July 20th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Reza Aslan: Why I write about Jesus

Opinion by Reza Aslan, special to CNN

(CNN) - When I was 15 years old, I found Jesus.

I spent the summer of my sophomore year at an evangelical youth camp in Northern California, a place of timbered fields and boundless blue skies, where, given enough time and stillness and soft-spoken encouragement, one could not help but hear the voice of God.

Amid the man-made lakes and majestic pines my friends and I sang songs, played games and swapped secrets, rollicking in our freedom from the pressures of home and school.

In the evenings, we gathered in a fire-lit assembly hall at the center of the camp. It was there that I heard a remarkable story that would change my life forever.

Two thousand years ago, I was told, in an ancient land called Galilee, the God of heaven and Earth was born in the form of a helpless child. The child grew into a blameless man. The man became the Christ, the savior of humanity.

Through his words and miraculous deeds, he challenged the Jews who thought they were the chosen of God, and in return he was nailed to a cross. Though Jesus could have saved himself from that gruesome death, he freely chose to die.

Indeed, his death was the point of it all, for his sacrifice freed us all from the burden of our sins.

But the story did not end there, because three days later, he rose again, exalted and divine, so that now, all who believe in him and accept him into their hearts will also never die, but have eternal life.

For a kid raised in a motley family of lukewarm Muslims and exuberant atheists, this was truly the greatest story ever told. Never before had I felt so intimately the pull of God.

In Iran, the place of my birth, I was Muslim in much the way I was Persian. My religion and my ethnicity were mutual and linked. Like most people born into a religious tradition, my faith was as familiar to me as my skin, and just as disregardable.

After the Iranian revolution forced my family to flee our home, religion in general, and Islam in particular, became taboo in our household. Islam was shorthand for everything we had lost to the mullahs who now ruled Iran.

My mother still prayed when no one was looking, and you could still find a stray Quran or two hidden in a closet or a drawer somewhere. But, for the most part, our lives were scrubbed of all trace of God.

That was just fine with me. After all, in the America of the 1980s, being Muslim was like being from Mars. My faith was a bruise, the most obvious symbol of my otherness; it needed to be concealed.

Jesus, on the other hand, was America. He was the central figure in America’s national drama. Accepting him into my heart was as close as I could get to feeling truly American.

I do not mean to say that mine was a conversion of convenience. On the contrary, I burned with absolute devotion to my newfound faith.

I was presented with a Jesus who was less “Lord and Savior” than he was a best friend, someone with whom I could have a deep and personal relationship. As a teenager trying to make sense of an indeterminate world I had only just become aware of, this was an invitation I could not refuse.

The moment I returned home from camp, I began eagerly to share the good news of Jesus Christ with my friends and family, my neighbors and classmates, with people I’d just met and with strangers on the street: those who heard it gladly, and those who threw it back in my face.

Yet something unexpected happened in my quest to save the souls of the world.

The more I probed the Bible to arm myself against the doubts of unbelievers, the more distance I discovered between the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of history – between Jesus the Christ and Jesus of Nazareth.

In college, where I began my formal study of the history of religions, that initial discomfort soon ballooned into full-blown doubts.

The bedrock of evangelical Christianity, at least as it was taught to me, is the unconditional belief that every word of the Bible is God-breathed and true, literal and inerrant.

The sudden realization that this belief is patently and irrefutably false, that the Bible is replete with the most blatant and obvious errors and contradictions — just as one would expect from a document written by hundreds of different hands across thousands of years — left me confused and spiritually unmoored.

And so, like many people in my situation, I angrily discarded my faith as if it were a costly forgery I had been duped into buying.

I began to rethink the faith and culture of my forefathers, finding in them a deeper, more intimate familiarity than I ever had as a child, the kind that comes from reconnecting with an old friend after many years apart.

Meanwhile, I continued my academic work in religious studies, delving back into the Bible not as an unquestioning believer but as an inquisitive scholar. No longer chained to the assumption that the stories I read were literally true, I became aware of a more meaningful truth in the text.

