Jordan Peterson’s Appeal to Young Evangelical Men

CBMW invited me to write something on the subject of Jordan Peterson’s appeal to young evangelical men, which has just been published here.

Listening closely to what both Peterson and his appreciative male followers have to say, a few things especially stand out to me. Foremost among these is the fact that Peterson displays a genuine compassion and concern for young men, and for young men as particular persons, not just as an abstract class. Peterson, as someone who is fiercely critical of ideology in general, observes and challenges much of the ideological flak to which young men are exposed by the culturally regnant orthodoxies of feminism. However, unlike many others, Peterson isn’t driven by some countervailing ideology so much as by a palpable compassion for the victims of established ideologies, young men who have been stigmatized, told that they are toxic and patriarchal, stifled, and who are increasingly marginalized or discarded by society and its institutions. I have seen countless figures on the right who want to score petty ideological points against feminists raise the issues of young men: it is Peterson’s compassion for young men as particular persons that sets him apart.

We all, conservative Christians as much, if not more, than others, are in danger of theologies and ideologies that eclipse persons, reducing them to (actual or potential) avatars of—or obstacles to the outworking of—our abstract ideological systems. People recognize this and close themselves off to us. Foregrounding persons in their concrete particularity and unfeignedly desiring and seeking their good is hugely important, not because it matters for ideological persuasion, but because people matter. Men respond to Peterson because he does this for them, but this is a posture that desperately needs to become characteristic of our relationship to every person.

Read the whole thing here.

Photo: Michael Coghlan

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Culture, Guest Post, Sex and Sexuality, Society, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Jordan Peterson’s Appeal to Young Evangelical Men

  1. Aaron Siver says:

    Delightful, thoughtful, informative, and edifying as always, Alastair.

    The circumstances prompt me to ask: What can CBMW and its surrounding community learn from Jordan Peterson?

    I have a strong intuition there’s something. I’m left with a far more favorable and encouraging taste in the mouth, rumbling in the innards, understanding in the mind, and resolve in the heart after listening to Peterson than I am after listening to many notable men associated with CBMW. Anecdotally, I experience a difference in the view of masculinity (and femininity) expressed by Peterson compared to that of CBMW. And I find the former somehow more intuitively natural and biblical than the latter. (I have a similar experience reading your work compared to other CBMW folks.)


    • Thanks, Aaron!

      If you read my post, you should see two or three key points where I think the audience of the post could learn from Peterson. Among them, focus on persons, not ideologies. Win people with a vision of honour, not with negativity and shame. Don’t focus on the mere superficial aesthetics of gender roles, but focus on building the substance of character as men are called to grow into greater responsibility.

      • Aaron Siver says:

        Yep, I noted those points of advice in your article and thought they seemed apropos to the CBMW audience.

        Thanks for confirming that. 😊

  2. Geoff says:

    So far as male responsibility is concerned, I’ve noticed what could be termed, an unaccountability, in a high handed unresponsive way, in some male church leadership, which, in a way, seems like a detached superiority, keeping others at arms length and a competitiveness manifested in not wishing others to succeed at a cost of self diminution, or ministery. I think Keller has expressed the difficulty men in general have in forming friendships: “friends always let you in and never let you down.”
    Not that I’ve been through any ministerial training, but my understanding, from a friend who has, is that there is a general ethos in training not to get (too) close, to have friends in the church. Bonhoeffer came to mind as I read your original article.

  3. CW says:

    Thanks for this, Alastair.

    Tell us the truth (integrity) how long did it take to whittle that post down from the 10,000 word starting point?

  4. Geoff says:

    For judicious, inoffensive, editing and the annihilation of words, a lot longer and more painful, than the writing of the10,000.

  5. David Henry says:

    You’ve mentioned in a few places that the Jungian views Peterson holds are dangerous and that Christians should be wary of them. While I understand more broad, obvious objections to them–neither Scriptures nor the God revealed in them can be reduced to an expression of human psychology–I wonder if there’s something I’m missing? If, at some point in your critiques of Peterson, you could address your concerns with Jung, Jungian archetypes, and Jungian psychology more directly and more thoroughly, I would very much appreciate it.

