Profile picture
, 40 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Going to watch this nearly 2-hour video Dr. Jordan Peterson posted.

It's entitled, "Who Dares Say He Believes in God?"

He posted it after an interview he did with Dennis Prager.…

I hope to wrestle down some of what he says 1/
(13:00) Peterson is talking about consciousness. He summates that it is a tool to weigh prospective actions of the future. He specified that it was neither a tool of the past nor the present.

This cannot be.

Guilt (or conviction for spiritual people) wouldn't exist.

He sounds like he's describing "consideration" certainly not "consciousness," which most certainly evolves and seems to revisit the past, exist in the present and limits the future.

I hope he expands on what he was saying about time and ethics.

(40:00) 40 minutes in and he's finally getting to the question at hand. Ha.

I found this funny.

This has been something that's been bothering well educated Christians for a long time. How do we explain the exclusive nature of some of these beliefs and thereby associations?

Let me attempt: Christ's teach is exclusionary and so are some affiliations.

This is an error. "In the Judeo-Christian tradition, there is no group guilt."

This interpretation is a consequence, I believe, of political liberalism's view of the Abrahamic religions.

He goes onto cite the example of father, grandfather which is quite stunning.

With an emphasis on the Judeo part of "Judeo-Christian tradition" (which customs and practices following the Bible may be characterized as but certainly not the Biblical stories themselves), there's a huge emphasis on the sins of the father.

Read the text.

Sacrifice is because of collective sin. In fact, it's very ethnic because an ethnic group, the chosen people of any given covenant God outlines in the Old Testament, have violated their oath with God.

I'm surprised Peterson makes this error. But also not.


Worth noting that for most of Christianity's history, collective sin has been emphasized. It was the Reformation, Enlightenment and post-settling of America that liberalized the individual.

Even in political tradition up until just decades ago, nationstate sin was a thing.

This is part of why confusing "Judeo-Christianity" for Christian or Jewish doctrine is so damn deplorable.

Part of the beauty of Christianity and the focus on forgiveness, the tearing of the veil, the gift of the Holy Spirit for believers is that God gives a new covenant.

Term "Judeo-Christian" cannot exist when one is talking about doctrine or a particular covenant with God. Had many.

There is no "Judeo-Christian" Levitical law.
There is no "Judeo-Christian" interpretation for the fall of the Temple or the tearing of the veil. Exclusionary.

"Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

Exodus 34:7 ESV

It's so important to note that Jewish Prophets foretold of a different covenant that fit exactly what Jesus would come to preach, parting with "group sin."

Jeremiah 31:29-34
Ezekiel 18:1-32

"Behold, the days are coming.. when I will make a new covenant... not like the covenant that I made with their fathers... this is the covenant that I will make... will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts."

Literally predicting Jesus and a static Spirit.
Pointing this out to further educate Peterson's grave error.

1) There is no Judeo-Christian tradition on sin. There is man's nature after the Fall and that is not unique to Christianity nor Judaism.
2) Certainly no agreement between the two on group sin.
3) Group sin exist(ed).
Finally! 1 hour and 5 minutes in.

He talks about the question at hand, does he believe in God and why he's uncomfortable with the question.

He's unsure. He has 3 guesses.

1) Feeling private
2) What does "believe" mean?
3) He's afraid God exists

He thinks it's the latter.
Some of my thoughts

Faith is not private. Not if you are to believe the God shown in the Old or New Testament. Even if you believed they were different and made up gods. He requires public testimony and shows of strength even in the Jewish texts.

This is a psychological concern
Next, belief. This is both deep and not.

It's made only deep because of the limitations in the English language. The Greek clarifies this pretty well. In fact, most of the New Testament (outside of John 3:16) does too.

Jesus calls on followers to repent and believe. Both.
Continuing on belief.

When you understand the Hebrew or Greek word "belief," it's not like the English. Much like "love" and "all," the meanings are more wholistic in the original texts.

Belief in modern English has been reduced to 'have knowledge of.'
For a man that has studied the Bible, it becomes clear the Dr. Peterson has really just studied the stories themselves. He's not studied the Bible or the texts.

