April 12, 2008

The Third Jesus -- Deepak Chopra's Savior

I am taking a look at Deepak Chopra's new book, a wonderful book, as it seems to me after a first glance. I love it when someone talks about Jesus as a way to salvation -- salvation as the realization of a radical shift of consciousness and change of mind, which is the only way of realizing what Jesus was teaching in his declaration and demonstration of love and forgiveness. It cannot be done objectively. If there is God outside of me, I am separate forever. Yet God is not outside of me, because I cannot be outside of God. There is only one Source of Reality, one Will of God and Life. Therefore, God, the Father and I are one, as Jesus said. This oneness is not compatible with any notion of exclusivity or specialness. You are the light of the world, you are gods, children (or Sons, as in other translations of Ps 82) of the most high.

This is what Jesus said to the people he taught, not just about himself. Yet in this world there is no indication or proof of the truth of these ideas that Jesus so emphatically taught, that does not require a determination above all else to find this for yourself in a real experience of light as opposed to mere conceptual belief.

One can wait forever hoping it will be shown to him one day. In our split and conceptual mind we always look for salvation in the future, yet the "hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those that hear, will live." (John 5:25) This tells us that every man on earth is actually dead, asleep, and will raise to life by hearing, by truly receiving and accepting the word of God to remember and be born of God. That is the requirement, to be born of God NOW. Otherwise I am dead. Otherwise I will forever seek salvation in idols, dogmas, promises of establishments, leaders, structures, relationships, persons etc. It won't be there. For God is not outside of me. What does this have to do with this world of time and space? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I have to find Him in my Self, in my brother who is my Self. That is the action and transformation that Jesus was teaching 2000 years ago, and now offers in A Course In Miracles. That is the Jesus Deepak Chopra introduces again in his new book, The Third Jesus. Happy reading...

"I want to offer the possibility that Jesus was truly, as he proclaimed, a savior. Not the savior, not the one and only Son of God. Rather, Jesus embodied the highest level of enlightenment. He spent his brief adult life describing it, teaching it, and passing it on to future generations.

Jesus intended to save the world by showing others the path to God-consciousness.

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 theology, the third Jesus offers a direct relationship that is personal and present. Our task is to delve into scripture and prove that a map to enlightenment exists there. I think it does, undeniably; indeed, it’s the living aspect of the gospels. We aren’t talking about faith. Conventional faith is the same as belief in the impossible (such as Jesus walking on water), but there is another faith that gives us the ability to reach into the unknown and achieve transformation.

Jesus spoke of the necessity to believe in him as the road to salvation, but those words were put into his mouth by followers writing decades later. The New Testament is an interpretation of Jesus by people who felt reborn but also left behind. In orthodox Christianity they won’t be left behind forever; at the Second Coming Jesus will return to reclaim the faithful. But the Second Coming has had twenty centuries to unfold, with the devout expecting it any day, and still it lies ahead. The idea of the Second Coming has been especially destructive to Jesus’s intentions, because it postpones what needs to happen now. The Third Coming—finding God-consciousness through your own efforts—happens in the present. I’m using the term as a metaphor for a shift in consciousness that makes Jesus’s teachings totally real and vital." (Quote from Part One: The Third Jesus, Redeeming the Redeemer)

12 comments:

Chris Johnson said...

I'm trying to understand exactly where you're coming from. In one of your previous posts you said "because God thinks entirely unlike me" and yet in this post you said "God, the Father and I are one". How can you be God and yet think entirely unlike him? What is the distinction, if any, between you and God?

Also, I'm curious what text you got your Psalm 82 quote from. In my Bible it says "I said, "You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men and fall like any one of the princes." (Psalms 82:6-7) I'm figuring the translation you are using says something else, because I'm not sure how that passage would fit with what you were saying.

Thank you for your time.

Alban, Teacher of God said...

Dear John,
Thanks for asking. The human condition is one of separation from its creator, albeit a false separation. That is why we need miracles in the first place. As a human being I do not know who I am, where I am, what I am doing, and why I am here. Unless I use the power of decision and focus on being present and remember who I am, I am constantly looking for something, although I do not know what it is that would make me happy. That condition is not of God, and could not possibly have anything to do with reality. While God, the Source of everything that is, and His creations are entirely free from any kind of thought that is other than whole and singular, giving forever, I as a self-identified mind in separation cannot not think ABOUT things, reflecting my own separation back to myself, because my very starting point is a false separation. God does not know of such insanity.

