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A Review of Burt Wilson's THE THIRD THEORY

With the publication of cosmological physicist Frank Tipler's seminal work, The Physics of Immortality (1993), the "iron curtain" that had been erected in the early 20th century between religion and science by establishment theologians and scientists was finally lifted.

Now comes Burt Wilson and his new book The Third Theory which rips that curtain to shreds. Wilson, like Tipler, and Tipler's predecessors, the great 18th century Deists such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Ethan Alan, also rejects the idea that truth exists in two dimensions--one accessible only by rational observation, the other only by irrational faith--but goes a few steps further by depicting the basic format of the birth and structure of the universe, graphically showing its complete integrity and oneness.

Wilson, like the great 19th century Deist, Buckminster Fuller, begins his search for truth by rejecting everything taught by religious and scientific creation theories and instead does his own thinking and draws his own conclusions based on a body of knowledge he calls the "Ancient Wisdom." Thus he is able to answer, in a very unique and convincing way what conventional science's blind dismissal of theology and organized religion's literal acceptance of the Bible cannot: the age-old questions of "who are we, where have we come from, why are we here and where are we going?

Another Wilson, Robert Anton Wilson, once pointed out that modern chemistry does not negate alchemy and modern astronomy does not negate astrology, but that both build on their predecessors. Burt Wilson, in the same manner, builds a synthesis of religion and science by first pointing out the absurdities of both and then filling in the gaps with new philosophical thought. His unique contribution is derived from his life long study of ancient esoteric traditions and his effort to update, as it were, some of the charts and texts the ancients used to guide them. Thus he has brought us a new guidebook, a kind of compass to the cosmos, for people living in today's world.

Wilson does not seek so much to posit an alternative explanation of ancient wisdom but rather to make it clearer, more easily intelligible and relevant to the contemporary world. He teaches rather than preaches. His style is engaging and he seeks to include, not exclude, those who might not share his view or his perspective, he is respectful toward his reader and assiduously avoids even any comment that might insult the intelligence of his readers or his critics. While he shows us much that he has learned from his study of the subject, he does not show off his knowledge. And he writes well, which in a field that seems overrun by obscurantists is no mean achievement.

--Rev. Peter Hans Christiansen

(The Rev. Peter H. Christiansen, M.Div., is a Unitarian Universalist
Minister, formerly Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Los
Angeles and former Co-Editor of The Orb, an independent Unitarian
Universalist theological quarterly. He is currently a leading proponent of
neo-Deism, which contends that theology is a branch of physics.)

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