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July 31st, 2013
09:07 AM ET

What Reza Aslan actually says about Jesus

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - As you might have heard, Lauren Green at Fox didn’t do a very good job interviewing Reza Aslan on his new book about the historical Jesus.

Instead of asking him about "Zealot," she asked him why, as a Muslim, he would presume to write a book about Jesus. He responded by citing (and re-citing) his academic credentials.

The interview went viral, and Aslan went to No. 1 on Amazon.com (ahead of J. K. Rowling).

But what does the book actually say? Here are seven of Aslan's key arguments in "Zealot":

1. Jesus was a violent revolutionary

Many scholars have argued that Jesus was a political figure. After all, he was crucified by Rome, and crucifixion was at the time a punishment for political offenses. But these scholars often claim, as John Dominic Crossan did in "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography," that Jesus was a nonviolent revolutionary.

Aslan portrays Jesus as a man of war who worshiped the "blood-spattered God of Abraham, and Moses, and Jacob, and Joshua” and who knew full well that “God’s sovereignty could not be established except through force.”

2. Jesus’ kingdom was worldly

In the Gospel of John, Jesus famously says, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Aslan begs to differ. Jesus’ kingdom was neither purely nor predominantly spiritual. He preached “a physical and present kingdom: a real kingdom, with an actual king that was about to be established on earth.”

3. Jesus revolted against Roman and Jewish authorities

Jesus didn’t just take on Rome. He took on Jewish authorities, in particular those who ran the Jerusalem Temple.

“There can be no doubt,” writes Aslan, “that Jesus’s main antagonist in the gospels is neither the distant emperor in Rome nor his heathen officials in Judea. It is the high priest Caiaphas, who will become the main instigator of the plot to execute Jesus precisely because of the threat he posed to the Temple’s authority.”

4. Palm Sunday is the key moment in the Jesus story

Every Jesus biographer has a key moment in the life of Jesus when his essence is revealed. For Aslan, that moment comes when Jesus mounts a donkey and rides into Jerusalem.

In this celebration, commemorated in the Christian world every year on Palm Sunday, Jesus is not demonstrating his humility. Instead, he is announcing his kingship.

The “unmistakeable” message of this scene, according to Aslan, is that “the long-awaited messiah — the true King of the Jews — has come to free Israel from its bondage.”

5. The early church turned Jesus into a pacifist preaching a spiritual kingdom

In 66-73 CE, a bloody Jewish revolt against Rome left Jerusalem in ruins and chastened the early Christians, who reinvented Jesus as an apolitical figure in order to make nice with Rome.

Those who wrote of Jesus in this way (Paul included) never met the man, and, in Aslan's view, they badly mischaracterized him, turning “their messiah from a fierce Jewish nationalist into a pacifistic preacher of good works whose kingdom was not of this world.”

6. The idea that Jesus was God also originated with the early church

As a Jew, Aslan observes, Jesus would have rebelled against any notion that God is incarnated in human flesh.

Therefore, the elevation of Jesus to divinity must have come after his crucifixion, at the hands of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians who “transformed Jesus from a revolutionary zealot to a Romanized demigod.”

7.  The Bible isn’t to be believed (as history)

In "Zealot," Aslan repeatedly refers to passages in the New Testament as “preposterous,” “fanciful,” “obviously contrived,” “riddled with the most basic errors,” “simply ridiculous,” and “absurd to the point of comedy.”

Here the Bible is a source for data about Jesus’s life, but that data must be carefully sifted through a scholarly lens, and in particular through the socioeconomic realities of life in the ancient Mediterranean at the time of Jesus.

At least as Aslan sees it, Jesus probably didn’t tell his followers to turn the other cheek. He probably did say, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword” (Matthew 10:34).

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Islam • Jesus

soundoff (854 Responses)
  1. Mike from CT

    Yes the fox interview was bad, but he continues to not be forthright in his practicing faith.