Can I think my way to God, think my way out of here? Can I come to know truth? NO, NEVER. I have to be born of God, be completely reformulated. That is a miracle, totally beyond my thinking. A Course In Miracles is designed to bring about this miraculous change of mind, which is the resurrection as a physical, mental and emotional integration back into Whole Mind.

I looked up Psalm 82 in the New King James version. Separation is what death is. It is a paradox. How can what God created die and be separate? Well, it cannot. But sure it seemed real in my mind, that I was a body, getting old and sick, waiting to die. It was a mistake. But that is no longer true for me. I am not that anymore. The light has come. Only the creations of God are real. What is not of Him, cannot have reality. I am dreaming, and about to wake up.

Chris Johnson said...

That helps me understand a little more where you're coming from, but you have not yet answered my question about what is the distinction between you and God.

Also, in your post you said that you have to find God in yourself. Yet Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6) What Jesus says makes sense considering, as you said, that "As a human being I do not know who I am, where I am, what I am doing, and why I am here." I agree that we are all born into that state, and only someone other than us could save us from such a state.

Alban, Teacher of God said...

Dear Chris,
Sorry, I confused your name.

Well, what is the distinction between me and God? Is there any? When Jesus says, "I and my Father are one" he obviously does not admit to any distinction except recognizing that the Father is greater. But where would the Father end and the Son begin, when God is light, and when there is no darkness in him (see 1 John 1:5)?

Another way of saying this is that there is one Life or Self, and that I share with God. Jesus did in no way set himself apart from me or you as a special creation, did he? So, as God's creation and the light of the world you cannot have darkness in you either. Otherwise God would not have created you in His likeness.

That must mean in regard to this world of separation and conflict, including your image of yourself, your body, that it is entirely unreal, like a dream, or darkness, that vanishes, when the light goes on. There can be no dispute about this, unless you want to claim that there is another creator beside God, which is impossible.

All you can say about this world and your existence here, is that it is a mistake. To ask how it came about merely indicates the need to give it meaning and thereby make it real. That is the real conflict you and I and everyone in this world face. Trying to evade it, set it aside, deny it, disguise it, rename, hide, see it somewhere else, or hide it etc. must be foolish and futile.

When I say, I must find God in myself, I mean that it can't be done objectively. The Kingdom of Heaven does not come by observation. It is within, among us, between us, between your thoughts. Anything outside me as a source of salvation would be the continuation of idolatry and separation. Jesus is not outside me, because I and my Father are one, and Jesus cannot be apart or outside this relationship. Certainly, to actually enter into this experience -- and it is an experience and not a concept, I need all the help I can get. Jesus is that bridge for me as my savior, because he went before me.

Jesus says, "'No man cometh unto the Father but by me' does not mean that I am in any way separate or different from you except in time, and time does not really exist. The statement is more meaningful in terms of a vertical rather than a horizontal axis. You stand below me and I stand below God. In the process of 'rising up', I am higher because without me the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass. I bridge the distance as an elder brother to you on the one hand, and as a Son of God on the other. My devotion to my brothers has placed me in charge of the Sonship, which I render complete because I share it. This may appear to contradict the statement 'I and my Father are one', but there are two parts to the statement in recognition that the Father is greater." (ACIM, Chapter 1.II)

Chris Johnson said...

Ablan: "Well, what is the distinction between me and God? Is there any?"

That's what I'm asking. You haven't yet answered my question as to whether or not there's a distinction between you and God. Some of your statements imply that there is; some of your statements imply that there isn't.

In the past you have said that God created you. That would be a distinction between you and God.

Also, you have said "And there is all my sin and separation made obvious." There is nothing wrong with saying that, for "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) God cannot sin, while we do, and that is another distinction between us and God.

And to clarify some other points: an image does not have all of the attributes of the object it is modeled after. Being made in the image of God does not give us all His attributes. Also, the Bible does not say that we are the light, but that we walk in the light. As it is said of John the Baptist: "He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." (John 1:8) We do not light our path, but God does, and that is another distinction between us and God. It is a wonderful distinction.

Alban, Teacher of God said...

Dear Chris,
I hoped I did answer your question. Obviously, a conceptual answer is not of much help. What difference could it make? Finally, you have to experience yourself to know what you are asking about.

