Jordan B Peterson is a Christian
112 Peterson: Do I Believe in God?
The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Jordan B. Peterson and Jonathan Pageau, sculptors of Christian works of art, lecturer and operator of a very successful YouTube channel on traditional art.
Jordan B. Peterson: I have been asked many times if I believe in God. I have responded in a number of ways so far. For example, “No, but I'm afraid He may exist.” More likely, “I pretend God exists.” At least I do my best. But one encounters a stumbling block here. Because there is no measure of when one actually behaves as if God exists. Perhaps it is not sensible to tell believers that they do not appear converted enough to be believed that they believe in God. Or that you don't believe that they believe the stories they tell. Yet it is possible that the lives of others may not seem to us enough testimony of the truth to buy their faith from them.
Just think of the Catholic Church, or at least its appearance. Keyword: sexual depravity. Many wonder if members of this institution really believe that Jesus is God's Son if they behave like this at the same time. I feel the church is very guilty in this regard. Because the attempts to get rid of all the crap have been pretty half-hearted so far, in my opinion.
Christians - and I am including myself here - show no particularity in their attitude that would enable the outside observer to conclude that they are believers.
Jonathan Pageau: Yes, they already do. However, within a certain hierarchy. There is a hierarchy within the giving of change that God is offering to the world. We Christians live within this hierarchy and those above hold us together. The church acts as a witness of faith. But there are hundreds of stories of people who lived out their beliefs within their respective sphere of activity, depending on how far they were able to do so. And today there are living saints too. In the Orthodox tradition to which I belong, there is, for example, the so-called gift of tears or “joyful mourning”. A tradition that consists in believers living in prayer continuously and weeping incessantly. And this strange mixture of joy and sadness overwhelms them. There is such a thing.
I can understand when you say things like, "I act like God exists." Or that you fear that God does exist. I think these thoughts occur to you because the moral weight seems so strong that you would collapse under it.
Jordan B. Peterson: Yeah, I really think so.
Jonathan Pageau: I can understand your thinking that way. But to behave as if God existed does not initially require moral action. First of all, this premise requires attention from us. Pretending God exists means first of all to worship him.
Jordan B. Peterson: At the moment I have a terrible problem with that because I am in great pain (Editor's note: Jordan B. Peterson has had health problems for two years, see here). It is not for nothing that theologians concern themselves with the idea of the light yoke of Jesus and the idea that there is joy in it. That is of course a paradox. It also sounds like: Take your cross and follow me.
But the fact that I live in constant pain makes the idea of joy seem cruel. And I have no idea how to make up with it. Of course, I came to terms with it by staying alive anyway. It has little to do with worship. That doesn't mean I don't value what I have. On the contrary, I try to constantly see what I have. My wife supports me a lot. Since overcoming cancer, she has changed to be much more openly religious.
Before dinner we say grace and we do it very seriously. And, of course, we both feel grateful for the incomprehensible amounts of blessings that have rained down on us. And still I quarrel because I don't know how to come to terms with the fact of constant pain.
I feel that this is unfair. And by then I'm already halfway to resentment, which is not a good result.
Jonathan Pageau: Of course, I find it difficult to reply here because I have no experience with it. I don't know what it would do to me if I was in constant pain. It would probably ruin me.
The answer to this is arguably the cross, even if that seems to be a very simple reply, of course. But that is the answer of Christianity: God went to the cross and into death. Secrets lie buried in these depths. But it is not my job to moralize at this point.
This is an excerpt from a conversation between Jordan B. Peterson and Jonathan Pageau. Click here for the excerpt and here for the entire conversation.
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