Jordan Peterson and the Quest for a Mentor in the Post-Truth Age
For thousands of years, men instructed their sons how to live and women their daughters; together they handed down the collective wisdom of humanity. In the West, this system with its lifeblood in biblical truth helped to establish our belief in the inalienable rights of the individual under God. As a result, we mined religious liberty, freedom of speech, the rule of law and modern democracy.
But in the twenty-first century, wisdom was upturned. The intellectual elite suddenly turned on the West, poisoning the well from which they drank freedom and prosperity. They viewed our collective achievements through a bizarre lens of disgust, ungrateful self-loathing and nihilistic intellectual snobbery.
According to this ludicrous, self-defeating woke awakening, the West has no values worthy to export and everything to be ashamed of. Chinese concentration camps are not the threat, abstract and projected microaggressions are. To identify as a victim is heroic, free speech represents aggression and the violent protester is a martyr. Those hoping for direction decry the values vacuum of a spiritually insolvent society.
Leadership and mentorship have thus faded and with them the hopes of a generation. Deprived of a higher purpose beyond self, the young have been taught by the media to seek immediate gratification, at the cost of their long-term wellbeing. This void has evolved an alienated generation with avocados for breakfast and self-loathing for lunch; the selfie generation despises itself. The result is millions of depressed, frustrated and drifting individuals.
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed– Proverbs 13:20
Into this quagmire arrived Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor and clinical psychologist who has become a YouTube celebrity, best-selling author and motivational speaker. He has achieved what many preachers can merely dream about. Thousands queue to hear him draw wisdom from the Bible and his videos, in various edits, will reach half a billion views soon. Podcasters are desperate to partner with him and his conversations often rocket to first place on their view list.
For Professor Peterson, “The ultimate mentor is Christ.”– Russell Brand and Jordan Peterson | Mikhaila Peterson Podcast #68, 28 March 2021
He’s slaying the destructive dragons of post-Christian ideology with an unambiguous message of hope. Begin by cleaning your room and taking responsibility for your life because you have something valuable to offer. Peterson’s doing what our ancestors formerly did, passing on the cumulative wisdom of previous generations. You can find a verse from the Bible for most things he’s teaching.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them– Ephesians 2:10
With astute thinking, he has achieved the goal of influencing people for the good. Merely read the comments section on his videos and you’ll encounter countless people saying he gave them a reason to live. These people won’t go to church, but they’ll listen to Peterson telling them to live by the example of Christ.
The problem with the Church is we’re too close to Christianity to appreciate its wonder. Christ, the Son of God died for you; that’s profound. Your life has meaning because you’re God’s creation; believe it and everything will change. The Holy Spirit can fill you with supernatural peace if you ask – experience it and you’ll never go back to living for money, consumerism or status.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid– John 14:27
Jordan Peterson is the mentor many desperately need. He’s Mr Miyagi to the lost Daniel-sons of the social media age. But he’s not teaching karate, he’s handing down the perspicacity of Scriptural truths to a generation starved of leadership. Children shouldn’t be telling doctors, teachers and professors their truth; facts don’t bend to feelings. No adolescent should be sacrificed to the gods of post-Christian thinking.
Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch– Matthew 15:14
Jordan’s been called the ‘most influential public intellectual in the Western world,’ but his critics designate him as ‘dangerous,’ peddling ‘pseudo-facts’ and ‘conspiracy theories.’ That’s an odd denouncement for one calling for people to take responsibility, speak the truth and choose their sacrifice.
Peterson is rare because he’s an intellectual willing to take on the post-Christian progressives trapped in their groupthink echo chambers. Most intellectuals are terrified of being cancelled by those who divide the world into two groups – the privileged oppressive patriarchy and the perpetual victims. To the elite, Peterson’s gravest sin is that he challenges the foundational ideologies upon which the progressives base their case. Those interested in ‘feelings,’ don’t want to hear about his annoying facts. Everything must be someone else’s fault.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return– Genesis 3:19
The elites forget the history of the world is the struggle for humans to survive and thrive against the odds. If you understand your history and full genealogy going back hundreds of years, you will find you are the descendant of victims and oppressors. As an example, in Africa, I learned from local experts that most African tribes enslaved and sold their neighbours to slave traders, before being enslaved themselves. History is not black and white. Did you know there were over 7,000,000 white slaves captured between 1500 and 1900? One expert declares the story of white slavery has been ‘culturally erased.’ Read about The Forgotten White Slaves of History.
