Has Jordan Peterson Become a Christian?

In a recent podcast with Jonathan Pageau, Jordan Peterson explains his “amazement”, as well as “terror”, at being irresistibly drawn to believe in the person of Christ Jesus. The full interview can be viewed below, but note in particular what Peterson says from the twenty-minute mark, a transcript of which is reprinted below:

I know that there’s a strong line of Christian thinking that has identified the conscience with divinity, sometimes with Christ inside, sometimes with the Holy Spirit… and those are very interesting conceptualisations. But you can think of them psychologically and you can even think about them biologically to some degree because we’re so social. If we don’t manifest an appropriate moral reciprocity, we’re going to become alienated from our fellows, and we won’t survive. And we’ll suffer, and die, and we certainly won’t find a partner and have children successfully.

And so, to some degree the conscience can be viewed as the voice of reciprocal society within, and that’s a perfectly reasonable biological explanation. But the thing is, is the deeper you go into biology, the more it shades into something which appears to be religious, because you start analysing the fundamental structure of the psyche itself and it becomes something… well, with a power that transcends your ability to resist it!

So, you can think about Christ from a psychological perspective… and this particular critic which I’ve been reading said, “Well, that doesn’t differentiate Christ much from a whole sequence of dying and resurrecting mythological gods.” And of course, people have made that claim in comparative religion — Joseph Campbell did that and Jung to a lesser degree I would say, but Campbell did that — but the difference (and C.S. Lewis pointed this out as well) — the difference is that those were mythological gods and Christ was, that there’s a historical representation of His existence as well.

Now, you can debate whether or that’s genuine. You can debate about whether or not He actually lived, and whether there’s credible, objective evidence for that, but it doesn’t matter in some sense because — well, it does — but there’s a sense in which it doesn’t matter, because there’s still an historical story.

And so, what you have in the figure of Christ is an actual person who actually lived, plus a myth, and in some sense, Christ is a union of those two things. The problem is, is I probably believe that, but I’m amazed at my own belief and I don’t understand it. Because I’ve seen…

At this point Peterson breaks down in emotion, and with tears goes on to say…

Sometimes, the objective world and the narrative world ‘touch’ — you know, that’s Jungian synchronicity — and I’ve seen that many times in my own life. And so, in some sense, I believe it’s undeniable. You know, we have narrative sense of the world. For me that’s been the world of morality, that’s the world that tells us how to act. It’s real, we treat it like it’s real. It’s not the objective world, but the narrative and the objective world touch.

And the ultimate example of that in principle is supposed to be Christ. But I don’t know what to do with that… it seems to me to be oddly plausible. But I still don’t know what to make of it. Partly because it’s too terrifying a reality to fully believe. I don’t even know what would happen to you if you fully believed it.

The interviewer then asks the question, “If you believed in the story of Christ, or if you believed that the history and let’s say the narrative meet?” to which Peterson responds:

Both, because when you believe that you believe that both those stories — both the objective and the narrative — can actually touch.

The interview goes on to talk about other things, but what Peterson is struggling to articulate here is a profound philosophical and theological truth. For in the incarnation of Christ Jesus, the most history-altering event has occurred. God became man. The Creation has entered into His own creation. As C. S. Lewis once wrote in Mere Christianity:

The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.

Following on from this, what Peterson is describing is the spiritual experience of being divinely empowered to put one’s faith in Jesus Christ. This is something which both the New Testament Gospels (John 1:12-13) and Epistles (Ephesians 2:8-9) clearly teach. While faith itself is a gift rather than something which is merely generated by the individual, C. S. Lewis relayed his own conversion in very similar terms. As Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy:

You must picture me alone is that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

Like so many, I have been praying for Jordan Peterson, especially over the previous twelve months as he has endured significant mental health issues. It may well be the case that the King in Heaven is graciously answering our prayers. That through Peterson’s many struggles, He is sovereignly drawing him to a saving faith in His One and Only Son.

And while it’s too soon to know for sure, I certainly hope that He is.

[Image: PragerU]

By |2021-03-11T14:35:13+11:00March 11th, 2021|Faith|19 Comments

About the Author:

Mark Powell has six children and he serves as a Presbyterian minister. Mark is a passionate advocate for faith and family; he has been on radio and TV advocating for Freedom, Faith, Family and Life. He has also written for The Spectator.

19 Comments

  1. Warwick Marsh March 11, 2021 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Great artilce indeed. The C S Lewis analogy is most appropriate.