  6. Geoff says:

    I realise that you are not seeking a response from me, this is part of a comment I made on Alastair’s earlier post ,Men Shame and Brotherhood.
    Jung. I’m not sanguine at all about Jung and his teaching, myth, collective unconsious, his occult practices and Gnosticism, his view of God and the Trinity, of evil, his spirit guide, his own deification. There is much to be of Christian concern.
    Here is one link to an article by Douglas Groothuis. There are many Christian critiques.

  7. Hi David,
    Just read Geoff’s comment – you haven’t asked me this question either, but I will just chip in briefly. There are many well-known Christian reservations about Jung, but there are also Christians who are Jungian analysts and I will comment on some postive aspects of Jung’s position. In a nutshell, Jungian analysis encourages us to attend to all aspects of our psyche and also to exercise self-control, rather than sweeping some aspects of ourselves under the carpet and trying to convince ourselves and others that these aspects of ourselves are just not there – in other words, it encourages us not to be hypocrites.The process of attending to what we’ve swept under the carpet (our ‘shadow’) is a painful one (a ‘heroic journey’) just as searching our own hearts as Christians is a painful one, but it does enable us to live life ‘in abundance’, which is one thing that Jesus wanted for us, in addition to carrying our cross daily. Practising the Jungian process leaves us less time to point our fingers at other people and tell them how we think they should be living their lives, but it also gives us a keen sense of truth, justice and mercy, and the boldness to speak out in love about lies, injustice and cruelty – just as our Christian faith does, if we are not too busy being hypocrites!

  8. Geoff says:

    And, Christine, we have all that and more from the Word of God holding up a mirror to us convicting and transforming us from the inside out, through Holy Spirit, all without some occult spirit-guided self analysis. Have you really looked into Jung’s spiritual life? It is far from Christian spirituality. Your last paragraph really ought to be rewritten by replacing Jung with Christ, and our union with him. Sanctification, doesn’t come through any Jungian process, or Jung himself.
    It is Christ, not Jung, who came to give “life in abundance.” John 10:10, which needs to be read in the whole context of John Chapter 10 and Jesus the Good shepherd, laying down His life for his sheep, for you and me.
    How more of an abundant life can we have, than eternal life,
    John 17
    After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
    “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began….
    12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe byc that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

    13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them byd the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
    20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

    24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

    25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made youe known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

    Why O why would we have anything of Jung, when we have Christ: he in us and we in Him. Isn’t He sufficient? As for our real selves- only Christ restores, heals our brokenness, our fall from grace in Adam, not Jung. Only Christ and His Spirit sanctifies. In Christ alone our hope is found.
    I have an older friend, a retired dentist, who, in his formative, young adult years was and still is greatly influenced by Jung and mixed it with a christian upbringing, so much so that he couldn’t then, as now, see the glory of Christ.
    Where we stray and point the finger is when we forget we are all sinners – our true selves, without Christ and his salvation, and when we base our salvation on our sanctification. As Christians we are
    “Simul Justus et Peccator.” In our union with Christ, we have been judged, and died in Him, and raised in Him. We are, almost unbelieveably so, as righteous as Christ, CHOSEN BEFORE CREATION.
    To press the points: Ephesians Chapter 1
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

    7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

    13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory…

    15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

    22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

    Would that we lived in that healing reality in our body, psyche (soul – mind, will and emotions) and spirit and wither Jung.

    • Joe says:

      Peterson quotes extensively from the Bible. True, he isn’t a Christian but he is encouraging people to read the Bible.

      • Perhaps, but his account of Scripture is very far from an orthodox one.

        We need to resist both kneejerk rejections of Peterson and uncritical baptisms of his thought. He is complicated and should be approached with a critical and cautious receptivity.

      • Joe says:

        So what? He quotes the Bible. He gets people to read the Bible. The authority of the Bible doesn’t depend on the person quoting it.

        I think Peterson is dong something very interesting. He is taking it seriously in a way that the current Bible gatekeepers haven’t anticipated. Maybe the Holy Spirit is at work in this somehow. I’m serious. Peterson is saying something important about the Bible and, embarrassingly for evangelicals, pointing out some of the limits of their worldview.

      • I agree with much of this, but there is still much reason for caution.

