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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. Shannon Byrd

    Kalam cosmological argument.

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. This cause must be an uncaused, timeless, immaterial, powerful, Personal Creator.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's trite, but I'll bite,

      what caused your creator?

      July 31, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Shannon Byrd

        God is the uncaused first cause. You see you cannot have an actual infinite in the past. It's mathmatically impossible.

        July 31, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "you cannot have an actual infinite in the past"

        OK. So 13.8BYA is a good starting point. A singularity meshes with your premise.

        July 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Shannon Byrd

          What caused the singularity?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  2. nuffsaid5800

    It's interesting that a muslim would have such a negative opinion on Christ. I would like to see how he formulates these arguments and if his conclusion logically follows the premise's in his arguments against Jesus' character.
    As a Christian theist, I understand the doctrine of "divine revelation" of the Scriptures. Archaeology has routinely shown that the Bible gives accurate information. It has literally been used to find many of the town excavated in Israel. I posit that he is writing this based on his Muslim presuppositions and not letting the evidence lead to a logical conclusion.

    July 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • FA

      I dont think that in the Muslim world there is a negative opinion about Christ. Muslims consider 5 Messengers to be exalted above all because of their character trials and tribulations. Namely Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. Jesus is mentioned in the Quran 92 times where as Mohammad SAS is mentioned by name only twice. I guess one can make an argument that because of the political climate in the 21st century there is considerable friction between the two faiths.

      August 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  3. Ryszard

    Yes, a Nazi writing a book about a Jew.

    July 31, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Aslan's a Nazi? Really?

      July 31, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  4. Talk to the hand

    Were you there Reza? Answer up, yes or no. Unlike you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was there, and so were all the apostles that recorded what happened. They did not lie, Reza.

    Explain why Jesus said to turn the other cheek, and turn and walk away if they don't listen to you. Did you detail that in your 'book'? Jesus was not a warrior... he was there to save the lost. Jesus brought forgiveness of sins, told others to forgive, and healed them physically through God's Holy Spirit... of which God had formed him with.

    Jesus is my best friend, you shouldn't lie about someone that would do so much for so many people, when all he asks for is them to believe him, repent and do the will of God. He's the best ever, he deserves better than this, much better.

    July 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • ME II

      Please read some science books, AIG has clouded your thinking.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      so when one of JCs armed followers cut off a Romans ear for putting hands on Jesus that was done with a banana because clearly these people were not warrior. John 18:10

      July 31, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • Russ

        @ Sam: keep reading.
        In all 4 Gospel accounts, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword.
        And in Luke we find out that he actually healed that man's ear.

        July 31, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • nuffsaid5800

        Jesus healed the Roman centurian after that and rebuked Peter for cutting his ear off.

        July 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • Vic

        Luke 22:49-51

        "49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him."

        Scripture Is From:

        New American Standard Bible (NASB)
        Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

        http://www.biblegateway.com/

        July 31, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        why were they armed to began with?

        August 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      No scholar says that the apostles recorded anything or had anything to do with writing the NT. Seriously. Go get an education. In fact they specifically say they did NOT. The gospels did not even have an author's name attached until decades if not centuries later. Really. How idiotic a comment.

      July 31, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  5. aallen333

    If the universe is an accident, oh what a perfect accident!

    July 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • AE

      Mathematically the odds of this accident happening fall in the range of something called "miraculous".

      July 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • ME II

      Except for the Aklaxikalians who would have evolved in a slightly different accident.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Do a go.ogle image search of Ascaris lumbricoides, and then tell us more about how perfect god's creation is, where young children in impoverished countries have parasitic worms bursting out of their stomachs.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • Akira

        OMG, that is horrifying!

        What possible purpose would there be in creating that?

        July 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        On a positive note, the Dracunculus medinensis (Guinea Worm, which I understand is a similar parasitic nematode) is almost eradicated.

        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-april-9-2013/jimmy-carter-pt–1

        3.5M cases of Dracunculiasis in 1986 down to 7 earlier in 2013.

        July 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      always thought that was a sign of blessing from the spaghetti monster

      July 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        No way! Although it's true that the results of this particular nasty creation can resemble a mound of delicious spaghetti, I can't take credit for it (and wouldn't want to in a million years). No, the only spaghetti I bestow upon my followers is of the delectable, steaming, tomato (or pesto!) sauce covered variety, which falls like mana from heaven for those who faithfully believe.

