Who is Jordan Peterson? If you don’t already know, you will, as he’s the West’s “hottest intellectual.” Dr. Peterson’s website informs us that he’s a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist, a public speaker, and the and author of “12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” He’s become a regular guest on the popular Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight and perhaps other Fox shows as well. Because of his popularity among people of faith, Dr. Peter Jones thought it was important to put up a warning flag about this man. What you’ll learn about him may surprise you. For one thing, he’s a big fan of famous Swiss psychologist and occultist Carl Jung. Why does this matter? You’re about to find out.
Jordan Peterson seems to be a genuine seeker after truth, with an insatiable appetite to put the world together in a coherent worldview. Much of what he says is very “Christian friendly,” but his coherence breaks down when he finds inspiration in Carl Jung, one of the most powerful creators of today’s post-Christian, neo-pagan culture. Jung has been described as “the father of Neo-Gnosticism and the New Age Movement.” Jung himself stated: “The possibility of a comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology.” Gnosticism, as you may know, was the great apostasy opposed by the early Church Fathers. According to Jung, you could not call yourself a Jungian without being a Gnostic. According to the Fathers, you could not be a Gnostic and a call yourself a Christian.
In our angry, divided, and polemical society, young Christians, eager for measured peace, encourage us to accept the good things our society brings. Do we always have to see culture wars? This is a laudable desire. Nevertheless, Christians enamored of modern culture run the risk of ignoring its underlying anti-Christian ideology and diluting the unique truth of the Gospel.
Some have so adopted cultural norms that they are no longer even Christian. In my recent review of Brian McLaren’s The Great Spiritual Migration I quoted his statement that God must no longer be understood as the separate “omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent” (GSM 92) Creator and cosmic Ruler, and that Christianity must lose its monotheistic notions to embrace a “grander, inclusive [non-dualistic] God who demonstrates solidarity with all” (GSM 101). Once identifying as an evangelical, McLaren has followed our contemporary all-religions-are-one culture right out the door of Christianity: “Religions…will not survive if we believe that our religion is the only one true religion” (GSM 102). His version of Christianity is just an echo of a progressive social justice gospel. It defines itself as pure from anti-Semitism, rejection of women, racism and religious bigotry. The church should work to heal climate change by installing “solar panels” (GSM 172−3) or a “community garden” (GSM 173)—for “the common good” (GSM 168). I have solar panels on my house, but I don’t quite see it as mandatory for eternal salvation. With little exaggeration, McLaren’s “migration” could be called The Great Spiritual Apostasy.
John Seel’s book, The New Copernicans has a creative strategy to save the evangelical church: the Millennials’ love of the culture’s intuitive, “right brain” thinking, and its affection for pagan religious mysticism will deliver us from dead, “left-brain” theology. But we must not forget that Millennials have lived in the newly-minted version of pagan thinking that invaded the West in the Sixties. Do they now hold the key to spiritual revival? Should they be given authority to redefine genuine Christianity, as Seel believes? Not if the pagan, mystical culture serves as their norm for understanding biblical wisdom.
Young evangelicals eager for a truce in the culture wars have a new hero: Jordan Peterson, a charming, brilliant and entertaining Canadian professor with a myriad of fascinating things to say. I have listened to a good many of his lectures myself and stand in admiration of his ability to lecture for hours without notes, keeping his audiences in rapt attention. But I wish to issue a warning. Peterson’s fresh view of “faith” involves admiration of (at least) one dangerous thinker—Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist (d. 1961).
True, everyone is made in God’s image and we can learn things from unbelievers! Nevertheless, a great ideological conflict exists between biblical truth and the anti-Christian thinking of our culture. A naïve embrace of the spiritual usefulness of Carl Jung,  may give you a reputation of open-mindedness and sophistication. But you may also be in danger of unwitting and deep theological compromise.
Jordan Peterson seems to be a genuine seeker after truth, with an insatiable appetite to put the world together in a coherent worldview. Much of what he says is very “Christian friendly,” but his coherence breaks down when he finds inspiration in Carl Jung, one of the most powerful creators of today’s post-Christian, neo-pagan culture. Jung has been described as “the father of Neo-Gnosticism and the New Age Movement.” Jung himself stated: “The possibility of a comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology.”Gnosticism, as you may know, was the great apostasy opposed by the early Church Fathers. According to Jung, you could not call yourself a Jungian without being a Gnostic. According to the Fathers, you could not be a Gnostic and a call yourself a Christian.
Peterson attracts young Christians because he boldly and publicly states (against the politically-correct orthodoxy of the academic Left) that there is objective truth, that sex is not for hooking up, that “marriage vows are sacred,” and that children are a blessing. He holds that good and evil are real, and that the fabric of your life is woven with choices for one or the other,” as one perceptive blogger notes.
Peterson is not a theologian and appreciates the Bible for its “mythological truths” in the same way he appreciates “mythological truths” from other religions and traditions. In evaluating his understanding of mythology, he lacks the biblical criterion of the fundamental Creator/creature distinction, what we call at truthXchange Oneism or Twoism. Peterson admires the brilliant Jung because he broke with the rationalist Freud and normalized the “spiritual” for therapy in the twentieth century. Churches that immediately embraced Jung have lost whatever Christian faith they may have had. The ex-Jungian, Jeffrey Satinover, dryly comments that “in the United States, the Episcopal Church has more or less become a branch of Jungian psychology, theologically and liturgically.”