      • Geoff says:

        Jehovah Witnesses quote the bible. I’d suggested that we need all need reliable guides, teachers to help to read the bible well. I’d not encourage anyone to go to a Kingdom Hall meeting to find out, to submit to their teaching.
        Peterson is not a reliable guide,teacher on scripture, I’d say, though there is much to commend.

      • Joe says:


        JW’s are tryin to persuade others that they are reliable Christian guides. Peterson isn’t doing that. He is trying to persuade others that science/atheism doesn’t have all the answers

      • Geoff says:

        The point I was making, or sought to make, was that Peterson, should not be seen as reliable guide to Scripture, a point Alastair makes with different words. You seemed to be suggesting that was OK if Peterson got people reading the Bible. If it did, they’d need reliable teachers, not Peterson. While Alistair’s article had a specific purpose, it didn’t have his usual balance, a balance which he hints at in short replies to comments made to commentators like us.

      • Joe says:

        Yes it’s OK if Peterson gets people to read the Bible. The Bible speaks for itself. It doesn’t need reliable teachers in the most basic sense of the text being read. Reliable teachers aren’t the Holy Spirit. They haven’t converted anyone.

        Peterson isn’t a reliable guide to Scripture because the word Scripture implies conversion. Peterson isn’t a Christian. He has never claimed to be Christian. He is however making the Bible seem almost compelling to those who are inclined to dismiss it as a collection of fairy tales. I say this as someone who came to faith by the intermediate step of allowing “meaning” to encroach on (what was for me) a meaningless world.

      • Hi Joe,
        This is a response to the comment you posted this evening. You did not address it to me but I am interested in what you said and decided to chip in.
        It sounds as if you are suggesting that, although Peterson is not a Christian, he takes the Bible seriously, and that this might encourage some of his non-Christian followers to take the Bible seriously too. If I have got the wrong end of the stick about this, please set me straight!
        Sorry, I wasn’t quite sure where to post this comment.

      • Geoff says:

        1. I agree entirely with your point about searching for meaning and God using that and even error, from non Christians, to draw people to Christ. That however, does not give Chistians a licence to propound or promote error in use of scripture, but is an encouragement to engage in apologetics, world views and even schools of philosophy. Ultimately, eternal meaning, wisdom, and identity is found only in Christ, in the reality of the supernatural Trinity.
        2. I also agree that salvation is only of the Lord , the theology of mongerism. I don’t suppose, however, that you listened to, or read any human being, as an instrument of Holy Spirit in your conversion.
        3. Somewhat tongue in cheek, you seem to be looking to provide evidence that you’ve had no Christian preaching/teaching at all, or even read scripture on the topic of teaching/doctrine. Could I suggest you imbibe, for example, Alastair’s teaching on “40 days of Exoduses” found above under the heading “Larger Projects.” And much of his teaching in “Writings Elsewhere “, again see above, which includes writing on the Trinity. But maybe, you are unteachable as far a scripture is concerned?

      • Geoff says:

        Of course, it’s monergism, not mongerism, to put right a mangle of language and meaning, much disputed though it is, and a topic well off topic.

      • Joe says:

        Yes you are right about my previous comments.

        Alastair’s article is about the appeal of Peterson to evangelical men. I’m out of step with my enthusiasm for his impact on non-Christians.

      • Joe says:

        Quote “Somewhat tongue in cheek, you seem to be looking to provide evidence that you’ve had no Christian preaching/teaching at all, or even read scripture on the topic of teaching/doctrine.”

        No I am not. I understand that some Christians tried to “reach me” prior to my conversion. I’m more than open to the idea that the words they shared/preached were pivotal to my conversion. But my memory is more that I had to allow for “meaning” to exist in my otherwise Dawkins fanboy militant atheist world before Christ gatecrashed his way into my consciousness. My remaining prejudice about Christians is that they underestimate how much evangelical life is social/cultural rather than Biblical. I see something exciting in what Peterson is doing and I don’t care that he isn’t professing Christian.

