Newmaker Notes

What can Christians learn from Jordan Peterson?

Jubilee Night Adult Education, Fall 2018 Course Outline

What can Christians learn from Jordan Peterson?

Twelve week course outline

This discussion group aims to probe Jordan B. Peterson's ideas, especially in relation to Christianity, and his impact on today's culture. Each one hour session will begin with a 10 -15 minute video, excerpted from a longer video. You are encouraged to watch, read or listen to the longer resources ahead of time, if you are able. Questions and references to scripture will be pursued during the remaining time.

This web page, with its clickable links, is at The video excerpts, created by Henry J. de Jong, can be found in the JBProbe YouTube Channel. They are highlighted on this list with boldface, and are the quickest way to familiarize yourself with the topic. A full range of resources can be found on the Jordan B. Peterson Website. This outline will be further developed as the course progresses, so please come back to this page for updates.

  1. What can the Church learn from Jordan Peterson
    1. Some short YouTube clips, by way of introductionSpeaking events and Videos
      1. 12 Rules for LifeThe Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories
      2. YouTube Channel
      A dialogue between Syd Hielema and Paul VanderKlay about the impact of Jordan Peterson
      1. Excerpts (12:53)
      2. Full video (57:08)
    2. Scripture
      1. Acts 5: 33-39
      2. Acts 17:22-24
    3. Discussion points
      1. What are your impressions of Jordan Peterson?
        Why is Peterson so popular and vilified at the same time?
        Recall Bible passages In which unbelievers proclaim God.
      2. What can we learn form people who do not profess Christ?
  2. Creation
    1. Description of the 15-Part, 2017 Lecture series by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
      Biblical Series Lecture 2:
      Genesis 1 - Chaos and Order
      1. Excerpts (13:30)
    2. Scripture
    3. Discussion points
      1. First reaction to video: Incomprehensible / ho-hum / inspiring / problematic / ???
        Living the tension between order and chaos
        Do we feel 'God-like'/divine/creative?
        Care through speech/naming
        Furthering creation - one foot in chaos
        Peterson's passion vs Christian passion for caring
        Utopian ideal vs pie-in-the-sky
        Authority/competence vs power
      2. Kindness limited to kin or extended to all kinds
  3. Logos
    1. Short video: The Purpose Of Life
      Short video: Sermon excerpt on 'Peace' (James 3:13-18)
      Resurrection of Logos Panel Discussion
      1. Excerpt (16:07)
    2. Scripture
    3. Discussion points
      1. Concretization of Christianity
        Awareness of potential
        Living in the garden - paradise (order & chaos)
        Humans in the image of Logos
        Understanding evil at the micro level (small sins)
        Aim for the highest good
        Speak the truth
        Responsibility for everything
        Bearing our cross
      2. Making things better
  4. Fall
    1. Becoming a Self, episode 9 of the 13 part TVO series Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, broadcast in 2004
      1. Excerpts (12:29)
        Full Video (28:00)
    2. Scripture
      1. Genesis 2-4
    3. Discussion points
      1. Naked -> sexual shame/vulnerabilty?
        Fig leaves -> modesty/culture?
        What are we hiding from?
        God's curse -> injunction/description?
        Adam/Eve, Male/Female -> Culture/Nature, Order/Chaos?
        Gratification: now or later?
      2. Was the Fall inevitable/desirable?
  5. Tragedy vs. Evil
    1. Conference on personal meaning, July 25, 2008
      Broadcast by TVO
      1. Excerpts (11:19)
        Full video (42:35)
    2. Scripture: Job 2:6-10
      Discussion points
      1. What do we confront?
        What overwhelms us?
        Theological equivalent of insufficiency
        Which vulnerabilities do we love in others?
        Which of our vulnerabilities are desirable?
        Is cancer evil?
        How much arrogance and resentment do we feel
      2. Two approaches/antithesis
  6. Redemption
    1. The Psychology of Redemption in Christianity
      A TVO Big Ideas Lecture from 2012
      1. Excerpts (14:51)
        Full video (46:35)
    2. Scripture
      1. Ecclesiastes 3: 18-22
    3. Discussion points
      1. How strong is the feeling of our need for redemption?
        How much nightmare fills our awareness?
        Where are we on the pride/humility axis?
        Do we experience dying to rebirth continually?
        Are we disciplined?
        Are we a living sacrifice?
        What do we aim at?
      2. Can we experience redemption on our own power?
  7. The Great Sacrifice
    1. Biblical Series Lecture 12:
      The Great Sacrifice: Abraham and Isaac
      1. Excerpts (15:12)
    2. Scripture
      1. Genesis 22
    3. Discussion points
      1. How do we lift our gaze above the mundane?
        How do we worship?
        When have you felt reconstituted?
        What do we sacrifice, materially and abstractly?
        How do we embody our faith? Is 'heaven on earth' a good goal for Christians?
