Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Everyone is on a journey to seek the Truth.

Written by: on November 27, 2022

As I read two books, “Maps of Meaning” and “The Psychological Significance of The Biblical Stories” by Jordan B Peterson, a psychologist, I must admit that I was conflicted. I found myself in a defensive posture and wondering whether Peterson was equating Jesus, the Creator of all things to a mythological hero.[1][2] Time, travel, and a busy schedule could allow me to read the books to completion, so I still have the same defensive posture, and I am conflicted, still asking whether Peterson is a believer in Jesus Christ. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. Peterson acknowledges that the Bible is the truth but comes short of acknowledging Jesus Christ, who claims to be in the same Bible. Peterson is quoted as saying,

“It’s not that the Bible is true. It’s that the Bible is the prerequisite for the manifestation of truth, which makes it far truer than just ‘true.’ It’s a whole different kind of truth. And I think that’s not just literally the case – in fact – I think it can’t be otherwise. This is the only way to solve the problem of perception.”[3]

From the point of view of a Christian Leader, I find this dangerous as a reference for biblical truth from a person who denies faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible in 2 Timothy 3:5 talks of a people who will have a form of godliness but deny its power, of whom Paul warns Timothy and, by implication, all believers in Jesus Christ to be cautious. While not being judgmental, this is part of the reason that I’m conflicted with the views of Peterson and was put in a defensive posture. In the Maps of meaning, Peterson says that Western culture can only be understood by exploring the stories of the Bible as the source of great influence on the beliefs and values of the culture, in which facts are collaborated by other writers. Carol Thiesen says that the bible has significantly influenced the prevailing western cultures in Western countries; it is a basis for ideas and principles on which cultures in modern society are anchored.[4] Peng Xiamei says in his research paper,

The Bible, the Holy Book of Christianity, has played an inevitably magnificent role in Western culture; therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that without a thorough reading of the Bible, it would be impossible for anyone to have a better understanding of the Western culture.”[5]

Peterson analysis bible stories to reinforce his mythological theory on the influence of Biblical stories on western culture. While this is an academic endeavor in his field of psychology, as a Christian leader, I am open to expanding my understanding of the bible and adventurous enough to read as widely as possible but always carefully check with scripture. The importance of such reading habits is reinforced by my encounter with young college students who have questions related to literature that they have read and are seeking answers from scripture. The Bible admonishes us in 2 Timothy 2:15 to do our best to present ourselves to God as approved workers who do not need to be ashamed and who correctly handle the word of truth. The Bible in 1 Peter 3:15 also commands us to dedicate our lives to Christ as Lord and always be ready to defend our faith in God to anyone who asks us a reason for our hope, with gentleness and respect. As I read these books, I was also able to evaluate myself and ask questions about my preparedness to defend my faith and help those like Peterson, whom I believe is also on his journey of discovery. I empathized with him and found myself exploring the possible ways to engage him to finally accept the truth, which he already acknowledges but “stubbornly” refuses to accept.

As I reflected on the book “The Hero with a thousand faces” and the common script that seems to reflect in many cultural myths, I was angered that a person could reduce the biblical stories to compare them with other myths.[6] I had this dignified anger in me and, by all means, wanted to be faithful to scripture “to defend my faith,” I found many ways in which the biblical stories are different from other myths. I was also delighted to see that Christians have taken it upon themselves to personally reach out to Peterson in different ways to try every way of bringing to the point of acknowledging the Bible as the truth and as different from other myths.[7]

[1] Peterson, Jordan B. Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. (Oxfordshire, England, UK. Routledge, 1999).

[2] Peterson, Jordan B. The Psychological Significance of Biblical Stories: Genesis. (15-Part Lectures, 2017).

[3] Schaal, Kevin, and Rogan, Joe. Jordon Peterson Says The Bible is the foundation of Truth. Proclaim and Defend: A Ministry of FBFI, January 31, 2022. Jordan Peterson says the Bible is the Foundation of Truth – Proclaim & Defend (proclaimanddefend.org)

[4] Thiesen, Carol. “How the Bible has Shaped the Western World.” Faith Today, 1998. 16 April 2015, http://newhopeforliving.com/old/guest03.htm

[5] Xiamei, Peng. The Influence of Bible on Western Culture. Semantic Scholar, DOI:10.11648/j.si.20160402.17. [PDF] The Influence of Bible on Western Culture | Semantic Scholar

[6] Joseph Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell). (Novato, California, USA. New World Library, 2008).

[7] Schaal, and Rogan. Jordon Peterson Says the Bible is the foundation of Truth.

About the Author


Mary Kamau

Christ follower, Mother of 3 Biological children and one Foster daughter, Wife, Pastor, Executive Director of Institutional Development and Strategy in Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org.

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