I’m at the tail end of Peterson’s newest book 12 Rules for life. He is all the rage on the internet, on TV, and in every bookstore. It is unbelievable how quickly someone in our world today can go from obscurity to household name. Dr. Peterson is a professor who gained fame by his refusal to refer to a person’s professed gender and instead said that he would refer to them by their biological gender. His brand of logic and no-nonsense is rare in today’s world and surprising because he is Canadian. (Just saying Canadians are really nice how do I know? I’m Canadian and so is my wife. :)) Here is a now-famous lively exchange he had with a Canadian New Anchor. I found it refreshing.
Here is how Jordan Peterson can help you:
- He is logical and because he is so ruthlessly logical he exposes the illogical ideologies on both the left and the right. We live in a world that forces you to pick a side. Logic doesn’t pick sides but relentlessly seeks what is right what is true and what makes sense.
- He pushes people to stand up and be virtuous. He talks about the value of effort and truth-telling. Things that are sadly missing in so many of our institutions in our country.
- He understands the power and importance of suffering. That suffering is not to be sought but also not to be ignored. We live in a world that medicates their pain like no other generation before us. His message that pain is telling us something that pain can teach us something is powerful.
Here is where Jordan Peterson is off:
Recently I picked up a book by Brett Kunkle and John Stonestreet called A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. So far it has been excellent. I would strongly encourage you to read this book, particularly if you have kids that are still living at home. Stonestreet and Kunkle issue a wake-up call to Christian parents in the opening chapters of the book.
“Dreher (in his book the Benedict Option) insists that, currently, culture is shaping the next generations’ understanding of faith far more than their faith is shaping their understanding of culture. Sociologist Christian Smith, who has conducted extensive research on American teenagers, coined the phrase “moralistic therapeutic deism” to describe how they understand religion and spirituality. For these teens, faith is about being nice and happy and believing that God is always there to help them when they need it.
Moralistic therapeutic deists believe that God visits their world not that they live in God’s world. They believe that God serves their agenda, helping them feel good about themselves along the way. God, in their view, demands nothing of them. Rather, He exists to help them in whatever way they wish. Moralistic therapeutic deism is not Christianity at all.”
The challenge to parents and pastors is to not ignore or even demonize culture but rather to help see culture through the lens of the gospel. Empowering our kids to see culture through their understanding of the faith that has been handed to them. The reality we face as parents are that our culture is doing all it can to erase and expunge the existence of God from the collective conscience of our country. Perhaps even more tragic is that the often the messages Christian kids hear within the church is one that pushes the Moralistic therapeutic deism that is not Christianity at all. They walk away from church believing “faith is about being nice and happy and believing that God is always there to help them when they need it.”