Ironically, the more I learned about the life of the historical Jesus, the turbulent world in which he lived, and the brutality of the Roman occupation that he defied, the more I was drawn to him.

The Jewish peasant and revolutionary who challenged the rule of the most powerful empire the world had ever known became so much more real to me than the detached, unearthly being I had been introduced to in church.

Today, I can confidently say that two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity has made me a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than I ever was of Jesus Christ.

I have modeled my life not after the celestial spirit whom many Christians believe sacrificed himself for our sins, but rather after the illiterate, marginal Jew who gave his life fighting an unwinnable battle against the religious and political powers of his day on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed – those his society deemed unworthy of saving.

I wrote my newest book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" in order to spread the good news of the Jesus of history with the same fervor that I once applied to spreading the story of the Christ.

Because I am convinced that one can be a devoted follower of Jesus without being a Christian, just as I know that one can be a Christian without being a follower of Jesus.

Reza Aslan is a bestselling author and a scholar of religion. This article was adapted from his newest book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." The views expressed in this column are Aslan's alone.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (4,311 Responses)
  1. truthseeker

    This question of Jesus=God? reminds me of a quote from CS Lewis, the British intellectual author, who was in early life an atheist. Reza Aslan has answered "no." There is no in between. If Jesus in not God, he does not save.

    CS Lewis put all of this into perspective:
    “Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.”
    “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would rather be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

    September 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • rtkMD

      The C S Lewis quote does not indicate that he realizes that nobody really knows what exactly Jesus said ever. The Gospels were not written by people who ever saw or heard him.

      September 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
      • keith

        Exactly, don't be intimidated by the name C S Lewis because that is what the person who wrote the blog wants.
        C S Lewis had NO SECRET knowledge, he knew nothing more about JC than you or I do, therefore no matter how eloquent C S Lewis is in his prose. HE HAS GOT NO MORE IDEA WHAT HAPPENED THAN THE MAN IN THE MOON.

        September 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Jesus is the most controversial person ever & what Lewis said is absolutely true, everyone has to make a decision concerning his deity.

          September 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
        • Keith

          No matter how brilliant C S Lewis was, what he wrote was just an OPINION NOT TRUTH.
          C S Lewis knows no more about JC than I do or any of the other Christian writers. Everything written about JC is either an opinion, downright fiction or the product of a disturbed and deluded mind, NOT TRUTH.
          What I wrote was an opinion, but my opinion was REASONABLE it did not require the reader to suspend their intelligence as belief in a supernatural being does. My opinion is based on human experience.
          Don't use truth in such a cavalier fashion.

          September 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • truthseeker

          To rtkMD and Keith (and all skeptics),

          You are factually wrong. There is a thing such as knowledge and truth, of which CS Lewis as quite adept at. Challenge yourselves with truth, reason, logic, science, and evidence. Anything else is irrational.
          Consider reasonablefaith.org Or, for starters, the book "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist" by Giesler.

          September 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
        • Keith

          You can point me to as many web sites or books as you like, none of that matters.
          You just don't get it or you refuse point blank to acknowledge the FACT that everyone who writes those books or writes the web sites HAS NO MOR KNOWLEDGE OF JC OR GOD OR GOBLINS OR GHOSTS THAN I HAVE.
          Unless it is written in the bible every single word that has been written about these creatures is either fiction, personal opinion or the product of a disturbed mind. No one has a video recording of what happened or gods cell phone # or even a valid written account. The millions of books that clutter religious libraries of the world whether written by popes or Nobel laureates or saint are just personal opinions NOT TRUTH OR REALITY.
          My opinions are just as valid as ANY POPE OR RELIGIOUS LEADER WHO HAS EVER LIVED. But my opinions are based on a common shared human experience of the way we humans can be manipulated and led by other human beings. We have all seen the effect of powerful people whether for good or evil purposes, there are those among us who have the power to mould and focus the views of others for their own purposes. This is most likely the explanation for the character we know of as JC, NO suspension of intelligence or common sense is required it just makes sense.
          Why would you prefer to believe that UNBELIEVABLE characters such as gods and goblins are responsible when a perfectly rationale explanation is staring you in the face.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Yes, you can discount the witness of Lewis as opinion. You can do the same with the witness of those recorded in the bible, the witness of the millions of believers who have lived since God walked the earth clothed in flesh. You can do the same with yours truly when I tell you that God is real, the bible is true, & Jesus is the son of God. I know this because he has saved me and is here with me this very second, but surely you understand that you are, will, or have made a decision concerning the deity of Christ.

