12 Rules for Life (Book Review)

jordon-peterson-bookCanadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has gained quite a bit of fame in recent years through his controversial (but not really controversial) stance on some social issues. Many people have been listening to what he has to say and are finding answers to the tough questions about life which they’ve been unable to find from, what should be, the normal sources for such conundrums. All of that has compelled him to write this book: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

This book is kind of like a Christian book written by a non-Christian for Christians and non-Christians. There’s really two types of Christians: 1) The born-again and goes to church every Sunday type; 2) The merely product of western civilization type.

A brief story explaining what I mean by the second type (which I heard someone tell once, but can’t remember when or where)….

A reporter travelled to a middle eastern country for a story. Going through passport control, he noticed the border officer stamp his passport “Christian.” He then said to the officer, “Why did you stamp ‘Christian’? I’m an atheist, not a Christian.” The border officer ignored his complaint and waved him through.

Later, at his hotel, he observed some boys outside the building playing a somewhat gruesome game: They were hitting newly born puppies with a baseball bat, sending them flying against the hotel wall. That in itself is horrifying enough, but what really bothered the reporter is that the mothers of the boys were all sitting around watching and doing nothing, enjoying their day, laughing, and conversing together. The reporter then thought, “Ah, maybe I am a Christian after all.”

The point of the story is that if you are western, your morality is Christian. Whether you like it or not, you are heavily influenced by Christianity.

Jordan Peterson is a type two Christian. His book is full of Biblical quotes. Even though he might not even believe in the God of the Bible, he knows that the values of western Christianity are what shaped the best culture in known world history. He knows that if Christian values are forgotten and abandoned, it will lead to chaos. Indeed, this is already happening.

Peterson has dedicated much of his life to studying totalitarian cultures (the ones in which millions are murdered by their own governments), and he has had many patients in his practice whose lives are a “bloody mess,” as he would put it. Using his studies, his own experience as a psychologist, and his Christian influenced wisdom, he’s put together a fine book designed to help people get their own lives in order.

The 12 Rules are:

Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back.

Rule 2 Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping.

Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you.

Rule 4 Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today.

Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.

Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world.

Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).

Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

Rule 10 Be precise in your speech.

Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding.

Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

This is a dense book with a lot of information. I imagine the number one complaint by readers is that it is too long, and overly explanatory. But, if I were to give a one or two sentence long explanation of each Rule (which is far from the thorough conclusions put forth by Peterson), it would go like this…

Rule 1: Don’t be passive. Stand up for what you believe in — literally. Stand up straight. It has more effects than you realize.
Rule 2: Take care of yourself as though you were someone you deeply love and care about. Of course! But, many of us are quite negligent in self care.
Rule 3: Don’t hang around with losers, or you will become one too.
Rule 4: We’re all on different paths — some are further along than you, some are behind. Comparing yourself to them will either discourage you, or make you proud.
Rule 5: Of course you love your child, but do you like your child? Do others like your child? Will your child grow to be a likeable adult?
Rule 6: If the world around you is in a chaotic mess, start with the small space directly around you, put that in order and move out from there.
Rule 7: Think long-term.
Rule 8: You might not be able to know the truth about everything, but at least you can know what’s not true. So, don’t lie.
Rule 9: You can learn something from anybody.
Rule 10: Words have power. Use them carefully.
Rule 11: Kids need to gain confidence when they’re young so they can grow to be strong adults. That means doing dangerous things. Leave them alone.
Rule 12: Life is suffering. Take time to enjoy all the small pleasures when you can.

I give the book 4/5 stars, and I recommend you pick it up.

Related articles:
Jordan Peterson on Channel Four News
What are the Most Valuable Things to Know?

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Constitutions and Marriage Vows

Second marriage vows.When two people get married, they speak their vows. Now, even though those two people will change over the following ten, twenty, thirty years, the vows will remain the same for the life of the marriage. If the husband says after twenty years, “Our marriage vows are outdated. I think we should rewrite them to fit our current situation more accurately,” what he’s really saying is, “I want our marriage as it has been for the last twenty years to end, and I want to create an entirely new marriage.”

It is the same with a nation’s constitution. The constitution, as written by the nation’s founders, is meant to remain unchanged for the lifespan of that nation. When you hear people saying that it’s time to update the constitution, what they’re really saying is that they want a revolution — they want a new nation.

Related reading:

The Age of Empires

There’s no Going Back

Revolutions & Counter-revolutions

Sweet Jesus Ice-Cream

There is a fairly new ice cream seller in Canada, which is expanding beyond the border, named Sweet Jesus. I’ve never been there myself, so I can’t say if the ice cream is any good; although you can click here for one opinion.

charity picThe name, I’m guessing, is designed to be edgy and cool. “We’re not afraid of offending anyone! But we’re not bad people either. We give to kids’ charities! So if you’re offended, you can f#@k right off! Yeah!”

