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Anorak | Fox News attack Muslim author on Jesus for not being Christian enough – audience agrees

Fox News attack Muslim author on Jesus for not being Christian enough – audience agrees

by | 14th, August 2013

reza aslan

ACCORDING to the Fox News religion expert, Lauren Green, you can only write about Jesus if you’re a Christian. This explains why only ex-footballers are allowed to talk about soccer on Fox , Republicans are only able to discuss their party with any insight and  Fox’s  roving reporter ZogH1 is the leading authority on space travel.

Richard Bartholomew looks at the idiocy.

ONE does not expect much from Fox News at the best of times; but  a recent interview  with  Reza Aslan  has deservedly come under particular mockery for the interviewer’s ignorance and bad faith.

The interview was conducted by Lauren Green, who is described as being “a religion correspondent” for Fox, and it concerned Aslan’s new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth . Green appeared to no know little of the book or of scholarship in general, and the segment consists exclusively of her demanding an explanation from Aslan about why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus.

Choosing the most egregiously stupid moment is tricky – Green accuses Aslan of failing to “disclose” that he is a Muslim, despite the facts he does so on the second page of his book and that he’s one of the better-known Muslim commentators in the USA; there’s also a bizarre analogy in which she compares Aslan to a Democrat writing a book about Ronald Reagan; but the lowest point I think was this:

You’re quoting yourself as a scholar, and I’ve interviewed scholars who have written books on the Resurrection, on the real Jesus, and who are looking at the same information that you’re saying… to say that your information is somehow different from theirs is really not being honest…

lauren green We all understand (at, least, over here  in the UK ) that a news interviewer’s job is often to take a hostile and sceptical line, even if that line is not particularly strong, but that’s not the same things appearing to be clueless. Throughout the interview, Aslan attempted patiently to convey to Green the nature of academic study. He made it very clear to her that his book is located within a scholarly debate, and that the book is not based on any kind of Islamic agenda. In particular, he stated that the book calls into question the historicity of the Virgin Birth, which is an Islamic as well as a Christian belief, and that the book rejects the Islamic teaching that Jesus was  not really crucified .

Green’s complaints were taken from vague polemical objections by conservative Christian apologists, primarily an  ad hominem  attack  by a pastor named John S. Dickerson ( this guy ) that was published by Fox a few days ago:

Liberal media love new Jesus book ‘Zealot’, fail to mention author is Muslim

…As a sincere man, Aslan’s Muslim beliefs affect his entire life, including his conclusions about Jesus. But this is not being disclosed. “Zealot” is being presented as objective and scholarly history, not as it actually is—an educated Muslim’s opinions about Jesus and the ancient Near East.

“Zealot” is a fast-paced demolition of the core beliefs that Christianity has taught about Jesus for 2,000 years. Its conclusions are long-held Islamic claims—namely, that Jesus was a zealous prophet type who didn’t claim to be God, that Christians have misunderstood him, and that the Christian Gospels are not the actual words or life of Jesus but “myth.”

Remarkably, Dickerson manages to drone on for more than 750 words without refering to a single specific argument made by Aslan, beyond the general point that he approaches the Bible in a standard critical way:

Aslan informs us that we cannot trust the Gospel of Mark–because it was written 40 years after Jesus’ death. He then chides us to trust his new book, written almost 2,000 years later.

Judging from a quick browse of Aslan’s text  on Amazon , it appears to me that Aslan’s perspective on the historicity of Mark is temperate and completely in line with mainstream scholarship and the understanding of educated Christians which is that the text is assembles earlier traditions, and is written in a certain way in order to make a particular point. “Trust” is a complete red herring.

Aslan has scholarly credentials, but he’s not a specialist in this area (his PhD dissertation,

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Posted: 14th, August 2013 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink