Dr. Jordan Peterson, 60, has been described by columnist David Brooks as “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world” (link). Some of Peterson’s Youtube videos have attracted more than 40 million viewers…

    Letter #86, 2022, Friday, July 15: Peterson’s “Message to the Christian Churches”

    Jordan Peterson, 60, a clinical psychologist and former professor at the University of Toronto, has just released an astonishing “Message to the Christian Churches” (video below; it takes about 10 minutes to listen to the whole thing).

    In this message, Peterson calls on the Christian Churches to invite all young men to visit and engage the Christian message, which is essentially the person of Jesus Christ.

    In so doing, Peterson — who does not publicly profess the Christian faith — is doing what many members of the Christian Churches are not doing.

    This makes his message extraordinary, astonishing, powerful — and “proto-evangelical” — a preparation to hear the message of the Gospel. (Some Christian observers would disagree, at least in part; see here and here.)

    Peterson, who himself has not publicly embraced the Christian faith, is acting in such videos as one of the great “proto-evangelizers” of our age — one of the great “preparers of the way” for an effective evangelization in a time that is increasingly seen as “post-Christian.” —RM

    Peterson on the Human Predicament

    The following quotations are from another essay and video by Jordan Peterson. (link for the text, and link for a video)

    Of course, Peterson does not come to these matters from the position of the Catholic faith, shaped by 2,000 years of apostolic tradition and deepened by prayer, the sacraments, and much study and reflection.

    But Peterson does come at these matters from the perspective of a modern, educated man.

    And in this sense, what Peterson says is quite interesting, because he shows us how the mind of a thoughtful modern intellectual works, and this may help all of us to look at the questions now facing us in a new and more profound way.

    Quotations from Peterson

    Long ago, in the dim mists of time, we began to realize that reality was structured as if it could be bargained with. We learned that behaving properly now, in the present—regulating our impulses, considering the plight of others—could bring rewards in the future, in a time and place that did not yet exist.” —Dr. Jordan Peterson, (link for the text, and link for a video)

    “A great idea begins to emerge, taking ever-more-clearly-articulated form, in ever more-clearly-articulated stories: What’s the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful? The successful sacrifice. Things get better, as the successful practice their sacrifices. The questions become increasingly precise and, simultaneously, broader: What is the greatest possible sacrifice? For the greatest possible good? And the answers become increasingly deeper and profound..” —Ibid.

    “The sacrifice of the mother, offering her child to the world, is exemplified profoundly by Michelangelo’s great sculpture, the Pietà. Michelangelo crafted Mary cradling the nearly naked body of her adult Son, crucified and ruined. It’s her fault. It was through her that He entered the world and its great drama of Being. Is it right to bring a baby into this terrible world? Every woman asks herself that question. Some say no, and they have their reasons. Mary answers yes, voluntarily, knowing full well what’s to come—as do all mothers, if they allow themselves to see. It’s an act of supreme courage, when it is undertaken voluntarily.” —Ibid.

    “It is said that man and woman alike are made in the image of God, and that God is He who uses the eternal Logos to generate habitable order from the chaos of potential. This is the axiom. This is the diamond at the center of the world. This is the Spirit in the ark that is untouchable. This is the bedrock of the culture that brings peace and prosperity and that respects the dignity of man. This is the Great Truth. This is the responsibility whose acceptance allows each of us to live despite the catastrophic fragility of our limited being. Our likeness to God gives each of us a value that transcends the finite. Individual and society alike are charged with the ethical demand to respect that value. This is not only the presumption that grounds the idea of the Rights of Man. It is the presumption that lays upon each of us the Ultimate Responsibility that is the inevitable corollary of those Rights.” —Ibid.

    And what of Easter, the Resurrection?

    “It is through identification with the process symbolized by Easter that we are each redeemed and our cultural revivified and salvaged. We are all the slaves of Pharisees and lawyers—of those who place dogma above spirit at the cost of spirit. We are all subject to betrayal, by ourselves and by all those who surround us. We are all facing extinction, in the most torturous of manners. But there is a spirit within us with sufficient courage to confront the true horrors of existence forthrightly, to allow the transformation (even death) that such confrontation catalyzes to occur, and to leap forward, renewed.” —Ibid.

    In summary: as Jordan Peterson says, “there is a spirit within us with sufficient courage to confront the true horrors of existence forthrightly.”

    These are the times when we must nourish this spirit, and turn to God, and to the Virgin, to ensure that the spirit that is in us is the Holy Spirit, and then, put on the whole armor of God.

    The full armor of God that Christians are called to put on comprises the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit.

    Armor of God in Scripture (Ephesians 6:10-18)

    “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

    Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.

    “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

        With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)    

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