    I would like an interview where he answers

    The Bible isn’t to be believed (as history), but uses that same text insists that Jesus was crucified. Seems a bit hypocritical. He'll gladly use the text as history if it backs up his point

    July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      agreed, mike. there's no proof jesus existed at all, let alone was crucified. the bible should never be used as "proof"of anything.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Really

        The Bible has stood up to more scholarly investigation and criticism than any other book. Even if you reject it's teaching it is true in every area

        July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Lateralus

          Hmmmm where's the proof of the Israelites being slaves in Egypt? Oh that's right, there is none.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • LOL

          Lol. Sure it is.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • ChrisA

        Actually there are almost no credible scholars that would agree with you. It is universally accepted that Jesus was an actual person. Were we disagree is on whether he did the things the Bible claims.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          No it isn't. Just because you are ignorant of the debate, you can't assert that. Dr, Richard Carrier says he didn't. Some other scholars doubt it. You can't say "universally" when that is patently false.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          No it isn't. Just because you are ignorant of the debate, you can't as'sert that. Dr, Richard Carrier says he didn't. Some other scholars doubt it. You can't say "universally" when that is patently false.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • ME II

          @ChrisA,
          While historians may agree that Jesus likely did exist, I think what MikeCT et al are saying is that there is no empirical evidence that Jesus existed.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • Mike from CT

          "no empirical evidence that Jesus existed." nor plato, nor the french revolution, nor the person who shot Abraham Lincoln, that is if he was shot and not a crisis actor.

          But history still remains a valid form of knowledge.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • RickP

      Reza Aslan lied in the Fox interview. He does not have a PhD in Religious History; It is in Sociology. He does not teach religion; he teaches revolution using literature. He is anti-Israel and associated with George Soros funded groups like The Center for American Progress, Code pink, Samantha Power, and an Iranian organization that is against Israel. He has no degree in History whatsoever. He wrote the book for a reason he has not disclosed yet. Source: TheBlaze TV

      August 1, 2013 at 4:59 am |
  2. flying spaghetti monster

    Why did jeebus name his pet parrot Onan?

    ... Because it spilled its seed upon the ground!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Lawrence

      Atheist epitaph: "Here lies an atheist, all dressed up, and nowhere to go..."

      July 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • Athy

        Where would he go?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          I dunno, maybe he'd go clubbing?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

        Thanks for pointing out how ridiculous heaven and hell are. To "go" somewhere you need space and time. Both are dimensions in this universe, not he spiritual realm. Oops.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  3. His panic

    No doubt about it in my mind, Lauren Green was nearly hysterical, and Reza Aslan became a victim of anxiety.

    If she really knew Jesus and who Jesus is, she would understand that is not matter of a Muslim writing about Jesus. He certainly has the right to write about whatever he wishes. Clearly she did not bother to read a least the first paragraph of the book. Which makes it kind of irresponsible for her, given her post with FOX. BTW I have not read neither plan to read the book, because the premise of the book by itself is false and of course from the point of view of a Muslim who does not know what and who Jesus is.

    Aslan claim in point 5 that Paul did never met Jesus while on earth as a man. Well then, neither Aslan has ever met Jesus as a man, neither as the Son of God. So then who is he to say that Paul got it wrong.

    So both Aslan and Green don't know Jesus. Which makes them both easy prey for anxiety, hysteria and Panic. However those who trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic or fall victims to hysteria.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Miss Anthrope

      Lol. Idiot.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • His panic

        Feeling hysterical or in a state of Panic? Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Son and you will not Panic or fall victim to hysteria. Those who trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic. All others will indeed Panic.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          Stop projecting your panic attacks onto others. Take you Klonapin, and go away.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • G to the T

      I think you misunderstand his argument. Paul taught a radically different version of christianity than that of the disciples. Many of the non-cannoncial books were used by churches that claimed one of the disciples as their founder.

      August 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  4. Reality

    Aslan is a Muslim which makes his motives very suspect. And obviously, he simply regurgitating the studies listed below and has the audacity to charge people for it:

    From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

    "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

    “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

    See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

    There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

    See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    From ask.com,

    "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

    Then there are these scriptural references:

    Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

    Added suggested readings:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter

    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
    – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
    4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
    7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
    8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
    joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
    9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
    10.The Gnostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
    by Douglas Groothuis: equip.or-g/free/DG040-1.htm
    15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
    mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
    16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
    17. Diseases in the Bible:
    etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
    18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, ethics, etc.
    religion-online.org/
    19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
    mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
    20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
    21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
    ntgateway.com/
    22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
    members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
    23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
    24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
    25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
    faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
    26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
    27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
    28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
    infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
    29. NT and beyond time line:
    pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
    30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
    31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
    32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
    33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
    34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
    35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

    July 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • AE

      Some of your links are broken.

      And some of the links go to some silly websites.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • Reality

        My apologies. Some web sites get removed without notification. Watch for forbidden fragments in some web addresses.

