• Jordan Peterson Critiques and Commentary – He’s the Secular Complementarian

 Jordan Peterson Critiques and Commentary – He’s the Secular Complementarian

When anyone disagrees with anything Jordan Peterson says or writes, his fan boys – his advocates, his supporters, whatever you wish to call them (some of them are touchy about this!) – tend to react in the same way that supporters of James Damore, of Google Memo infamy react.

The moment you say on Twitter or a blog post that you disagreed with Damore’s memo about women in tech fields, invariably, you get one of these reactions:

“I bet you didn’t read the memo!”

And you reply,

“Why, yes, actually, I did read the memo.”

Then you get the next comment:

“Well, you didn’t understand it! I understood it! Stop mischaracterizing Damore or his memo!”

And you say, why yes, you understood the memo just fine, and you’re not misrepresenting it, but you still disagree with Damore’s assumptions, his use of gender stereotypes, and his premises.

And so it is with disciples of Lobster-loving Peterson.

Jordan Peterson sycophants play at the same game.

First, they will ask if you have read EVERY book or article he’s ever written.

If you have not, some of them will dismiss you out of hand.

Some will start pasting in 456,334 links to very long articles (that would take days to read) explaining Peterson or his views and expect you to read all of them.

Even if you have read Peterson’s works, or have read some material he’s written, read interviews with him in magazines, watched interviews he’s given, and so forth, the Peterson acolyte will insist you do not understand Peterson, and so, you are misrepresenting Peterson or his views (even though you are not).

This comic sums up Jordan Peterson fan boys succinctly (and it’s accurate):

Every Conversation with a Jordan Peterson Fan

I am right wing, a moderate conservative. I am not a liberal.

I’ve seen Peterson in television interviews, I’ve read some of his interviews online, I watched a video or two of him on You Tube, and I’ve read articles about him and his views.

About one of the only areas of agreement I have with Peterson is that many staff, faculty, and student bodies of many university campuses are very liberal, and they try to silence the views of conservatives who dissent from whatever the liberal talking points are.

I agree with him that this problem or situation exists, and it’s not a good thing.

I’m familiar enough with Peterson’s work and his view points on some issues to say his views strike me as sexist (I can say the same thing about Damore, but as I’ve written about Damore in the past, I’ll try to stick more to discussing Peterson here).

Here is what I’ve concluded about Peterson after reading some of his articles, comments, or listening to him in video or televised interviews:

Peterson is the secular equivalent of Christian gender complementarians.

I am an ex-complementarian, and I have no intention of jumping back into that mindset or world of ideas.

Christian gender complementarianism is nothing but sexism with a religious or biblical-sounding veneer applied to it, to make it sound as though it is God-approved and that it’s not immoral or insulting.

Based upon what I’ve been exposed to so far, here’s my understanding of Peterson’s views in regards to the biological sexes and gender roles:

Peterson seems to think that men and women are biologically programmed, since the dawn of time or the start of civilization, to want to prefer and to live out traditional gender roles, and he feels this is a good thing, that it provides structure for a culture, and women would be at their happiest and most fulfilled if they would abide by traditional gender roles.

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• Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

If you are a Christian person, you should base your life decisions on what you believe and know to be best or right for you and your particular circumstances, rather than-

Relying on what you think God wants and prefers, or on what your church’s pastor thinks the Bible is conveying, or on what your interpretation of the Bible is, or on what your favorite Christian author is telling you on about any given topic.

Christians – even those whom say they adhere to Sola scriptura or Prima scriptura – do not agree with each other, or with other Christians, or with other Christian denominations, on many subjects.

Why would you subject major life choices, such as if to marry, whom to marry, when to marry, or whether to divorce or not, based on what you think the Bible (or your church) says on these issues, when your interpretation, or theirs, could be incorrect?

And when your church’s understanding conflicts with that of another ten churches on the same subject?

Your church or pastor or favorite preacher may say God never allows divorce for any reason at all, but at the same time, there are 500,000 other preachers, churches, and denominations which do say that it’s “biblical,” moral, fine, and acceptable, for one person to divorce another in cases of physical abuse-

And / or, in cases of adultery, and/or or perhaps in cases of neglect, emotional or verbal abuse, or in other scenarios.

So, does it really make sense to base your choice of what to do in life on what one church, one denomination, one flavor of theology, or one Christian says, when Christians themselves are not in consensus on what God thinks or prefers on these matters?

White American Christians at one time used to use the Bible to justify and defend the practice of 19th century whites owning black people as slaves.