      2. What is the psychological significance of Christ's ultimate sacrifice?
  8. 12 Rules for Life: Chapters 1-3
    1. Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
      1. London: How To Academy book summary by Peterson
        1. Full Video (1:30:32)
    2. Rules
      1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
        1. Scripture
          1. Psalm 139: 13-16
          Discussion points
          1. Privately rank yourself, 1 - 10, in the lobster hierarchy
            What is the root of (your/my) self-esteem?
          2. How do we get in the way of people standing straight?
      2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
        1. Scripture
          1. Matthew 22: 37-40
        2. Discussion points
          1. Are loving yourself and loving your neighbour in conflict or inseperable?Is self-love selfish?
          2. On what is your responsibility for helping others grounded?
      3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
        1. Scripture
          1. Proverbs 18: 24
        2. Discussion points
          1. Is this why we have church - to have good friends? If Only You Knew What I Know - Tim Challies - How does this tie in?Is this directive as much about wanting others to have good friends?
          2. Friend examples
            1. Friendship GroupsLife groups?Mentors?
            2. ????
  9. 12 Rules for Life: Chapters 4-6
    1. Rules
      1. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
        1. Scripture
          1. Exodus 20: 17Luke 12: 22–34
          2. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 33
        2. Discussion points
          1. "Aim for a better life"How does this striving compare to good works done in gratitude?Is Peterson, with his pep talk, 'turning to God?'"Take, O take me as I am; summon out what I shall be; set your seal upon my heart and live in me."
          2. What is the godly way of dealing with resentment?
      2. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
        1. Scripture
          1. Proverbs 13:24
        2. Discussion points
          1. Share your own observations about how the child rearing landscape has changed.
          2. Is there a 'biblical' or 'christian' root to guidelines for raising children?
      3. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
        1. Scripture
          1. Matthew 7: 3-5
        2. Discussion points
          1. 'Think gobal, act local' - is this a corollary?
          2. Whose fault is it when there is suffering?
  10. 12 Rules for Life: Chapters 7-10
    1. Rules
      1. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient
        1. Discussion points
      2. Tell the truth -- or, at least, don't lie
        1. Video (6:52)
        2. Discussion points
          1. Why do you suppose Peterson forgot or skipped this one and the "Be precise" rule?
          2.  How do we "speak the truth"
            • I know the truth and I will clobber you with it until you do too.
            • We speak the truth to power.
            • I don't really know what's true - there's nothing there to speak of.
            • When transcendental issues arise I will speak what I believe to be true.
            • Only Jesus can say, "Truly I tell you".
            • We gain consensus by speaking together until we can truly agree.
            • What I know I will share.
            • There is no truth if it goes unspoken
      3. Assume the person you are listening to might know something you don't
        1. Discussion points
      4. Be precise in your speech
        1. Discussion points
  11. 12 Rules for Life: Chapters 11-12
    1. Rules
      1. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
        1. Discussion points
      2. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
        1. Discussion points
  12. Free speech
    1. Videos
      1. Why Freedom of Speech Is Necessary - Jordan B Peterson (7:17)
      2. Jordan Peterson on Free Speech and College Protests - The Jim Jefferies Show (6:16)
      3. Jordan Peterson - Free Speech & the Right to Offend (2:52)
      4. Jordan Peterson - The Language of Power vs Freedom of Speech Queens University (3:26)
      5. 20170517 Senate hearing on Bill C16 (1:00:08)
    2. Discussion points
      1. Is there a biblical defense of free speech - ERLC
      2. Freedom of speech - First Things
      3. Freedom of speech is born out of the responsibility to speak
        1. Speaking freely is a responsiibility
        2. Free speech is a right.
      4. Can freedom of speech be an issue in the church?

Course resources prepared and compiled by Henry J. de Jong

Course Details

  • Wednesday evenings, 7:00 - 8:00 pm.
    Starting September 19, 2018
    (Supper fellowship at 6:00 pm.)
    Guests are welcome
    Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church
    13 Wilholme Drive., St. Catharines, ON

Peterson Posts

About: Newmaker Notes - writings, photos and collections - by Henry J. de Jong. Newmaker is the spirit that drives a lifetime of creativity, and is a reflection of the Creator who continues to make all things new. (Your Contact is welcome)