Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity

The Search for a Meaningful Life

Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek

Retail Price: $29.95
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ABOUT the BOOK


The person most responsible for reintroducing God and the Bible into mainstream secular culture today is not a pastor, a Scripture scholar, or a bishop, but a psychology professor with no church membership. Jordan Peterson’s lectures and writings on psychology, philosophy, and religion have been a cultural phenomenon, attracting tens of thousands to arenas and millions to his social media sites, and prompting many to leave behind secularism and reconsider Christianity.

Yet Peterson’s own thought is marked by a tensive suspension between archetype and reality—between the ideal of Christ and the God who acts in history. When asked if he himself is a believer, Peterson responds, “I try to live as if God exists.” More recently, in the wake of great personal suffering, Peterson’s wrestling with the figure of Christ and, in his own wording, the profoundly “sane” quality of Catholicism, has reached a kind of crescendo in both his life and work.

Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for a Meaningful Life is the first systematic analysis, from a Christian perspective, of both Peterson’s biblical series on YouTube and his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life, with an epilogue examining its sequel, Beyond Order.


Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek draw readers into the depths of Peterson’s thought on Scripture, suffering, and meaning, exploring both the points of contact with Christianity and the ways in which faith fulfills Peterson’s project. Taking the “mere Christianity” of C.S. Lewis as its point of departure, Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity is an indispensable analysis, not only for Christians hoping to better understand the significance of the Peterson phenomenon, but also for Peterson fans who are, perhaps for the first time in their lives, thinking seriously about what it might mean to believe.

Publisher:  Word on Fire Institute

Release Date:  July 29, 2021

Format:  Hardcover with dust jacket

Pages:  240 pages

ABOUT the AUTHORS

ABOUT the

AUTHORS


CHRISTOPHER KACZOR is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. A Fulbright Scholar, Kaczor did postdoctoral work as a Federal Chancellor Fellow at the University of Cologne and as William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He was appointed a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life of Vatican City, a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute, and a core team member of a Templeton Grant. He has written more than a hundred scholarly articles and book chapters. An award-winning author, his fifteen books include The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church and The Seven Big Myths about Marriage. Kaczor’s views have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, National Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.


MATTHEW R. PETRUSEK is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Loyola Marymount University and also currently serves as a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute. In addition to numerous scholarly and popular articles, he is co-editor of the book Value and Vulnerability: An Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity. He lectures widely on theological, philosophical, and ethical issues in English and Spanish, and has served as an on-air analyst for Noticias MundoFox and CNN en Español.

CHRISTOPHER KACZOR is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. A Fulbright Scholar, Kaczor did postdoctoral work as a Federal Chancellor Fellow at the University of Cologne and as William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He was appointed a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life of Vatican City, a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute, and a core team member of a Templeton Grant. He has written more than a hundred scholarly articles and book chapters. An award-winning author, his fifteen books include The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church and The Seven Big Myths about Marriage. Kaczor’s views have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, National Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.

MATTHEW R. PETRUSEK is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Loyola Marymount University and also currently serves as a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute. In addition to numerous scholarly and popular articles, he is co-editor of the book Value and Vulnerability: An Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity. He lectures widely on theological, philosophical, and ethical issues in English and Spanish, and has served as an on-air analyst for Noticias MundoFox and CNN en Español.

WHAT PEOPLE are SAYING


This book is the first systematic analysis, from a Christian perspective, of both Dr. Jordan Peterson's biblical series on YouTube and his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life, with an epilogue examining its sequel, Beyond Order. Written by Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek, both Fellows of the Word on Fire Institute and both teachers at Loyola Marymount University, Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity offers readers a wonderful summation of the points of contact between Peterson’s work and the Christian faith. Although their analysis relies heavily on the insights of Augustine, Aquinas, and the rest of the great Catholic tradition, it largely takes the “mere Christianity” of C.S. Lewis as its point of departure. The result, I hope, is a book that will be of interest, not only to Christians hoping to move beyond all the political rancor and better understand the spiritual and social significance of the Jordan Peterson phenomenon, but also for Peterson fans who are, perhaps for the first time in their lives, thinking seriously about what it might mean to be a Christian.

