The Jesus of history and the Christ of faith

By Richard Hooper, M.DIV

Most modern Christians believe that Jesus’ teachings were unique, that he claimed to be the only begotten Son of God, and that only through believing in him can one attain salvation.  These matters have nothing to do with the historical Jesus however.

The Jesus of history and the Christ of faith are two entirely different people, one historical, the other, mythical.

If you strip away all the layers of mythology about Jesus written by Paul and the Christian evangelists who wrote the canonical Gospels, it becomes clear that Jesus’  message about the Kingdom of God has dramatic parallels to teachings found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.

And when we read the Gnostic Gospels, we will also come to realize that Gnostic-Christianity also held much in common with the religions of the Far East.  The risen Jesus who teaches his disciples in The Gospel of Thomas, for instance, sounds more that Krishna than the Jesus of Christian faith. 

The historical Jesus - a mystic

There is a profound difference between the religion of Jesus and the orthodox religion about him.  What most Christians fail to realize is that the historical Jesus was a mystic. 

While orthodox Christianity teaches that the Kingdom of God is a perfect world that God will usher in at the end of time, Jesus taught that the Kingdom is a present reality that exists both within us and outside of us.

What Jesus taught

Jesus, unlike orthodox Christians (but just like Krishna, Buddha, and Lao Tzu), taught  the path of renunciation.  He counseled people to trust that God would provide, and that a life spent accumulating material possessions would never lead to happiness.  Instead, Jesus said, people who really wish to find God should sell everything they owned


Register Now for Free Inspirational Excerpts from Our
Authors Books!

To Receive Your Free
Inspirational Excerpts, Articles, Updates & Much More...

Just enter your Name & Primary Email Address
Below & Your First
Excerpt will be emailed
to You Shortly.

He did not teach family values, but told his disciples to leave their families and become  ascetics and renunciates like himself.  And while Jesus did not disapprove of marriage, he counseled celibacy for all those who seriously wished to live a godly life.  Buddha, Krishna and Lao Tzu told their disciples exactly the same thing.

The Jesus found in the Gnostic Gospels is a world savior in the sense that he came to teach people how to free themselves from the material world.  He did not talk about saving anyone from sin.  “Salvation,” in Gnostic Christianity is achieved through attaining “gnosis,” true spiritual knowing.  It is essentially the same idea as “enlightenment” and “liberation” in Hindu and Buddhist teachings.

While orthodox Christianity teaches that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, the Jesus of the Gnostic Gospels taught exactly what Krishna taught in the Bagavad Gita: that each of us is God.

 As Krishna put it, “Tat tvam asi,” “Thou art That.”  The true Self (not the ego-identity) is divine.  It is our true nature, the nature that resides waiting to be awakened.  The divine nature is God.  If Jesus really spoke the words found in The Gospel of John, “I and the Father are one,” then he was simply using the same language that all mystics use.


The teachings of four spiritual masters brought together in a single book.
Read reviews of this book
Read Contents & page excerpts

“Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, Comes to Me.”  The Gospel According to John

“He who works for Me alone and has Me for his goal, is devoted to Me, is freed from attachment, and bears enmity towards no creature, He enters Me."  The Bagavad Gita 

 “He will go to the other shore and stand on dry land if he has realized liberation and hidden knowledge in this life.”   Catukka Nipata Pali 

“Knowing that which does not change is enlightenment. Not knowing is blindness…To be one with Tao is divine. Though you may die, you will not perish. The Tao te Ching

For an extensive discussion on this subject, as well as hundreds of direct parallels between the teachings of Jesus and those found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, please see our publication,

Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings

A “world bible” for all those interested in the teachings of mystics of all ages and religions.
Read reviews of this book
Read Contents & page excerpts