        The blessings of my noodly appendage upon you, my son. May your plate be ever full, and your meatballs ever tasty.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          thank you for clearing that up,... and my the knowledge set you free,.. you deity-to-diety i know this awesome bar at the end of the galaxy Lugh, Kali, and I are heading their on a road trip and are in need of a fourth you in

          July 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          ohh on second though you might ruin the inside of my car.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          Sam, I love that bar! Gonna get me a bottle of the ol' janx spirit. "Oh, don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
          No, don't you give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
          For my head will fly
          My tongue will lie
          My eyes will fry
          And I may die
          Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit."
          (an ancient Orion mining song)

          July 31, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          So it's pan-galactic gargle blasters all round is it?

          July 31, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  6. flying spaghetti monster

    "But even in the hour of the death of Fenanor an embassy came to his sons from Morgoth, acknowledging defeat, and offering terms, even to the surrender of a Silmaril. Then Maedhros the tall, the eldest son, persuaded his brothers to feign to tret with Morgoth, and to meet his emissaries at the place appointed;but the Noldor had as little thought of faith as had he. Wherefore each embassy came with greater force than was agreed; but Morgoth sent the more, and here were Balrogs. Maedhros was ambushed, and all his company were slain; but he himself was taken alive by the command of Morgoth, and brought to Angband." (Silm.:19:5)

    July 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Fëanor

      July 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
  7. Robert Brown

    #3 & #4 contain some truth, the rest are lies.

    July 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Oops #2 contains some truth too. Jesus did set up a spiritual kingdom, but when he comes again be will setup a literal physical kingdom on earth.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      over my dead body that zombie will take over this world

      July 31, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  8. children of Israel

    The world is afraid of grace & truth. Mankind speaks of his own pride (Psalm 59:12) Christ is with the Israelites and the God of Jacob is with his people *Psalm 59:13 and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.

    July 31, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Bla bla bla. Take your pills.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      July 31, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Chris

        You look at the so-called intellectuals who fit your belief system. I can find just as many academics who accept the historical accuracy of the bible. Why is the bible used by archeologists? It is because no recent archeological find can disprove biblical texts. To discard the bible means you can discard the moral teachings of the bible and live any way you wish, which is what our society craves.

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

          origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

          New Torah For Modern Minds

          “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
          Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

          The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

          Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

          The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

          The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

          July 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
        • No, I am a very ethical person

          I completely reject your bible. You don't need god to be good

          July 31, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
        • Johnny

          I just learned that London is a real place, so now I believe that Harry Potter is a real wizard.

          August 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  9. Reality

    And we request yet again that "professor" Aslan respond to the following: (if he refuses he should be deported))

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim to include the professor can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................
    ===============================================================================================

    July 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • ME II

      psst... is that a black helicopter out your window?

      July 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Guest

      If you read Bible, there are way more violent verse there than in Koran.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • Reality

        As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

        The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

        ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

        and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

        and more recently

        1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

        1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

        2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

        3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

        4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

        5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

        6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

        7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

        8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

        9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

        10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

        11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

        12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

        13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

        14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

        15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

        16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

        17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

        18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

        19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

        20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

        21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

        22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

        23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

        o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
        o
        BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
        The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

        25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

        (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

        26 ) September 12, 2012
        U.S. AMBASSADOR KILLED
        Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

        27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion. Qur'an 109:6
      Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
      They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
      Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

      all take the Koran over the Bible any day

      July 31, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
      • Ted

        No, no people don't, Sam, but that's okay.

        July 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  10. Chris

    This is just a rehash of Muslim beliefs from the past 1400 years. Muslims do not believe in the divinity, death or resurrection of Jesus and he has kept the party line on that. I saw his interview on Fox News and his attempt to separate his faith from his book was obvious. He wants us to believe that because he is a "scholar" we should accept his premises. I can get many Christian, Atheist and humanist "scholars" to discount Islam, or any other religious faith system.

    July 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Some starting points:

      From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
      be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      July 31, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i don't discount any faith

      i just think Christianity/Islam/Judaism/Rastafarianism, or any Abraham faith besides the Canaan is evil

      July 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
  11. children of Israel

    (Matthew 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, whose also betrayed him. (Zechariah 14:21) *Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: *Psalm 106:37-38* (Judges 3:5)

    July 31, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  12. children of Israel

    *Matthew 13:55-56 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? *Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matthew 22:32)

    July 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Nice story. Needs more dragons.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        Agreed. "And LO! Verily, Jesus strode forth to do battle with the BEAST, whose name was Bahamut. And he smote the great dragon with the power of his hand, and his mighty sword! Afterwards, he did call upon the unicorns of the field to attend him, and he spake, saying 'as the unicorn's horn is sharp and pointy, so is god's wrath.... and, um, miracles and stuff!"

