Jordan Peterson - Replacing Christianity with Modern Myth


(SeanO) #1

As many of you know, I have been reading Jordan Peterson’s book ‘Twelve Rules for Life’. I have been prayerfully attempting to understand it in light of Christianity. Peterson quotes from the Bible often, but I have struggled to put words to his method of Bible interpretation. Now I have them thanks to C. S. Lewis!

Lewis lived in a time when many people were reinterpreting the Bible. They sometimes called it ‘demythologizing’ because they thought they were replacing myth with fact. But Lewis knew better - he knew that they were substituting their own myth for the Christian story. And that is exactly what Jordan Peterson is doing.

Peterson quotes the Bible - but he puts it within the context of his own myth of evolutionary psychology and Nietzsche and Freud and Jung and psychoanalysis. He makes the Bible a part of his myth - he re-mythologizes it. He replaces the Christian story with the modern myth.

“what they now call ‘demythologizing’ Christianity can easily be ‘re-mythologizing it’ - and substituting a poorer theology for a richer” -C. S. Lewis

What are your thoughts? How have you seen other movies or books re-mythologize Christianity?

(christopher van zyl) #2

I’d say you are dead on!

Lewis believed Christianity to be myth as well, except he came to the conclusion the it was the true myth. And I pray the same will happen for Peterson! I seriously do.

God bless you brother

(SeanO) #3

@c3vanzyl Yes - I pray that Peterson may also come to that same conclusion. May Jesus provide Peterson with a Tolkien to point him in the right direction and open His heart to Truth :slight_smile:

(Jimmy Sellers) #4

When you use the word myth what do you mean. I ask because it means different things to different people. I have been studying NT Wrights Gifford 2018 lectures and in the 2nd lecture he talks about myth and its meaning.

Most notable for me was his comparing David Fredrich Strass’ with Rudolph Bultmann’s idea of myth. In between these he uses Schweitzer, Wrede and even Richard Wagner to compare and contrast around the idea of the ‘the end of the world’ myth.

From my notes here is what Wright says about Strass, this will be different that what you will find with a google search:

"He was opposed to the rationalist and the super naturalists.

He was trying to avoid a naive approach to the Gospels that viewed them as mere transcriptions of events. His point was to deny historical significance to Jesus he was instead inviting the readers to contemplate the supra historical truths eternal truths as reflected in mythological dress.

Myth was popular in the 18th century Germany as it allowed for the study of the truths inside events and human motivations. This was seen as an acceptable method for the time.

Strauss was cutting to chase. No need in considering possibilities go straight for the eternal truths."

Over against this Wright says this about Bultmann’s ideas

Again, for my notes:

"Demythologize is a confused term that combine three sense of the word myth:

  1. The flat sense of myth, as old stories that we can’t believe in today.

  2. The stories culture tell themselves to explain the human predicament, as with ancient Greek tragedies.

  3. The cosmic myths in an a apocalyptic writings which encode a different type of truth."

I think that it would be helpful to point out that Wright’s lectures are part of a series entitled Discerning the Dawn: History, Eschatology and New Creation .

I am in the deep end now, but I would be interested in your thoughts. If I am on the right track I think I can offer up some modern examples.

(SeanO) #5

@Jimmy_Sellers Definitely go ahead and give some examples - I’m sure they will be useful.

By myth, I simply mean the cultural narrative that a particular group of people tells themselves to make sense out of the world - whether that is Peterson’s evolutionary psychology, the Judeo-Christian worldview or an alternative religion. The metanarrative of life offered by different cultures.

I think that Peterson would qualify as attempting to demythologize in the sense you defined - “inviting the readers to contemplate the supra historical truths eternal truths as reflected in mythological dress”. However, I believe Peterson was really doing what Lewis called remythologizing - replacing the Christian metanarrative with the modern secular metanarrative…

(Jimmy Sellers) #6

How about this for modern remythologizing.:

How about Islam as an example of something in the past.

(SeanO) #7

@Jimmy_Sellers That is certainly true - any cult or false religion that has spun off of Christianity is essentially re-mythologizing.

(Arthur Tepichin) #8