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. Reality

    Only for the eyes of "professor" Aslan:

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, the Filipino “koranics”and the Boston Marthon bombers.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud (e.g. Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan) and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    August 3, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  2. light after dark

    So our best friend Jesus says when Reza wasn't looking, listening, or thinking:

    Luk 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

    August 3, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • Reality

      Some of the few passages deemed authentic by all contemporary NT scholars:

      Luke 6:27-28,35a

      6:27 "But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. … 6:35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

      = Matt 5:43-44
      5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

      See for example: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb114.html

      But keep the following in mind:

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is again one of the few judged to be authentic by contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentine white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?
      Some history:

      August 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • shamblin

        Stop posting. Its annoying and too long. And not really relevant.

        August 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  3. nerdy_christian_13

    Am I the only one who found it kinda funny that his last name is Aslan and he wrote a book about Jesus?

    August 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
  4. His panic

    They continue to be in a state of Panic, I even I maybe his Panic, I could be his Panic.

    August 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    Thomas Jefferson

    "Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies."

    "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

    "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."

    August 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • His panic

      The reading of a dyslexic. 😀

      August 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Maani

      You are correct that Jefferson was not a theist, and thus did not believe in either "organized religion" or Christian" revelation." But he was a devout deist who believed in God, and in Jesus (though not as "divine"). A couple of alternative comments from Jefferson:

      "We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus, and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in his discourses…[I am] sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others [because] the doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man."

      "I have little doubt that the whole of our country will soon be rallied to the unity of the Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also."

      "I am anxious to see the doctrine of one god commenced in our state."


      August 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • Thandie

        And yet he was essential in the construction of the delineation between church and state...TJ was a wise man, indeed.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
  6. mzh

    This is an invitation to Jews and Christians from The Almighty:

    3:98 – Say [O Muhammad], "O People of the Scripture, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allah while Allah is Witness over what you do?"

    3:99 – Say [O Muhammad], "O People of the Scripture, why do you avert from the way of Allah those who believe, seeking to make it [seem] deviant, while you are witnesses [to the truth]? And Allah is not unaware of what you do."

    3:100 – O you who have believed, if you obey a party of those who were given the Scripture, they would turn you back, after your belief, [to being] unbelievers.

    3:101 – And how could you disbelieve while to you are being recited the verses of Allah and among you is His Messenger? And whoever holds firmly to Allah has [indeed] been guided to a straight path.

    3:102 – O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].

    3:103 – And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

    3:104 – And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.

    3:105 – And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment.

    3:106 – On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black, [to them it will be said], "Did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject."

    Peace be upon all of you...

    August 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      This is an open invitation from an atheist humanist: Please practice love and generosity to all regardless of their ideology and put down your weapons of war for they only make the honey dipped words on your lips sound like gilded lies meant to separate wives from husbands, parents from children and communities from individuals.

      August 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • mzh

        Peace be up on you...

        Quran teaches – Say to those who do not believe in it 'You do your religion (in your case whatever you do) and I do mine, I will not believe what you believe and you will not believe what i believe'...

        So we can live with peace... 🙂


        August 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Reality

      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 can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      August 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • Reality

        Just some of the passages that need to be deleted from the koran:

        http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
        o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
        "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

        "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

        "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

        "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

        "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

        "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

        "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

        "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

        "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

        "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

        "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

        "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

        "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

        "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

        August 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Reality

          Just some of the results of said passages:

          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
          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
          Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

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

          August 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • krhodes

      This is an open invitation to all. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ a thou shalt be saved."

      August 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • Reality

        The Apostles'’ Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

        Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
        and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
        human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

        I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
        preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
        named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
        girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

        Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
        the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

        He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
        a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

        Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
        many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
        and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
        Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
        grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
        and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
        called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

        (references used are available upon request)

        August 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  7. aallen333

    Happy smiling faces all around. And who gave us the ability to smile? God!

    August 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      you poor deluded individual ...

      August 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • OTOH


      Well, Krishna smiles, and so does Lakshmi. There are smiling and even laughing Buddhas depicted.

      How much smiling or laughing does "God" or "Jesus" do in your "scriptures"?