    “You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

    Jordan Petersen the most reluctant convert in all of Canada.

  2. Dorothy Harrison March 11, 2021 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    What a great read , God is drawing all men unto himself and revealing himself in a way that can not be denied thank you Lord for sending your Holy Spirit , and I pray that Mr Petterson comes to Know You In A Undernighable way amine.

  3. Kim Roberts March 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    Get him Lord.

  4. Mark Spivey March 12, 2021 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging news.
    I was moved to tears by this interview to pray for Jordan that he comes to that place at the cross where all true believers have been and sees and receives the love and mercy of God who loves him.

  5. Stan March 14, 2021 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Praise God

    • Phil Hohnen March 19, 2021 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      “Too terrifying a reality to fully believe”? Wrong! Christ is too terrifying a reality to not believe.
      When academics make their mind their stronghold, the child-like belief necessary to become a true believer is a stumbling block for many…

  6. Gene L. Jeffries, Th.D. March 19, 2021 at 9:41 am - Reply

    All of this is most commendable; however, we must admit that simply noting C. S. Lewis’ conversion is not salvation per se. Jordan needs someone to personally share God’s plan of salvation with him and pray with him. Brush aside all of the psychological mumbai-jumbo, read the Scriptures with him and pray in true faith. He’s close, so it appears; but so was the Rich Young Ruler.

  7. Paul March 19, 2021 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Really interesting read Mark thanks. Great to see the much respected JP wrestling with who Jesus is.

  8. Kath March 19, 2021 at 11:41 am - Reply

    God Bless Jordan

  9. Phillip Chalmers March 19, 2021 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Let us respect the wish and will of this unique individual and not try to own him tribally as a Christian, please.

    Through agony and suffering personally and from sharing the agony and suffering of people who are tortured by disorders in their emotions, their thinking, their beliefs based upon terrible experiences like rape and assault and parental neglect and betrayal and involvement in war and as victims of crime as are the patients seeking aid from a psycholigist; he is alongside the people cherished by Our Lord and a minister of healing gifts to many.

    He is aware that if a church appropriates him, the legions of young and middle-aged people still struggling in their pain and their doubts will be repelled by the cheap graces offered or the rigid instructions given by presumptuous spokespersons totally lacking in discernment of spirits or the gifts of healings and counsel. .

  10. Lynn Menhennitt March 19, 2021 at 11:58 am - Reply

    This man is such a big influencer that his conversion would draw an enormous response – both positive and negative.

  11. chris March 19, 2021 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    what an amazing interview. Could not help but to prayer earnestly for Jordan. I pray that he has the encounter that he so desires, and meets with Him, and everything becomes clear.

  12. Robyn B. March 19, 2021 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    I feel for Jordan Peterson in his dilemma, he is not only going through a “little” of what Job went through, but mentally, (through the only way he knows of) to find some sort of meaning to life – God is lovingly trying to get his attention.

    At the same time, I feel frustrated with his interviewer that he has not – plainly, and simply – shared Christ to him.

  13. Gaylene Read March 19, 2021 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Great article. Praying for him and his family.

  14. Robert McKilliam March 20, 2021 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Great article. Thank you. I wish all the best for Jordan Peterson.

  15. Helena Meinderts March 21, 2021 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Saddest podcast I’ve seen for a long time, if ever. There is something wrong in interviewing a man, especially one who is obviousy unwell, in public like this.

    Jonathan Purdeau did not portray Christianity as is. Nor did he encourage Jordan Peterson that it is time to let go of all the analysis and yield to our gracious Lord.

    By the way are we all guilty of voyeurism?

  16. Suzy Jeffery March 22, 2021 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this article Mark. Thank you also for praying for Jordan Peterson. It has prompted me to also be vigilant in praying for him.

  17. Paul and Caroline Varendorff March 22, 2021 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this article, it confirms what we thought, that what we see in this interview is the “livestreamed” crisis of conversion as experienced by a highly educated thinker. At least, that’s what we hope it is! He’s not there yet, and we’re certainly praying for him.

  18. Liesel Walton March 28, 2021 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Father, Send your spirit to bless this man. That he might know your all encompassing love and see turn his tortured heart and mind to see your glorious face and give him peace. Jesus for him you came and died and rose, meet him and grant him peace and let him drink deeply from your water of life. Father you told us to ask in Jesus name and it will be given unto us. Use the gifts and intelligence you have bestowed upon him for your glory and grant him peace.

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