        I have updated the list but there is a fragment in the addresses that is preventing it from being published. Will continue to find said fragment.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Reality

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          July 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • Reality

        4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
        5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
        7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
        8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Reality

          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/

          July 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • Reality

        15. D-iseases in the Bible:
        http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ
        16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
        theologians, ethics, etc.
        religion-online.o-rg/

        July 31, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • Reality

          Still having fragment issues. More later.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • Reality

          17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/

          18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
          ntgateway.com/

          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory

          July 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • Reality

          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html

          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html

          22. NT and beyond time line:
          pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/

          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm

          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.

          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.

          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          July 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Vinchy

      No more suspect than your cut and paste BS. Examine your own motives for your drivel.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Lawrence

      Your article cites the "Jesus Seminar" as a resource? Good grief, that's like reading a comic book to learn how to be a detective. Honestly, those people are on the same level as the man who claims to be a poached egg.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Dennis Lurvey

        you c an start with the fact that there are no first hand accounts of Jesus life. all accounts were written at least 50 yrs later from stories passed down. there was one from josephus but it has been debunked. so all accounts were written from that doc a hundred plus years later. so no one really saw jesus and wrote anything down, yes he was that important. all we have is guesses and NT books contrived to tell a thousands year old story of a virgin birth and resurrection.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Lawrence

          There were no first hand accounts of Jesus??? Sure there were!The books of Matthew, Mark, Peter, hey, the book of James was written by Jesus' half brother... What about most of the New Testament? Paul saw the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, doesn't he count? You see, you are discounting the books of the Bible, just because they are the books of the Bible, but you can't do that. There is no logical reason to discount the books of the Bible as eye witness accounts.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Miss Anthrope

          Using the Bible to verify the Bible? Circular reasoning is exactly why peole thirst for more examination of Jesus. You are very silly.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Mike from CT

          So is defending rational by using reasoning, but some how you don't have a problem with circular logic unless it conflicts with your views.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • Lawrence

          Using the Bible to verify the Bible isn't circular reasonong... If I wanted to learn about Thomas Jefferson, then does that mean that I'm not allowed to read anything that he wrote, or anything his friends wrote about him? Come on, now that's silly...

          July 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          No they don't count. People with visions (Paul) are psychotic. We are to believe a psychotic ? ALl the others were written decades later by people who originally wrote their gospels WITHOUT those name attached. They were all added later. Why do atheists have to teach you people about your holy books ? Why did the original Mark have NO resurrection ? No scholar disputes that ?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          There is EXTERNAL evidence from Jefferson's writings he exoisted. Jebus wrote nothing. Fallacy of the false analogy, AND the gospels were written by those who were biased. Stories by believer FOR believers about what they already believed. Totally biased.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
        • G to the T

          Lawrence – they were not first-hand accounts. Biblical scholarship has been pretty clear (for over a hundred years now) that the names traditionally applied to books are most likely not the names of the original authors. This doesn't necessarily imply deception however, it may just be that they thought it was or were mistaking one "john" for another (as many of the names were common back then and no last names for the most part) for example.

          August 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Still have not grown up yet Reality?

      80-140 1 Clement

      Even though Clement died in 99.. and quoted Matthew Mark Luke and John in 95 AD . Well at least you spared us from dating 2nd Clement

      July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Reality

      The ground-breaking work of the Jesus Seminar appears in two texts: The Five
      Gospels (1993) and Acts of Jesus (1998), both published by Polebridge Press.
      The Jesus Seminar is a group of biblical scholars formerly chaired by Robert Funk, PhD.,
      who took the unprecedented step of voting as a group on the authenticity of the
      teachings and acts of Jesus. The following observations are taken from the
      introductory chapters of 5G and AOJ.

      Every individual saying and action was examined and rated by the Seminar as to
      whether Jesus actually said it or did it, or whether it was primarily the
      product of the author of the gospel. Building on the earlier work of individual
      scholars, the Seminar's research represents an unprecedented cooperative effort
      to separate what Jesus really said and did from what gets added on over time in
      the story telling and writing process.

      In addition to the four Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, that we have
      known for two thousand years, the Seminar also included the Gospel of Thomas in
      their considerations. Thomas consists of sayings of Jesus that were discovered
      at Nag Hamadi, along with hundreds of other ancient texts, in a major
      archeological discovery in 1945. Thomas is not in story form, but it is a
      series of sayings. Many of the sayings are very similar to what appear in the
      other four gospels, and it was used by the Seminar as an independent report of
      what Jesus said.