        July 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          Good.....good. Now could you add a sea monster, and some sharks, and we'll be all set.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  13. WASP

    easiest way to sum up the bible.

    christians get out of he11 free-card.

    see follow as such: ki11 people, get caught, get convicted, go to prison, get a bible, start thu/mping it, believe in your heart that "jesus died for YOU", then go to heaven with all the nice people you ki11ed.

    see easy to follow instructions. XD

    July 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  14. aallen333

    If atheists could prove they are their own creators, would they worship themselves. Oh yeah – they already practice self-worship.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      You don't know what happened. Since you NEED a story, you make one up.
      It's called "god of the gaps".
      Try harder next time.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      aallaann,

      You've said a lot of stupid things today but that one was one of the best. Keep up the great work and you'll win a prize.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    8 – Jesus only took up preaching becuase he was a terrible carpenter and nobody would buy his wobbly tables.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  16. children of Israel

    Do you believe Christ is a black man who came in the flesh and died for his people, the Israelites the twelve tribes of Israel. He came not for everybody in the world. *Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Isaiah 45:17) Are you lost sheep or goats *Matthew 15:24*

    July 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Vic

      Jesus Christ was born in the flesh under the Law where the Jews were still the chosen people since Moses to carry out God's Mission. The Good News of the Kingdom of God (Salvation) became universal after the work of Jesus Christ was done commencing on the Day of Pentecost, that is the 50th day after Ascension into Heaven. That is the Time Dispensation of Grace we've been in ever since.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Or so the fairy tale says. And they lived happily ever after......

        July 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Chris

          Honey, one day you will care.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
        • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

          So Chris, still trying to scare people ? You should be ashamed.
          When your brain de-oxygenates at death, that's it.
          No matter what story you cook up, you have no evidence of anything else.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  17. children of Israel

    The coming of Christ's kingdom is (Isaiah 1:28). *John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: *Matthew 9:13 for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Isaiah 45:17) *John 4:22*

    July 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      "No one shall come to me UNLESS the Father draw him".
      That would be a meaningless statement IF everyone were "called".
      "For many are called, but few are chosen".
      Oops.
      Capricious god ya got there.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God CAN be seen:
      "And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts." (EXO 33:23)

      maybe that's so that christians can kiss his ar5e?

      July 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • A Conversation

        Dog...I was led to believe (as so many have indicated here) that atheists had a better understanding of the Bible than believers. If so, how is it that you don't understand that verse to be a metaphor?

        July 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I do believe DD's statement is what is known in the vernacular as a "joke".
          But be wary of saying that a given passage is allegorical, metaphorical or otherwise not to be taken literally since there will inevitable be a Christian from some other sect who says that it must be taken at face value.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        Yeah DDog, come on! THAT part's so obviously a metaphor... ask any good xtian, they can tell you which parts of the word of god are meant to be interpreted literally, and which are just "metaphors"

        July 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • A Conversation

          (And at Doc too)...read the verse in context and tell me its not a metaphor.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • Skylar G

        You mean Exo. 33:23 "and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back; but my face shall not be seen."? Oh, you took what you wanted to hear ad n left out everything else? My bad.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • WASP

      anyone else happen to notice that appearantly god can't keep one single train of thought, or organize a book correctly?
      i mean seriously, if you have to jump around cherrypicking pieces together to make a message i'm certain i can do the same with the hobbit or any other work of fiction and it would be more convincing. XD

      July 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    If God is powerful enough to create the universe, don't you think he'd have a more foolproof way of getting his exact message across to future generations than this endlessly translated, edited, confused, modified, twisted, corrupted book of stories that is changed by religious power brokers to suit each generation?

    Wouldn't god's word be carved on the moon, unchangeable and for all to see? Wouldn't it be spoken unchanged by a species of animal? Wouldn't it be written microscopically on every stone or every tree? Wouldn't there be some space age material that had god's voice recorded, uncorrupted over the centuries and there for everyone to hear.

    Wouldn't there be parts of God's word that reflect computers or artificial intelligence or DNA or modern medicine or future medicine or electricity or space travel to other parts of this amazing universe he created? Wouldn't there be talk of gender and race equality? Wouldn't there be talk of Asia and Australia and the Americas and Europe and Africa?

    Instead the bible is limited to horses and carts and herbs and grain and swords and shields and misogyny and racism and slavery all set in the deserts of the middle east. The Bible is so obviously a product of bronze age man, you must be in denial to even argue that it is the word of god. There may or may not be a god or gods, but this book of bronze age voodoo and oppression has nothing to do with him, her or them.