Most of us today recognize slavery as being immoral, even though the Bible does contain passages addressing the treatment of slaves in the New Testament, and I believe in the Old, as well.

(That the Bible mentions something, or establishes rules for something already in place in a culture, such as slavery or polygamy, does not necessarily mean that the Bible, or the God of the Bible, agreed with whatever that practice was, or that it was ever God’s intent for humanity in the first place. This is a point that is often lost on critics of the Bible or of Christianity.)

If Christians misused the Bible to perpetuate the evil that was slavery – and they did in fact do so – that goes to show that Christians can misuse and misunderstand the Bible concerning other issues today, such as divorce or gender complementarianism (women’s roles).

Who says your church’s preacher’s interpretation is correct?

Or that John Piper’s is correct? or Al Mohler’s or J. D. Greear’s or Russell Moore’s? Or Mark Driscoll’s? Or that the Roman Catholic Pope’s  or Magisterium’s is correct?

Or who says the interpretation of the Bible by other Christian authors, theologians, or preachers, on these and other topics, is correct?

They could be absolutely and terribly and thoroughly in error on whatever topic they are addressing, whether they are appealing to biblical passages or not.

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• Why Complementarian Women Are Complementarian – And: When Women Enforce Complementarianism

Why Complementarian Women Are Complementarian – And: When Women Enforce Complementarianism

There are several reasons why a Christian woman might become a complementarian.

I will present a link much farther below (from Cult News site) that discusses how and why some Christian women pressure other Christian women to conform to sexist complementarian teachings.

I am an ex-complementarian.

Some women, such as myself, were born into complementarianism.

I was brought up in a Christian family that attended Southern Baptist churches, Southern Baptist churches endorse complementarianism, and my mother was always bringing in Christian-based magazines and other literature into the home, which stressed very traditional gender roles.

(When I was a kid growing up Southern Baptist, I don’t recall the Southern Baptists of the 1970s, or even the 1980s, being as nearly obsessed and insistent upon traditional gender roles as they started to become in the 1990s and later.)

If you become a Christian, and you love God, and you believe that God is your BFF (your bestie), you naturally want to live in such a way that is pleasing to God.

Your church and your parents are telling you that complementarianism is pleasing to God.

Furthermore, complementarianism is conflated with codependent attitudes and behavior by its adherents.

When you are a complementarian, you are taught by complementarians that your only alternative to complementarianism is to become an evil, icky, un-biblical, liberal secular feminist.

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• The Intelligence Trap by Edward de Bono – On Being Wrong or Being Right

The Intelligence Trap by Edward de Bono – On Being Wrong or Being Right

In my opinion, much of the content I’ve placed in this post below is applicable to religious topics.

I’ve seen both Christians (liberals and conservatives) as well as atheists who are guilty of what these authors discuss.

Some of my long-held views about politics and religion changed a few years ago once I began asking myself if perhaps I was mistaken about things.

I took the time out to read the views of my intellectual adversaries more closely, and with an open mind – as opposed to reading their material in a defensive mindset, looking for errors or thinking of ways I could argue against their views if I had to debate any of them.

This does not mean I uncritically accepted each and every thing they wrote or said, however.

One result of all this is that I am now more “okay” with being wrong, or with thinking “there’s a possibility I am wrong about thus and so a topic.”

I’m now okay with not having certainty about everything, too.

Back when I was a full-on, conservative Christian (note: I’ve not completely left the faith at this stage), I had a need or desire to be certain about faith, about who God is, how God operates, why do bad things happen in life, and so on and so forth.

So another result from my re-evaulation of just about everything I believed is that some of my opinions shifted.

I’m not as right wing as I once was – I’m more moderate – and I’ve come to the conclusion that both the “liberal” and “conservative” interpretations of the Bible are incorrect on some points.

I’ve learned it’s okay to be wrong about things, it’s okay to make mistakes about things.

I above all believe that some of what I copy below from various web sites about De Bono’s work, and from other sites discussing the work of other authors, is applicable to Christian Gender Complementarians.

Many complementarians refuse, absolutely refuse, to question if perhaps their perspective of the Bible and of women is in error.

I believe this may partly be due to sexism (though complementarians will never, ever admit to being sexist), to cultural norms (that is, complementarian reading of the Bible is being influenced by cultural norms about women), and from reading the Bible in a certain, limited manner (that some may refer to as “biblicism.”)

Complementarians could benefit from reading Pete Enns blog and the book The Blue Parakeet, or this blog post from Diary of an Autodidact.