          September 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
        • truthseeker

          To Keith, I am sorry. The last post was clearly meant more for rtkMD and not to you. You have clearly made up your mind about: Jesus=God? My only question to you though is, if you are so sure of your opinion, why are you so condescending to others? I have read your other posts. Pretty disrespectful. You continue to attack the person and not the argument/idea. Don't we all have a option to think for ourselves without ad hominems?

          To other skeptics, A good book on the historicity of Jesus written by an agnostic/humanist, I would refer you to "Did Jesus Exist?" by B. Ehrmann

          September 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • Keith

          Oh you are so misinformed, I DO NOT ATTACK i take people to task I present what is said in the bible and then ask the the sheep to compare that with reality. In every case they seem bemused because they have never actually thought about testing gods word before. However a cursory examination of gods word and promises show a shocking predilection to LYING on the part of god.
          As for my "disrespect" well after suffering a lifetime of DISRESPECT dished out by the faithful I finally have the vehicle to dish it out to them. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
          Your condescending remarks based on inadequate information does not enhance your reputation, so keep your smarmy, snotty remarks to yourself.
          Have a nice day.

          September 24, 2013 at 12:03 am |
        • sam stone

          what did he save from, robbie? critical thought?

          September 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It does seem like stories can be made up about people pretty much at willl that make us feel we must decide: Abraham Lincoln freed slaves, could fly, and had sex with seven hundred virgins the night before he was betrayed by Henry Ford. But was he divine? Actually it's easier the less we actually know about the person.

      September 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    Jesus Christ was just David Koresh 2000 years earlier. A sociopathic conman with a good story and lots of charisma. All this foolishness, without a shred of proof, has sprung up from there.

    utter, mind numbing nonsense.

    September 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Keith Grove

      You have said it exactly correctly, there is not one shred of evidence for anything in any religion. Frightening isn't it? That mankind is so fallible and gullible.

      September 21, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  3. berticode

    What Reza writes is correct. Most American Christians have a misconception about Christianity in 2 ways:
    1) Cheap grace: Do all the sin you want, because you are forgiven anyway by blood of Jesus.
    2) Jesus was white (even though he came from mideast).
    If people like Reza exposed the ignorant American Christians to the real Christ (Yeshua), there would be less racism and sin in this country and the west.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • publius

      I love the pictures of Jesus, Mary and the saints that hang in Churches and museums all over the world. I often wonder if the congregation would still come if there was an actual picture of him hanging on the wall, And please do not start telling me about the shroud of Turin.

      September 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  4. Mark Wood

    With the help from Holy Spirit , the Bible's stories start to make sense to me. They are alive and powerful.

    September 19, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • Indian Realist

      Humanity doesn't need any ideology that says "our god is true, your god is false."

      September 19, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Keith

      They are FICTION and you are a fool.

      September 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • James Flannagan

      You say he is powerful yet the time when Christianity had the most powerful grip on society we could not feed or clothe even close to the amount of people today from knowledge and technology. (Medieval Ages, Dark ages, etc.) So there is a fundamental paradox in your thinking because in the time Europe most looked to God for help "he" was least willing to give it but when we learned it for ourselves suddenly we can feed billions more souls and bring millions & millions of people out of poverty. In fact the weaker Christianity's hold on society became, the more generally prosperous the society became.

      But don't worry it's not just Christianity. Its a fact of reality every organized religion has to come to terms with. (Or not!)
      The true answer is bigger than all the old books.

      September 26, 2013 at 12:47 am |
      • keith

        Very well said, it just points out once again the sheer hypocrisy of religion.

