After the runaway success of 12 Rules For Life, Canadian psychologist Jordan B. Peterson is back with…more rules. Those already familiar with Peterson’s writings will recognise these, restated here: Accept that life is difficult. Adopt personal responsibility for improving your life and others’ lives. Tell the truth. Cherish ancient religious stories and tear down ideology. Learn from your mistakes and those of others. Enjoy simple pleasures.
Such rules have been celebrated by conservatives and criticised by liberals. While Peterson does promote Christian teaching in places (his chapter on marriage alone is worth the price of the book), he has no place for a relationship with God or Jesus. His writings offer the reader no source of comfort, encouragement or strength from beyond this world, no repair and reward beyond this life and no divine forgiveness.
Despite the repetition and abstract theorising, Peterson explains valuable truth like no one else. He can be read as encouraging people to live without God, or he can be read as brilliantly explaining how and why the Bible and the teachings of Jesus are so desperately needed for human flourishing.