University of Toronto clinical psychology professor Jordan Peterson has called churches talking about mercy and forgiveness without requiring sinners to mend their ways a sign that they do not really care about their flock.
“I don’t think that you guys ask enough of your [people]. You’re not giving them hell,” Peterson said, speaking to Catholic bishop Robert Barron in a recent interview.
“Love is a terrible thing. If you love your children, you don’t let them get away with anything. You call them on their transgressions,” Peterson added. “If you really love someone, you can’t tolerate when they are less than they could be,” he stressed.
“So when someone comes into the church, and it’s all forgiveness, there’s no care there. It’s like ‘what the hell are you doing?! Look at you, you’re addicted, you’re hooked on pornography, you cheat on your wife, you’re doing a terrible job at work, you don’t take care of yourself. What the hell’s wrong with you? Where’s the real you’?” Peterson opined.
According to the academic, it’s critical that people to be called out on their transgressions, to see a “reemphasis on the potential nobility of the human being, and the moral responsibility to make that nobility a reality.”
Peterson noted that under the current approach, “we’re afraid of hurting people’s feelings in the present and willing to absolutely sacrifice their well-being in the future. And that’s the sign of a very immature and unwise culture, because the reverse should be the case.”
Peterson has engaged Barron, an auxiliary bishop at the Catholic Church’s Los Angeles archdiocese, in multiple debates. Bishop has previously named Peterson among the “signs of hope” in modern Western philosophy for engaging America’s non-religious millennials.
The Catholic Church is unique among the major dominations of the Christian faith in promoting the concept of ‘indulgence’, which allows believers to have their ‘hearts freed from sin’ by attending confession, receiving communion, and other acts. In the Middle Ages, the Church even promoted concept of the payment of fixed sums of money to absolve believers of sin. This practice allowed the Church to accrue vast sums of wealth, but was also one of the main causes of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.