        September 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  5. Mark Wood

    First become a Christian, then you will able to learn how to be a follower of Jesus by the guidance of Holy Spirit.
    A Christian is a person who accept God's salvation through Jesus and proved by God to be His child by giving him the Holy Spirit as a seal and certification. The Holy Spirit will be your Teacher, Comforter, Advocator. He will guide you how to obey God's will, how to live a Holy life, and how to be like Jesus. You will be an heir of God's kingdom in training. Through Holy Spirit we fellowship with Jesus and God. All true follower of Jesus bear the same testimony about salvation of God as Jesus did because we all hear from the same one God, one Christ, one Spirit. Whoever claim himself as Christian or whatever without God's approval mean nothing to God.

    What Jesus said about himself
    John 5
    31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. 32 But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. 33 In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. 34 Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. 35 John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. 36 But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, 38 and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.

    39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. 41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.

    September 19, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      how can you say "what jesus says about himself" when the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      we don't even know if the jesus character existed, much less what he may or may not have said.

      claiming that jesus said anything is utter mind numbing nonsense!

      September 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
      • Keith

        Well said, I have been trying to get this exact same message across all my life. THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW. The sheep are to stupid to comprehend this and the crooks in charge are terrified in case the sheep DO finally cotton on.
        The crooks KNOW ithat religion is a pile of horse manure but they are doing very nicely thank you and they don't want anyone to rock the boat. So they will attack you and try to intimidate you, be strong with a bit of luck the whole stinking edifice will collapse under all the lies they tell.

        September 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Keith Grove

      Absolute HOGWASH, the ravings of a disturbed mind, there is not one iota of evidence let alone proof for any of these fairy tales. You have been deceived and lied to and without the ability to think critically and DEMAND answers to tough but necessary questions you will remain forever a brainless fool.

      September 21, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Keith

      HOGWASH, you are a fool and the religious industry loves it.
      Can't you see past the end of your nose, a nose with a ring through it to lead you to humiliation and degradation.
      Are you SERIOUS about first being a Christian THEN being told all about JC. Why don't you seriously evaluate the merits of Christianity yourself, question every concept that has NOT ONE IOTA OF EVIDENCE and then make an INFORMED decision.
      Be careful when you ask questions, THEY DO NOT LIKE QUESTIONS because they have NO ANSWERS. I am talking about really tough questions such as this. Read the 91st Psalm were god VOWS to keep us safe and protect us, then look around you and see reality, see the pain and suffering everywhere in this world. God has lied to us, do not let them try to tell you that the 91st Psalm only applies to JC, the psalm begins with the word "Whosoever" which means "Everyone".
      Be careful these god pushers are slimy and they will try to trick you at every turn, be strong and demand the truth, good luck.
      One more thing, they will throw bible quotations at you but if you use a quotation against them, they become angry and then downright abusive and say that you are just trying to start an argument and trick them. When this happens you know you have got them because they have run out of lies.

      September 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • James Flannagan

      Writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected forms by the end of the 1st century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early 2nd century, mentions the "memoirs of the Apostles," which Christians (Greek: Χριστιανός) called "gospels," and which were considered to be authoritatively equal to the Old Testament. -from: Wikipedia

      So the first written reference of the gospels is two centuries after Jesus said his last words.
      Have you ever played the game telephone?
      Your words of John 5 is the John 5 that won out after TWO CENTURIES of people writing their own versions of what your bible says is John 5. Not even to mention changes made to the New & Old Testament after their moderate codification in the 2nd Century AD. (For example the King James version, which was finished in 1611 and is probably a version of what you are using to quote out of.) There have been many different versions of the bible through time. All claiming to be the exact words of God. It either is or it isn't. So it doesn't add up. That's why they are the words of men to control the mindset of other men through social ritual and orthodoxy.
      By observation alone its clear that the real creator of this reality built this universe to test and explore, I mean just look at the process of evolution alone to see but one example. A vast amount of time testing different combinations to change and improve. A similar process through which science has improved our lives.
      So its interesting how much that contradicts with the religious viewpoint on creation, which is so static and never changing.
      7 days and that's it, kind of thing.
      If nothing else its quite obvious that many other humans have long ever contaminated what Jesus really said and represented,
      so I think your bible quotes just are not useful for this discussion in trying to consider who he really was, as a person and why so many people wanted to be like him.

