Jordan Peterson tells graduates that faith ‘is a courage’ to warn them of ‘the devil at the crossroads’

On Saturday, renowned clinical psychologist and two-time author Dr. Jordan Peterson warned graduates of Hillsdale College in Michigan “the devil at the crossroads” in his countercultural commencement address.

After thunderous continued applause, Peterson told the graduating class that they were at a “crossroads” in their lives.

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“Crossroads — the metaphor works because you make a decision,” he said. “You go one direction or the other. There’s an old ‘melancholy’ notion that you meet the devil at the crossroads. I’ve always wondered why this happened – and I found it to be true. It’s a really convincing The idea. It’s a very narrative-friendly image that sticks in your memory once you hear it.”

It’s a milestone like graduation, the 59-year-old muses, where people are forced to “check” their conscience.

“Why did you meet the devil at the crossroads?” he asked rhetorically. “The answer is, most fundamentally, because when you come to a place in your life where you have to make a choice…you aim to go up or down. And at every point of choice, there is always a tempter, tempting Aims you down.”

Peterson then turned to the Bible to explain how sin — which he defines as “missed opportunity” — affects the crossroads in people’s lives.

To paint the literal picture of the aiming, he cites the biblical story of Cain and Abel. He said Cain’s sacrifice “was not all they could do” and “was not in the service of the highest good.” He added that when the sacrifices people make are not enough, “we believe in our own hearts that we have pulled a person over God.”

Peterson points out that the English word “sin” found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible comes from the Hebrew word “khata,” which roughly translates to “failure” or “missing the goal.”

“That means it’s about goals or lack of goals,” Peterson explained. “I like that. … There are multiple ways you can miss a target, right? Don’t aim at all — it’s a good aim. Assume there’s no such thing as a goal. Assume all goals are equal.”

escape pride

One of the biggest obstacles that cause people to repeatedly “miss the mark,” he said, is pride.

Peterson turns to the Bible again, this time with reference to the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, after the flood, Noah’s descendants were conquered by pride and tried to build a building leading to heaven without obeying the Lord’s commandments commanded to “fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

“There is a constant temptation for humans to build overly complex organizations,” Peterson said. “What does that mean? What about too many layers? Not localized enough, not distributed enough, right? Too disconnected from the people they serve. It’s also a Lucifer story. Lucifer is the spirit of this wisdom— The lightbringer who flew too high and challenged God himself and fell. . . . This is the symbol of proud wisdom. The proud wisdom pits itself against what is most properly placed at the top—that is God. “

“I am very opposed to the idea that the fundamental motivation of human beings is strength – which is what almost every student is taught at every level of their education, in every educational institution, except for a few in your country,” He continued. “It’s a depressing philosophy. … You can’t formulate a more pathological philosophy. It obliterates your beliefs about society, it eradicates the concept of the individual. It obliterates the concept of goodwill and goodwill , making communication impossible.”

Rather than letting arrogance interfere with one’s goals, Peterson told graduates that they should see the pursuit of what is right and good as “practical.”

“By practicing any good in any strict sense, and making appropriate sacrifices in that direction, you simultaneously learn to approach the good that is the sum or essence of all these proximal goodes,” he told them. “The fundamental claim of Christianity is that the good that unites all these goodness is the same as that reflected in the image of Christ, the image of accepting the sufferings of life and the necessity of serving the lowest mission.”

He added that the truth of Jesus “may be . . . more true than anything else.”

Faith is brave

In a message that is certainly counter-cultural, Peterson — a great intellectual in his own right — respects graduates’ advice to ditch the mundane, that having faith means abandoning logic and reason.

The world will tell people that faith is a weakness because it means an unwillingness to fight the unexplainable, the hard and dark corners of life. However, Peterson told Hillsdale students he did not think that was the case.

“I think a lot in relation to faith – we have this idea, but it’s not a good idea, and it’s certainly an idea that is often ridiculed by religious people – faith means sacrificing reason and being willing to believe that it is clearly not The real thing,” he said. “[I] Don’t think that this is some kind of fundamental belief. I think faith is a kind of courage. “

“If you’re hurt by life — and you’re going to be hurt — you might react in a nihilistic and hopeless way, which is understandable,” the psychologist continued. “[A]I think part of what helps you get through this is faith. Part of this belief is that it is your responsibility to… maintain belief in the fundamental good of existence, including your own, despite evidence to the contrary. “

When a person faces a test, Peterson said he or she should not succumb to despair. Instead, those staring at difficult crossroads should “gather up the courage and see if you can resist” going the wrong way.

“It’s better for you, and it’s better for the people around you,” he said.

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