Mailvox: an answer to prayer

Apparently the ways of God are very mysterious indeed.

I have been following Jordan Peterson for the last year and his teachings really appealed to me. However, I kept having this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right or some sense of danger. It bothered me that he was always cagey about if he was a Christian or not. All of the fellow Christians I know will tell you pretty quickly they are believers. So I prayed about it and asked that if he was a false prophet or a danger that he would be revealed. Within a few months of my first prayer, the Dark Lord turns his eye upon Jordan Peterson. Prayer answered!

Perhaps it is a coincidence or perhaps it is divine inspiration. But there is no need to take my opinion as given. The truth is out there. And by “truth”, I mean Aristotelian Correspondence truth, not any of the many contradictory definitions provided by Peterson fans. I actually find myself getting increasingly annoyed with the uninformed Peterson fans who quite clearly have not sufficiently familiarized themselves with the teachings of their psycho-prophet and accuse me of doing nothing more than making groundless accusations which don’t prove anything out of envy, ignorance, and malice.

The really strange thing about all of this is that I had no absolutely no interest in Jordan Peterson whatsoever. I knew he made videos and he’d written a bestseller, but I didn’t even know what it was called. I was under the vague impression that the book that sounded a little like Hillary Clinton’s book was the recent bestseller. All I knew is that he got it wrong about Ashkenazi mean IQ and then doubled down when he was called on it. Having previously done the relevant demographic math, I made my point in a matter of minutes – he was wrong and he had to know it – and would have happily left it at that were it not for the angry Jordan Peterson fans attacking me and claiming that the good doctor was a great Christian man dedicated to the truth and a saint who would never have done such a thing.

The more I looked into the man, the more falsehood I saw. Now I’ve seen that every time I quote the man, I am accused of misrepresenting, mischaracterizing, misleading, and lying by the very people who are denying that Jordan Peterson is what he himself claims to be. They will go so far as to claim that he doesn’t really mean what he says, he doesn’t really understand what he says, and he doesn’t actually know what he is saying rather than take the man at his word and accept that he is not what they believe him to be.

Challenge accepted. If they require a conclusively damning case even the man’s own wife can’t deny, then I will give it to them. Deus vult, apparently.

Jordan Peterson is a conservative.

I abandoned the traditions that supported me, at about the same time I left childhood. This meant that I had no broader socially constructed “philosophy” at hand to aid my understanding as I became aware of the existential problems that accompany maturity. The final consequences ofthat lack took years to become fully manifest. In the meantime, however, my nascent concern with questions of moral justice found immediate resolution. I started working as a volunteer for a mildly socialist political party, and adopted the party line.

Economic injustice was at the root of all evil, as far as I was concerned. Such injustice could be rectified, as a consequence of the rearrangement of social organizations. I could play a part in that admirable revolution, carrying out my ideological beliefs….

I had attended several left-wing party congresses, as a student politician and active party worker. I hoped to emulate the socialist leaders. The left had a long and honorable history in Canada, and attracted some truly competent and caring people. However, I could not generate much respect for the numerous low-level party activists I encountered at these meetings. They seemed to live to complain. They had no career, frequently, and no family, no completed education—nothing but ideology. They were peevish, irritable, and little, in every sense of the word. I was faced, in consequence, with the mirror image of the problem I encountered on the college board: I did not admire many of the individuals who believed the same things I did. This additional complication furthered my existential confusion.

My college roommate, an insightful cynic, expressed skepticism regarding my ideological beliefs. He told me that the world could not be completely encapsulated within the boundaries of socialist philosophy. I had more or less come to this conclusion on my own, but had not admitted so much in words. Soon afterward, however, I read George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier. This book finally undermined me—not only my socialist ideology, but my faith in ideological stances themselves. In the famous essay concluding that book (written for—and much to the dismay of—the British Left Book Club) Orwell described the great flaw of socialism, and the reason for its frequent failure to attract and maintain democratic power (at least in Britain). Orwell said, essentially, that socialists did not really like the poor. They merely hated the rich. His idea struck home instantly. Socialist ideology served to mask resentment and hatred, bred by failure. Many of the party activists I had encountered were using the ideals of social justice to rationalize their pursuit of personal revenge.

Whose fault was it that I was poor or uneducated and unadmired? Obviously, the fault of the rich, well-schooled and respected. How convenient, then, that the demands of revenge and abstract justice dovetailed! It was only right to obtain recompense from those more fortunate than me.

Of course, my socialist colleagues and I weren’t out to hurt anyone. Quite the reverse. We were out to improve things—but we were going to start with other people. I came to see the temptation in this logic, the obvious flaw, the danger—but could also see that it did not exclusively characterize socialism. Anyone who was out to change the world by changing others was to be regarded with suspicion. The temptations of such a position were too great to be resisted.

It was not socialist ideology that posed the problem, then, but ideology as such.
Maps of Meaning

Jordan Peterson is a Christian

Although I had grown up in a Christian environment—and had a successful and happy childhood, in at least partial consequence—I was more than willing to throw aside the structure that had fostered me. No one really opposed my rebellious efforts, either, in church or at home—in part because those who were deeply religious (or who might have wanted to be) had no intellectually acceptable counter-arguments at their disposal. After all, many of the basic tenets of Christian belief were incomprehensible, if not clearly absurd. The virgin birth was an impossibility; likewise, the notion that someone could rise from the dead.
Maps of Meaning

Lott: Do you believe that Jesus rose again from the dead?”

Peterson: I cannot answer that question. And the reason is because… okay… let me think about that for a minute… see if I can come up with a reasonable answer for that. Well, the first answer would be: It depends on what you mean by Jesus…. I don’t understand the structure of being well enough to make my way through the complexities of the resurrection story, I would say it’s the most mysterious element of the biblical stories to me, and perhaps I’m not alone in that, it’s the central drama in the Christian corpus let’s say. But I don’t believe that it’s reasonable to boil it down to something like “do you believe that or do you not believe it”, you know, it’s not… I don’t know what the limits… I don’t know the limits of human possibility.
– Am I Christian? Interview with Tim Lott.

Jordan Peterson’s approach is that of a psychiatrist, not a philosopher or theologian

I am playing at the philosophical level, or maybe I’m playing at the theological level and what I am trying to do is say what I think as clearly as I possibly can and to listen to the feedback and modify my message when that seems to be necessary and apart from that I am willing to let the chips fall where they will.
NBC interview

Jordan Peterson believes in God.

Q: How would you define your God? Do you believe in the supernatural? Do you pray?

A: My God is the spirit that is trying to elevate Being. My God is the spirit that makes everything come together. My God is the spirit that makes order out of chaos and then recasts order when it has become too limiting. My God is the spirit of truth incarnate. None of that is supernatural. It is instead what is most real. It depends on what you mean by pray. I don’t ask God for favors, if that’s what you mean.
Reddit Ask Me Anything, 2017