My answer must be paradoxical, for the question is paradoxical. As there is no sin in God's Son, so is there no sin in you, for you are God's only Son. Jesus said, "ye are the light of the world" (Mt 5:14). He did not just say this to a few selected ones, he said this to everyone listening to him. As he was also referring to himself as the light of the world, it should be quite impossible to say, that you are not the light of the world, or that some human beings are the light of the world, while others (the sinners maybe?) are not. Since God is light, and the only Source of light, you would have to be God's Son. Nowhere is there reference to different lights, neither would it make sense. When this is what God gave me, I cannot put it out, change it into something else, render it inept or dim it so that it is not light anymore. In this true perspective there would be no distinction between God and me, except that God is Source, and I did not create myself. Yet where would God end, and I begin as His Son? There is only one Self.

Everything else must be what this world of pain, sickness and death is: a dream of my own making. As such it has no effect upon reality, and is not real and true. It can not dim the light of reality. It can only affect your awareness of it, if you believe in darkness. Therefore, you have to change your mind to "be born again".

Further, God did not create images. You are light, as God is. The image of your body is not a creation of God, for God created you in His likeness. He cannot give you what He does not have. What you say about image and object may be so. But, if you are the light of the world, or the salt of the earth, you have to have all the qualities of light or salt, and nothing short of that, in order to qualify. And again, you cannot destroy what God created. That would be mockery of God, and the same as saying that God can be destroyed, as if there were an opposing power. Then you would have two Gods, wouldn't you?

You say that "the Bible does not say that we are the light." Many sincere Christians seem to be failing to take the Sermon on the Mount literally, while they insist on the literal meaning of many other or all other passages. When John the Baptist says, "he was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light," then this means that he did not decide at that time to actually be the Light that he inevitably must be.

So, now you still need the experience, just as before.

This is a course in miracles. It is a required course.

Chris Johnson said...

There's a perfectly rational way for God's creation to be destroyed without mocking Him: God can destroy His own creation. And he can use parts of His creation to destroy other parts of His creation.

There is no paradox in asking whether or not there is a distinction between you and God. Even if you are right and the answer is paradoxical, (which is currently under question), that still doesn't make my query paradoxical.

I admit I should not have said "the Bible does not say that we are the light", but that "1 John 1, (the passage you were quoting,) does not say that we are light." But regardless of that, my mistake does not give you license to take the word "light" out of context the way you are. That passage in 1 John does not use "light" in the same sense that the Sermon on the Mount does:

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it to be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13)

1 John 1 is telling people not to both walk in the darkness and yet claim to be following Jesus, for it is impossible to do both. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is referring to "light" as the witness of Christians to everyone in the world. That is a different use of the word "light". Not only is it a different context, but the "light" referred to here has different attributes for in His analogy between it and salt, he implies that it can be lost, unlike God's light which is immutable:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

But my reference to light was a minor point, and in focusing on the minor point you avoided my chief point: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) I know I am sinful. I know you are sinful. What reason would anyone have to believe otherwise?

Alban, Teacher of God said...

Dear Chris,

Where to start? So you wanted to say all the while, that the distinction between God and me is that I am sinful, and God is not? So? Is that the whole truth? Is it really so and real? You do not seem to consider my paradoxical answer.

That ties in with your point at the beginning of your last answer. You claim:

"There's a perfectly rational way for God's creation to be destroyed without mocking Him: God can destroy His own creation. And he can use parts of His creation to destroy other parts of His creation."

Is that so?

That statement would be enough for a new post, a book, I think. Does that really make sense to you? Is this the truth of "the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning"? To me you pose a contradiction of which you seem to be not aware of, but which is vital in this whole conversation.

I say, everything God created is eternal, not subject to time and decay, not destructible by any deed. Sin will never touch it. You are created by God. Therefore, your nature MUST be sinlessness forever. What you refer to when you speak of sin, MUST, in the same manner, be unreal, illusionary, completely non-existent, which, on the other side, does not mean that it is not real to you or me in our perceptual frame of mind. Otherwise we would not have committed the act that constitutes sin. It doesn't mean I cannot talk about sin, as the Bible does frequently. But I have to know that it cannot be reality - which is of God alone - of which I am speaking then.

If you say that God's creation can be destroyed, it obviously can change as well. Then the idea of sin is perfectly reasonable. There you have a "whole" thought system. But where do you get the idea that you are right about your foundation? Are you?

Is this helpful? Are we communicating at all? Do I use words in an entirely different way than you?

Chris Johnson said...

Alban: "To me you pose a contradiction of which you seem to be not aware of, but which is vital in this whole conversation."

You said that my saying that God can destroy His own creation is a contradiction, and yet you failed to say why it was a contradiction. What is illogical about my proposal?

