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Monday, July 26, 2010

Comments

LJ

Seeing Chopra speechless...priceless!

Greg

Hahahaha... That video was AWESOME. Thanks for posting, Carl!

Sharon

Is your taking to task available online?

Carl E. Olson

Sharon: Just click on the banner above, or cut and paste this address: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2008/colson_chopra_may08.asp

Ed Peters

I musta missed Jesus No. 2. Little help?

Carl E. Olson

Ed: Here is a brief summary, taken from my looooooong essay:

The first Jesus "is historical and we know next to nothing about him" (8). Chopra employs contradictions in striving to do away with this Jesus. "The first Jesus was a rabbi who wandered the shores of northern Galilee many centuries ago. This Jesus still feels close enough to touch." And yet, while he seems so close and knowable, he is completely unknowable. Why? "This historical Jesus has been lost, however, swept away by history" (8). ...

Chopra's lack of interest in the many writings of Christian theologians and scholars is readily apparent in his dismissal of the "second Jesus," who is "the Jesus built up over thousands of years of years by theologians and other scholars." This Jesus, Chopra flatly states, "never existed" and "doesn't even lay claim to the fleeting substance of the first Jesus" (9). At this point Chopra provides some comic relief, saying that this supposedly non-existent Jesus created by the Church "is the Holy Ghost, the Three-in-One Christ, the source of sacraments and prayers that were unknown to the rabbi Jesus when he walked the earth". (9) ...

Which brings us, at last, to The Third Jesus, or Chopra's Christ. This is the Jesus who "taught his followers how to reach God-consciousness." This Jesus was "a savior", but "not the savior, not the one and only Son of God. Rather, Jesus embodied the highest level of enlightenment. ... Jesus intended to save the world by showing others the path to God-consciousness" (10). Then, having already claimed that the historical Jesus cannot be known and that the second Jesus is a nasty lie, Chopra offers an unconvincing olive branch: "Such a reading of the New Testament doesn't diminish the first two Jesuses. Rather, they are brought into sharper focus. In place of lost history and complex history, the third Jesus offers a direct relationship that is personal and present" (10). But if the historical Jesus cannot be known and Jesus of doctrine and theology is a fabrication, how can they be "brought into sharper focus"?

And upon what evidence does Chopra construct his portrait of Jesus? As noted, Chopra doesn't reveal much about the sources he used, but I suspect they are a combination of Jesus Seminar-like works, radical feminist texts, neo-Gnostic tomes, and a Google search for praises such as "homophobic fundamentalist Christians" and "fundamentalist Christian zealots." Whatever Chopra's sources (there are no footnotes, nor a bibliography), they apparently aren't much interested in the first-century context in which the Gospels are written, especially the Jewish context, which any and every biblical scholar of any heft acknowledges as essential. Yet apart from occasionally mentioning Jesus' conflicts with various religious leaders and some comments about Jesus' forty days in the desert, the explicit Jewish character of the Gospels and the Bible at large is given short shrift. Chopra simply assumes that large chunks of the New Testament are historically inaccurate, written by followers of Jesus who eagerly distorted and manipulated their master's words for their own ends. Of course, no evidence is provided for these important assumptions: no arguments are given, no scholars are quoted, no effort is made to show how and why Chopra accepts one verse as authentic while dismissing others as somehow distorted or corrupted for ideological, dogmatic ends. Call it a low level variety of the "hermeneutics of suspicion." Or call it convenient, self-serving, and dishonest. Either works.

Marguerite

Sounds like Chopra is talking more about the Buddha than the Christ.

Mary B.

I don't think the blond in the video got it. I hope someone explained it to her...

LJ

You're right Mary B. I noticed that too. But in defence of blondes, it appeared that she had been into the bleach.

Ed, I have trouble following the convoluted thought processes of a Deepak Chopra. But then I think of the "King" and the "Duke" from Huckleberry Finn and his shtick makes a lot more sense.

Deacon Harold

Excellent analysis, Carl! And a great job on CAL the other day!

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