      The Seminar's work assumes that for a period of some years the stories about
      Jesus were passed on by word of mouth as his followers practiced his teachings
      and some anxiously expected his return. Ten years may have gone by before
      teachings and actions began to be written down, and perhaps another ten years
      passed before they were put into larger collections like Thomas. These
      collections were probably taking place about the same time that Paul was writing
      letters (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans) to various Christian communities.
      Eventually the materials were put together in story form, probably first by
      Mark, sometime around 70CE, followed by Matthew, John, and Luke/Acts, in that
      order. Some of the writing occurred as late as the first part to the middle of
      the second century CE.

      When the Seminar members voted, a red vote received 3 points, a pink vote
      received 2 points, a gray vote received 1 point, and a black vote received 0
      points. The colors were given the following definitions: Red = This statement
      is an accurate representation of what Jesus said or did. Pink = This statement
      very likely represents what Jesus said or did. Gray = This statement is most
      likely a formulation of the author, but the content is similar to what Jesus
      actually said or did. Black = This statement is purely a formulation of the
      author. A statement or event was given a final color code based on the
      following percentages: Red = .7501 or more of the scholars agreed that the
      teaching or event was authentic. Pink = .5001 to .7500 of the scholars agreed
      that the teaching or event was authentic. Gray = .2501 to .5000 of the scholars
      agreed that the teaching or event was authentic. Black = .0000 to .2500 of the
      scholars agreed that the teaching or event was authentic.

      THE SCHOLARS USED RULES to determine if Jesus really said or did something; for
      example:

      1. Primary assumption: Jesus was a reasonably well integrated person whose
      behavior was more or less congruent with his words.

      2. Certain categories, some much more than others, are common to the teaching
      and behavioral materials.

      (a) Itinerant

      (b) Family ties don't bind

      (c) Demon possession and exorcism

      (d) Social deviance

      (e) Association with undesirables

      (f) Embracing the unclean

      (g) Sabbath

      (h) Critics of Jesus

      (i) Healing

      3. Material that reflects knowledge of events after Jesus' death must be looked
      at cautiously.

      4. Material that appears in independent sources is older than the sources.

      5. Material that appears in independent contexts circulated on its own at an
      earlier time.

      6. Similar content that has taken on different forms had a prior life of its
      own.

      7. Oral memory best retains short, provocative, memorable material, like
      aphorisms and parables.

      8. It is more likely that the core or gist of a matter was recalled, rather than
      precise words.

      9. The writers likely put their own words in Jesus' mouth under the following
      conditions.

      (a) Story transitions: for example, "Let's go over to the other side." (Mk 4:35)

      (b) Summarizing the message: "The time is up. God's imperial rule is closing
      in." (Mk 1:15)

      (c) Anticipating the story: "The son of Adam is being turned over to his
      enemies, and they

      will end up killing him." (Mk 9:31)

      (d) Expressing the writer's view: "Why are you so cowardly? You still don't
      trust, do you?" (Mk 4:40)

      (e) Underscoring a narrative point: "He was unable to perform a single miracle
      there, except." (Mk 6:6)

      (f) Clarifying current practices: "The days will come when the groom is taken
      away from them, and then they will fast on that day." (Mk 2:20)

      (g) Eliciting a confessional point: "What about you, who do you say that I am?"
      (Mk 8:29)

      WHEN THE RULES ARE APPLIED an emerging pattern reinforces itself:

      (1) Talks distinctively, distinguishable from common lore.

      (2) Teaches against the social and religious grain.

      (3) Surprises and shocks by role reversal or frustration of ordinary
      expectation.

      (4) Uses characteristics of exaggeration, humor, and paradox.

      (5) Uses concrete and vivid images.

      6) Uses metaphorical language without explicit application.

      (7) Seldom initiates dialogue, debate, or healing activity.

      (8) Rarely speaks about himself in the first person.

      (9) Makes no claim to be the Messiah.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • Mike from CT

        The ground-breaking work of the Jesus Seminar.... is seen as bias voting with the voters presuppositions inserted as facts by ALL sides of scholarship not just the religious .

        See that post was much shorter and very much more accurate.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  5. Steven

    There's another great book about Jesus from a Jewish perspective on Amazon called 300 Times 0. It's .99 cents and well worth the read as it gives much more information as to what the Jewish Bible says about the real Messiah. The Christian "version" of what the Messiah actually is, is completely different from the Biblical Messiah. Take a look at the book 300 Times 0, you won't be disappointed.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Thinker23

      There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Jewish Messiah is in any way, shape or function more "real" than the Christian Messiah, Steven. .