      • Geoff says:

        What a marvellous testimony. Gatecrashing Christ. It takes some of us a while through Sanctification and a washing of the word to overcome our prejudices, which are not always evident until Christ intervenes
        My peculiar argument with God, in the order of my Salvation was Women in hats – did I have to go to an Anglican church, where women wore hats. We all need a reminder of CS Lewis, Screw tape Letters
        I was affronted when someone who I barely knew referred toe as Evangelical. No I wasn’t – I was a Christian. Anyway, if you are not in the UK your experiences of evangelicals may differ. May Christ keep you zealous for him. You still need reliable guides, as do we all to help us know and love Christ more in and through scripture. Yours in Christ,

      • Joe, Thank you for your reply. Please could you expand on it a bit? For instance, do you have non-Christian friends who have been impacted by Peterson’s teaching? If so, in what ways would you say they have been impacted? Also, you mentioned in an earlier post that Peterson is saying something important about the Bible and is pointing out some of the limits of the worldview of evangelicals. Do you have any evangelical friends who say that their worldview has become less limited in light of Peterson’s influence? If so, in what ways? I live in the UK, so although I have read a fair bit about evangelicals in the US, I have no direct experience of US evangelicalism, and I am still trying to make sense of much of it.

      • Joe says:


        Nobody I know has mentioned that they have been impacted by Peterson’s teaching. I have only paid attention to Peterson myself since the Cathy Newman interview. I suppose I have been surprised by the fact that he quotes the Bible and no-one seems to dismissing him as one of those sad/stupid/indoctrinated types. That’s a big step forward and evangelicals hunkered down in their family values sub-culture (which works perfectly well for them) have no equivalent individual spokesperson who will/can persuade the cultural mainstream to take the Bible seriously.

      • Geoff says:

        Hello Joe,
        I don’t know how pingbacks work, but it seems as though you are aware of the recent, pingback, to Alastair’s teaching on Exodus in Luke. I think, though I could be wrong, that Alastair is a co-author with Andrew Wilson of a book to be published at the end of this month, on the Exodus theme in scripture. From Alastair’s articles and even from Anrew Wilson’s small booklet, “unbreakable”, it would merit a purchase. No doubt Alastair will confirm, or not, in due course, if the wordpress host permits self promotion of resources.
        I wasn’t aware of the pingback site, which includes Vaughan Roberts “God’s Big Picture”, which is, in turn, based on Graeme Golsworthy’s “Gospel and the Kingdom”. This is just one aspect, theme, (like Exodus) of Biblical Theology, which Alastair has written somewhwere on this site is close to his heart. There is much else. Another book written on a popular level is “Jesus on Every Page” by David Murray
        From experience as an adult convert, there sometimes seems to be a difference in zeal, with those raised in a Christian household, though, clearly there are many exceptions.
        As an aside, it seems that Peterson’s book, has been a top seller, hard back book, in the UK for at least two weeks. It seems unlikely, that evangelicals will represent the majority of purchasers.

      • Hi Joe,
        Yes, there is certainly something refreshing about Peterson, and I don’t think that we, as Christians, can afford to ignore the ‘Peterson Phenomenon’. so it’s good to talk about it and to pray for God’s wisdom to prevail in the lives of the many people who are interested in Peterson.

      • Joe says:

        I’m not aware of the pingbacks you mention.
        My own “Peterson moment” might be a dead end. As for the first couple of books of the Old Testament, I can’t take them seriously as historical narrative (especially Genesis). Perhaps that’s why I feel ‘relieved’ by Peterson’s take on them.
        I wasn’t raised in a Christian home so I have no natural affection or allegiance to the norms of evangelical life. I‘m a harsh critic of the insularity of that culture.
        I can’t help but think “If only there was a Christian with as many YouTube followers as Peterson.”

  9. Geoff,
    I highlighted ways in which Jungian analysis is not too far from the way deeply-committed Christians live – by searching our own hearts and taking up our cross daily, owning our own sinful natures and honouring our God-given gifts. You don’t need to quote the scriptures to me at such length -I do read the scriptures regularly myself, you know!