Did you know that if you earn $15,000 a year today, you are in the richest fourteen percent of the global population, and the poorest on earth probably make your clothes and the products you buy in slum factories far away? Am I the oppressed or the oppressor? Both.
Peterson’s speaking the truth the elite refuses to hear. He’s no saint, but he respects opponents and will reassess if he thinks he’s amiss. He’s often been attacked and falsely accused, but he’s using the tools of the elite against them. Embracing logic, he ties the advocates of intellectual snobbery into knots (“So what you’re saying is… I’m confused”) and makes them question their impact: Are they assuredly making the world better? He won’t bend to those who avoid losing in an honest debate, as they label others as bigots and try to deplatform them.
He cancels atrocious arguments, not people
Elites confronted by truths they don’t want to hear aggressively press Peterson in interviews. Post-Christian progressives can cancel people’s ability to be heard, but not the truth itself. The facts will prevail and quash preconceived ideology. The purpose of freedom of speech is to defuse tension and solve problems by the process of self-correction. But when you take away liberty, tyranny and oppression follow. Soviet Citizens were forced to confess their abundance, whilst they queued for food; but the lie couldn’t last forever.
Jordan Peterson is worried haughty ideologies are eroding the Judeo-Christian foundations of the West and replacing them with malevolent ‘chivalrous’ objectives
In 1940, Winston Churchill declared the Second World War was ‘a battle for Christian civilisation.’ In 1949, he said, ‘Here I speak not only to those who enjoy the blessings and consolation of revealed religion but also to those who face the mysteries of human destiny alone. The flame of Christian ethics is still our highest guide. To guard and cherish it is our first interest, both spiritually and materially. The fulfilment of Spiritual duty’ (Winston Churchill, MIT, Boston, USA, 31 March 1949).
Churchill foresaw the threat of the West drifting from the anchor of its soul. Today, the catawampus progressives trying to dismantle our birthright must recall their Nietzsche, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
“Our central religious core has been hollowed out…it’s vitally important; it’s more important than anything else. It’s the most important thing”– Jordan Peterson, the Spiritual Void in the West | The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, S4: E82, published 10 February 2022
The Judeo-Christian foundations of the West result from at least four thousand years of Jewish and Christian experience in kingdoms, empires and nations beyond our comprehension. If the peasants, prophets and priests of history could speak to us, they would say, “Liberty works; the other path leads to tyrannical misery; we know, for we’ve walked it to the bitter end.”
The science of this world, which has become a great power, has, especially in the last century, analysed everything Divine handed down to us in the holy books. After this cruel analysis the learned of this world have nothing left of all that was sacred of old. But they have only analysed the parts and overlooked the whole, and indeed their blindness is marvellous…
Those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man of virtue than the ideal given by Christ– Father Paissy, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Freedom is under attack by those who feel only their ideas represent perfection. But history conveys that liberty to think and express your thoughts releases pressure from society and helps resolve disagreements peacefully. It gives us the right to expose corrupt people and flawed ideas without fear of arrest, and this delivers us from descending into a dystopian nightmare. This liberty defends the citizen against the mighty state and provides him or her with the power to sack the government in a serene, orderly transition of power.
Those who can speak openly, can cause a nation to repent – that is to change direction from darkness to light
Freedom of speech holds back the spirit which created Nazism, the Soviet Union, Moa’s China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. I recall walking the streets of Germany and pondering the Jews who were ordered to their deaths as their neighbours closed their curtains. I’ve been silenced by the death mounds in the killing fields of Cambodia and shocked by the Khmer Rouge’s torture chambers in S21. I stood where the Communist Party of China was founded in Shanghai and reflected on how people seeking justice, killed more Chinese people than anyone else in history. In Russia, I traversed the boundless sea of land for days, where Stalin sent thousands of citizens each day to their death. These systems produced 100 million dead bodies and poverty for all, except the elite. How much more evidence do we need to prove that freedom of speech is non-negotiable? We can only be forced into the dark when the state makes us blind, deaf and dumb.