      September 26, 2013 at 1:23 am |
      • keith

        WOW this is really good, talk about backtracking "By observation alone its clear that the real creator of this reality built this universe to test and explore, I mean just look at the process of evolution alone to see but one example. A vast amount of time testing different combinations to change and improve. A similar process through which science has improved our lives".
        So now god is really a scientist and he developed what we think of as modern scientific methods, we had no part in it god had already these methodologies.
        Talk about scraping the barrel, are you just running out of excuses to explain the UN-EXPLAINABLE.
        This is just more HOGWASH, the bleaters are desperate to find something to make their god look less of a fair tale character than he already is.
        Just stop this farce, the only god or higher force or I should say REAL CREATOR there has EVER BEEN is GRAVITY or the SUN.
        And neither of them cab hear your PRAYERS.

        September 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • lol??

        "........................It either is or it isn't............................"
        A socie doin' Hegel's two step dialectic dance. Yer philosophy is dead in the water.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  6. Meredith S.

    Filled with error? Where exactly?

    September 19, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Indian Realist

      Errors as in sun goes around earth.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • JOhn

        Am where in the bible does it say the sun goes around the earth?

        September 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • ERT

          It doesn't exactly say that the sun revolves around the earth, but there's a verse in Ecclesiastes that can be interpreted that way. The verse goes "the sun rises and the sun sets, and then hastens to its place at dawn." Most of us would view that verse metaphorically, but some people might try to take it literally.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • Keith

          "but some people might try to take it literally", is that called FAITH or is it BLIND STUPIDITY.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  7. Jim

    America Needs Jesus!!!!

    saveusa (dot) us

    September 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • wjshelton


      September 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Cpowell

        To do our yardwork of course. Or possibly to bus tables.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • wjshelton

          Puede ser, ¿no?

          September 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Keith

      HOGWASH, in the 2,000 years since the character of JC lived what has he done for us, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The history of mankind consists of war, mayhem, disease on a massive scale.
      Oh yes you will say that we have free will and we have failed to follow gods laws and we have not fought the forces of evil. Well JC and his dad and their pet ghost have been of NO USE WHATSOEVER. It is obvious to anyone that we need help. So what does JC and his dad do? They sit on their backsides wringing their hands and crying over all the pain we suffer.
      Why don't they get off their duffs and come down to earth and HELP
      Until then as far as I am concerned they can take a hike. Please NO BIBLE QUOTES if you don't have the intelligence to write your own reply then give us all a break and shut up

      September 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Mark Wood

        I have witness hundreds of God wonderful works for the people around me and my self. I was an angry man since early childhood. Even I suffer many things in my life but I am grateful toward God and others after met Jesus 30 years ago. Life is worthy to live because of Jesus. God has given us power to overcome bad things from this imperfect world. if you have any doubt you should ask Jesus directly. Human wisdom is very limited when seeking answer to this complicated world.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:44 am |
      • Meredith S.

        You're an idiot!

        September 19, 2013 at 9:31 am |
        • wjshelton

          How so? Would you care to explain, or are you just going to insult person who made the comment and leave it at that?

          September 19, 2013 at 10:19 am |
        • VISITOR1

          I don't mean to speak for Jesus, but I am sure he would not have reply to Keith in that manner.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • Rene

        How sad Keith, soon or later in the midst of your sadness, depression and darkness you will meet Him, and Please, is not JC like a dog or any stupid celebrity (Looks bad). Started for give his Holy Name some respect. So next time be humble enough and take couple extra seconds to call Him Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Like it or not who cares, after 2000 years still, Jesus Christ the only way to find Peace and the everlasting TRUE!!. Before I forget, after 2000 years, yes God did something very special in your life, you became Human, a wonderful Person and a beautiful flower.....capable to talk, dance, love, cry and laugh..what a wonderful God of US!!.

