religious convictions nor promoting the possibility of the supernatural. During his discussion with Harris, a dyed in the wool materialist, I got the impression that he in some sense cared what Harris thought of his views, that he didn't want to seem too far out from what "smart" people believe and thus towed the line to some extent. I suppose this could be a tactic on his part to promote his ideas. People like Harris (for the most part) ridicule any suggestion of the supernatural as unsophisticated superstition (despite a mountain of evidence - although to be fair Harris does say things occasionally suggesting he is perhaps not so dyed in the wool).

I could see JP being as you say, anti-Christ, but I'm not as quick to judge. He is bringing back long forgotten anti-leftist ideas of hierarchy, distinction and discrimination. More optimistically, he could be a first crack in the edifice of western materialis - which seems to me to be an aging worldview.

Here is a video of him discussing metaphysics:

j. barrett said...

Peterson participated as a consultant for I believe that should indicate enough about his willingness to participate in the TechnoBureaucratic Hellscape.

We should keep in mind the original notion of sin as "missing the mark". I conceptualize this as a trajectory for a distant planet, it matters little if my orbit is close but ultimately in error and stops me from being captured and landing.

I think the most effective "anti-christ" would be one who convince you your course was sound and steady, only allowing detection after one has crossed the point of no return.

Bruce Charlton said...

@J Barret - Well, that is exactly what would be expected from a libertarian atheist - because such *always* sell-out when offered power, status, money (and JP is very obviously very keen on power, status and money).

The current and previous UK 'Conservative' governments are full of ex-libertarians, ex-free marketeers, people who spoke/ wrote common sense and rationality and traditional values... until they got into power. Boris Johnson is one well known example; David Willets another less well known. but more heavyweight intellectual. sell-out.

They *always* sell out partly because many have covertly always intended to do so (being 'bought-off' is their main career move); while those who were genuine to-start-with find that - when crunch time comes - from their perspective and belief-system there is no reason Not to sell out.

This is why the major victims of political correctness witch hunts are left-liberals (like JP) and why the witch hunting almost-never causes them to challenge their bsic beliefs.

When I was subjected to a (biref) international mass media firestorm 10 years ago (relating to implications of IQ differentials, as so often!)

I was at the time still not a Christian; but the experience had a clarifying effect on me by revealing the lack of metaphysical support for my 'common sense' (and true) policy suggestions.

In the end, at root, it was just 'a matter of opinions' (which everything is, if there is no God); and if so then why should one individual stand against the powerful and hostile mass majority?

But I was already moving strongly towards Christianity, and this was just another nudge on the way - within just a few months after the PC firestorm, I was a Christian.

Peterson has been having PC firestorms for a few years; but does not seem to have learned from the experience except insfar as to turn them to his personal, material advantage.

God offers us teaching in our lives, tough teaching when needed; but whether we recognise it as such, and respond correctly - is up to us; however, if we neither recognise nor respond, then we are worse-off than before the teaching, because our error (our sin) has hardened and defended itself.

Bruce Charlton said...

@j barrett - wrt antichrists - the usual scriptural usage is plural; so there are many, or many different types of antichrist - the one type does not exclude the other.