As we approach the Easter season, many of us take time to reflect on the person of Christ and the reality of who he is and what he has done. One of my favorite movies this time of year is Risen. A historical fiction following a Roman Tribune who Pilot charges with investigating the rumors of the resurrected Nazarene and to quell any insurrection that may be brewing. In his investigation, his eyes come to be opened. In this film, there are two quotes from Clavius (the Roman Tribune) that strike me. The first is Clavius struggling with what is before him. “I have seen two things which cannot reconcile: A man dead without question, and that same man alive again. I pursue Him, the Nazarene, to ferret the truth.” The second is Clavius trying to come to terms with what he has found. When asked, “What frightens you?” Clavius responds, “Being wrong. Wagering eternity on it.”
This is, of course, a fictional account, but it gives insight into the mind of those struggling with this truth. Now we turn to the real world. In his podcast discussion with Jonathan Pageau, who himself is involved in the Orthodox Christian tradition, Jordan Peterson seems to find himself in a similar struggle to Clavius. For those unfamiliar with Peterson, he is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, well known for his conservative views on political and sociological issues. While not a professing Christian, he has built much of his worldview on morality built on a Judeo-Christian ethic. The theme here is not about his sociological or political views. Rather it is the content of the struggle within him that reflects the same issues seen in Clavius. Here we see the heart of a man who seems to be on the precipice of truly believing. It is moving and compelling, and I pray for God to continue working in Peterson’s heart.
Now Peterson is not special because of his education or his high profile. He is simply a man coming to terms with an incomprehensible truth, what Paul called “foolishness to the greeks.”
“Where is the wise person? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than mankind, and the weakness of God is stronger than mankind.” 1 Corinthians 1:20- 25
Peterson, in his podcast makes the following stements:
When speaking of Christ as the embodiment of “myth” and “Reality,” he says, “The problem is, is I probably believe that but I don’t know … , I don’t … , I’m amazed at my own belief, and I probably don’t understand it.”
He continues with, “Sometimes the objective world and the narrative world touch, … and I’ve seen that many times in my own life. And so, in some sense, I believe it’s undeniable.”
Continuing, he says that ” the ultimate example of that in principle is supposed to be Christ.”
Then he makes the statement that shows the true struggle he is facing. He says, “but I don’t know what to … , that seems to me to be oddly plausible. But I still don’t know what to make of it. It’s too …, partly because it’s too terrifying a reality to fully believe. I don’t even know what would happen to you if you fully believed it.
You can watch the podcast at the link below. The entire podcast is 1 hour and 45 minutes long, but the relevant portion is found from 21 minutes – 24 minutes and 30 seconds.
This is not unique to him, and it can be found in people from all walks of life. Some of you reading may be in this same struggle. I encourage you to pray to God to open your heart to the truth. I invite you to speak with a pastor of a good Bible-preaching church. Additionally, you can find some links below to websites for good organizations to follow-up with.
For those of you who know Christ, I to ask that you pray for Jordan Peterson and for all who find themselves on this precipice to take the step of faith into believing. Take time to build relationships and even serve as a sounding board to help them work through the truth.
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association