This is one of the most interesting, stirring, and helpful books I’ve ever read. It’s easy to see why Peterson has been called “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now”—he demonstrates a grasp of philosophy, psychology, religion, and speaks to people with clarity, directness, and passion. (I’ve been listening to this as an audio book with Peterson narrating, and there were at least three times I could hear tears in Peterson’s voice).
Although many of Peterson’s ideas resonate with Christian thinking and living, his outlook is decidedly not Christian. True, he quotes and highly respects the Bible and Christian books (the Sermon on the Mount, Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, Milton’s Paradise Lost to name a few). But Peterson’s conception of “God” is anything but the personal, triune God of the Bible. For Peterson, ultimate reality is “Being” (perhaps, more precisely, Being and Becoming?), and ideal action is when individuals strive to achieve the delicate balance between Order and Chaos.
Twelve Rules for Life, I think, should be read carefully, critically, and humbly. Carefully, because Peterson’s theological framework is fundamentally flawed. Critically, because many of his ideas are weighty and powerful, and deserve to be thoughtfully considered. Humbly, because we Christians can learn much from him. (Peterson speaks with far more respect for his vague, impersonal Being, than many Christians speak about their God).