      July 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  6. AE

    -The “unmistakeable” message of this scene, according to Aslan, is that “the long-awaited messiah — the true King of the Jews — has come to free Israel from its bondage.”-

    Jesus has come to free Israel, and all people, from its bandage to sin.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • AE

      Bondage, not bandage! :)

      July 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Only if you believe in that one flavor of one version of mythology.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • AE

        –Therefore, the elevation of Jesus to divinity must have come after his crucifixion, at the hands of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians who “transformed Jesus from a revolutionary zealot to a Romanized demigod.”–

        You mean – Jesus' disciples didn't believe He was God?

        What, did they deny Him, betray Him and run away in his greatest time of need?

        Oh, yea, they did.

        Not until after he was crucified did they truly know He was God.

        The New Testament is pretty clear about this.

        Seems like only John the Baptist and a few women, like Mary M. and mother Mary knew Him as God.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          It's a work of fiction written by men, relax a little.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • realbuckyball

          The divinity is different in each gospel. Being called a "son of god" was a ti'tle given to many people in those days. It just meant he was "righteous". In Hebrew culture NO ONE was "equal to" the divinity of Yahweh. No one. When the Witch of Endor conjured the shade of Saul in the OT what does she say she sees " "I see a divine being". All "divine" meant to the Jews was "other than ordinary", or "other than natural". It in no way meant "a god", or "godlike", and certainly NOT "equal to Yahweh". All that is "Presentism. Ignorant slapping of modern meanings onto an ancient culture.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • Thinker23

          Well, if Jesus WANTED to be known as God he could take care about it during his lifetime.would not he?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • AE

      – The early church turned Jesus into a pacifist preaching a spiritual kingdom–

      A lot of Jesus' parables teach peace.

      He teaches that we are to be peaceful, loving, and forgiving.

      However we are not meant to be door mats. Take a stand against evil.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        And a lot of jesus myths are very bad examples of morality, including the sermon on the mount.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • AE

          I think it is not wise to read Jesus' parables and look for a moral to the story.

          Jesus' parables uncover truths about human beings.

          Not morals.

          We need more than just a better moral code.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Hmmmmmmmm

      "free Israel, and all people, from its bandage to sin."

      To bad the DNA evidence proves Adam never existed thus never ate of any forbidden fruit so no inherited sin.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Thinker23

        Can you elaborate on this please? I wonder HOW can DNA evidence (or ANY OTHER evidence) PROVE that Adam (or Martians or Jesus or the Dragon) NEVER EXISTED?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      But I enjoy a little bondage sinning now and again, with my wife. Who is jebus to get up in my biz?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • realbuckyball

      The real role of a "messiah" (for the very small percentage of Jews who actually were into messianism, was to re-establish the political KINGDOM of Isra-El. Even the apostles thought that at the END of the "ministry" : "Wlit thou Lord at this time return the KINGDOM to Isra-EL". He got NONE of the tasks DONE, a messiah was supposed to do. There were at least 20 messiahs floating around. When that didn't happen, and after the bar Kochba revolt Jerusalem was destroyed, in 135 CE, all sorts of rationalizations and nonsense were added to keep the Way cult going. The "salvation paradigm" had been cooked up by Saul, and was NEVER a part of messianism, prior. as the Hebrews didn't even believe in immortality, ("going to heaven") as fundies do today.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • AE

        Jesus exposed the Jewish religious leaders and major hypocrites.

        Look at the parable of the good Samaritan -

        2 religious leaders (priest, student) refused to help a man – because their religious teachings taught them it would make them impure.

        1 despised Samaritan sacrificed his oil, clothes, money, time, energy and risked his life to help this man.

        I think it was clear that Israel's idea of a messiah was purely selfish and not what God had in mind.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • AE

          Jesus exposed the Jewish religious leaders as major hypocrites.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Just because you personally consider it "selfish" does not invalidate the concept. YOU don't get to rewrite history to make it come out looking ok to you. The entire "promised land", / "chosen people" thing is "selfish". It's nontheless true. Grow up.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • AE

          Uh – they followed their own selfish desires, instead of following God.

          That is what the story is about.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Jesus did no such thing. The writers of the gospels intention was to make it look that way. The parables in the gospels were circulating all over the Near East and are not unique to the gospels in any way. The gospels are faith doc'uments, not historical in any way. The Hebrews did not even have a word for "historical". The gospels are not in anyway what modern humans would consider "historical".

