Alan Jacobs wrote an excellent critique of Philip Jenkins’ work, The Lost History of Christianity. (Jacobs actually critiques a Boston Globe essay by Jenkins, but the Globe essay was “a kind of preview” to Jenkins’ new book.)
Here’s an excerpt:
And if I do give up on the uniqueness of Jesus, what do I retain? I think we get a clue in this passage from Jenkins:
By the twelfth century, flourishing churches in China and southern India were using the lotus-cross. The lotus is a superbly beautiful flower that grows out of muck and slime. No symbol could better represent the rise of the soul from the material, the victory of enlightenment over ignorance, desire, and attachment. For two thousand years, Buddhist artists have used the lotus to convey these messages in countless paintings and sculptures. The Christian Cross, meanwhile, teaches a comparable lesson, of divine victory over sin and injustice, of the defeat of the world.
But these lessons are not comparable at all; they are quite dramatically at odds with each other, which may help to explain why attempts to reconcile them—if indeed that was really what was going on—have not succeeded. Christianity, being anything but Gnostic, does not believe that the material world is evil, but rather good: the glorious creation of a personal God. Christianity does not teach the innocence or purity of the soul, but rather the corruption of the will and the resulting involvement of the body in sin: As the Body says in a poem by Andrew Marvell, What but a Soul could have the wit / To build me up for Sin so fit? Christianity does not believe in nonattachment, but rather teaches precisely the opposite, that we should weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. The Buddha says, “He who has no love has no woe”; St. John says, “He who does not love abides in death.”
The whole article is well worth reading.