Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, has become a celebrity guide for Westerners discarding Christian beliefs and positing a world without a Supreme Being.
Peterson derives his concepts from Western science; also Asian religions, viewing the world as chaos and pain. He’s akin to Buddha reforming Hinduism in his reassessment of Christian teachings.
He’s strongly influenced by modern anthropology that religions are products created by the communities that worship them. On God’s existence, Peterson is agnostic.
He’s influenced by Carl Jung’s view that religious experience is a manifestation of human collective unconsciousness.
Consequently, he views religions as providing societal stability with lessons from humanity’s shared experience.
Peterson is a principle-centred pragmatic philosopher.
His weakness is that he seems unable to follow his heart on evidences of existence of an Omnipotent God since he will not contemplate an Unseen world not readily apparent to human senses.
To help people minimise worldly pain, Peterson, based on personal and clinical experience, wrote his book, “12 Rules of Life: An Antidote to Chaos”.
Many of his rules align with universal, especially Islamic teachings – not unexpected since Muslims have true guidance from their Creator.
Muslims follow God Almighty, whose primary attribute is “Most Merciful”, and Prophet Muhammad (s), the “Mercy to the Worlds.”
God teaches that He will treat us according to our view of Him, meaning that if we believe in Him as such, He will show us mercy.
God provides guidance on how Believers can avoid pitfalls, chaos and misguidance by following the Path that harmonises with God’s natural laws.
Further, He provided Muhammad’s (s) life example as the best role-model for achieving success in this world and the next.
Islam provides a detailed program for overcoming man’s three enemies – Satan, base desires, and worldly attractions. God informs that Satan has no power over sincere ones (Qur’an 15:39-40).
One who does not believe in a Merciful God nor is His worshipper will be exposed to pain, chaos, and the severe machinations of Satan. This is what Peterson has experienced.
But life is not chaos for one who follows God’s rules. Pain is part of human life, but God promises He will not provide us with an unbearable burden (2:286), and for any hardship faced with patience, accumulated sins will be forgiven.
Peterson could possibly become a Muslim.
He was however provided some Islamophobic confidantes who could not but provide a biased view of Islam, e.g. Ayaan Hirshi and Bernard Lewis.
Jordan cites two aspects of Islam that deter his closer interest – firstly, no separation exists between ‘church’ and ‘state’ in Islam, and secondly, he believes Muhammad (s) was a ‘war-lord’.
Addressing the first, we highlight that unlike Christianity, religious law is integral in Islam and to implement it a State needs to accept Islam as some basis for its laws.
Secondly, as the nascent Medinan community faced possible extinction, the Prophet (s) and companions had to fight and win many battles.
However, his battles were not for seeking revenge, booty, or to force conversions to Islam.
Liberated peoples were often keener to accept enlightened Islamic rule than the harshness of erstwhile rulers.
On the defeat of the Makkans, Muhammad (s) showed great humility while forgiving protagonists who had tried to kill him and who killed many dear companions.
This writer invites Peterson to closely examine the Qur’an and the conduct and teachings of Muhammad (s), which represent the true antidotes to chaos, and are guidance for a truly meaningful life leading to success in both this world and the next by acknowledging our servitude to God Most High.