  10. Geof says:

    Aren’t they wonderful, to be enjoyed!- though you seem to be offended. The point is not to search our own hearts. As you know, the heart is deceitful above all things – it is the Lord who searches the heart. Heaven forfend if scripture is to be cited in critiquing Jung or his beliefs.
    Have you looked into the heart of Jung’s spiritual life, the source of his process, what he believes about evil etc- but I’m just reiterating?
    Never mind, it looks as if Alastair will be along shortly. It would be good if he’d address the points I’ve raised, Jung’s spiritual, beliefs,evil, Trinity, spirit guide, rather than how they may be interpreted and applied by Peterson, In his ealier post, comments section, Alastair seems to have categorised them as an evangelical response, perhaps uncharitably as, “If someone, however, is a card-carrying evangelical, we can swallow whatever they say rather uncritically.” In the context of the link to Groothuis it was as if, I , having cited the link or swallowed it uncritically, whereas the opposite is true. Jung is to be set against scripture. There is a spiritual dimension to all this, not merely an academic, intellectual assessment, but a discernment.

    To add balance Alastair, at the same time commented on my comment:
    “I may not have underlined it strongly enough, but I did indicate in my post that I really do not believe that we should be swallowing Jungian psychology without very serious critique. I suggested that even a superficial awareness of Jung would reveal great tensions with the Christian faith. However, the purpose of my post was not to give a critique of Jungian psychology, but to explain why Christians who firmly disagree with Jung on a great deal may nonetheless find much of genuine benefit in a Jungian thinker.”
    None of this is to deny that we can learn from Peterson

    In my earlier comment, I pointed out effect being a follower of Jung has on my friend’s view of Christ: it is a mixture that undermines the Good news of Christ, even may set it aside.

    • Geoff ,
      There was a time when I also felt that I needed to defend Christ against atheists, JWs Mormons and so on. Now i believe that Christ does not need me to defend him – in the scriptures and through the power of the Holy Spirit Christ already speaks powerfully himself to all who listen to him. I don’t feel threatened by what I have learnt about Jung and I don’t feel threatened by what I have learnt about Peterson. I can reflect on what I know about them and, as one of my Christian friends put it ‘chew the meat and spit out the bone’! I also differentiate between being a ‘follower’ of Jung and being an interested, and to some extent appreciative, student of Jung.You say your friend was a follower of Jung.I have been an amateur dtudent of Jung for some time, but I am not a ‘follower’ of Jung.
      I also have no time for the Myers Briggs test which seems to me to be very contrived. I don’t know much about who thought of it, but even if someone based it on Jung’s insights, that does not put me off the good things I see in Jung.
      I think that seeking or offering the help of a good counsellor – and I believe that many Christian Jungian therapists are good counsellors – need not undermine the Good News of Christ unless we allow it to do so (and I don’t allow it to do that) Similarly, I don’t think that receiving good treatment from a non-Christian doctor, dentist or optician needs to undermine the Good News of Christ. I believe that all healing comes from God, but we also rely on others to facilitate that healing, and acceptance such facilitation of healing in no way suggests that we are ‘undermining’ Christ.

  11. No I am not offended – just doing my best to make fair comment.

    • And i acknowledge that this is a post for young men about young men, so I will not comment further.

      • It really helps to have other perspectives here, so please don’t stop commenting on that account, Christine!

      • Geoff says:

        On those grounds, I’d also be barred. If I’m not mistaken, it is not about young men in isolation, from the rest of society, in which you are a stakeholder. If anything it seems to inclined towards N America.
        Yesterday, I viewed a talk on how to reach and preach to working class in UK. Now that is a topic that is neglected. It cited research from Durham Uni confirming what we already know – church is mostly middle class , professionals, in UK.

      • Thank you, Alastair! I am interested and will keep reading but I probably won’t comment other than to wish these young men well on their Christian journeys – onward Christian soldiers 🙂

  12. Stephen Crawford+ says:

    I liked it. I feel like there was some rhetorical flourish at the end that I hope we’ll see more of!

  13. Geoff says:

    Here is are links to a Catholic psychiatrist’s articles on Jung, his life and ideas, beliefs.
    The concern over Jung is not merely, an evangelical reflex response.