Here are links about De Bono’s work, or related:

Can you be too intelligent? by Julian Baggini

Our brains are incredible but you can be too smart for your own good. History often warns against what reason alone commends

The Intelligence Trap – from Quick Think site, author – Frank Connolly

Snippets:

According to Edward de Bono, we all run the risk of falling into the “intelligence trap.” It is assumed that intelligence goes hand in hand with thinking.

Too often however, intelligent people are in danger of becoming poor thinkers.

They are in effect, trapped by their own intelligence. That is, they use their intelligence to entrench themselves in support of one point of view, and because they are genuinely intelligent they can mount some very convincing arguments for their position.

… Resistance to change and new ideas by intelligent people, is one of the main reasons change management and improvement initiatives don’t always get traction.

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• The No True Scotsman and Christians’ Version of Atheism – Regarding Christian Deconversion

 The No True Scotsman and Christians’ Version of Atheism – Regarding Christian Deconversion

I have been thinking about doing a post – or series of posts – about deconversion from Christianity.

I do not identify as an atheist, but am somewhere between being a Christian and being agnostic (or possibly a deist).

I see Christians routinely mishandle how they discuss or talk to people who have left the Christian faith (or who may be considering leaving it).

One of the most common – and annoying and disrespectful – approaches they use when talking to or about someone who has left the faith is to say the person was never a “real” Christian to begin with.

This may or may not be accompanied by the No True Scotsman Fallacy, where an ex-Christian or a doubter may point to all the hypocrisy or abuse committed by self-professing believers, and the Christian will retort by saying “thus and so was not a “real” Christian,” or, “so and so who is now an atheist was never a ‘real’ Christian'”

Here is a blog post, hosted on an atheist or agnostic blog, about this (there are maybe one or two points in this essay I am not in complete agreement with, but most of this is spot on):

The No True Scotsman and Christians’ Version of Atheism

Snippets:

by Captain Cassidy

…Everyone, Meet the Scotsman. He’s Very True.

The No True Scotsman is a logical fallacy. Technically, it’s an ad hoc reinterpretation of a situation to prevent contradictions and refutations of one’s position. As that link reveals, it’s also a circular argument.

Christians adore it. Within their own culture, it’s a devastating way to quickly negate a fellow Christian. They also use it to dismiss and invalidate ex-Christians.

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• From Roger Olson: A Challenge to Evangelical Complementarians

From Roger Olson: A Challenge to Evangelical Complementarians

You will need to click the link below to read the entirety of Olson’s post, because I don’t want to copy 100% of his post to my blog page here.

The comments below his post are also of interest, so please take a look at those.

You will notice in all the replies to Olson’s question that complementarians put foward a nominal complementarian response. That is, their response is complementarian in name only – it seeks to preserve the “male headship” malarky (as taught by comps) and in so doing presents a functionally egalitarian marriage.

From Roger Olson: A Challenge to Evangelical Complementarians

by Roger E. Olson

…I now see that it is possible to interpret the evangelical seminary dean’s comments about Eve being “cursed in her role before the fall” as NOT implying that she was cursed before the fall.

The syntax of his sentence is tricky. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt here because it seems to me to say that Eve was cursed before the fall would be very strange indeed (if not a bit crazy).

As I said in response to one comment here, however, it does seem to me that at least SOME evangelical complementarians’ view of women implies that Eve was cursed before the fall.

What is permanent, docile, subordination and submission if not a curse?

To any doubter of that, let me pose a question: Suppose you knew that, in your life, you would always be like a child in relation to someone else no matter what your IQ might be, no matter what knowledge you gained, no matter what skills you acquired, etc. You would forever (at least in this life) be required to obey UNQUESTIONINGLY someone else. What is that but a curse?

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• How Antebellum Christians Justified Slavery by Matthew Wills (Note the Parallels to Gender Complementarianism)

Notice that gender complementarians use the same biblical hermeneutics, assumptions, and justifications for teaching what they do about women and women’s roles as pro-slavery Christians used to promote their beliefs about roles of people being sold and bought as slaves. Identical.

How Antebellum Christians Justified Slavery  

by Matthew Wills

…Justification for slavery came with this growth and found its parallels in the biblical subordination of women.

“Southern ministers had written the majority of all published defenses of slavery,” Jemison reminds us. For these ministers, slavery not only had divine sanction, it was a necessary part of Christianity. This was because slavery was defined as akin to a marriage: the “power of slave owners over slaves paralleled the power of husbands over wives and of parents over children.”

The father/master was supposed to be a benevolent and paternalistic overseer of all family (and property) members. After all, the New Testament’s “injunctions for slaves to obey their masters appeared alongside instructions for wives to obey their husbands.”

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