        July 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • AE

          I have not used the word "historical" today.

          The gospels reveal a truth.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      No he didn't. He was one of about 20 apocalyptic preachers/miracle workers, (if he existed at all). The "salvation paradigm" was appended to his preaching by Saul of Tarsus. Not only does it make no sense in Hebrew culture, but Hebrew culture had no concept ofv "personal purification of sin". Saul got that from Zoroastrianism, (via Mithraism). Tarsus was a center of Mithraism.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • AE

        Saul/Paul preached Jesus.

        Jesus in everything.

        We are saved by what Jesus did.

        This highly educated Jewish man said that.

        He wasn't talking about Mitrha. He said Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          You are deluded. Deluded. Deluded. You couldn't see the truth if it walk up and slapped you.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  7. jwdanielsfc

    I've not read Aslan's book, but I think it's pretty safe to say that – like all the other "Jesus books" that have come before his (not sure if his can be called a "historical Jesus book" or not), his methodology manufactures a Jesus of his (Aslan's) own presuppositions. In other words, the "zealot" Aslan sees when looking at the evidence, is likely the zealot he was looking for in the first place. I'm glad for him that his book is now #1 at Amazon. He can certainly thank Lauren Green for that!
    Pax!

    http://culturaljesus.wordpress.com/

    July 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      "his methodology manufactures a Jesus of his [] own presuppositions" Just like every christian out there.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  8. Dennis Lurvey

    you cant use the bible to prove the bible is right or wrong, seems obvious. There are ppl (30%) who will never be able to look at the bible objectively, and some of those are posted here. If that makes you feel happy or safe, then good luck with that. But for people who can separate that from history/fact, then there is a whole other world of writings and teachings that will add to your safety.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Lawrence

      "you cant use the bible to prove the bible is right or wrong, seems obvious"

      Sure you can. Just compare what it says against history. For instance, the Bible predicted the conquest of Tyre, and how the rubble would be thrown into the sea... Alexander did this to create a land causeway to the island fortress of Tyre. Now look at when those books were written and look when Alexander conquered it – it was predicted precisely... Now look to the histories in the Bible. Did you know that until the city of Petra was discovered, scientists thought the Edomites were made up? The Bible has been proven again and again – many hammers have been broken, but the anvil stands.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:33 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        Some people and a more places are correct – which you'd expect – but little else is proven: walking on water, water into wine, woman into salt, man living in fish, men living for several centuries, Noah's flood, garden of eden, etc.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        In your rush to make the prediction fit you appear to have overlooked that Alexander would have needed to build the causeway first so it could not have been built from the rubble. I doubt very much that the Maceodonians would have bothered to move rubble to the sea afterwards. Predictions of battles in an era and area when they were common is not a stretch. Unless there were specifics – this person, this time it's just a plausible guess.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Lawrence

          There was a mainland city of Tye, and an island fortress of Tye. I'll post the VERY specific Scritures if you want...
          Ezekiel 26-28 (written b/w 590-570BC) Alexander's army came in 332BC to create the causeway to the Island fortress of Tye from the rubble of the mainland city of Tyre.

          You just have to read them to see how amazing this truly is!

          July 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          The only thing that this means is that there was a city named Tye and that it was written about in a book. That does not give evidence that the entire bible is true.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          I did look it up. Tyre was under siege 724-720 BC, 705 BC, 663 BC, 586-573 BC before Alexander so the prediction of a battle was a reasonable guess. Ezekiel doesn't say who and when so it's a guess.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Lawrence

          True, but the prophecy predicts that the destruction of Tyre will come like the tide of the sea, wave upon wave. God would move many nations to invade Tyre, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar in 585-573BC, followed by successive attacks picture like the sea, wave upon wave...

          Also, true, it is not "beyond conjecture" that further attacks would come. But would you also say that the exact method of scraping the debris of Tyre and throwing it into the sea was just conjecture? After all, WHY would someone do that?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Too bad the Smithsonian doesn't agree with you.

        August 1, 2013 at 6:58 am |
  9. AE

    –Jesus’ kingdom was worldly-

    I thought in the OT God told Israel they didn't need a king – but Israel wanted one so bad they demanded one?

    They saw all the other nations had kings and wanted to be like them.

    They decided to follow man and not God. And failed. Wasn't that what was being illustrated?