How can an individual learn and grow, to discover he or she is wrong when all opposing views are demonised? The path to dictatorship is without self-correction. It’s paved with good intentions and staffed by those forcing ‘justice’ on others. The gates of hell clasp progressive altruism
Peterson has put a spotlight on the cognitive dissonance of the progressive post-Christian ideologies (will their leaders take responsibility for the surge in crime after they’ve defunded the police?). The more you look with clarity, you’ll find ‘Those on the right side of history’ are selling hate as a virtue, division as wisdom, violence as charity and national self-loathing as enlightenment. People at war with themselves will project it onto others. The world doesn’t require victims, we need believers. The young long for a vision for their future, not complex arguments about systemic oppression. Give a child hope and he or she will thrive.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope– Jeremiah 29:11
People who perceive the world is heading in the wrong direction are listening to Jordan Peterson in their millions. Increasingly, he’s like the weeping Prophet Jeremiah, pleading with the West to turn away from the path of doom. He reminds me of C.S. Lewis. Sometimes you need someone outside of the religious system to reveal the wonder of it. Peterson is on a journey of faith. He’s questioning, seeking and probing. You can’t enter the metaphysical realm of Christ without wonder.
Speaking of Jesus Christ with tears in his eyes, Jordan Peterson said, “It’s too terrifying a reality to fully believe. I don’t even know what would happen to you if you fully believed it”– The Perfect Mode of Being, Jonathan Pageau – Jordan B. Peterson, 14 February 2021
Peterson seems like C.S. Lewis in 1929, as a rabbit caught in God’s headlights. The difference is Peterson wants to meet God and is terrified of what happens next. Lewis said, “You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet…I gave in and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England” (Surprised By Joy by C.S. Lewis, Geoffrey Bles, 1955, p.266).
Open your mouth for the speechless…and plead the cause of the poor and needy– Proverbs 31:8-9
Professor Peterson has become a voice for the millions who feel voiceless in society. When working people ask a serious policy question to the elite, they are silenced, shamed and labelled as ‘bigots’ or ‘phobic.’ The goal is to avoid the thorny issue of why the evidence proves the post-Christian ideology of the metropolitan elite is fraudulent. Their questions are critical, not stupid. The right to question the powerful enables the public to peacefully restrain power. But the masses don’t know how to speak with those who refuse to debate, as they dismiss ‘the plebeians’ with fraudulent labels of oppression.
He who despises his neighbour sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he– Proverbs 14:21
Peterson speaks for those tired of being judged for what they possess when he refutes lazy arguments about privileged living. The West did not magically appear as a gift of entitlement. It was constructed by the labour of generations, many of whom in the British historical context, ended up in the workhouse. For centuries, Britons laboured in abject poverty to provide a few thousand families with vast estates and mansions. They gifted our freedoms and rights with their labour. Our roads and sewers were dug by working people; our factories were built and staffed by suffering humans and the silent majority continue to labour today. Their sacrifice is important and it provides the elite with the lifestyle they take for granted. But they treat workers as wretched, disposable people, fit only to be called deplorable because they’re interested in defending their freedom.
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy– Proverbs 14:31
The post-Christian doctrine that whomsoever claims to be a victim is always right has been dissected by Peterson. One person’s rights cannot override the freedom of conscience, speech and liberty of another. Competitive victimhood is not the path to a better world. Those who seek to gain an advantage over others by decrying them as ‘bigots,’ or any other slur lay the foundation for the totalitarianism they claim to resist. When the powerful elevate feelings above facts to cancel others, ask, “Where will all this end?” I’m alarmed by the premonition of the Roman poet Juvenal, “Who will guard the guardians?”
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”– John 16:33
The teaching of Jesus is we must care for those who are helpless, not self-identify as a casualty to gain power. To focus the spotlight on your suffering and claim victimhood represents the antithesis of Christianity. We must die to self, not elevate it. It’s not about you. We must learn to respect and listen to others, not cancel them. Truth is a bitter scalpel, but without it, we all become diseased with falsity.
Christianity offers a peaceful alternative to bitter cultural matriphagy
When you remove the Christian God and accountability to Him from society, invariably another self-appointed god will ascend to the throne, and he decides who gets to be heard. Robespierre, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao all believed they had to silence those who resisted the ‘justice’ they were appointing. Secularists today assume we’re heading into a peaceful post-Christian utopia. The evidence is contrary; we’ve entered a collective delusion of censorship and self-sabotage.
