Johnson (Whitey, 2011, etc.) investigates competing religious views of Jesus Christ.
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus asked his followers: “Who do people say that I am?” As simple a question as it seems, the answers are even more numerous now than they were in biblical times. Who or what do people and the faiths they follow say Jesus was? Was he human? Was he the son of God? Was he something else entirely? Prying deeper into this question, the author seeks answers from doctrines and thinkers of various religious groups. Who, for instance, is Jesus according to the Quran? How did ancient Gnostics view him? Incorporating the works of many famous and not-so famous minds (from Blaise Pascal to yogi Ramakrishna Paramahamsa), the main question, along with examinations of religions and the sects within religions, are investigated in a sober manner. Although many Hindus may believe Jesus was a man of peace and importance, he is “not the sole Great Man.” The same can be said of the Dalai Lama, who “accepts a Jesus that folds into that Buddhist story while declining to accept traditional Christian doctrine about Jesus.” It may be obvious that Jesus serves as a focus for most of Christianity and not for other religions (otherwise they, too, would be Christians), but what is of greater interest is why. This is where the book shines. Johnson articulates what he considers to be key differences between faiths; for example: “Christianity and Judaism disagree on the nature of the problem—the human condition—they also disagree on the answer to the problem.” Though the book is brief, it’s dense with information. While Christ’s place in all religions is not covered exhaustively (Jesus as portrayed in the Baha’i faith might have been of interest, likewise indigenous responses to Christianity in places like the Americas), the material provided offers a lot to consider.
A concise, enlightened examination of various perspectives on Christ.