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Category: Podcast

Jordan Peterson, Christianity and Modernism

I nearly started a discussion with a family member the other day, though it was cut short. They had begun speaking about the sort of reactions they have gotten telling other people that the worldview they have, though they were not even Christians, is actually "based on the Bible"... The summary they gave of what they were telling people was basically a re-hash of what Jordan Peterson had said on the Joe Rogan experience podcast. I picked this up and said, "reminds me of something JP said." I was correct as they admitted the direct influence.

This reminded me of the ways in which modern Christian apologists try to "ground" their perspective as knowable and certain truth. Christian apologists make claims such as that the Bible is in line with modern science on sanitation and that it is an example of the Bible being a God inspired and dependable document. 

Some of the problems with this apologetics approach are shared by Jared Byas of the podcast, The Bible for Normal People in its series "making of the modern mindset". For Jared, modernity and Christianity became so intertwined that we could no longer tell them apart.

"I would argue that the entire thrust of the apologetics industry is based on this confusion.” Jared makes the case that: The three ways that fundamentalist evangelicalism has bought into the modern mindset in unhelpful ways are 1. Searching for certainty in what we know (we know things objectively and with certainty) 2. Prioritizing facts over meaning. (We will live in peace when we discover the facts) 3. Believing in a static and mechanical world with principles that never change. Part 4 of the series introduces some post-modern thinkers that help point out the limitations of this modern mindset.

 Peterson does something similar to apologists who try to find arguments for the supremacy of scripture, through some perceived fact sharing between scripture and world established facts. 

("Literature Victor" in Pill Pod's "Jordan Peterson is over Party" video, also points out the way Peterson "makes these super vague statements and tries to back them up with this smidgen of cultural authority" *cue Peterson impression* "King Arthur" or ya know "Moses" *used as authority figures")

Though Peterson seems to vaguely be pointing toward a more convoluted argument of the grounding of scripture through its preservation, cultural consensus and importance over time. "Biblical apologists" could get down with that argument. However Peterson's point may actually be more postmodern than the modern apologists are usually comfortable with. If we are to consider Peterson's statement about the Bible being "truer than true" what does that mean? If we are to consider that statement to be more about the importance and meaning of the Bible to people, as opposed to being "factually true" we are moving into territory that does not strictly fit all the ways evangelicals have bought into the modern mindset. It does not fit the modern prioritization of facts over meaning.

It's been pointed out by many that as much as Peterson rails against "postmodern neo-Marxism", despite not knowing about either and misrepresenting them, he does not fit squarely in the modern camp. And if not unconsciously a postmodern conservative himself, some people are placing him in a "metamodern" category or of a mindset unconsciously osculating between the modern and postmodern

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