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die”– Genesis 3:4
The West is retreating into a peremptory fantasy of its own making. Secularisation and atheism have created a void into which any imagined feeling can conquer. The elites in the West have been routed by befuddled hysteria. We’re living through an unbending psychological breakdown of reality; a period of phantasm transcending veracity.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap– Galatians 6:7
Deceived by their narcissism, the elites have conceded that feelings eclipse chromosomal, genetic and hormonal sex. Our politicians believe wealth can be printed and borrowed, and dictators can be subdued with dexterous arguments. Meanwhile, the new aristocracy of billionaires and academics transit on private jets to exclusive islands to lecture the poor on living simpler. Their woke bourgeoisie friends in the media celebrate their causes in a confirmation bias of erotomanic transfer.
For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!– 2 Corinthians 11:19
Ask strangers on the street if life is getting better and they’ll shake their heads; common sense prevails with them. But the elites are creating a financial, social and mental health crisis of worth, value and direction. The confused Millennials and Generation Z are clinging to a lifeboat of ideologies that represent a sinking monolith. What hope is there for Generation Alpha who possess no clue what to believe, as we retreat back into Greek and Roman paganism?
You shall have no other gods before Me– Exodus 20:3
Those who speak truth to this shadow elite are bombarded on social media by an army of pettifog ideologues who’ve succumbed to Stockholm syndrome. Question too much and you get deleted, because “you cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.” This self-appointed mob is battling a spotlight bias of persecution fantasies and encouraging the Anglophone world into a bizarre mania of severing its own Achilles’ heel. They’re building a future on sinking sand.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil– Isaiah 5:20
The post-Christian ideologue has destructively become ouroboros. The new heads of the movement consume its tail, destroying their founders. It’s ideological matriphagy and parricide. Yesterday’s progressives are denounced and consumed by their offspring as heretics; it’s Robespierre’s ‘enemy within’ reborn. Christianity offers an alternative; peace with those you disagree with and a foundation of unchanging truth. It’s an anchor for the soul in this sea of unrest.
The West Must Decide What It Stands For
- A society based upon facts or feelings
- Freedom of speech or compelled speech
- The rule of law or anarchy (in the name of social justice)
- Freedom of assembly, association and mobility or house arrest (lockdown)
- Dignity for all or segregating people into groups to dominate (demonising those who don’t support you)
- Appreciating other worldviews or bullying, shaming and threatening secular excommunication (comply or we’ll destroy your career)
- Religious liberty or censorship of Christian morality (your conservative viewpoint is unacceptable)
- Empirical veracity or the politicisation of the sciences for political power (my emotions nullify the evidence)
On Freedom of Speech
- Liberty to share ideas or suppression
- Listening to others with courtesy or labelling them as bigots
- The right to question or autocrats forcing a corrupted ‘science’
- Free expression or narrative control (protecting power from scrutiny with censorship)
- Engagement in society for all or coercion, surveillance, information gathering and force
- Articulating diverse opinions with respect or aiming to shame others into silence with fraudulent claims
- Equitableness or an unqualified mob deciding who is on ‘the right side of history’
On the Right to Publish and Disseminate Ideas
- Milton’s principle of unlicensed printing or unelected, unaccountable, naive, ideological-driven ‘fact checkers,’ inside echo chambers deciding what we can find, say, share, hear and read online
- Honest data-driven free expression or accusing others of spreading misinformation and not ‘following the science’ to avoid scrutiny (banning or censoring podcasts and online videos, etc.)
