Reza Aslan meets ‘experts’ on God | The Washington Post

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Nobody has ever mistaken me for a Muslim, but I now feel an affinity toward Muslims or, more accurately, toward one Muslim— Reza Aslan. Fox News personality Loren Green unintentionally helped Aslan’s book reach the top of bestseller lists when she repeatedly asked him why a Muslim would write about the “founder of Christianity.” Aslan responded as a professional, mentioning his scholarly credentials and careful research that had helped him draw conclusions independent of his religious beliefs.

 I must confess that I have a fantasy of Fox News interviewing me about my book, during which Loren Green substitutes “atheist” for “Muslim” to discredit anything I say about Jesus. And here’s my snarky response: “Jesus was born and died a Jew, knowing nothing of Christianity. The Bible refers to him as ‘king of the Jews,’ not ‘king of the Christians.’ My vote for founder of Christianity goes to a Jew named Saul, who later became Paul. Perhaps my Jewish background makes me more qualified to talk about Jesus, a fellow Jew, than does someone like you with a Gentile background. Just as we’re both skeptical when members of the American Nazi Party praise Adolph Hitler, shouldn’t we also be skeptical when Christians make claims about an infallible Jesus while literally worshipping the ground he walked on? Of course I’m not comparing Christians to Nazis. I’m just asking whether we have reason to suspect such biased accounts.”

My Jewish upbringing neither qualifies nor disqualifies me from writing about Jesus, Hitler, or anyone else. It’s fair to ask how any author’s background or beliefs might have influenced his or her writings, but the focus should be on whether the author justifies assertions made.

Written By: Herb Silverman
continue to source article at washingtonpost.com

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  1. In other news:

    Fox News Presenter (FNP): So, Jesus Christ, why would a Jew want to save believers of a religion that was created after his death?

    Jesus Christ (JC) : Well, errr, what?!

    FNP: I said, why would a….

    JC: I heard what you said. I just, anyway: to be clear, I’m the son of a mere carpenter and his (maybe) Virgin wife who also happens to hold several qualifications: The Son of God and God and the Holy Spirit Itself, so my credentials are impeccable.

    FNP: Meh. The question, and I repeat, is this: your (sic) a Jew. Why save Christians?

    JC: I happen to be a Jew. But, to repeat, I’m God, His Son and The Holy Spirit. This qualifies me, if anybody, to save people, let alone Christians.

    FNP: Which reminds me: why haven’t you said your (sic) a Jew and Son of God and God and the Holy Spirit previous to this interview?

    JC: Mam: have you read My Book? On the very first page, I say that I am….

    FNP: Errr, I’m not so sure about that.

    JC: On page 1 of the Holy Bible, Book of Genesis, it says, and I quote: “In the…

    FNP: Aw, I’m sorry. We seem to have lost our live feed. Jesus Christ, we thank you. And now, the weather followed by The O’Reilly Factor where Bill asks: why does Obama care about Americans when he comes from Af…

    • In reply to #2 by RDfan:

      In other news:

      Fox News Presenter (FNP): So, Jesus Christ, why would a Jew want to save believers of a religion that was created after his death?

      Jesus Christ (JC) : Well, errr, what?!

      FNP: I said, why would a….

      JC: I heard what you said. I just, anyway: to be clear, I’m the son of a mere carp…

      Excellent interview, RDfan. I wonder why you picked on a favourite mistake of the untutored, “your” for “you’re,” when you left out the rogue ‘ apostrophe which has many role’s, its/ it’s and which seem’s to turn up everywhere it shouldnt, and never in it’s proper place??

        • In reply to #5 by RDfan:

          In reply to #3 by Kevin Murrell:

          Just a bit of harmless fun; and it seems like something a FNP would do :)

          I’m sure that they would, and far worse. I can’t stand their strident, shrill American accents.

      • In reply to #3 by Kevin Murrell:

        In reply to #2 by RDfan:

        In other news:

        Fox News Presenter (FNP): So, Jesus Christ, why would a Jew want to save believers of a religion that was created after his death?

        Jesus Christ (JC) : Well, errr, what?!

        FNP: I said, why would a….

        JC: I heard what you said. I just, anyway: to be clear,…

        ” I wonder why you picked on a favourite mistake of the untutored, “

        Only tutors I ever used were math and chemistry tutors. Perhaps that is why I still mistake that mistake on occasion, though I would rather make mistakes in usage than stoichiometry!

        • In reply to #8 by Neodarwinian:

          In reply to #3 by Kevin Murrell:

          In reply to #2 by RDfan:

          In other news:

          Fox News Presenter (FNP): So, Jesus Christ, why would a Jew want to save believers of a religion that was created after his death?

          Jesus Christ (JC) : Well, errr, what?!

          FNP: I said, why would a….

          JC: I heard what you s…

          It’s all a matter of proportion isn’t it? Still, if I’d tutored you for English, you’d be as clear about the laws for joining linguistic components together, as you are about the laws for doing the same with chemicals.

          PS I cheated and looked up the meaning of “stoichiometry,” O level and Bro Sheehan didn’t take me that far.

    • In reply to #2 by RDfan:

      In other news:

      Fox News Presenter (FNP): So, Jesus Christ, why would a Jew want to save believers of a religion that was created after his death?

      Jesus Christ (JC) : Well, errr, what?!

      FNP: I said, why would a….

