Jordan Peterson vs William Lane Craig

The Debate Jordan Peterson Lost… to a Christian

18 April 2024

4.5 MINS

Famous Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has been on something of a journey when it comes to Christianity over the past few years.

While he still shies away from the objective truth claims of Christianity — i.e., the resurrection and other historical and theological truths — he is increasingly willing to engage with thoughtful Christians on matters of culture, theology and politics.

For a concise assessment of Jordan Peterson from a Christian perspective, I commend to you an article published in the Daily Declaration entitled “Jordan Peterson: Pros and Cons” by Dr Stephen Chavura, a senior lecturer in history at Campion College.

In recent years, Dr Peterson has interviewed a range of prominent orthodox Christians, including former Oxford mathematician Professor John Lennox, biographer Eric Metaxas and Indian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi. He has included the likes of Dr Os Guinness in his popular Exodus series, and his daughter Mikhaila Peterson has even converted to Christianity.


Last year’s inaugural Alliance for Responsible Citizenship Forum in London, organised in part by Dr Peterson, involved many high-profile Christians.

These included Dr Guinness as well as a range of Australian parliamentarians and former parliamentarians who happen to be Christians (for example, John Anderson AC, Andrew Hastie MP, Dr Anne Webster MP and Senator the Hon David Fawcett, to name a few).

It Wasn’t Always This Way

Just six years ago, Jordan Peterson participated in a dialogue in Canada on, “Is There Meaning to Life?” alongside prominent atheist philosopher Rebecca Goldstein — the wife of renowned Harvard psychologist Professor Steven Pinker — and Christian analytic philosopher William Lane Craig.

The two-hour three-way discussion is worth watching in full (if you have the time).

The debate was not a two-way battle between Craig (as a Christian) and Peterson and Goldstein and Peterson (as unbelievers). In fact, Peterson strongly rejected postmodern relativism — especially concerning morality and ethics — and sided with Craig on several points. In contrast, Dr Goldstein affirmed that there were no objective moral values — consistent with her disbelief in a theistic God.

Like Peterson, Craig affirmed objective moral values and duties. However, in a much-viewed portion of the debate, he challenges Peterson on his lack of belief in God, arguing that his very affirmation of moral values of this nature entails belief in the transcendent:

“I would want to push you on this to say that this very consideration ought to help you to move through naturalism and beyond naturalism to a transcendent ground for the objectivity of these moral values and duties.”

Watch the full exchange — with commentary from Christian YouTuber Ruslan.

A Fascinating Exchange: Craig vs Peterson

Peterson can be seen nodding thoughtfully during Craig’s respectful appeal. Craig argues that theism is the “most plausible moral theory that will enable us to affirm the objectivity of these moral values and duties”.

When Peterson responds, he points out that he has tried to “work out” his ideas within a “naturalistic framework as much as possible” — “because the naturalistic technique is so powerful”. He wants to explain morality as a product of an evolutionary process and believes that a strong case can be made for this position.

Craig instantly challenges Peterson, pointing out that he has committed the genetic fallacy: to claim that because you have explained something’s origins, that means that it is false.

Throughout the discussion, Peterson appears to remain open-minded — indicating that Craig’s clarity and respectful arguments have made an impression.

One comment Peterson makes in response to Craig’s argument is that, in attempting to reduce religious beliefs to their biological substrates, he has found that “there’s always something left over that you haven’t explained”.

He continues, “… it’s not something trivial, because every time I look into what’s left over, it turns out to be unutterably deep.”

Who is William Lane Craig?

Dr William Lane Craig has nothing like the public profile of Dr Peterson, but he is nonetheless an influential intellectual and a force to be reckoned with.

As I noted in my “10 World-Class Philosophers Who Defend Christianity” article in 2021, Craig holds two doctorates, one in philosophy and another in theology. He is a formidable intellect — considered by many to be the greatest living Christian apologist.

A gifted — and precise — communicator who is rarely caught out in his words, Dr Craig is known for debating with high-profile atheists, and was described by Sam Harris as “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”. Perhaps the world’s most prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins, has repeatedly refused to engage Craig.

While William Lane Craig and Jordan Peterson have many differences — not least of which is the fact that Craig is a Christian, while Peterson is not — they also share many views.

For instance, both Craig and Peterson have called young men back to church—arguing that churches must work to welcome and challenge young men in Western culture.

Watch Peterson’s comments, and Craig’s response on this topic, below:

Jordan Peterson: A Man in Search of the Truth

Since his debate with William Lane Craig, Jordan Peterson appears to have moved closer to the truth. His association with prominent and thoughtful Christians who live what they preach has no doubt helped in this journey.

While Peterson is undoubtedly one of the most public defenders of objective moral values and a high-profile critic of neo-Marxism and postmodernism, he has a way to go before he accepts traditional Christian theology as objectively true.

He is still further away from submitting to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

“… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart, leading to righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, leading to salvation. The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Romans 10:9–13 NRSV)

“The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all peoples to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps fumble about for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’…” (Acts 17:24–28 NRSV)


Image: Daily Dose Of Wisdom

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  1. Joshua M 21 April 2024 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Thanks for bring this famous debate to our attention.

    Let’s pray for Peterson to find the real Truth he knows exists, but never seems to comprehend.

    Let’s pray for Peterson’s listeners – seekers that are often young men, looking for inspiration, for something more in life. That they may be challenged to look into the life of Jesus and transformed by the revelation of the gospel of our Lord and God. May they be inspired and live lives worthy of that gospel and perhaps make genuine change in their generation. Amen

    • Warwick Marsh 30 April 2024 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Joshua your comment is incisive and profound. You other comments the same! Have you ever though of writing for the Daily Declatation? Contact me on if you do?

  2. Warwick Marsh 30 April 2024 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Really briliant article bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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