      August 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  8. Rev. Rick

    Why would I put any faith in a writer who is known to be a devout follower of another (competing) religion? However, with that said, others have already pointed out that we really don't know who the true authors of the Synoptic Gospels were. By tradition, they are attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but no one knows for sure. This fact is actually taught in most credible seminaries, but it is seldom mentioned by ministers in the pulpit in order to avoid "confusing the faithful." Scholarly research shows that earliest *complete* copies of the Gospels don't actually appear until around the 4th century. Before that, we only have bits and fragments of scripture. It even appears that some Gospels were written in stages over a number of years. To call the Gospels (or any other scripture) inerrant simply strains credibility.

    August 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • mzh

      Dear Rick, first of all i appreciate you being honest... i hope my Christian brothers and sisters will realize what it means...

      Islam welcomes you dear Rev. Rick

      The one who submits himself to The One is call Muslim as Jesus was a Muslim and any other prophets...

      No one authors The Quran, if you open this book you will not see any name as author or no one makes money or any earthly benefit out of it as the author of this book is the one who sent Muhammad, Jesus, Moses and others to guide human from darkness to the light which will lead with His mercy to the straight path...

      And it has been preserve as it was revealed to Muhammad by Angel Gabriel from The Lord Almighty for last 14+ centuries... not a single dot moved from one place to other...

      Here is one of the verses that talks to mankind:

      And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided – 2:186

      I would also like to share with you a story few years after Quran started revealing... a man name Omar (ra) who bit his own tribes people because they accepted Islam and then one day he headed to the house of Muhammad (saw) to kill him and on the way he came to know that his own sister and her family accepted Islam, then he changed his direction towards his sisters house... and then he found following verses were being recited which has just been revealed:

      20:1- Ta, Ha.
      20:2- We have not sent down to you the Qur'an that you be distressed
      20:3- But only as a reminder for those who fear [ Allah ]
      20:4- A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens,
      20:5- The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.
      20:6- To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil.
      20:7- And if you speak aloud – then indeed, He knows the secret and what is [even] more hidden.
      20:8- Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.
      20:9- And has the story of Moses reached you?
      20:10- When he saw a fire and said to his family, "Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance."
      20:11- And when he came to it, he was called, "O Moses,
      20:12- Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.
      20:13- And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you].
      20:14- Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.
      20:15- Indeed, the Hour is coming – I almost conceal it – so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.
      20:16- So do not let one avert you from it who does not believe in it and follows his desire, for you [then] would perish.
      20:17- And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?"
      20:18- He said, "It is my staff; I lean upon it, and I bring down leaves for my sheep and I have therein other uses."
      20:19- [ Allah ] said, "Throw it down, O Moses."
      And it goes on…

      As he did not have any problem to understand it as it his language... so then his heart malted and then he headed to the house Messanger of Allah (saw), he knocks the door, the companions started thinking why would he be here with his sowrd, then Prophet Muhammad (saw) told them to let him in... and he end up by saying "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah worthy of worship and you are His messanger"

      So my humble request to you is to consider the only Truth and success here and hereafter by pleasing Allah The Lord Almighty who created you, me and the entire universe who is not need of any son or any associates to run this universe.

      Peace be upon you....

      August 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • lee

        May the force be with you – Obi Wan Kenobi

        August 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • mzh

          What force are you talking about dear Lee?

          August 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • Rev. Rick

        @ mzh – Thanks or your response, and for your quotes from the Quran. However, after reading the history of Islam, and about how the Quran was revealed to Muhammad, I find the Quran no more credible than either the Old or New Testament. In fact, because it was originally given to Muhammad orally and them memorized before it was finally written down, I find it perhaps even less credible, and subject to the same or even more error as any other human-generated scripture. I am not saying that all scripture is useless, whether it is the Quran, the Old Testament, nor the New Testament. I am just saying that since a human was always the "middle man" in the generation and delivery of scripture, it is *all* subject to error, misinterpretation, bias, and personal agenda, in order to push a particular brand of faith or religion. This is true for any and all religions whether, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.

        August 6, 2013 at 7:31 am |
  9. Buddy

    Aslan lied about his credentials and lied about Jesus. But CNN does not vet people who attack Christianity. There is simply no evidence Jesus lead a political revolution.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What specifically was the lie? As in, what credentials did he claim that he does not have? While you are it, what evidence do you have for a divine jesus?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      From Wikipedia:

      "Aslan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religions from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. Aslan also received a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology, focusing in the history of religion, from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His dissertation was t!tled "Global Jihadism as a Transnational Social Movement: A Theoretical Framework"."