Bishop Robert Barron

Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Founder of Word on Fire

If the religious instinct does not find its satiation in religious activity, it searches for what nourishment it can find elsewhere, in politics and business and education and, for that matter, within the confines of our private lives. Under such circumstances, everything becomes contaminated with unrecognized religious urgings and promptings and produces a zealotry whose intensity and danger is disproportionate to its putative cause. In consequence, it is now incumbent upon us all to engage in a most serious discussion about just what is Caesar’s and just what is God’s, understanding that some must be reserved for the latter, lest what is absolute and divine be attributed to the former. Perhaps my own forays into such matters and the response consequently generated—not least within the pages of this volume—might contribute helpfully to that long overdue discussion.

Jordan Peterson

Author of 12 Rules for Life and Beyond Order

To the surprise of many priests, pastors, and theologians, Jordan Peterson’s general approach to the narrative pattern of Scripture has had a massive effect. Whether one agrees with him or not, atheists, secularists, and vacillating Christians are finding in his work a thread to follow in understanding and explaining the relevance of their faith in a post-Christian world. We should all be attentive and deliberate about this new surprising attention to Christianity, which is what this book sets out to do in a generous yet uncompromising manner.

Jonathan Pageau

Orthodox icon carver and host of The Symbolic World

For the last number of years, Jordan Peterson has been one of our culture’s most influential thinkers. His insights on the Bible, his perspectives on a life well lived, and his words of caution regarding the rise of cultural Marxism have undeniably formed and informed millions of people. In this book, Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek examine and unpack the ways in which Dr. Peterson can be understood from a Christian perspective. Whether a person is a newcomer to Peterson’s thought or well-versed in his work, they will find that Kaczor and Petrusek have not simply rehashed Peterson’s teachings, but rather have provided a helpful commentary and fair critique.

Fr. Mike Schmitz

Speaker, author, and host of The Bible in a Year

The Word on Fire Institute continues to be the preeminent source for those seeking to understand faith and culture in contemporary life. In Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity, Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek provide a valuable Christian perspective on one of the most provocative intellectual discussions being held today.

Arthur C. Brooks

Professor, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and New York Times bestselling author

If Jordan Peterson has captured your attention, then this fascinating book is for you. Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek persuasively demonstrate that Peterson promotes important truths that our generation needs to hear, but that we can't stop there; we need a deeper philosophical and theological foundation—we need to embrace Christ and his Church if we are to experience the fullness of truth and authentic happiness. This compelling book shows you why and how.

Ryan T. Anderson

President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment

Christopher Kaczor and Matthew R. Petrusek offer an insightful way to ease Jordan Peterson’s many devotees from cautionary respect for God and the Bible to a simple leap to Christian faith. Kaczor shows the advantages of moving from Peterson’s ‘live as if God exists’ to C.S. Lewis’ “act as if you really do love God.” Petrusek follows on this insight by fitting Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life within the contours of Christ’s command to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourself. This simplest leap of faith allows God to act lovingly in our life’s journey, which confirms not only his existence but his love upon the path to salvation offered to us by Christ. This is essential reading not only for Peterson’s devotees but Catholics seeking to help them bridge the gap to genuine faith.

Fr. Robert J. Spitzer

President of the Magis Center and author of New Proofs for the Existence of God

TABLE of CONTENTS

TABLE of

CONTENTS


Foreword - Bishop Robert Barron

PART I - A Christian Response to the Biblical Series

Chapter 1 - How Peterson Reads the Bible

Chapter 2 - Creation

Chapter 3 - The Fall

Chapter 4 - Chaos, Utopia, and the Divine Call to Adventure

Chapter 5 - Myth Become Fact

PART II - A Christian Response to 12 Rules for Life

Chapter 6 - In the Parking Lot, Outside the Church: Jordan Peterson's Theology

Chapter 7 - The Problem of Meaning and Its Pursuit

Chapter 8 - The Problem of Pride and Its Antidote

Chapter 9 - The Problem of True Love

Chapter 10 - The Problem of Creation and Redemption

EPILOGUE

A Christian Response to Beyond Order

APPENDIX

Jordan Peterson and Bishop Robert Barron: A Dialogue