In a “Message to the Christian Churches,” world-renowned Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson warned that young people, especially men, are facing an unparalleled demoralization due to the West’s weaponized guilt, and, therefore, the Church should leave aside social justice and other modern obsessions and save souls before “it’s too late.”
“It is, of course, completely presumptuous of me to dare to write and broadcast a video entitled ‘Message to the Christian Churches,’” Peterson said at the beginning of his video posted on YouTube. “But I’m going to do it anyway, because I have something to say and because that something needs to be said.”
He said that over the last four years, as he spoke about a psychological approach to the Bible, the majority of his listeners have been young men.
“In the West, because of the weight of historical guilt that is upon us, a variant of the sense of original sin in a very real sense, and because of a very real attempt by those possessed by what might be described as unhelpful ideas to weaponize that guilt, our young people face a demoralization that is perhaps unparalleled.”
Peterson added, “This is particularly true of young men, although anything that devastates young men will eventually do the same to young women,” referring to anti-natalism and nihilism.
“When they are children, boys are hectored for their toy preferences, which often include toy weapons, such as guns, and their more boisterous playing style, as boys require active rough and tumble play even more than girls, for whom it is also a necessity. When in grade school, boys are admonished, shamed and controlled in a very similar manner by those who think that play is unnecessary, particularly if it’s competitive, and who value a docile, harmless obedience above all.”
The inculcation of “an extremely damaging ideology” consists of three accusations, he explained.
“Human culture, particularly in the West, is best construed as an oppressive patriarchy motivated by the desire, willingness and the ability to use power to attain what are purely selfish and self-serving ends. …
“The second accusation is that human activity, particularly that undertaken in the West, is fundamentally a planet despoiling enterprise. The human race is a threat to the ecological utopia that existed before us and could hypothetically exist after us in our absence. …
“The third accusation. The prime contributor to the tyranny that makes up the oppressive patriarchy and structures all of our social interactions past and present and the unforgiveable despoiling of our beloved mother Earth is damnable male ambition, competitive and dominating, power-mad, selfish, exploitative, raping and pillaging.”
Peterson said people in the West are facing “an all-out assault at the deepest levels … an attack on civilization itself.”
The young men who are “deeply conscientious, capable of guilt and regret,” now believe that “every deep impulse that moves them out into the world for the adventure of their life — even that impulse drawing them to women — is nothing but the manifestation of the spirit that is essentially satanic in nature.”
He said this is wrong “theologically, morally, psychologically, practically and scientifically.”
The Church, Peterson said, should remind people, including young men, “perhaps even first and foremost, that they have a woman to find, a garden to walk in, a family to nurture, an ark to build, a land to conquer, a ladder to Heaven to build, and the utter terrible catastrophe of life, to face stalwartly in truth, devoted to love and without fear.”
He continued: “Invite the young men back, say, literally, to those young men, ‘You are welcome here. If no one else wants what you have to offer, we do. We want to call you to the highest purpose of your life. We want your time and energy and effort and your will and your goodwill. We want to work with you to make things better, to produce life more abundant for you, and for your wife and children and for your community, and your country, and the world.’”
But there are problems in the Christian church, Peterson underlined. “We are more abundant, sometimes, far too often, corrupt, and sometimes deeply so. We’re outdated, as are all institutions with their roots in the dead but still often wise past.”
To the young men who are skeptical about such things, Peterson said, “What else do you have? You can abandon the churches in your cynicism and disbelief. You can say to yourself, narcissistically and solipsistically, ‘The church does not express what I believe properly.’ Who cares what you believe? Why is this about you? … What if it was incumbent upon you and vital to your health and willingness even to live to rescue your dead father from the belly of the beast, where he has always resided, and to restore him to life?”
Then he turned to the Protestant churches, and said, “You’re the worst at the moment.” Even Catholic and Orthodox churches should invite young men, he continued. “Put up a billboard saying young men are welcome here. … Tell those who have never been in a church exactly what to do, how to dress, when to show up, who to contact and, most importantly, what they can do. Ask more, not less of those you are inviting. Ask more of them than anyone ever has. Remind them who they are in the deepest sense, and help them become that.”
He concluded by saying, “You’re churches for God’s sake. Quit fighting for social justice. Quit saving the planet. Attend to some souls. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s your holy duty. Do it now, before it’s too late. The hour is nigh.”
After his message, which had more than 1 million views as of Sunday, Peterson received some criticism.
Tyler Huckabee, senior editor of the Christian magazine Relevant said in response: “We can all agree that modern life has a lot of pressure that is taking toll on all of us and the effects on men have been particularly difficult to understand and overcome, but Peterson’s prescription to this problem is basically the essay-length version of a ‘do better’ tweet, offering the same grab bag of warmed over ‘be a real man’ bravura you could find on pretty much any Facebook meme with John Wayne’s face on it. This sort of ‘try harder, guys!’ cheerleading may be helpful for some men, but it’s not ‘why the Christian Church is here’ and it’s certainly not the Gospel.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that while “outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18). In other words, Peterson says we have to do more to be good. But the call of Jesus is to be more than good. It’s to be forgiven."