Re: Only One Way To Heaven
I have no trouble reading the passage in John (and some other similar ones in the same gospel) as mysticism. The Orthodox branch of Christianity still has a strong emphasis on mystical "theosis" in which the seeker gradually becomes more and more like God within. At its best this is not just about moral transformation but also about taking on the vulnerability of truly loving these poor creatures we call humans, who will disappoint you nearly every time. Dostoevsky portrays this in "The Brothers Karamazov".
Some of John's wilder pronouncements, such as "I have other sheep that you know not of" (made famous by Joseph Smith's interpretation that it referred to the Lost Tribes of Israel who had made their way by sea to the New World) probably work best through this mystical framework.
But the reference to Psalm 82 never worked for me. It always seemed like one of those bizarre passages in which words are put into Jesus' mouth to back some point the author wanted to make (most obvious all through Matthew.) I mean, if you read it, the context is Yahweh saying to the "other gods" (there seems to have been a common notion of them having an assembly, in Middle Eastern mythology) that they will perish like mortals. Which might have been a reasonable conclusion to draw by people who identified the Zoroastrian framework of the Persian Empire as monotheism. The Middle Eastern deities were generally a loutish, violent and capricious bunch, and probably deserved to die at the hands of Yahweh's stand-in, Ahura Mazda.
(I understand that in Jewish tradition from before Jesus, this passage was already being interpreted as a reference to angels or to judges or even to the Hebrews at Sinai, none of which is a very reasonable interpretation of the plain words of the Psalm.)
It's a huge stretch to claim that was actually a reference to mortals being gods. Perhaps Jesus, or the author of the Fourth Gospel, were picking up on "hints of theosis" in the ancient writings, and running with them, midrash style.
But to me the more straightforward interpretation is that the author and his churches in Asia Minor were getting grief from more traditional Jewish worshippers, and went cherry-picking for passages that might allow for Jesus to be interpreted as divine. I do think the idea of "divine" for him was somewhat enlightened: Logos, light, truth, etc., so he was not being "off the wall", but he was stretching the scriptural reference past the breaking point of credulity.
I should probably watch the video. What you are giving as Watts' interpretation is not at all unbelievable, though there are some other passages which are more troublesome for the "self-realization" interpretation. John seems to be fighting a rear-guard action against these inclusive notions of what counts as enlightenment, with a fair amount of gnostic and other mystery teachings floating around in the Hellenistic world. This easy-going version, reaching its crown in the construction of the Hagia Sophia basilica in Constantinople, seems to have both attracted and repelled John at the same time, and I am not sure I accept any interpretation that sees only one side of that tension.
The early church seems to have turned away, in the third and fourth centuries CE, from the inclusive, intellectual, gnostic approach to theology. Partly because people made up a lot of very goofy interpretations, the church fathers started promoting an "orthodox version" even before Constantine insisted on definitions and creeds. Frankly I think that was mainly because the leadership wanted to corral the ordinary followers and get them to take orders from the hierarchy.
Interesting irony that Christianity was narrowing down and working at excluding people while Judaism was going into the vast proliferation of commentaries and insights of Rabbinic Judaism.
Yes, quote mining. Exactly.