      What did he lie about?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Saraswati

        He described his credentials in a way that many, including myself, consider inaccurate, by claiming to have a PhD in the "history of religions". His doctorate was in sociology and, while it may have been somewhat historical, it focussed on Islam, not religions in general. If he wants to make a claim regarding his general religious credentials he needs to go back to his master's. He might even get away with "historical sociology of religion", but he needs to be careful, because even if unintentional this kind of misrepresentation can cost you a job in the academic world.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • lol??

          The Big O has deep pockets.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      You are all missing Buddys point, he disagrees with Aslan so is calling him a liar. When have the religious right ever needed facts and truth on their side to throw disparaging remarks at others? And if truth and facts actually do start to come out the religious right are the first to stick the barrel of their gun in its mouth and pull the trigger because they certainly don't want to hear it when they already have their minds made up. When faced with logic and reason that goes against your childhood indoctrination, they firmly believe you should shoot first and don't ask any questions.

      August 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  10. yonkerschurch

    Jesus said “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). Reading this alone would make one think that Jesus is promoting violence.

    Jesus also said "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52)

    He explicitly says that if he wanted to use violence he could have:

    "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53)

    The sword he speaks of is not used to pierce human flesh but the hearts and mind of man to see that love of the fellow human being is the most powerful weapon against evil.

    August 2, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      And you know that because ...?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • thelastdeacon

        That's my interpretation. Aslan has his own.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  11. William D. Simpson

    I would so like sit across a table and talk with Reza Aslan in any setting to compare his book "The Zealot" with mine, so that people would have the opportunity to hear not just another opinion about Jesus Christ but what GOD has said in regards to the Messiah.

    "There is no higher opinion than the voice of GOD"

    Throughout recorded time "men" have given their opinions regarding what they, believed or not, about GOD. ALL of their writings reveal what humanity can do to obtain GOD's acceptance, or the knowledge of a higher spiritual attainment. In short – man makes the rules regarding what one can choose to do to be accepted by GOD...

    The Bible, the only comprised writings by men throughout the span of time that it took to give us the Cannons of Scripture, all reveal that GOD is sovereign in the account of creation, and with the affairs of man. That no man can approach GOD on any terms other than the term established by GOD.

    "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

    That GOD is holy holy holy and righteous and sovereign, and is judge of all thing, means that what you and I may believe is irrelevant when compared to what GOD has said in the revelation about GOD given to us by GOD through the hands of men inspired of GOD

    Is GOD confused? No, it is we...

    August 2, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • midwest rail

      The "cannons" of scripture ?? Seriously ?

      August 2, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Yes, the holy howitzers of the Lord.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Lawrence

        "Canon" means "measuring rod" or a "standard." Scripture is the "Norm of all norms without any norm."

        August 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          You mean like in Cheers?


          the"the norm of all norms without any norm", you've got to be joking. That's a pretty fatuous tautology.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Lawrence

          Tell me "I'm not a GOPer...," Is it a knee jerk reaction to attempt ridicule on any who may have a different view than yourself? Is there no portion of your mind dedicated to resoning with others? The phrase "norm of norms..." indicates the superiority of Scripture above all other standards.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Lawrence

          Furthermore, your premise is false – that it is tautology. Change the word "norm" to its synonym "standard" and see what you get – "Scripture is the standard of all standards, without any standard (of its own)" You may have a deep vocabulary, but your application is a bit rusty.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Lawrence, I'm well aware what canon means. You may wish to educate the original poster (who claims to be an author) on the difference between cannon and canon.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Lawrence

          I'm sure he knows... We're all allowed to have typos.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          We can argue about whether or not it is a tautology, but "Norm of all norms without any norm" is patently meaningless. That is what I ridiculed.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Roger that

      You do realize that your book didn't magically appear? Do you realize that there are thousands of versions of your "word of God"?

      August 2, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      If god is sovereign, then:


      Your welcome.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Lawrence

        You need to do a study on the doctrine of God's deterministic sovereignty versus the volition of man. Jonathan Edwards wrote a great book on it called "The Freedom of the Will," and Martin Luther wrote a great work on it called "The Bondage of the Will." They're great reads.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        God believers are great at finding ways to claim that they can eat their cake and have it too. Believers must be adept at explaining inconsistencies and poor logic because it comes up so much in explaining their holy book or their beliefs. The "god is sovereign" statement is a mere technique to "explain" away something patently stupid in the believer's holy book or belief. And like all other statements about god, it is impossible to prove because there is nothing to measure and verify and there is no method by which any such measurement or verification could be performed. And "faith" works equally well for any belief--even those diametrically opposed to yours that you use "faith" for.

