Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Deepak Chopra's The Third Jesus

I've read enough of Chopra to know I was not going to waste my time with this latest work. But I will refer you to a review done by Robert Schmidt of Denver Seminary who offers a poignant and scathing review. He says, "While Chopra’s writing style is clear and easily accessible to the layperson, his work is neither rigorously academic nor true. Chopra is guilty of bad history, bad theology, bad logic, and blatant untruths. Every turn of the page is a new experience in the irremediable." Schmidt limits himself "to the Jesus of history, the Jesus of the New Testament, and the Jesus of non-duality." Schmidt dismantles Chopra's work showing how he misuses evidence, ignores the contexts of New Testament passages and is logically contradictory. Schmidt concludes: "his [Chopra's] means of persuasion entail a spectacular display of shoddy academics, appalling theology and logical buffoonery making his book intellectually unpalatable and impossible to take seriously." None of what Schmidt wrote surprised me. I've seen it before and it was what I expected to find. This sort of rubbish from Chopra, (and Eckhart Tolle), which is made popular by Oprah is simply trying to make Jesus more acceptable to a group that is uncomfortable with the Jesus of the New Testament. Strip away the offensive elements of the Jesus in the New Testament (repentance, final judgment, etc.), re-interpret a handful of NT passages, give it a veneer of eastern mysticism and, presto, you have a third Jesus. Give this Jesus the blessing of the likes of Harvey Cox and John Shelby Spong (see the Editorial Reviews on Amazon) and you have the complete package. Top it off with a glowing endorsement from Oprah to ensure off-the-chart sales. I'll pass on The Third Jesus and stay with the Jesus of the New Testament.

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