        September 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • wjshelton

          You are assuming that he is sad and lonely. For all we know, he may be as hapy as a lark.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Keith

          Do you speak English or some other form of doggerel, your writing matches your intelligence, you are certainly not as intelligent as my granddaughter and she is only 7.
          What does "and Please, is not JC like a dog or any stupid celebrity (Looks bad). Started for give his Holy Name some respect" mean because I assure you it is just garbage. I give respect to those who deserve it, fairy tale character do not deserve RESPECT.
          Ask your DOG to give you some instruction in ENGLISH.
          As I have said MANY times, I am happy and contented with a great family and 2 wonderful grandchildren, where do you get your pathetic drivel, is it just roaming around in that addled brain of yours.
          Please shut up you are making a fool of yourself.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • bananas

        Lol! U gotta be kidding?

        October 16, 2013 at 1:42 am |
  8. bt93

    I wonder why so many people with pHd's in religon just don't seem to get the bible. Aslan said Evangelicals consider the bible to be the Bible is God-breathed and true. How about God inspired written by the hand of man. As for errors an contradictions, consider the bible isn't just one book but 60+ books written by almost as many authors. I read the bible over and over and have read it enough for the 'quiet details' to sink in, and I'll say the 'contradictions and untruths' just aren't there when you look at it's whole. As for 'one book says this but another says that' well a lot of the books are addressing differint situations and people. Go back to your Alma Mater (Spelling?) and get a refund. Read the scriptures cover to cover at least 10 times via daily readings about 3-5 chapters a day. That'll take roughly 10 years.
    In my early readings I often found these 'untruths and contradictions' you speak of, now on my 16th reading, the quiet details come through very strong and totally dispels all that which can be considered contradiction.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:27 am |
  9. Renalcolic

    Reza writes about Jesus because his new religion Islam requires its members to worship Allah and no other (and to literally kill those who don't), so to de-deify Christ is part n parcel. There are many who have tried to convince the world that Christ is not our Lord and Savior, just a man, just a prophet, or someone who never even existed. They don;t want the world to accept that Jesus was the son of God and, in his resurrected state, is God. Furthermore, for Reza to criticize muhammed would bring a death sentence onto his head and he knows this...look at Salman Rushdie. The Bible is very clear, there is only one way to Salvation and that is through the narrow gate (through belief in Christ) and all the other gates are put there to distract you from the truth ...don't be fooled by Reza, he's another devil in disguise.

    September 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • wjshelton

      Man, you don't know diddly squat about Reza Aslan or Islam, do you? First, Aslan was raised Muslim. Second ... no, it's not even worth pointing out the false and incorrect information you wrote about Islam. You'd call me a liar and go on spreading your venom, wouldn't you.

      September 18, 2013 at 4:46 am |
  10. name

    "I'm a scholar of religionssssssssssssssss."

    Greatest condescension of Fox News ever.

    September 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  11. Gazork

    Aslan has convinced me that my behavior speaks more about Christ than I could ever say. He also convinces me that I can better convey the truth of Christ & salvation if I know the historical Jesus.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  12. AnthonyP

    Jesus , according to the Bible, made many claims about himself which point to His deity and divinely ordained salvivic purpose. These claims are clear and testable and reasonably provable. There are many prophecies about Christ which have been fulfilled, the probabilities of these being a powerful argument for His claims. Doubts on our part in the face of apparent 'inconsistencies' do not remove the overwhelming evidence for the truthfulness of Christs claims. In the providence of God, you dont need to be a PHD in religion to understand John3:16 and to experience to the compelling touch of God through the Spirit of God who empowered Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Way , the Truth and the Life , the Light of the world and Saviour of the world. We must humbly approach this matter which is of eternal significance. It is the plan of the author of evil to diminish the life and ministry and magnitude of the impact the life of Christ, the Son of God. Reza Aslan is not the first to fall prey to this trap and unfortunately wont be the last. in the words of Christ: Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.Matt 18:3. To reduce the life of Christ to that of a zealot is a disservice to the facts and a deception. The world needed a Saviour and that is who Jesus Christ , the Messiah was and is to millions today. Hebrews 9 :26-28; 12:2. He was more than a man , He was Immanuel. Receive His grace today...God bless.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  13. Grafted Olive Branch