        August 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • OTOH

      "The Bible, the only comprised writings by men throughout the span of time that it took to give us the Cannons[sic] of Scripture"

      Guess what? Hindus have "Scripture" that is much older and time-spanning than your Hebrew/Christian one, so does Buddhism, and many others.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  12. Buddy

    Will CNN bring up the fact the writer lied about his credentials? Of course not. They don't vet anyone who attacks Christianity, conservatives, or America.

    Author Reza Aslan was disingenuous about his biases in his weekend interview with Fox News Channel's Lauren Green, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell told FNC's Shannon Bream on the July 31 edition of America Live. Aslan, as a Muslim, denies the divinity of Christ, and should have been straightforward about how his religious beliefs would necessarily color his view of Jesus, which he protests is purely a scholarly inquiry.

    Besides proudly insisting he has no biases, Aslan got a number of basic things about Christ wrong, Bozell said, including the absurd claim that Jesus is never quoted in any biblical account as claiming divinity. Additionally, the MRC president noted, Aslan "also said, more than once, that he had a history degree in religion" when "in fact, he doesn't."

    August 2, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  13. Buddy

    There is no evidence to back up the Muslim's claims about Jesus. There is no evidence he lead a political revolution at all. The writer is simply a bold faced liar. Oh, and he lied about his credentials too.

    August 2, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Roger that

      And how is this different from the NT? The gospels are anonymously written be authors who never met Jesus and are written long after he died. They are stories, not historical references. Nothing in the gospels can be proven and so his opinions are just as credible as any others.

      August 2, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • Maani

        Correction. Matthew and John were apostles who were contemporaneous with Jesus, and lived alongside him. Luke was also contemporaneous, and likely a disciple. Mark may or may not have known Jesus, but lived at approximately the same time. Simon Peter was also contemporaneous. According to the majority of scholars, the Gospel of Mark was the first to be written, in ~60 A.D. – thus, only 30 years after Jesus' death and resurrection. (And consider that if I wrote a biography today of a friend of mine who died 30 years ago, it would still be pretty darned accurate.) All the other books were written in the next 30 years or so, with Revelation (the last written) dated to ~90 A.D.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Roger that

          If anyone would have know Jesus, it would have been Mark since it was the first of the gospels written. Those books were not written by those individuals. The writers just ti.tled the books after those indiduals. No one knows who wrote them. We do know that it wasn't Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or Stephen King.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Roger, what is the basis for your opinion.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • Roger that

          Books and more books.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Roger, why do you believe the authors of those books?

          August 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Johnny

          Nobody knows who actually wrote the gospels. All that we have is who claimed to write them, and for the most part those claims just don't hold up.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • OTOH

          Would a real (omniscient, omnipotent) god leave such sloppy evidence?

          Mere humans of the day, such a Julius Caesar, did a better job of leaving evidence of their life and exploits (of course, some of those stories may be apocryphal or exaggerated too).

          If it **really** matters, you doesn't leave an unverifiable, disappearing trail.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • OTOH

          *yoiks! "you don't leave" or "one doesn't leave" - sorry, I didn't redo my entire sentence there.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Maani

          Roger: No, Mark need not have known Jesus simply because his was the first of the Gospels to be written. It simply meant that others waited longer. Duh.

          Johnny: "Nobody knows..." What part of my post did you miss? The majority of well-respected Biblical scholars – both secular and religious – agree on who wrote which of the NT books. (The OT books are the bigger issue.) This has been traced through minutiae like language usage and style. There is very little dispute as to who wrote what. As i said, I will take the word of dozens of Scriptural scholars over the word of someone who posts to article threads.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
        • Roger that


          So you're telling me that someone that actually knew Jesus and literate, waited 35 -70 years to write about it? I did not know that. Tell me more.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Rev. Rick

      Very true. Why would I put any faith in a writer who is known to be a devout follower of another (competing) religion? However, with that said, others have already pointed out that we really don't know who the true authors of the Synoptic Gospels were. By tradition, they are attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but no one knows for sure. This fact is actually taught in most credible seminaries, but it is seldom mentioned by ministers in the pulpit in order to avoid "confusing the faithful." Scholarly research shows that earliest *complete* copies of the Gospels don't actually appear until around the 4th century. Before that, we only have bits and fragments of scripture. It even appears that some Gospels were written in stages over a number of years. To call the Gospels (or any other scripture) inerrant simply strains credibility.

