Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson spoke about Easter as the “core story of humanity” in an interview with “EWTN News In Depth” hours before his wife, Tammy, joined the Catholic Church this Easter at Holy Rosary Church in Toronto.

Tammy Peterson’s faith was formed through praying the rosary while she struggled against a rare form of cancer. Peterson is known for his biblical lectures on Genesis and Exodus in particular, which often appeal to both Christian and secular listeners. 

When asked by EWTN News correspondent Colm Flynn about what he thought about the Christian Easter message, Peterson said that it’s “the core story of humanity.” 

“I’ll speak psychologically about it and speak in terms of its literary echoes,” he said. “It’s a variant of the dragon and treasure story, which is the oldest story we have. It’s the core story of humanity in some fundamental sense — that in the darkest places, what’s of most value can be found.” 

Peterson noted that he was “not going to delve into theological matters” but that “speaking strictly psychologically,” the Easter story describes “the worst that life and death can throw at us,” but then offers a “promise.” 

“The promise in the story is that, if that’s undertaken wholeheartedly, the consequence is redemptive, transformative and redemptive,” he said. “A resurrection of the spirit, a resurrection of the spirit eternally — that’s the promise.”

When asked what the cross meant to him, Peterson said “it’s the point where everything comes together.”

“It’s the agony of life,” he continued. “With God’s grace, you might say that the triumph of life, in the face of agony, in the face of malevolence, that’s what it is.”

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“We’re very confused about what faith is in the modern world. We think that faith is your verbal assent to a collection of descriptive statements,” he noted. “That’s perhaps an element of faith. …But the faith itself is, what would you say? It’s the willingness to presume that being and becoming is good despite tragedy and malevolence.” 

In the interview, Peterson reflected on the idea of a “calling.” 

“You’re called upon to climb Jacob’s Ladder, and it spirals infinitely upward — well, to where?” Peterson asked. “Infinitely upward isn’t a place — It’s a direction. Heaven is a place that’s perfect, that’s getting better at the same time.”

“Anything that attracts your attention is a portal to the divine,” he added. “You’ll pursue that thing that attracts your attention, that’s your calling, and then it’ll transmute, and you’ll find yourself oriented in another direction. The spirit that remains constant through all the transformations of your calling — that’s the divine.” 

“That’s what the divine is; it’s ineffable because it can’t be fully revealed. It’s unlikely to be fully revealed in the course of your existence, but it calls you forward continually,” he continued. “That’s what the burning bush is in the story of Moses. It shows itself in different places for different people.”

When asked what it was like to see his wife join the Catholic Church, Peterson said it’s a “miraculous thing to see.” 

“I loved my wife from the moment I laid eyes on her when I was a kid,” he said. “If you love someone, it hurts you when you see them deviate from the thing that draws you to them. And since she’s pursued her efforts at enlightening herself more thoroughly — and this investigation of Catholicism has been key to that — she’s much more who she is.”  

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Though his wife became Catholic, Peterson said he remains “unlikely” to join the Church. When Flynn asked what was holding Peterson back from becoming Catholic himself, he responded: “I don’t think anything’s holding me back. Everybody’s got their own destiny.”

Peterson said that whether this was part of his own “destiny” was “unlikely” because he, as he put it, “exist[s] on the borders of things.”