    And stop it with this "not the word of god but words inspired by god" cop out. That just means it was written by greedy, evil men who got their way by claiming that god told them to do something. That's a self serving scam that should be scorned, especially by anyone claiming to love an omnipotent god. That scam is an abomination and an insult to your god ... as is the bible!

    July 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Yup, Dislexic. That's about the shape of things.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • A Conversation

      You seem to have all the answers. Why don't you apply for the job?

      July 31, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        I did apply, but you know it's so hard to get the big man to call me back... not once has he responded to my messages!

        July 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Red-headed Over-Bishop of Aaarg

          You false monster! Go back to your vegetarian ragu broth!
          The real FSM is coming!

          July 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Fr. John Morris

      You are not God. It is not your place to tell God how to transmit His message. I have read the New Testament enough to know that the picture of Christ as a political revolutionary is false. The message of the New Testament was summarized by St. Athanasius, "God became human so that humans can become God." In Jesus Christ God assumed all that we are to unite us to God through Him. As a Muslim Aslan has a built in bias that corrupts his reading of the New Testament.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • WASP

        @fr: "You are not God. It is not your place to tell God how to transmit His message."

        exactly!
        pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot. XD

        who are you to say who can and can't translate scripture? you have no power over man, thus you are just a sheep like the rest of them. 🙂

        July 31, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

        Ya ya. Whatever. You read it in a biased way, and actually think anyone else will do the same ?
        Most people here have read as much as you, and read something totally different. God could have accomplished all that crap, without Jebus, if he were really omnipotent. If he was constrained to do it that way, then he's no god, if he's subject to any system in Reality. If you god wanted that, why didn't he just do it from the start ? (And don't even start with the "free will" junk. Neuro-science has proven it does not exist. Did they tell you THAT in the seminary ?

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

      The Bible continues to be the best seller of all times, and will continue in that status long after "dog" has departed to meet his maker. The Bible has done more to affect Western Civilization than any other work of literature. More hospitals, schools, universities, charities and orphanages have been founded on the concepts of the bible.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

        Killing disobedient children ? Marrying the women you ra'pe ? Yes indeed.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  19. children of Israel

    Do you believe Christ is Hebrew an Israelite. The truth sets you free. Christians and Muslims, even all the religious sects are satanic. Are you keeping the law of commandments (John 1:17) *Matthew 5:17*

    July 31, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • mzh

      The Jew in Medina used have conversation with Christians behind the Muslim even though Jews were under contract that they will support Muhammad (pbuh) when he migrated to Medina from Mecca due to the torture of Idolators to the New Muslim. How would Muhammad know these conversations? Here are the verses were revealed to Muhammad through angel Gabriel and then it was revealed to Muhammad whatever were the conversation was going on among the People of the Scripture (Jew and Christian are called as People of the Scripture in the Quran as they were given a books, Injeel to Jesus and Torah to Moses fyi):
      2:109 – Many of the People of the Scripture wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from themselves [even] after the truth has become clear to them. So pardon and overlook until Allah delivers His command. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.

      2:110 – And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing.

      2:111 – And they say, "None will enter Paradise except one who is a Jew or a Christian." That is [merely] their wishful thinking, Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful."

      2:112 – Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.

      2:113 – The Jews say "The Christians have nothing [true] to stand on," and the Christians say, "The Jews have nothing to stand on," although they [both] recite the Scripture. Thus the polytheists speak the same as their words. But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ.

      2:114 – And who are more unjust than those who prevent the name of Allah from being mentioned in His mosques and strive toward their destruction. It is not for them to enter them except in fear. For them in this world is disgrace, and they will have in the Hereafter a great punishment.

      2:115 – And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

      2:116 – They say, " Allah has taken a son." Exalted is He! Rather, to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. All are devoutly obedient to Him

      2:117 – Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.

      There are lot more verses addressing to Poeople of The Book.

      Peace...

      July 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • Rodents for Romney

        Islam is a moon-god cult. They took it from the Arabian cult of the moon-god "Sin"
        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUC5Su5P8D4&w=640&h=360]

        July 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • Rodents for Romney

        Islam is a moon-god cult. They took it from the Arabian cult of the moon-god "Sin"

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUC5Su5P8D4&w=640&h=360]

        July 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • JSID1981

        Dude, do you type this stuff out? Or are you just CTRL+Alt – ing?

        August 13, 2013 at 8:37 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.