Jordan Peterson’s Church Advice Is Mostly Right

Jul 24, 2022 by

by Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism:

Canadian pop public thinker Jordan Peterson, a non-Christian, has of course generated controversy with his recent video message to churches urging them to appeal especially to young men. Here’s his most cited quote:

The Christian Church is there to remind people, young men included, and perhaps even first and foremost, that they have a woman to find, a garden to walk in, a family to nurture, an ark to build, a land to conquer, a ladder to heaven to build, and the utter terrible catastrophe of life, to face stalwartly in truth, devoted to love and without fear.

Christian critics rightly respond that churches don’t build ladders to heaven but point to the ladder that God in His grace lowers down from heaven to undeserving humanity. Peterson is a classicist and a stoic who extols traditional heroic virtues. He’s not a theologian who offers insights about Christian salvation.

But Peterson does offer insights about what Western culture needs from churches, which includes firm guidance, direction, purpose, hope, especially for directionless young men. This cohort, at best, can become permanent basement dwellers in their parents’ home, inhabiting an internet-focused and cannabis-fueled alternative reality. At worst, they become drug dealers, cult members, extremist political fanatics, gang members, serial impregnators of random women, or suicidal shooters. Directionless young men are a bane on every society. Peterson is right that they merit special concern by churches. So he counsels:

To the churches…Protestant – you’re the worst at the moment, Catholic, Orthodox, invite young men. Put up a billboard, saying young men are welcome here.

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