Is there anything that Jordan Peterson can’t disrupt?

May 9, 2018 by

by Peter Franklin, Unherd:

Jordan Peterson isn’t just a public intellectual, he is a cultural phenomenon.

He has a knack for getting into high profile confrontations with the liberal (and not-so-liberal) left – and winning.

Numerous attempts have been made to take him down – not least in magazine profiles: hit-jobs that invariably miss the target (which is what happens when you aim for a straw-man instead of the real thing).

[…]  The professoriat isn’t the only professional group that ought to watch out. If most lectures suffer by comparison to Peterson’s talks, the same is also true of most sermons.

Peterson’s relationship to the Christian faith is famously ambiguous, but what Yang calls his “secular homiletics” – especially his unpacking of Biblical stories – is deeper, smarter and more inspiring than 99% of the sermons I’ve ever heard (and I’m a regular church-goer).

Christian critics of Peterson have accused him of ‘Pelagianism’ – the ancient heresy that sinners can save themselves by their own efforts. However, his message , though infused with Biblical references, is primarily psychological and ethical, not religious – specifically, it is not soteriological.

Moreover, the Church cannot expect members of a thoroughly secularised culture to see themselves as being in need of salvation if they accept no moral framework against which to measure themselves (and find themselves wanting) .

The Peterson project is about reconstructing that framework – a task which he’s gone about with a moral clarity that puts bishops and archbishops to shame.

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