Does Jordan Peterson Believe in God? When people ask him this question, he generally gives an answer that is unsatisfactory to those asking. So what does he actually believe, and how does it compare with what the Bible teaches us as Christians? This video has my thoughts on the subject, but I’m interested in hearing your views on this forum.
To answer your question, I think Peterson does believe in “God” but not in traditional terms. He considers himself a doctor first thus his analytic perspective is rooted in science and logic therefore he is open to interpretation what defines God. For example he would most likely ask the question why is God not gender neutral as opposed to always being referred to as a “he”. IMHO, I think he believes there is existence of a God but it’s always an open ended question for him, but the reason he is not open about it by declaring as something he wears on his sleeve would not only invite his detractors to use that against him but also would invite criticism from his peers in his profession.
Edit: After contemplating further in the narrative of the video
I don’t consider Peterson a Christian in the Classical sense, but a term I like to describe as being a “New Age Christian” which is relatively a new in the Post Modernist sense.
He loves word salads.
That’s a very thoughtful reply. I think you are right that he has a very different definition of God. It’s hard to tell if the reason he does declare his belief in God has anything to do with maintaining his credibility. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but it’s possible.
I think he once called himself a Christian but stopped since he realized what he meant by Christian differed from what most people would think he meant. What makes you say he is more of a “New Age Christian”? I haven’t made the connection with the new age movement and Dr Peterson.
Does Batman believe in gawd? Who really cares?
I think it is part of it but not the entire reason, and the other part is maybe he indeed does want to be private about it as he eluded in the video that he is uncomfortable in answering that question.
I think that is where I get crossed with other Christians when talking about certain aspects of faith and understanding. When all perceive differently and internalize our perceptions differently as well and so to arrive at as being one universal understanding is conflicting. When I speak of the New Age Christian I am strictly referring to how certain written text both in the old and New testament are written in parables that is rather ambiguous and open to interpretation, which IMO can be many. My premise is that language is out dated and thus being opened to allow other interpretations is something I feel that Christianity has yet to accept. Peterson IMO pushes his viewers and followers to go in that direction that is more exploratory and that it why I call him a New Age Christian. Lastly just so I am clear definition, the New Age movement and New AGE Christianity are two different teachings and beliefs.
I think I now understand your position a bit better. I think the solution to different interpretations of the Bible is a logical and strict hermeneutic along with guidance from the Holy Spirit with an honest and sincere desire for the truth rather than what you want the text to say. That last part is why most people have differing interpretations; we try to read things into the text rather than out of it. I would disagree that language is outdated. It is not a problem with the Bible; the problem lies within our own hearts that are imperfect regarding wisdom and desire. We should also always use didactic passages to interpret parables, not the other way around. The majority of the ambiguities generally go away when we view passages given the totality of scripture.
I wouldn’t exactly say he overanalyzes to the point of murkiness. Asking for more precision in the question is exactly the opposite.
As for the quote, that seems like a statement made without evidence and would lead to all kinds of issues. A physicist may understand what he does for a living, but he surely would not be able to explain it so that a child could understand it. I understand calculus, but there is no way the average 6 year old could understand it, therefore the statement is false.
Also, Dr. Peterson doesn’t necessarily make any claim to understand it. That’s why he says he doesn’t know.
Drafters of legal documents in merry old England, called scriveners, were paid by the word, as opposed to by assignment. This encouraged the use of needless boilerplate and verbiage to rack up a high word count. More pages, more money. The practice was banned the 19th century. I notice when Peterson talks, he likes to meander with flowery words for hours with no resolutions sometimes. He is a paid lecturer.
As for the quote, Thoreau was no dummy. He’s encouraging to simplify matters and if one does take the task, which does take extra time and effort to do, another person or even a child could be enlightened. Not everyone has that ability to do so.
I think I partially agree with you on this, because the part of me that agrees is yes the Holy spirit guides to see the truth, but where we disagree is defining what is a common Truth such as Objective truth and what is subjective.
This goes to follow up my previous response to Objective truth and subjective truth and this is where I am going to disagree with you about language being outdated. It is indeed outdated and this is not some random statement I am putting out there for the sake of creating some sort of SNAFU against Christian meaning and discourse in general, in fact quite the opposite. I have meditated on this salient statement that goes much deeper to understanding the Bible and its passages and how certain concepts finds commonality with other religions in its language, yet it is the language itself that prevents Christianity from forming bridging bonds with other religious doctrine that often puts other believers on the defensive. I am going to pose this question in greater detail in the Bible Study Group a little later as a discussion because I am actually considering writing a book on the subject matter.
Can you explain what you mean by didactic?