      JC: I heard what you said. I just, anyway: to be clear, I’m the son of a mere carp…

      Reminds me of Dostoevsky. Nice.

  2. Reza Aslan meets ‘experts’ on God | The Washington Post

    I’m glad to see the word “experts” in quotes.

    Nobody has ever mistaken me for a Muslim, but I now feel an affinity toward Muslims or, more accurately, toward one Muslim— Reza Aslan. Fox News personality Loren Green unintentionally helped Aslan’s book reach the top of bestseller lists when she repeatedly asked him why a Muslim would write about the “founder of Christianity.”

    I find the concept of “experts” speaking on Faux News comical!

  3. I wish Heb would learn how to write. This article is all over the place, lacks focus and makes no real point at all (except maybe that nothing qualifies Fox News interviewers as experts on religion, in which case the title of the article is misleading). The article also isn’t very well researched, either; Reza Aslan “misrepresented” his professional credentials in the interview. C’mon, Herb, pull it together!

  4. I admire Herb greatly. A humble spokesman for reason, a well qualified mathematician, great debater and an unfathomably polite gentleman. Had to chuckle at the great passage: “I know absolutely nothing about God, but I think that qualifies me as an expert on God.”

  5. I’d think such a book could only be written by a non-Chistian- otherwise you start from the premise that he existed and then twist and contort whatever you find to fit the hypothesis. Even a “reformed Christian” like Bart Ehrman tortures logic to within an inch of its life in his latest book claiming historicity.

    Basically, however, everything about the Jesus story just sets off my bullshit detector so violently that no “serious” scholarship is necessary.

    • In reply to #12 by rjohn19:

      I’d think such a book could only be written by a non-Chistian- otherwise you start from the premise that he existed and then twist and contort whatever you find to fit the hypothesis. Even a “reformed Christian” like Bart Ehrman tortures logic to within an inch of its life in his latest book claimi…

      I’m quite sure that he existed. The thing is that stories get conflated, joined to other much older stories, reprocessed etc. One of my minor hobbies is folk song, and if you follow the ballad narratives back in time (vide AL Lloyd: Folk Song in England), they have a time frame of several thousand years.

      Then there’s the structuralist stuff. You don’t have to deny the existence of JC, to find the whole thing to be a load of old cobblers. Stories get jumbled. I used to tell a story that my mother told me, about herself, and she was adamant that I had melded two stories. That only took forty years! The Bible has had several thousand to do much more complex stuff.

  6. Right now I am agnostic about whether such a person actually trod the sod or if he was more an amalgam or even caricature old strange holy men. The only thing I have heard to remotely testify to his existence came from Hitch, oddly enough, who delineated the Gospel lies lies told to get this person to where he had to be to fulfil OT prophesy.

    But the things we don’t about him have me leaning the other way. Real, notable people even of his supposed day and earlier left deeper footprints and at the very least we know with some reliability when they were born and when they died- and these other figures had no special stars or earthquakes or blackening of the sun or dead people dancing in the street to help us remember the dates.

    • In reply to #16 by adey5:

      Will Mr Aslan be writing a piece on Mohammed, the founder of islam and “draw conclusions independent of his religious beliefs”

      He has written on Muhammad and Islam, not sure what conclusions he draws as I have not yet read the book, but it is on my list to read. The name of the book is, ‘No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam’

      FYI: Muhammad is the correct spelling, Mohammed is the Urdu and Indian version of the name, because Muhammad was an Arab, the Arabic spelling (Muhammad) is correct.

    • Try this one:
      In every love song you hear, substitute the word “rug” for the word love… It gets pretty funny.
      Rug stinks…
      All you need is rug…
      etc….

      Alternatively you could sub in the word “rub”…
      Like the McDonald’s jingle…. “da da da da da…I’m rubbing it”
      “rub me tender…”

      Just something we did as asshole teenage boys here in Philly in the 80′s. (and I know it is crappy and juvenile, however, it was funny to twelve year old boys in 1980.)

      In reply to #17 by Mr DArcy:

      Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live – in bed.

      I come not in peace but with a sword – in bed.

      Shellfish is an abomination, – in bed.

      Hmm, Maybe Herb has a point ?

    • In reply to #20 by jimbobjim:

      “Historic Jesus” is as much of an oxymoron as “Historic (insert any Old Testament character here).”

      Ramesses

      Do you have a quote of where this name appears in the Bible?

      Pharaohs in the book of Exodus – From Wikipedia

      The book of Exodus tells how the Israelites are enslaved in Egypt and eventually escape under the leadership of Moses. At least two pharaohs are involved, the “pharaoh of the oppression” who enslaves the Israelites, and the “pharaoh of the exodus”, during whose rule the Israelites escape. The biblical story does not name either, nor does it give enough information to identify the period in which the events are set, with the result that there have been many suggestions as to which of Egypt’s many rulers was involved. Candidates put forward for the role include:

    • In reply to #22 by jimbobjim:

      Rameses – Genesis 47:11

      I see this in in fact so in the KJ version. – although it does not mention which Rameses (I or II)> Still – There is usually the odd exception to generalities! The other references merely say “Pharaoh”.

  7. Mr. Reza Aslan, or you are a Muslim, or a total ignoramus Divine Person of Jesus, the history of the church and the whole of Christianity. You can see that you thoroughly read any of the Gospels do not mention the entire Bible!

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