Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Third Jesus

The Third Jesus: the Christ We Cannot Ignore
© 2008 Deepak Chopra
241 pages

I've heard the name "Deepak Chopra" before, but never in a positive light. Still, given my interest in comparative religion and philosophy, and given that I don't like having uninformed opinions about people, I decided to read The Third Jesus. Chopra's thesis is this: there are two chief ideas about Jesus, the liberal version and the conservative version. The liberal version believes in the enlightened rabbi, the human teacher. The conservative version is the "WORSHIP ME, MORTALS!" one. Chopra says that the problem with this is that the gospels, when taken in full, invalidate both. His solution to this "problem" is to propose a third Jesus, a Transcendental Jesus who teaches the way to "God-consciousness", which Chopra never really explains. Essentially, what he does is to quote text from five accounts of Jesus' life (the traditional gospels and Thomas) and uses them to support his view.

It doesn't seem to me that he's doing anything different from what Fred Phelps and Marcus Borg are doing: applying their interpretation to the story. It seems to validate Albert Schweitzer's idea that people who try to find the "True" Jesus only create narratives that satisfy their own desires. In general, I found the book to be a poor read: Chopra rarely explains his terms, and beyond the in-text verses from the gospels, nothing seems to be cited. This is particularly troublesome given that he writes on historical and scientific topics at times.


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