Back to Peterson
I have been currently working on a book that has required me to do research on the Philosophers of the last 100 years between “Post Modernism” and “modernism” and have followed Jordan Peterson’s views on this topic for quite some time. My point is, this discussion and the questions that you originally raised about Peterson’s position on his belief in “God” should be looked at from the prism of the critique of Post Modernism," specifically Nietzsche’s writing of “God is Dead” to which Peterson explores on a very profound level of depth on this topic.
For me, there has to be a separation to which we intellectualize and spiritualize any critique when it comes to the subject of “God” and Christianity. One is premised and based on a voluntary basis while the other is obligated to remind us that the existence of God and the Bible itself are written by man, which is why it can be challenged based on a intellectual argument. This of course is where the Post Modernist movement comes in. When Darwin showed up in the late 19th century Science was already replacing religion as the center piece of society at the time and Nietzsche was already apt to recognize this perspective change happening, aka, paradigm shift. Eventually Christianity and Peterson’s argument is that it lost the same way epistomology lost from being the central focus of societal thought. Today, we have the lines of moral relativism, and fragmentation as the the main ethos where science is now under threat to being highly secularized as was Christianity. So Peterson’s disposition on a whole comes into perspective when trying de-fragmentate (if that is a word) the current battle that proclaiming such distinct beliefs comes under such scrutinization from critics alike and for not appearing weak, In fact if anything Peterson is making an argument that defends Christianity and to restoring some semblance of traditional values and outlining "the failures of Post Modernistic thought and how its ruining Western societal values.
Clarify this for me. Are you claiming that God did not have an objective truth He was seeking to communicate with every verse of scripture?
I would argue that you and I are both sincere in our disagreement on the subject and are both seeking to address this subject honorably, and I thank you for that since it is relatively rare on the internet.
What do you mean by bridging bonds, and why should Christians seek this with other religions?
I am referring to texts that are for the purpose of plainly teaching/stating truth rather than in parables or metaphores. An example of this would be a text like:
2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
This text is simply stating a fact, so it is didactic and gives less room for other interpretations. Didactic texts should always be used when possible to interpret parabalic texts.
The existence of God and accuracy of the Bible can certainly be challenged, but once it is established that the Bible is the true word of God, it goes above criticism. We are not the judge of scripture; scripture is the judge of us and our reasoning. When my thoughts don’t align to scripture, it is my obligation to change.
I think you are right in your assessment of Dr Peterson’s goal, and I am thankful for his defense of Christianity against postmodernism. Despite this, I cannot support him in how he does it. I think he is disposing of something that is invaluable when he does not see scripture as the inspired, inerrant, word of the living God.
Not not at all, although that is an entire separate meditation. What I am saying that how each person see’s Truth is a subjective topic. I am sure God itself has an objective Truth that it was trying to communicate, but that takes a leap of faith from man to accept that as being objective Truth.
Well I think that is the purpose of forums and I look for these types of engagements in order to learn. So I appreciate your willingness to discuss these topics.
It is my belief that with any religion is it important that the number one objective is to promote peace through out the world and with all walks of life. So one of the things that I have notice with Christianity is that the religion doesn’t do enough to foster dialogue with non believers without having to resort to converting, but rather make any efforts to try to understand other beliefs and accept the possibility that other beliefs have commonalities with the Christian faith.
Ok Thanks for explaining that and now I understand what it is that you are saying.
That appears as a contradiction or as a paradox. How does it get established without being challenged first?
I don’t think its a matter of judging, that to me is of personal constitution of true believers, and those who maybe curious about pursuing a faith in Christ but for those who are non believers and looking at the text from a intellectual stand point, Christianity has a hard time defending its arguments. This latter part is a fact as we witnessed in the last century Christianity becoming marginalized in the last 120 years based on a philosophical perspective and parallels with a epistemological premise.
Do you have a specific example of this? What exactly do you mean by supporting him? Would your opinion change if he was a non believer? Are there any people that you do support or who with intellectual acumen that you like that are not Christian?
There is order in the universe; and from that order came life; and some of that life evolved into rational thinking, problem solving animals. So, technically there is a God; but how the individual portrays God is up to the individual. Strings of religions; & dozens of Christian sects.
God is not to be portrayed God is to be understood by faith and worshipped accordingly. Science is a tool for understanding the mechanics of the universe, not a replacement for God. BTW Neither is government.
Modern secularism is akin to a belief in magic. There is order in the universe, there is life in it, and the theory of evolution is preached as gospel to the rigorous exclusion of all alternatives despite them all depending on random chance. Magically it all worked to produce the incredibly complex universe replete with sentient beings like ourselves thanks to a lucky streak or magic.
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its beginning
- The universe began to exist
- Therefore, the universe has a cause of its beginning
This argument objectively shows us that there must be a God of the universe. Denying the first premise is worse than believing in magic. Denying the second denies modern scientific discoveries, and the third follows from deduction.
I had a Jesuit teacher who said: We are where we are & who we are, because of the miracle of evolution. Pretty much covered all the bases in one statement; religious & scientific.