In Evangelical thought, is Jordan Peterson a Worldly Wiseman?

“Last week in London, over 12,000 people attended The O2 and paid ‘significant sums of money to watch (Jordan) Peterson, the rockstar of public intellectuals’ ” - CPost


It has been interesting to hear Jordan Peterson speak on issues like drinking alcohol, sexual immorality, parenting, gambling, manhood, laziness, etc. He seems to end up at a Biblical viewpoint on those topics, but not through a Biblical route, but by way of what proves best for people in the long run. (I don't recall him saying about these things: "Don't do it because it's wrong.")

But I've never heard him talk about the Bible, and he wasn't totally muddled in his interpretation. He's smart as a psychologist and therapist, but he seems to me to be the kind of person who thinks his academic ability in one area transfers to other fields in which he has little or no knowledge.

I've read Twelve Rules for Life (a popular work) several years ago. I have not read Maps of Meaning (a more rigorous academic work). I suspect that if I read the meatier book, I'd understand better where Peterson is coming from. I've listened to plenty of Peterson YouTube videos, including, of course, the now-famous interview with Cathy Newman. I've also listen to him converse with his Eastern Orthodox friend about Christianity. In that interview, Peterson wanted Christianity to be true, but even as I listened, I wondered if he was still reading Christianity through a different sort of metaphysics.

The closest thing I've read about his worldview is within Twelve Rules for Life, where he describes consciousness as something thrown up by the universe itself, giving the picture of consciousness being the universe's inherent ability to turn around and look back at itself somehow.

I think he resonates with Christians / finds a lot of overlap with Christians because he recognizes that there is something intractable about the universe. He has none of the crass materialistic hubris that thinks we can achieve technical mastery over the universe, our bodies, ourselves. We can't guarantee against disaster. This still falls short of acknowledging the Creator-creature distinction. But I think he's got a good read on creaturely limitations.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

This discussion reminds me a little about a quote from Ben Shapiro that my wife shared with me last week. I don't remember his exact wording but he is religiously Jewish and was asked if he thought non Jews would go to heaven. His response was that he thought they would if they kept the law of Noah.

Although he is not a Christian and he has salvation all wrong, he recognizes the value of a moral standard from God. What Shapiro was advocating is the Hebrew concept of the proselyte of the gate (law of Noah) vs the proselyte of the temple (law of Moses). It is an understanding that a society is much better off if it follows the standards that God has given us. Sadly some people just call that Christian nationalism.