Why are some people successful, while others fail? Beyond work ethic, why do some seem to have a natural ability to connect with others, negotiate, identify the right path forward, and succeed? Meanwhile, others struggle just to get through the day?
What is truth? How can we learn through scientific process the answers to these questions?
Such has been the life’s mission of Jordan Peterson, a psychologist who teaches courses at several universities including the University of Toronto, who’s also written several books and is currently hosting a podcast series for the Daily Wire.
Peterson rose to fame while doing a BBC interview about one of his books, in which the interviewer repeatedly asked pointed questions in an attempt to be able to discredit him as a misogynist or a racist. His fame continued to grow as videos of his college lectures, his public lecture series, and a podcast series on the Bible began to go viral online.
While the controversial BBC interview launched him to fame, the logic, academic approach to psychology and human nature, and the conclusions he articulates have kept him in the spotlight, so much so that he took a sabbatical and no one noticed due to the ubiquity of this content online.
Peterson looked to the Bible for psychology. He looked to the Bible to learn behavioral patterns, learn lessons, and map out a framework for how to tackle life’s challenges, taking object lessons from the Old Testament patriarchs. What he found was truth. Moreover, Peterson found that all truth is preconditioned on the Bible.
He went so far as to say, “Without the Bible, there can be no truth.”
So, how does an atheistic psychologist who preached secularism come to a faith in the truth of the Bible, and go on to a faith in the existence of God (per his statements in his videos)?
In a video lecture before a university audience, the question was posed, “Do you believe that the Bible is true?” To which Peterson responded, “If not the Bible, then what is true?”
Peterson went on to make the case that, in reading the Bible, you read about the lives of the patriarchs, and the scriptures include not only their stories of victory, but also their failures.
Peterson noted how many of these failures were major, and some of the patriarchs were rotten people, and did rotten things. He pointed out that for religious texts, this is unusual.
In this video, which I can no longer find on YouTube, Peterson said that most religious texts portray the good side of the founders of the religion, and hide their flaws and failures. The Bible, on the other hand, showed the patriarchs of the Christian faith for who they were, including their frailties, failures, and brokenness. The result was an honest, transparent representation of the Christian faith, and furthermore, an amazing demonstration of God’s power.
God was able to work through the brokenness of man to accomplish His will. That resonated with Peterson, who began to explore the Bible more, and has now embarked on a podcast series to explore the Bible more deeply.
As a result of God working through the brokenness of man thousands of years ago, you have a secular professor exploring the Bible, going so far as to declare that it is the precondition for all truth, and calling on people to turn to God or face His wrath. While his views and doctrine may not line up with ours, I believe that, for the sake of the Gospel, we can see how a man whose primary audience includes college students and intellectual leaders can benefit the Kingdom of God greatly through his scholarly presentations of scripture.
Students today are generally guided away from the Bible, away from God, and toward their own subjective perceptions of truth, which the intellectual left seeks to shape through media, entertainment and education. Peterson, on the other hand, is leading students to go back to the Bible as the foundation of all truth, if not the very foundation of our society itself.
And his journey down this road began when he discovered how God worked through the brokenness of Abraham, Jacob, David, among others.
God works through broken people, and He is glorified through His work through the lives of broken people. He is glorified in that His name is made known, His power is shown, and people are faced with His undeniable truth.
God works through broken people. So we need not be discouraged when we find ourselves struggling with brokenness, neither do we need to be disillusioned when those whom we admire fail. God works through the brokenness to bring about His glory, and the blessings He has promised.