  14. I was going to resist the temptation to post again on this page, but I think it is only fair to offer some counterbalance to some negative Christian attitudes to Jung’s insights about the ‘shadow’ etc. I don’t know how to post a link here but I can mention a book I first read in 2013 and am now re-reading :’ How to befriend your shadow. Welcoming your unloved side.’ This was written by John Monbourquette, a psychotherapist, best-selling author and Roman Catholic Priest who did graduate studies in theology and psychology and whose doctoral studies were in psychology. For many years he was a professor in the Pastoral Institute of St. Paul University, Ottowa. His main interest was in the relationship between spirituality and psychology. One helpful thing I learnt from him and from others is about the ‘white shadow’ and the extent to which we can deny and/or be unaware of good qualities in ourselves. I am also interested in what Robert Johnson wrote about ‘golden projections’, when we project our own ‘gold’ onto others, attributing good qualities to them that they don’t actually have, and then eventually finding out out that they are fallible human beings and feeling disappointed with them – then blaming them because they are not what we thought they were, when in many cases they didn’t ask us to put them on a pedestal in the first place! I have found that rolling back my own projections, including ‘golden projections’, can be a salutory experience – it certainly makes it more difficult to have polarized thinking and to divide the world into ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ 🙂

  15. Geoff says:

    It is with a heavy heart I write this, as I feel that I’m having to defend Christ against Jung. Jung adds nothing. His teaching is to be assessed against scripture.
    Could I suggest translating what you’ve written through the use of scripture, which is living and active , against the Good News of Jesus, with the humility that any of us are saved by grace alone through, faith alone, through Christ alone. There but for the grace of God go I. There is no need for Jung, he is redundant, from a Christian counselling perspective. The
    You’ve not addressed any of the points raised in the links I’ve posted. You seem to suggest that I think Jung is a baddie, whereas Christians are to discern false teaching, and Jungs theories do not stand up to scritiny when set against what God says in Scripture.

    In one of the links to the Catholic Psychiatrist, he even traces the use of Myers- Briggs personality testing to Jungian thought, theory. I was unaware of that. I’m aware that Alastair has written a post on the Danger of Appealing to Personality Types, here:
    The following is a bit of a tangent.
    I’ve undergone Myers- Briggs as part of a senior leadership course in the NHS, well before Alastair’s article. As a Christian, I found M-B shallow, though combined with 360 degree, assessment, flatteringly unwarrented and the result conflicted with the anonymous personal assessment from peers, superiors, and subordinates from different organisation, who knew me personally and how I worked with them. It was also evident that senior managers fell within a specified, looked for, required even, cohort cluster of personality types. A wise Christian GP commented, “doesn’t the NHS need all personality types.”

  16. Orja says:

    Thanks Alastair for such a thoughtful article. I always enjoy reading you. I do have three questions;

    a) Is there a way Peterson’s appeal is just a response that is fitting to our cultural moment and do you think he might lose his lustre say a generation or two? I ask this because the CBMW does receive a lot of criticisms ( and some rightly) but I wonder if the criticisms are simply hinged on the fact that we are in a different cultural moment and perhaps the vision of complementarity needs to be recaptured and may I say reinvented? perhaps there is a link between the Nashville statement and the CBMW both of which were responses or reactions to certain cultural revolutions and were heavily criticised by thoughtful Christians as to narrow or to divisive or not needed.

    b) Secondly, is there a link between the appeal of Trump and the appeal of Peterson? Hasn’t it become easier to excite the evangelical mind (even though Peterson could care less about evangelical support I think) with the ‘re-packaging’ of Christian ideas or themes especially as the west becomes Post-christian

    c) I trust you have read and listened to Peterson a lot so is it true that he has never claimed to be a Christian and doesn’t identify as such?

    Please keep writing! Your writings especially on the sexes and on hot-button cultural issues actually model the kind of discerning engagement with Peterson that I need as I watch his lectures and familiarise myself with his ideas.

    • Thanks, Orja!

      a) I think Peterson’s appeal is more particular to our cultural moment. He is a good thinker, but not a spectacular one. His significance is not in the sort of seminal thought that will still be resonating in a couple of generations time, but in the strength and timeliness of his message. There is definitely the need to recapture and rearticulate a vision of complementarity, not just because we are in a new generation, but because there are significant problems with existing ones.

      b) That isn’t a connection that I would draw in quite that way, although it isn’t altogether with merit. I suspect much of the issue is that there are large numbers of people who are disaffected by the prevailing cultural orthodoxies and also by the narrowing of the Church’s message. This has produced a lot of sheep in want of a shepherd, ripe for the picking for various charismatic leaders.

      c) Peterson has claimed to be a ‘Christian’, but has made clear that he is not a Christian in the conventional sense of the term.

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