Alban: "Where to start? So you wanted to say all the while, that the distinction between God and me is that I am sinful, and God is not? "

No. I've been saying many things about the distinction between you and God, and my last response was not the first time I said that your sin was one of the distinctions. Mainly I've been simply gathering information from you about what it is you believe.

Alban: "So? Is that the whole truth?"
No. There are many more things I could say about the distinction between you and God because the fact of the matter is: you simply are not God.

"Is this helpful?" Yes. "Are we communicating at all?" Most assuredly. "Do I use words in an entirely different way than you?" Possibly. In your earlier responses your use of language suggested that logic was optional, while I believe that logic is a constant law that is never optional, though you're responses have gradually grown less vague and more rational, so I'm hoping that you actually don't believe that logic is optional.

Alban: "If you say that God's creation can be destroyed, it obviously can change as well. Then the idea of sin is perfectly reasonable. There you have a "whole" thought system. But where do you get the idea that you are right about your foundation? Are you?"

The idea that God can destroy His own creation is not the foundation of my thought system. The Bible is. And I believe the Bible is true because it lines up with everything I've ever seen in this life, unlike your paradoxical proposals, which do not line up with what I've seen in this life.

Which brings me to one of the major issues in this dialogue. You seem to think that a great deal of our perception is illusory, if not all of it. You have said that sin is illusory. You have said that time does not really exist. You have at least implied that all of our five senses are false.

If that is the case, then is not everything you are saying to me an illusion? This whole conversation must be a lie. The book "A Course in Miracles" must also be a lie, because to use it one must read it. In fact, from your point of view I must simply be a figment of your imagination.

Alban, Teacher of God said...

Dear Chris, I see one contradiction between your statement,

"There's a perfectly rational way for God's creation to be destroyed without mocking Him: God can destroy His own creation. And he can use parts of His creation to destroy other parts of His creation",

and your quotation of James 1:17, where it says,

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."

If there is no variation with Him, then He will not change His mind and destroy what He created out of love. His creation is eternal, at least that is what your quote of James says to me.

The "God" who would destroy his own creation must be a mockery of God. For God cannot be conflicted. He is love, and destroying His own creation would be an act of hate. So the two cannot be one and the same, therefore you now have two reasons why your statement poses a contradiction. If God does not give only happiness, He must be evil.

Until now you have only claimed that God can destroy His creation. But how do you reach this conclusion? Can you show this?

"I am not God", you say, but "I and my Father are one", says Jesus. Go figure out that one. You must believe that we are not all created equal, or that Jesus was somehow not created, but is above you and me by God's will. But what would that be? In any case you would have to admit to something that does not imply equality. Would that be a just and loving God to you?

According to your belief, right from the start you are created out of an act of hate, for what else would it be, if you are not given everything? And how could you ever meet Jesus' imperative to be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and to love as he - Jesus - did? You would be doomed to fail forever. For you can do this only if you indeed ARE equal to Jesus and God in terms of perfection, which does not mean that you, here in this world of darkness, necessarily are aware of your perfection. It can only mean that you will become aware of it, and leave this place of darkness, for that was the whole purpose of Jesus mission - to show you the way back to the Father. Though not necessarily aware of it, you would have to BE perfect. And that is what I am saying. What you perceive can be entirely contradictory to what you ARE, and in fact does not have anything to do with what you ARE. Remember the Kingdom of God that cometh not by observation?

According to your reasoning, you also must say that a perfect God is able to create imperfect beings like humans. That does not go very well with the logic you want to use consistently. If God would create imperfectly, He no longer would be perfect, for creation is an essential characteristic of God, isn't it?

If the Bible is the foundation of your thought system, can you then sum up for me what to you is its most basic thought?

What you conclude about the illusory nature of my perception is indeed so. You are a figment of my imagination, and so am I, as a person in space time, just like you experience yourself in your nightly dreams. So is Jesus, as he appeared to his disciples before and after his resurrection. What could possibly be real about mine, yours and Jesus' appearance here on earth? We share one purpose of waking up from this dream of death to the realization that life is indeed eternal and not subject to threat and destruction, because God's will is perfect happiness for you and me and everyone, and God's will does not change.

What could this mean to man except that he is completely wrong about himself, and needs to be born again, not of flesh, but of spirit? That is a miracle for which he depends entirely on God, and which will change him forever. Born of flesh you are flesh, born of God, born of spirit, you are God, spirit. So what is then real to you? Are you saying, both are equally real? And again you would have a conflictual reality, which cannot be of God, for not even the devil can be divided in himself, as we learned from Jesus, didn't we?

