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Stuff Luke Carey Found for February: The Jordan Petersen Podcast

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I attended a conference in Philadelphia last month, and two interesting things occurred. Well, three. First, I ate a bad Philly cheesesteak, but I did listen to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song while eating. Second, one presenter used a fascinating quote from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I don’t remember the exact quote, so the following is a paraphrase, “The Genesis account is not a scientific account of how man was created, but it does tell us what man is.” We are human beings with body and soul. Biologically created by our parents and breathed into existence by our God.

Now for the third. I stayed with my friend Tom and his family for my final night in Philadelphia, and Tom and I chatted late into the night. Towards the end he asked me, “Have you ever heard of Jordan B. Peterson?”

I paused, ran the name through my non-existent Rolodex because I am a millennial, and replied, “I don’t think so.”

My friend’s eyes lit up, “Dude, check this out. So, he’s this professor from Toronto and he makes these three-hour YouTube videos…” He then did his best to explain Jordan B. Peterson. My friend did a fantastic job, given Peterson’s curious and nuanced cultural position. I’m going to do my best with the limited number of words remaining in this column.

Dr. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He’s also a clinical psychologist, author, self-help guru, consultant, podcaster and YouTube personality (at Jordanbpeterson.com/). He’s a dynamic but controversial figure. To college students at the University of Toronto, he’s a beloved professor. To fellow professors, he’s a figurehead of the free speech/anti-PC movement within Canadian universities. To most of the general public, he’s known for long YouTube lectures and his podcast, and for being accused of “fostering hate” and promoting discrimination for refusing to use “gender-neutral pronouns.”

His lectures cover a plethora of topics with nuance and depth, including meaning, personality, psychology and religion, and free speech issues. Peterson lectures incorporate not just psychology, but the humanities, especially history. He seems fascinated by Friedrich Nietzche, and by Dostoevsky’s proposed consequences of the ‘death of God’ idea that plagued late 19th-century Western culture. He describes the ‘death of God’ as “the disruption of traditional religious and cultural belief by rationality and science.” If there’s one theme to his lectures, it is the danger of forgetting, or even worse, demonizing, traditional western beliefs and values.

My favorite lectures are found in his ‘Biblical Series.’ The series unpacks Peterson’s thoughts on the book of Genesis. Each lecture is around two hours long, followed by a half-hour question and answer session. They are brilliant. Peterson uses psychology and the humanities to show what Genesis says about God, humanity, human nature, and ourselves. I often plead that we must allow Jesus Christ’s message to impact our humanity in a way that impacts our day-to-day lives. Subconsciously, I’m referring to New Testament teachings. Peterson’s lectures demonstrate the necessity of also allowing the Old Testament to impact our lives. He is the lone voice in the wilderness crying out to a post-Christian world, “These stories are important. Ignore them at your own peril.”

I attended a conference in Philadelphia last month, and two interesting things occurred. Well, three. First, I ate a bad Philly cheesesteak, but I did listen to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song while eating. Second, one presenter used a fascinating quote from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I don’t remember the exact quote, so the following is a paraphrase, “The Genesis account is not a scientific account of how man was created, but it does tell us what man is.” We are human beings with body and soul. Biologically created by our parents and breathed into existence by our God.

Now for the third. I stayed with my friend Tom and his family for my final night in Philadelphia, and Tom and I chatted late into the night. Towards the end he asked me, “Have you ever heard of Jordan B. Peterson?”

I paused, ran the name through my non-existent Rolodex because I am a millennial, and replied, “I don’t think so.”

My friend’s eyes lit up, “Dude, check this out. So, he’s this professor from Toronto and he makes these three-hour YouTube videos…” He then did his best to explain Jordan B. Peterson. My friend did a fantastic job, given Peterson’s curious and nuanced cultural position. I’m going to do my best with the limited number of words remaining in this column.

Dr. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He’s also a clinical psychologist, author, self-help guru, consultant, podcaster and YouTube personality (at Jordanbpeterson.com/). He’s a dynamic but controversial figure. To college students at the University of Toronto, he’s a beloved professor. To fellow professors, he’s a figurehead of the free speech/anti-PC movement within Canadian universities. To most of the general public, he’s known for long YouTube lectures and his podcast, and for being accused of “fostering hate” and promoting discrimination for refusing to use “gender-neutral pronouns.”

His lectures cover a plethora of topics with nuance and depth, including meaning, personality, psychology and religion, and free speech issues. Peterson lectures incorporate not just psychology, but the humanities, especially history. He seems fascinated by Friedrich Nietzche, and by Dostoevsky’s proposed consequences of the ‘death of God’ idea that plagued late 19th-century Western culture. He describes the ‘death of God’ as “the disruption of traditional religious and cultural belief by rationality and science.” If there’s one theme to his lectures, it is the danger of forgetting, or even worse, demonizing, traditional western beliefs and values.

My favorite lectures are found in his ‘Biblical Series.’ The series unpacks Peterson’s thoughts on the book of Genesis. Each lecture is around two hours long, followed by a half-hour question and answer session. They are brilliant. Peterson uses psychology and the humanities to show what Genesis says about God, humanity, human nature, and ourselves. I often plead that we must allow Jesus Christ’s message to impact our humanity in a way that impacts our day-to-day lives. Subconsciously, I’m referring to New Testament teachings. Peterson’s lectures demonstrate the necessity of also allowing the Old Testament to impact our lives. He is the lone voice in the wilderness crying out to a post-Christian world, “These stories are important. Ignore them at your own peril.”

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