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Jordan Peterson: The Problem With Atheism

“If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

  Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

 

 

 

A civilization where belief in God is on the wane, is a civilization where people are merely objects and will be treated as such.  The greatest thinkers of the human race have understood this.  Benjamin Franklin, who was far from being an orthodox Christian, saw what the world would be like without religion in a letter dated December 13, 1757:

Dear Sir,

I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For, without the belief of a Providence that takes cognisance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion that, though your reasons are subtle, and may prevail with some readers, you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that subject, and the consequence of printing this piece will be, a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits against the wind spits in his own face.

But were you to succeed, do you imagine any good would be done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life, without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantage of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother.

I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person, whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a great deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?

We found out in the last bloody century the answer to that question.  When we believe in God a dignity is conferred on each man and woman as a fellow child of a loving God.  Abraham Lincoln saw this clearly:

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We  hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are  created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with  certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic  interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their  lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of  the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to  all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their  enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and  likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded,  and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole  race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized  upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide  their children and their children’s children, and the countless  myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise  statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity  to breed tyrants, and so they established these great  self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man,  some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that  none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look  up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to  renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth,  and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues  might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would  hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles  on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

If men are fellow children of a loving God, then our worth is infinite.  If we are merely animals with pretensions, our lives of no more significance than those of gnats, we should not be surprised that men who believe this rubbish will act as if their lives, and the lives of their fellow men, are very cheap, and very meaningless, indeed.

 

6

Jordan Peterson on Marxism

I have a simpler explanation, at least for most Marxist elites.  Marxism provides a useful disguise for many leftists for a gnawing ambition to grasp as much State power as possible, which is at least as old as the pharaohs.    Traditional morality is done away with: cooperating with the inevitable historical process, the ultimate triumph of Marxism, is moral, and anything that opposes it is immoral. Thus morality becomes a mere matter of political labels. How convenient that this has allowed movements dedicated to Marxism to commit any crime, no matter how vile, in the scramble for supreme power. That Marxism has never been anything but a transparent fraud, with no more intellectual validity than a tale from The Arabian Nights, is a damning indictment of the human capacity to embrace any fable if it gives an excuse to engage in wretched conduct with an ostensibly clean conscience.

 

 

5

The Ever Unconvincing Left

Internet sensation Jordan Peterson, and the over the top hate directed against him by the Left, brings to mind one of the unspoken features of contemporary life:  Leftism is completely unconvincing.

 

Think about it.  Leftism tends to only flourish in locations where they can howl down contrary speakers, a prime example is academia, where they have a captive audience, public schools, or where they can blacklist opponents, ironically the entertainment industry.  Leftists have largely forgotten how to argue and how to debate ideas.  Their only “arguments” these day are an oblivious assumption that all “good” people share Leftist views, and some form of force.  And that is not enough for the long term.  Evidence of this?  When Leftists have to compete head to head with non-Leftists, they tend to come a cropper.  Examples of this in this country are Politics and Religion.  In politics Leftists increasingly turn to the courts, because they are usually unable to enact their agendas by the ballot box.  In religion, a church embracing Leftism is a death warrant since such an embrace is swiftly followed by ever increasing empty pews.

 

Peterson represents to the Left their inability to argue successfully and thus they respond with brownshirt tactics.  Like their ideological forebears, a fist is their only true response to reason.  A movement that rests almost entirely on force is a movement that is doomed in the long run.

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Jordan Peterson, Bishop Barron and Mark Shea

In the video below Jordan Peterson speaks on the threat to free speech in Canada.  The constant attempts by Red Fascists to interrupt his speech of course underlined what he was saying.

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts notes the quandary for Mark Shea that Jordan Peterson presents.  Being a Leftist now Shea realizes he should hate Peterson.  However Bishop Barron poses a problem for Mark:

 

Mark Shea ponders Jordan Peterson

 

Hilarity ensues.  Mark’s hatred of everything to the right of center, mixed with his slavish devotion to almost every narrative and doctrine of the political Left, should have put Peterson in the cross hairs months ago. With the exception of “gay marriage”, which Mark barely mentions anymore, and abortion, which he blames almost exclusively on capitalism and sexist men, there are few significant differences between Mark and Daily Kos, or MSNBS, or Vox, or any other radical secular Left wing rag.

The problem?  Bishop Robert Barron has spoken and written somewhat extensively on the positive contributions that Peterson brings to the modern table. Of course Bishop Barron points out that Peterson is not a priest expounding the complete Gospel message.  And he, like most I know who value Peterson, can tell where Peterson is in line with the Christian tradition and where he isn’t.

Nonetheless, Bishop Barron, who has not bowed before the Leftist juggernaut, obviously sees much value in Peterson and in the timing of Peterson’s ascension.  This makes it tough for Mark.  Mark has long praised Bishop Barron as a shining light in modern Catholicism.  And rightly so.  Bishop Barron brings much to the modern debate.  And what’s more, he says the same thing about Peterson that most Christians I know say about Peterson. So Mark does what he can. I was going to write a lengthy piece unpacking Mark’s humorous attempts to twist and turn and desperately avoid the obvious points Bishop Barron makes, but I figured I’d do what he did to Barron’s review of Peterson – post a link. Read away.  Especially read the comments, since they help explain why so many see value in Peterson, given the appeal to arrogance behind many of his critics.  Not just arrogance aimed at Peterson but, as usual, aimed at any who don’t fall in line behind the Left (which one reader seems to think doesn’t really exist).  There are exceptions of course. (NOTE: as of now, the comment explaining identity politics/Marxist influences has been removed, though it could be a glitch since there is no note saying it was removed – having been on Patheos, I know it’s a different animal to actually erase a comment than merely deleting one..  Perhaps check back later) 

Go here to read the rest.  The Left of course, at least in its contemporary incarnation, with a few honorable exceptions, simply does not believe in freedom of speech.  When speech is free, and ideas are argued rationally, the Left tends not to do too well.  Thus free speech is condemned as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. to shut up anyone who stands against the Left, or, for that matter, to silence dissenters on the Left. This stance is nothing new.  The ideological forebears of the current Leftist would be censors, have always hated freedom of speech, and freedom in general.  Time for all friends of freedom to stand up, and stand together.
SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

Arthur Hugh Clough
10

Jordan Peterson on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”

Jordan Peterson

 

 

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Karl Marx, 1852