Chris Johnson said...

First off, it's important to note that destruction and hate are not inherently associated with each other. Someone can destroy something out of anger, but anger is not the only possible manner of destruction.

You are assuming that the only way God could create something and destroy it is if He changed his mind. You're not considering the possibility that He could create something with the intention of destroying it. For example, He created Pharaoh to be destroyed:

'What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”' (Romans 9:14-17)

Alban: "According to your belief, right from the start you are created out of an act of hate, for what else would it be, if you are not given everything?"

God does not need to give us everything in order to love us. God does not owe us anything. God's love is unmerited grace. Our happiness is His mercy.

Alban: "If God does not give only happiness, He must be evil."

Regardless of your philosophies, we are using the English language, and in English happiness and evil are not antonyms; good and evil are. Good is not happiness, though they are related. Good is God. The act of God punishing Pharaoh did not bring Pharaoh happiness, but it was just, and it was good.

'Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?' (Romans 9:18-24)

Alban: '"I am not God", you say, but "I and my Father are one", says Jesus. Go figure out that one. You must believe that we are not all created equal, or that Jesus was somehow not created, but is above you and me by God's will. But what would that be? In any case you would have to admit to something that does not imply equality.'

People are born with different inherent strengths and weaknesses and into different families at different periods of time with greatly varying opportunities, so in many ways I would say that people are not created equal. But on many levels, such as where morality and justice are concerned, I believe all men are created equal. Jesus subjected himself to the law, and followed it without sin. But beyond that, when people say things like "all men are created equal", Jesus was not created in the first place. He is God, and no one created God. Jesus' physical body was born into this world, but His Spirit existed before time began. So all three parts of the Trinity are equal, but you and I are not part of the Trinity, and are not equal when compared to the Trinity.

Alban: 'And how could you ever meet Jesus' imperative to be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and to love as he - Jesus - did?'

"Perfect" is a very ambiguous word both in English and in Greek and is rarely used sensibly in this present age. By what standard are you even defining that word? Perfection is relative and needs to be associated with a specific context. By itself it is meaningless. Pharaoh was a perfect creation because he precisely performed the function he was designed to fulfill: to be a vessel of wrath and a picture of God's righteous justice.

You are taking that verse in Matthew out of context:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

The Greek word in that passage that was translated into "perfect" is teleios, which generally means "fulfilled", "completed", or "whole". There is a parallel between the two passages I made bold. Jesus is saying that our love should not be incomplete; that we should not rule out anyone, regardless of how they treat us. God is the one who will judge, not us: 'Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord' (Romans 12:19)

As to meeting God's requirement for love, that is what the Gospel is all about. Only through the Holy Spirit working through people can anyone truly love another person. Oftentimes when the Bible uses the word "perfecting" it is referring to Christians being gradually made more like Jesus. That doesn't mean becoming like Jesus in every sense, but in some senses, such as in the use of love. A Christian will never be fully "perfected" in this life, but in heaven they will be. That still won't mean they are the same as God, for they will still be different in many ways.

Alban: '"If the Bible is the foundation of your thought system, can you then sum up for me what to you is its most basic thought?"'

The most basic thought of the Bible is God. And the purpose of and the means by which we and the rest of His creation relates to Him.

Could you provide your definition for "spirit"? I don't think you're using that word in the same sense that the Bible does.

Actually, I enjoy the idea of being a figment of your imagination. I must be the little voice in the back of your head telling you that you're crazy. You'll need to take some heavy-duty medication to get rid of me.

But seriously, if this blog is an illusion, why are you even bothering with it? And why should anyone listen to you and believe what you say if to you they are only hallucinations, and what you say to them are hallucinations as well?

The grand irony in all of this is: if what you say is true, then what you say is a lie.

Alban, Teacher of God said...

I need to cut this off. I see no gain in this. I don't understand your thinking. Does it reflect my experience of God, light, and love? No, it doesn't. You clearly demonstrated that you don't understand anything I say. You may think I am like you, but I am not.

You obviously can't hear anything I say. Your mind is set on a particular idea, and nothing else will pass your selective perception.

I can only assume you are completely subtracted from what you are saying. If you, for one moment, would really and honestly apply your ideas to you personally, could you accept them as what you want to be true? Would you want to teach them?

If you are really saying, God could come along any time and destroy whatever He wills, or even create to destroy, let it be your family and all your loved ones. How do you feel about that? Would that be o.k. for you? You might pause a moment.