    July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • ME II

      But wasn't the messiah supposed to bring about an earthly kingdom? What up with that?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        It's almost as if the writers of the NT had read the OT before and made it fit. But that cant be right!

        July 31, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • AE

        God's ways are totally different from man's ways.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          How can you know what a god wants? There have been no reliable sightings.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • AE

          Santa,

          Just because you have do not have reliable signs, does not mean other people do.

          Your experiences are not universal. Be open-minded to the idea that new things will be revealed to you every day.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          I am open-minded. You have yet to show anything tangible to support your postings. The contents of your imagination is not evidence.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • AE

          One should demonstrate open-mindedness.

          One shouldn't just simply insist they are open-minded.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • AE

        "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
        On Earth as in Heaven"

        July 31, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • harleybird

        Nope. That was part of the Jews misunderstanding

        July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • AE

      Jesus is the supreme authority – but He will not rule like earthly kings.

      The Kingdom of God – where last is first and first is last – is not at all like what we see on Earth today.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • ME II

      "... He will not rule like earthly kings."

      Well, obviously he didn't, but wasn't the messiah expected to by the Jews?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • AE

        Yes.

        The Jews seemed to have great difficulty understanding God at times.

        They wanted a King that would come and conquer all the nations. They got a king that upset the religious leaders, spent time with the unwanted and died on the cross.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • ME II

        Ah, so the Jews just misunderstood their own scripture, is that it?

        July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • harleybird

          Yes they did. Kind of like how you or this guy that wrote this book can have all these religious degrees or be a bible scholar and still get it completely wrong. Have read the Hebrew scripts? It is the history of the jews and how many times they got it wrong.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • ME II

          @harlybird,
          So what makes you think that you've got it right?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Voter

      AE,
      "I thought in the OT God told Israel they didn't need a king – but Israel wanted one so bad they demanded one?"

      Let's all vote for "God" for president next time. He'll be a no-show on inauguration day - then what?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • AE

        Maybe you can find God by denying your self and seeking humility.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Whenever anyone asks for tangible evidence you think that does not show sufficient humility, so basically your position is "I can't explain why I believe, but I do and so should you".

          July 31, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  10. Matt

    It is amazing how many CNN commentators think that they have an edge on those who have spent their life studying the historical Jesus. It is not "elitist" to reject this sort of absurd egalitarianism. Read Crossan, read Meier – better yet, read Luke Timothy Johnson or N. T. Wright.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  11. Lawrence

    If you look up the word "Eisegesis" in the dictionary, it'll say: See Reza Aslan...

    July 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  12. Vic

    Obviously, this is a business venture by Reza Aslan for he has no apparent knowledge of the Old Testament, its prophecies of the Jesus Christ, and the continuity of the New Testament from it, let alone his choice of a non-plausible character of Jesus and interpretation of events in the New Testament!

    Just like God made Salvation for the world out of the Crucifixion at Calvary, He sure will turn the eyes, ears and hearts of m u l t i t u d e s to Jesus Christ out of this publicity. Amen.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Just as god and religion is a business venture. Just another way to make money by lying.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        How come to sit on these blogs (?) because I'm bored at work and you religious nuts are great entertainment.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Vinchy

      Oh, sure, because I would tend to believe you over some guy that's been researching this for years. Oh, okay. OBVIOUSLY you're right.
      Actually, I believe both of you are wrong, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  13. children of Israel

    John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. *Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. *Luke 9:33 and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias, not knowing what he said. *Psalm 76:1-2 In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. *Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. *Hebrew 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. *Psalm 108:8 Judah is my lawgiver; (Numbers 24:17) *Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Siloh come; *Psalm 78:60 So he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; *Psalm 78:68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. *Isaiah 37:32 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      I can quote nonsensical bible quotes too.

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      “If a man’s testicIes are crushed or his pe nis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”
      –Deuteronomy 23

      “All right,” the Lord said. “You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung.”
      –Ezekiel 4:12-15

      July 31, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Vinchy

      Way to refute Aslan. Very powerful. Not.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  14. Honey Badger Don't Care

    It was a very funny interview, if havent seen it check out Youtube.

    One thing that I disagree with him about is when he stated something to the effect that most historians agree on the "fact" that a man named Jesus was crucified. I would like to see the sources on that. I'l lhave to do some reasearch before I believe that.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • ME II

      My understanding is that most (nearly all?) historians agree that it is "likely" that Jesus was crucified by the Romans. That being said, people use the term "fact" in different ways.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  15. tony

    real gods would have to actually exist.