- Professionals teaching knowledge or ceding to the mob
- Respecting dialogue or harassing, cancelling and deplatforming
- Proficient leadership or the promotion of tick box incompetence
- Engaging in contrastive theories or weaponising irrational accusations
- Honesty about the past or whitewashing history to cast the West as only evil
- Learning from our flawed history or tearing it down, forgetting and repeating it
- Perceiving the benefit of the West’s preeminence or creating and abusing false guilt about the past
- Teaching indubitable history or the selective reading of it to establish a bias about Western despotism
- Appreciating Western liberty or perceiving all other cultures as ethically perfect and oppressed by it
On Policy and Law
- Biological reality or subjective perception
- Teaching self-acceptance or self-identification
- Policy driven by empirical data or pressure groups
- Lauding overcoming adversity or identifying as victims
- Habeas corpus or my feelings convicting you of imagined crimes
- Pressing people to be better or ego-driven, judgmental, call-out culture
- Authentic tolerance or manufacturing hate speech laws as political weapons
- Cheap and efficient energy for the poor or expensive environmental extremism
- Delivering change with hard work in the real world or aggressive, hateful activism
- Aiding those with mental disorders or forcing others to enter into their delusions
- Creating prosperity with labour or a quagmire of debt and counterfeit growth with money printing, leading to an ‘everything’ economic and stock market bubble, and a Second Great Depression
- Tough love politics grounded in evidence or a progressive, pretending to be motivated by compassion to get elected and then pursuing failed policies that hurt those they claim to care for (print money, create inflation and then wonder why the poor must choose between food or heat)
- A culture founded on the ideals of Magna Carta 1215 or Orwell’s 1984
- In simplicity: Christ or Antichrist
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free– Jesus Christ, John 8:32
Jordan Peterson is defending Western liberty. He is a mentor to the lost and a father to a fatherless generation. He is, as all mentors are, flawed. His anger at a world going wrong spills out, he struggles with distracting social media arguments and depression has taunted him. He’s confessed to being “impossible to live with,” in the darkest of times. Jordan’s friends say they can’t reconcile his kindness to the man provoked on Twitter to a sarcastic response. His wife Tammy worries the family is losing him to a needy world and like a pastor swamped with troubled people, he’s in danger of exhausting himself. Few will grasp what it’s like to combat under the intense scrutiny of the media elite and the tightening of its engineering vice on the mind. His ability to withstand fraudulent criticism with grace is remarkable, but the cost has been shocking (The Rise of Jordan Peterson, directed by Patricia Marcoccia, 2019).
Peterson is, above all, a man who loves Scripture. He abides by Dostoevsky’s literary maxim that one should live as if accountable to God and that genuine expression of belief represents action. When Peterson speaks, it is as if the shadow of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is whispering a warning.
If God does not exist, then everything is permitted– The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Jordan’s wife and daughter are now on a journey of faith and identify as practising Christians, albeit in private outside of church structures. He’s visibly irritated when Christians try to convert him to their particular denomination and sanctimoniously preach their doctrines to him without consideration. His reading of the Bible appears, presently, to be outside the bounds of 2 Timothy 3:16 and is Jungian in nature. His greatest gift from God, which he has honed carefully, is effective communication.
Jordan tries to keep his incipient belief personal and undefined, Freudian slips aside. I wonder if he secretly fears the possibility of being pigeonholed and aggressively scrutinised if he makes a confession of faith in Christ. C.S. Lewis was reticent at first. Is that another burden Peterson wants to carry? He certainly doesn’t want to be ‘claimed’ by a denomination or movement. I think his heart has accepted things about Christ that his mind is still struggling with. His warmth towards belief may have sprung from the influence of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). The Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst said:
All that I have learned has led me step by step to an unshakable conviction of the existence of God. I only believe in what I know. And that eliminates believing. Therefore I do not take his existence on belief – I know that he exists– Men, Women and God: Carl Gustav Jung interviewed by Frederick Sands, Part 5, I believe in God, Daily Mail, April 25-29, 1955.
But there’s a dilemma for the deep thinking Peterson: is he open to an experience with God beyond the order of understanding? Jung said, “The God-image is the expression of an underlying experience of something which I cannot attain to by intellectual means.” (Letter to Valentine Brooke, 1959, C.G. Jung Letters, Volume 2: 1951-1961, edited by Gerhard Adler, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, pp. 520-3).
Pray for Peterson, his wife Tammy, and his supportive daughter and successful podcaster Mikhaila. They’ve been through hell recently and need all the support they can secure. The hand of God is on them. The Petersons are a bit like the Prophet Samuel, God is speaking to them and they’re learning to heed Him:
Then the Lord called Samuel and he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.
Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him).
And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ”
So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears”– 1 Samuel 3:4-10
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By Paul Backholer. Find out about Paul’s books here.