Me neither. That is why I was so pleasantly surprised to find these men in [seemingly] actual conversation. There is still an underlying and very serious debate, to be sure - but they did a good job modeling respectful listening coupled with vigorous exchange. And that was the fuel for my heightened respect for both. I still disagree with them (and especially Harris) at many points of course.
I don’t know that any of us are in a position to declare that untrue (any more than Peterson can know that it’s true.) But it does sound very plausible to me, and I thought it insightful of Peterson to claim that the whole notion of sacrifice (even leading to human sacrifice) could have originated along such a path. It may be important to you to attempt to demonstrate distance between God and what is claimed on God’s behalf in Genesis. But I don’t think the Christian need go there. Another of Peterson’s responses that I resonate with is that the Bible seems to progressively lead God’s people away from human sacrifice (Harris’ claims notwithstanding in that regard). Abraham almost sacrifices his son - but does not, and later on finally in the new covenant, what Jesus does puts the last nail in the coffin of the whole notion of human sacrifice, so to speak. Harris sees the whole thing as a flat book with the “final act” on the cross representing all the same abhorrence as what came before. But that is only true with “sacrifice-to-a-wrathful-God” views of atonement (which is not a small thing - many Christians dwell exactly there still today; so it must be acknowledged that Harris does not just pull that out of a vacuum). But (and here is where I place my main critique of Harris) - he still wants to view Christianity as a once-for-all laid out system of belief denied any possibility of development or growth over the centuries. And that oversight is a serious one in his case against religion generally - fueled with great and true insights as it may otherwise be.
Yeah - I thought that was good of Harris to point out. I liked his example of “how much is this ‘ordinary’ glass worth to you if it had last been drunk from by Elton John?” And after acknowledging that we construct value for things all the time that would not be empirically detectable in the material itself (no scientific analysis of any such glass will show it to have any such value), yet nonetheless if we were to start fighting over possession of such a valued object, it is certainly significant to learn the literal truth regarding Elton John and this particular glass: that it just isn’t so! And I think Peterson was quick to affirm that people don’t just choose to believe things as a matter of efficacy. We must in the end only believe things because we think they are actually true. I think I saw that as a point of agreement between them, and certainly for me too. I really liked Harris’ “concession” (he didn’t think of it in those terms, but I maintain it is in a way) about the loaded gun. He thinks it healthy to maintain a superstition that every gun he holds is a loaded gun, even if he has checked and re-checked the chamber multiple times. He still doesn’t just casually point the barrel towards things or people that he would not want to shoot. I.e. he allows that his superstition to always consider such things as if they were loaded to be a useful fiction that serves a good purpose. But the truth of its “unloadedness” still exists too. I think that example to be insightful and revealing in ways beyond what Harris may have perhaps intended.
I agree. I think Harris’ criticism falls at this point - though it must be acknowledged that his fire here has never been (and still isn’t) bereft of fuel. I too share in your critical appraisal of notions of substitutionary atonement.
I think one of my main observations from the debate is that Peterson seemed to remain unconvinced to the end that Harris ever supplied a satisfactory account of just how people (apart from any received narrative) are to proceed from universally recognized “bad places” toward universally recognized “good places”. Peterson kept insisting that “the devil is in the details” for that, and I think he is right.