    Interesting story, I too see the errant hand of man in the bible but also the spirit of God. I also question the supposed “inerrancy” of the written word, precisely because it has been recorded by the unfailing “errancies” of men. Yet, the hand of man in writing the scriptures does not remove the truth of the central point of the bible and New Testament, the central point that Jesus of Nazareth became the Christ because of His death on the cross for all those who would believe.
    Sure there are some contradictions in the writing, as man is a walking talking contradiction to nature. There may even be some historical inaccuracies, again because of the fallacy of man. But it is precisely because of mankind’s being error prone (sin); that God did send Jesus to do His work on the cross to pay the penalty for our error; our genetic and spiritual inability to be holy, and to stand before a holy God in judgment. The “Christ” of Jesus, takes away our sins.

    September 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Sir Mr.

      You're assuming that God has to act in ways that YOU can understand for the Bible to be inerrant. Ever consider the fact that God may be far more complex than you, or any other human, can understand and therefore you may incorrectly believe that there are inconsistencies in the Bible? Sort of like the smartest man on the planet in 1250 AD being shown an automobile and not being able to understand it's nature and intent. The man then claims that it is nothing but a useless hunk of strange materials, because his mind can't grasp the reality that we take for granted now.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:42 am |
      • Grafted Olive Branch

        I know that God uses “vessels of clay” to sometimes work his purpose, even a donkey from time to time. All subject to imperfection. Clearly I do not fathom the mind of God. But still I trust Jesus for my salvation. I give credence to the fallacy of man’s recording of history while knowing the spirit of God is perfect.

        September 17, 2013 at 7:31 am |
      • cho

        If the Bible is meant to be a guide for people towards salvation, then isn't it mean to be easily understood?

        September 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • Keith

          Excellent, excellent question, the answer is very simple, if the bible was well written as an easy to undestand guide to salvation we would not need the hordes of religious workers or priests. Imagine the lines at the unemployment offices, lines of 100s of thousands of priests, bishops, cardinals, fathers etc. etc. etc.
          The people who wrote the bible may have been crooks but they were not STUPID, they ensured all the power, money and privilege they wanted for ever by making the bible into a labyrinthine maze that ONLY THEY COULD INTERPRET.
          The perfect SCAM and all the brainless sheep flock to these people everyday.
          How can supposed intelligent people debase themselves and submit to the humiliation of organized religion, those poor fools.

          September 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • bananas

          How much more simple could it get?

          October 16, 2013 at 1:46 am |
        • keith

          How much simpler could it get?
          You must be jocklng, for every pronouncement in the bible you can find another that completely contradicts it.
          It is full of lies and deceit and in any case it is far to long.
          Yes I know, you can reduce it to 9 lines, the 9 commandants.
          I always remove the first one as it is a joke and I am being kind, however the other commandments have merit. So lets just spread the good news about the 9 commandments and send god to hell.

          October 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

    Why I talk about Jesus?


    September 16, 2013 at 4:03 am |
  15. Readhistorytoday839

    Great points. Yes, the Jews that insisted on believing the God of the Jewish people was militant and stayed within the Roman Empire ended up dead (100% of them). Jesus, at worst, looked at the implications of his times, and realized this would be the outcome (like Duh...the Roman Empire...really?). Jesus preserved many Jews and started Christianity. Cool historical dude.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  16. W.G.

    She is wrong on many points but that´s because of her lack of faith . She also gives ammo to atheist .
    Jesus was not illiterate , he could read and often qouted the scriptures and taught the religios elect of his times .
    When he accended into Heaven over 500 people were eye witnesses . Jesus also referred to himself as GOD
    many times . Even Peter says do you think we were told of these miracles he performed he said they were
    eyewitnesses to his power . Jews like Peter would cut off their arms rather than blaspheme . She should go
    back and read the Bible it proves itself over and over again as true . No other religion could say that .

    September 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • ProdicalSon

      " Jesus also referred to himself as GOD many times ."

      I've never read that, could you provide the Scriptural reference W.G.?

      September 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
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About this blog

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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.