Book Review: The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore by Deepak Chopra
by Frank Desparrois, Jr

Introduction

The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore by Deepak ChopraIn his book, The Third Jesus, Deepak Chopra attempts to show that Jesus Christ was teaching what is now known as Buddhism/Eastern Mysticism. This claim can only be accomplished by twisting and/or redefining what Jesus said. Mr. Chopra takes this one step further by questioning whether or not Jesus Christ said anything that is recorded in the New Testament, and draws from Gnostic writings for support as to what He supposedly said. He needs to appeal to these extra-biblical documents to help prop up his theology, because if the author doesn't use those documents his argument will be even weaker, if not collapse completely. By doing so Mr. Chopra is clearly displaying an unhealthy dichotomy, by questioning whether or not the New Testament accurately records Jesus' life and words, and yet quoting apocryphal works as if they have more authority. What Mr. Chopra and others like him fail to understand is that their claims that Jesus Christ was actually teaching or espousing Buddhism/Eastern Mysticism originated outside the fold of Christianity. Such teaching has never emanated from within. In reading his book it becomes clear that the author is using the life, works and words of Jesus Christ as a compendium to promote his own theology.

Inaccuracies

In his book Mr. Chopra engages in a number of factual inaccuracies, some of which are as follows:

Who is Jesus Christ?

What does the author himself believe regarding Jesus Christ? He writes, "One Jesus is historical, and we know next to nothing about him. Another Jesus is the one appropriated by Christianity. He was created by the Church to fulfill its agenda" (p. 7 & 8). A Jesus whom millions worship, was built up over thousands of years by theologians and other scholars, but never existed (p. 9). He claims that the writers of the gospels "almost certainly exaggerated events, invented miracles and put words into Jesus' mouth" (p.133), and that "this great text is ambiguous and confusing." Mr. Chopra also claims that Jesus' teachings "have been muddled, obscured, altered, corrupted, and lost over the centuries" (p. 221 & 222). One cannot help thinking that Mr. Chopra believes that Christian scholars and theologians are guilty of perpetrating a fraud and are complicit in a massive conspiracy. This "Third Jesus" that Mr. Chopra believes or confesses is nothing more than an "enlightened master" (p. 154) and "a simple teacher" (p. 186). With the author doubting so much - if not all - of the Scriptures one has to wonder why the he utilizes a significant portion of it to try and prove his case for this "Third Jesus?" The question must be asked as to why would the author be willing to promote this "Third Jesus" from a source he considers unreliable?

Physical Resurrection?

Does Mr. Chopra believe that Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead? The author informs us that, "With the resurrection a flesh-and-blood man was transformed into completely divine substance-the Holy Spirit" (p. 136). What the author is saying is that Jesus Christ rose spiritually, but not physically. However the Bible fails to support such a supposition. The case for a physical resurrection must be considered overwhelming given that after the Resurrection Jesus Christ stood before His disciples as a person and not as a spirit: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39). Jesus could not have remained in the grave else His body would have decayed and Scripture states this did not occur (Acts 13:35-37)! Given this evidence, how can one maintain that the Resurrection was anything but physical?

Christianity?

Mr. Chopra not only demonstrates his antipathy towards Christian fundamentalism, but presents a very narrow definition of it as well. The most obvious and frightening example is given on p. 229 where he refers to a television news feature about the ideology of a Christian woman just graduated from a Christian law school, who is quoted as having said, "I believe in absolute truth" among other things. He notes that she closely echoes the ideology of the jihadists who strap themselves to suicide bombs because for them truth is absolute. No, Mr. Chopra! The reason jihadists are willing to kill themselves and others by becoming suicide bombers is that they are told if they do this they will gain immediate entrance into paradise for doing so. Any and every true Christian would not only find this suicidal and homicidal theology repulsive, they know there is absolutely no biblical warrant for it. Doesn't the sixth commandment tell us, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13)? Mr. Chopra's conception of truth is, "Absolute truth is blind truth" (p. 229), and that truth is relative (p. 231).

Second Coming

The Second Coming - according to Mr. Chopra - is not Jesus returning physically to raise the dead from the graves, but will be a shift in consciousness (p. 40). Yet as Jesus was ascending into heaven two angels said to the assembled crowd, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). A physical return, not a shift in consciousness, is clearly intended.

Conclusion Top of page

Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the GospelsUsing apocryphal works by non-Christian sects, Deepak Chopra tries to persuade readers that Jesus Christ was nothing like the Jesus of the Bible's New Testament, which he dismisses as purely propaganda. The Third Jesus attempts to demote Jesus Christ from that of Deity and Savior to that of an enlightened master of Mr. Chopra’s own creation (and religion).
 The Case for the Real Jesus

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Last Modified April 15, 2008

 

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