    Now when the NSA spying computers are directly connected to the CIA drone program, there is a chance we've created our first real one one.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      I will serve our robot overlords well. I just want to go on record as saying that if Skynet is listening.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  16. realbuckyball

    Actually there is a huge flaw in Azlan's so-called history.
    "After all, he was crucified by Rome, and crucifixion was at the time a punishment for political offenses."
    Maybe so, but thousands were crucified. It happened ALL the time, in vast numbers, and it was NOT only for "political offenses". During the Pax Romana, anyone perceived as a "troublemaker" (of any sort) in an occupied land could be taken by Rome, and executed by "standing order". No "process" (trial) was necessary, or involved. A Galilean trouble-making peasant, who was one of the dime-a-dozen miracle-working apocalyptic preachers, especially one who caused trouble in the temple district, (which was the absolute LIFEBLOOD of this city, based 100 % on a "sacrificing" temple economy), would be arrested and crucified pronto. There was no trial. The gospels are vastly contradictory with respect to the trial. NO JEW was EVER (not ever) tried on Passover weekend. Ever. The Jews were busy, and the Roman aristocrats did not interact with "nobody" peasants. In Acts, when Peter is talking to the authorities, they seem to not even know what he is talking about when he accuses them of killing Jebus. Peter eventually admits "your sins did it". Hardly a factual historical event. It's all myth.

    However, speaking of myth, maybe Aslan can next take on Robert Spencer. Muhammad also never existed. Islam is a direct development from the Arabian moon-god cult. The Kabala, the 3 daughters of Allah in the Satanic Verses, the crescent moon, the black stone, even the name "Allah", came straight out of the Arabian mood-god cult. Allah was the same god ans the god "Sin" .. a well known god in the ancient Near East. There is archaeological evidence the god Sin, IS Allah. Lets see Aslan talk about that, if he dares. (Of course he would have to go into hiding, as anyone who dares talk truth about Islam is threatened, and some are assasinated).

    July 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Lawrence

      You know, people like Christopher Hitchens say that "people of religion should be ridiculed." I agree with him, and I think that those who think people of religion should be ridiculed should start their crusade in Iran.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Lawrence

        (sorry, file that one under sarcasm...)

        July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • realbuckyball

          You think someone who ridicules Jebus in Alabama/Mississippi would be safe, (or anywhere in the Bible Belt ?)
          –file under NOT sarcasm.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Lawrence

          You ARE safe... But in a world of competing ideas, expect a Christian to reason with you.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          And if he's your boss, to fire you, and throw stones in your windows, and egg your house and car.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Mountaineer49

    Albert Einstein once had this to say about the plight of the church of England: "In its infancy is it upon the end, for demise is inevitable to the incredulous myths of sorrow."

    I first read it 37 years ago and it has always stuck with me.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • William

      Einstein also said "I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly."
      and "No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

      July 31, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  18. Factual Information

    Yeah, that's cute.

    But jesus more than likely never existed. Only two mentions outside of the gospel of the guy. One is a known forgery, and the other is veru suspect.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      And neither author was a contemporary meaning that it was at best 2nd hand hearsay.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Lawrence

      OK, prove that Jesus never existed.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        The onus of proof is on the person making the positive claim, not the person refuting the claim. Study a little logic will you?

        July 31, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Lawrence

          If I said that I didn't believe that you existed, how would you prove it? All I know of you is what is written about you...

          July 31, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • Lateralus

        Ok prove there is no Santa, unicorns, tooth fairy!

        July 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Lawrence

          Although it is not possible to prove absolutely the non-existence of Santa Claus, (because you cannot prove a negative absolute) most people cease to believe in his existence by age 10. Although the existence of Santa Claus has not been disproved, the weight of evidence suggests that he does not exist. Likewise, although we cannot prove invisible pink unicorns or flying spaghetti monsters do not exist, we tend to reject their existence, since none have ever been detected. Shouldn't the same logic apply to the existence of God? Using evidence, God's existence CAN be proven, but whether or not individuals are willing to listen is another story.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Lawrence, CAN be proven? Bullsh!t. Go ahead, be the first to bring forth conclusive evidence.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  19. tallulah13

    His interpretation of the story of Jesus is just as valid as any other.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  20. Colin

    His picture of Jesus is a lot more likely accurate than the pacificst-hippie Christians think of today. A lot.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:27 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.