Anyone who is intellectually honest enough to learn the sicha in context and see the sources from Chazal (e.g., that a malach is called Havayeh at the time of the shlichus) quoted in the sicha, instead of misquoting a phrase out of context (and usually mistranslating too--the original doesn't say "enclothed" but "vi er hot zichareingeshtelt"--"as he put himself") will see that the Rebbe is simply talking about the concept found in many earlier sources in Chazal etc. that Hashem is revealed to the world through the Tzaddik (not that the Tzaddik'sguf is itself etc. ch"v, as some people here wish to twist it into saying).
As I said, there are many, many sources that corroborate this idea, and they are compiled in the sefer "Al Hatzaddikim," from RebAvrohomBoruchPevzner. If you are serious and intellectually honest about understanding this idea instead of using it as a reason to bash other Jews, I recommend you study this text.
It also seems no coincidence that the ones who insist on reading that intention into these words are the ones who've exposed themselves to Buddhism and Christianity.
Legufoshelinyan of the comparisons with other religions, someone who wants to go down that path will find comparisons galore between all Torah thinkers and those of other religions in numerous areas. And the reason is very simple: because all truth stems from Torah, which is absolutely true and perfect, and other religions l'havdil are a mixture of truth and falsehood. So if there is a certain comparison with Torah, so what? That's only to be expected, because that's where they draw their truth from.
Except that neither the original sichah nor "Al haTzaddiqim" stop at calling the mal'akh (angelic or human) Havayah. From the 2nd line of pg 3: "umetareitz, sherebbehumemutzahhamechabeirVEHQBSHOREH BO" (emphasis mine).
You're downplaying the use of "AtzmusuMahus", to insure the listener knows we're not talking about Or EinSof.
Also, the closing words of section 2, "veHQBHshochein ad beqirbo".
And then chapter 3 begins with an explanation of "HQBHmedabeirmitokhgeronoshel Moshe in terms of the observation that since bitul eliminates the wall between man and G-d, it is HQBH speaking. Not it is "like" He is speaking. But that the wall between man and G-d is gone -- beyond the bitul of an eved in front of his king. Ad she'einhatalmudchakhammetzi'usatzmokelalukelal... (nr top of page 4) The person is gone, all that is left is G-d.
Yes, I think there is a fuzziness being used between saying the person is a merkavah (as the avos were), the person's BODY is a merkavah and the person is gone, the person being called G-d vs the person is god, etc... But that's just identifying the source of the fundamental error.