Those discussing Jordan Peterson in other threads may be interested to know that he gets some approving mention by Barron toward the beginning of this interview.
Did anybody pick up on the ‘Cut Flower Ethics’? I thought that was an interesting metaphor (from 20th century Jewish philosopher Will Herberg - a lightning rod of a subject himself, apparently). The charge was that … sure a cut flower can be beautiful for a while, the implication being that non-religious people can be good and ethical individuals, but their passion for ethics does not historically appear to be effectively transmittable to subsequent generations, and therefore non-sustainable. A flower removed from its grounding soil can be beautiful in a vase for a while, but it soon fades. They suggest that without grounded ethics, all other areas of the academy are likewise imperiled. So on behalf of those here who will understandably challenge this … can secularism become [to add my own extended metaphor into this] the necessary ‘hydroponics farm’? These two religious leaders appear to answer that: ‘no’ - the organic soil is necessary; but I think it’s still an interesting question to pursue further here.
Among the things that probably get the bishop and maybe the rabbi too into hot water with doctrinal police is their willingness to see a generously wide range of entry points from which a person may come to find truth. Barron refers to Peterson having provocative new perspectives on the Bible that are connecting with many, and while he doesn’t say then that such people are getting all they need from this or that popular figure, Barron nevertheless welcomes all such engagement as a beginning of a fruitful quest. And he refers to the passionate ethics of figures like Sam Harris in a similar manner, seeing in fact a “prophetic” passion in play that must come from God - apparent non-belief notwithstanding. So in these senses, I think this couple of religious leaders are at least trying to be friendly, ecumenical, or at least non-dismissive of non-faith traditions.
[And it isn’t just the religious leaders taking heat here … I believe Dave too is probably catching heat from his own fan base about being too friendly or conceding too much ground to these representative of established religion too. I think he stated as much here. Reaching out in productive ways will generate heat. I’m glad they all are willing to live with that.]