The Therapeutic Evangelism of Jordan Peterson

Oct 7, 2021 by

Jordan Peterson’s project is not, at root, about biblical interpretation, metaphysics, theology, or even free speech. It is therapy for people bereft of meaning and purpose. Peterson may not be a prophet, but he is something just as rare: a good clinical psychologist grounded in Christian archetypes and values and focused on treating the existential despair in our society.

Jordan Peterson was one of the reasons I became Catholic. I had been raised agnostic, and remained so for most of my life. But Peterson helped spark a spiritual and intellectual transformation in me that led me to the Church. Remarkably, I’m not the only one. Even though he isn’t a Christian himself, Peterson is arguably the most successful evangelist of his day.

The phenomenon of Peterson is the subject of Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek’s new book, Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity, where they set out to provide the first critical examination of Peterson’s Bible lecture series and Rules for Life books. They deftly show the richness of Peterson’s approach to the Bible and to God, and how it fits and finds support within Christianity.

Although they use C. S. Lewis’s concept of “mere Christianity” as their departure point, they rely principally on Catholic tradition. Kaczor and Petrusek offer a more formal and, at times, a stronger defense of Peterson’s positions than even he does by buttressing them with Church teachings. For example, Kaczor shows how Peterson’s interpretation of Scripture goes back to Augustine’s moral reading of the Bible; he also points out that Augustine recommended drawing truth from all sources of knowledge—something Peterson does very well. Petrusek similarly examines Peterson’s rules for life in light of Aquinas and Church tradition, drawing helpful comparisons yet concluding that the Church offers something much richer and more coherent than Peterson can.

Read here

Please right-click links to open in a new window.


Related Posts


Share This