In particular, he seems to have studied Jewish stories.
You can hear the inconsistencies when he says "God" (Jewish) and the stories (Jewish) but alleges there is "no group sin" (Christian sorta). There's a picking and choosing going on, constructing a god that truly cannot exist.
Spoiler: Jordan Peterson cannot believe in God by virtue of logic.

To believe God exists in any form you can become familiar with him would be to know the stories. To believe, in the mature languages, is to follow.

Peterson is doing neither.
Aside: The beautiful part of faith and why I believe Peterson is struggling is what while possessing knowledge isn't belief itself, it does seem to run into belief at some point.

Stories all require metaphysical truths to be so deeply true they defy blind discovery. Probability.
Aside (continued): In fact, reading the stories of the Old and New Testament, you must reconcile this God. It's either inconsistent or a fulfillment of prophecy.

If Peterson is to accept the NT stories, it limits his interpretations of both the Old and New. He cannot piecemeal.
In summary on his second guess of wondering what the word belief means (and then entails because all true definitions require action as you can see him conceding in realtime), it's hard for Peterson because he's piecemealing the stories so he has a piecemeal version of an idol.
I'm grateful that Dr. Peterson gave us his 3 guesses. It's deeply psychologically revealing but familiar to many of us who have lead others through the invitation.

Note: he has guesses. He himself is uncertain about himself so logically, questions God.
If you go through the guesses, you can see they're not actually questions at all. They are stages, like grief — a conversation with a higher power.

The feeling of privacy cannot only be stripped away by God. Questioning minimal requirements is a negotiation. Final step: fear.
You're literally watching the program of Faith being downloaded.

Faith is to cast out doubt (fear). Fear is a natural feeling right before faith (commitment) because it forces you to rewrite all definitions.

Many of us have seen this dozens of times. It's not unique.
(1:10:00) Confirmation of what I've alleged. See, every man knows what belief actually is but must first struggle with what it entails.

Peterson, unbeknownst to himself, spells out what belief means.

What he says after that doesn't reconcile with any story he's read though.
Moses, Job, and even Jesus. There was a struggle. Again, Peterson is familiar with these stories.

He tucks in the word "miraculous" again showing his reliance on Jewish ethos instead of Christian. He doesn't see a difference, however Christians do.

Holy Spirit is that miracle.
(1:16:00) I'm going to point it out every time it happens.

I alleged that Peterson knew what belief was when he was asking for it to be defined. I've seen this in so many people before they surrender.

It's only human.

But he knows what belief is.
Play that 16-second video three or four times. You see, it's not 'knowledge of' belief he's struggling with. He's struggling with everything that comes after.

I cannot emphasize this enough: this is why he struggles with answering the question. The question requires confession.
Consider his words, "and then you swear allegiance to it which is to say I believe in this. Mean there’s a heavy moral burden that comes along with that."

And consider the question: "Who Dares Say He Believes in God?"

*He is not struggling with the definition but consequence.*

"I don't think I have a — I don't think I have a right to make that proclamation."

Recall, the proclamation isn't 'knowledge of' belief but 'will you follow' belief. It requires the reconciling of the stories he's lectured on.

Are they true or not.
At the 1:25:30 mark, we get an answer to the question.

“And since I’m not like that... then when people ask me, I’m not going to say something virtuous like I’m a believer because there’s plenty wrong with me that needs to be fixed before I would dare utter words like that.”
There is a standard (god) Peterson seems to be holding himself to. That makes that god real, like it or not. It governs him.

He seems to have an issue, like many do, wanting to be clean before he approaches God and submitting before him. It could also be doubt in the stories.
As someone who has led some people through this deep journey, what I observe is wholly normal

What is near unique to Peterson is he has forced himself to study characteristics of God (dabbling around God's nature). Seldom do non-hostile non-believers ever encounter this question
Dr. Peterson also seems to be struggling with his love-hate relationship with Friedrich Nietzsche. I left my commentary about that from this tweet thread.

This was as much a fascinating psychological study as it was religious.
I'll end with this.

Here is a screenshot of Peterson's YouTube description.

Called back to his third and best guess: he's afraid of what God will demand.

And he damn well should be.

Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Ali Alexander
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!