They state on their website…

Our name was created from the popular phrase that people use as an expression of enjoyment, surprise or disbelief. Our aim is not to offer commentary on anyone’s religion or belief systems. Our own organization is made up of amazing people that represent a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs.

Clearly they either don’t understand the nature of speech or care about truth in speech when they state, “Our aim is not to offer commentary on anyone’s religion or belief systems,” as is made obvious in some of their ads:

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isis creamAnd I find myself wondering, if they really wanted to be edgy, why didn’t they name their business Magic Muhammad’s Isis-Cream: It’ll blow your mind, and the rest of you too! Something dangerous like that.

I wonder if it’s because they knew if they’d done that, they wouldn’t have had only to put up with a few inconvenient bomb threats from angry Muslims, but also the full-on insanity of the regressive diversity social engineering crew, which is much worse. It’s just easier to target Christians. And hey, not all Christians will get offended at the name; there’s plenty of Progressive Christians who are cool enough to play along.

A petition has been started, by Christians, directed at Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and (for some reason) American President Donald Trump. It states…

We, as Christians are deeply offended by the name of a new Ice Cream chain of stores calling themselves Sweet Jesus. This is a mockery of taking the Lord’s name in vain and also highly offensive to Christians. The imagery used to promote the brand is also anti-Christ and therefore anti-Christian, for example, using upside down crosses on the labels of the ice cream cups.

As a Christian myself, I understand why the name is offensive, and I will not be buying any ice cream from that business. However, if you’re a Christian and you are not just as upset by the Playboy magazine that’s been sitting on the shelf of your local convenience store for the last 40 years as you are by the name Sweet Jesus, then I’d suggest you don’t spend too much time and energy getting upset about this ice cream joint either.

If I were a military commander, I think that, when facing a superior opponent, I would want to force my enemy to engage in constant useless battles. This would distract him from his real goal, it would tire him out and waste away his resources, and it would cause division within his own forces. I think this is what Satan does a lot of the time with Christians. Look! Here is some inconsequential group of people doing something offensive towards Christians — go and get angry at them!  Seethe with soul crushing rage and demand that someone with power do something!

The best things for Christians to do when encountering a business like Sweet Jesus is, first, simply ignore it and don’t go there; second, write a letter to the company and intelligently and forcefully express your opinion; and third, continue on with the primary mission of the Church, which is to expand Christ’s Kingdom to cover the whole world — which Christians do indeed have the resources, authority, and ability to do, as long as we don’t continuously get distracted by pointless engagements.

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I recently tweeted: The only theology that matters: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.

A Progressive/Liberal Christian responded….

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Obviously LunaticFringer didn’t bother to look up the two O.T. verses, in which she would have discovered what Jesus was quoting when He said, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

As I have young children, I have been thinking a lot lately about how I will successfully pass on my Christian faith to them. It is not a guaranteed thing when mom and dad are Christian that the kids will be too. I’ve seen it too often when children, even raised by pastors, reject the faith when they’re old enough to be allowed to do so.

This passing on of the faith can be looked at in relation to a whole society in much the same way as individual families. The Deuteronomy passage tells us what to do…

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
(Deut. 6:4-9)

First we are told to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds — everything we are. Second, we are told that these words need to be in, or on, our hearts. That doesn’t happen automatically. If we want the faith to continue to the next generation we must teach God’s word, and make His word foundational to all aspects of our lives — our children need to hear us talking about God and living what we are saying. Whatever we do with our hands and with our minds is submitted to God (compare to Revelation 13:16). Our family life (thy house) and our political sphere (thy gates) are shaped by His word.

If we don’t do these things we are guaranteeing that our children will either become atheists directly or Liberal Christians, which leads to the same place. Liberal Christianity, both its fading modernist version and its new progressive/post-modernist version, with its worship of the zeitgeist god and its false mission to “save” the Church from itself, has always been and will always be a direct road to atheism.

Today we live in an overly feminized culture. If you say or do anything which offends people and makes them feel bad, you are in the wrong. Truth, when offensive (as it often is), is rejected. God’s word is truth; God’s word is offensive. The strong father figure is no longer respected and is seen as “toxic masculinity”.

God is one — He is not divided. He is not tossed to and fro in His thinking. He was not different in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. His word does not change meaning over time (as post-modern philosophy teaches). What He said to the O.T. Israelites as recorded in the Bible was not just their confused understanding of His word muddied by their tribalistic warrior worldview.

Christian fathers need to grow some backbones and pass on the uncompromised word of God to their children and the entire next generation.

Further reading…

Men in Charge?! So Patronizing!

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God (Book Review)

Postmodern Jesusism