      August 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  14. lol??

    Does Athena and the Greeksters really give out 72 Degrees in Reconstructive Surgery for Virgins if one has enough dough??

    August 2, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • M.R.

      Leavened breaddrops mired honey. Laughter!

      August 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  15. One word


    August 2, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Roger that

      Time to go fetch your pitch fork, and help the mob gather firewood.

      August 2, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  16. Round and round in circles

    Instead of just admitting the truth, that God sent the Son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth to die for the sins of others that believe him, repent of their sins, and do the will of God... some people just don't get it. They deny the truth of a FREE GIFT from God himself... and demand nothing instead, when nothing won't and can't save them.

    Three of them on the path, Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit... it's all about fruit and getting the word out... like at a job.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      1. Why do you all keep up with the "FREE GIFT" slogan?
      - You sound like an ad in the National Enquirer or the HSC
      - It is horridly redundant. If it is a gift, it *is* free.

      2. Yours is not free anyway - lots of strings are attached, some of which you mentioned.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Round and round in circles

      So it's like: "oy vey", right?

      Or is that wrong?

      August 2, 2013 at 1:31 am |
      • A Frayed Knot

        Hmmm, maybe a bit. It's really more like saying, "canine dog" or "feline cat".

        August 2, 2013 at 1:55 am |
      • Round and round in circles

        I will admit I missed the message at first, but I was interested to find out what was going on and came back again and again. Some aren't interested because they don't see what's going on, and they pass right by. After some time thinking about it, I finally got the message but missed some opportunities while trying to figure it out. It was all about fruit, getting out the wisdom of God to others, so they can be fruit too. Generating more fruit with a fruit's wisdom. It's like being at a job and needing to know what's going on and how to do the job, fumbling some at first, but trying anyway because you love God and thank him for sending Jesus to save those that believe him, do the will of God and repent. That's what I got out of it... all the people working to get across that one message over time, and at the right times, thanks to them too.

        August 2, 2013 at 3:52 am |
    • Roger that

      I've got a great deal for you. There is this evil dictator that wants you to worship him. He has killed a lot of people. He has told me that if you do not worship him, he will torture you for eternity. Not bad huh? What do you say? Oh, I almost forgot the best part...it's free.

      August 2, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • lee

      Your "free gift" line is insulting and absurd. The religion of Christianity makes up the nonsense of "sin" stating that we are all born wicked, deserving of eternal torture. Then offers the "get out of jail free card" by just believing that someone suffered and died for them (subst.itutional atonement is another positively immoral proposition, but I won't go there). It makes you sick and then offers you the cure. Take your gift and shove it.

      August 2, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Jb

        You're not seeing straight. Have you sinned? Or if you don't believe in sin, have you done bad things? Have you done things you know aren't right? Will you make mistakes in the future? There you go. We as humans are naturally sinners.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          There is no such thing as "sin," and we all make mistakes because none of us are perfect. Duh.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • lee

          Have I told white lies and done minor morally questionable things. Who hasn't? That is the point. The religion sets the rules so NO ONE can avoid them. Do I deserve to be tortured endlessly for such offenses? According to your religion, I do along with every other human being. I can't imagine raising my child and telling her that she was wicked and deserved eternal torture.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  17. Jose W.

    Aslan is the living evidence that when the price of Truth isn't paid, you can study and study Truth for 20, 40, 100 years and still not see it. His many academic credentials and Ph.D (singular) got in the way... Humility, key currency in the exchange of knowing Truth.

    Reza Aslam during the Fox interview:
    "I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament . . . I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions . . . I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually . . . To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions."

    He does not have a Ph.D in the history of religions... It's on sociology. He does deserve one more, one in the art of arrogance and deceit.

    If after 20 of "studying" Jesus you don't love Him is because you really don't know Him, no matter how much information (or misinformation) you hoard.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • Saraswati

      He was partially referring to the topic of his dissertation rather than the department he was in, which is fairly common, and also to the fact his masters is in religion, and presumably largely historic. However, given that his dissertation topic was on more recent history, specifically of Islam, it really isn't relevant here and so was inappropriate to the context. He is going to have to be very careful about that in the future as such misrepresentation, intentional or not, can cost you jobs in the academic world. He needs to suck it up and describe himself as having a "PhD in the sociology of Islam" and/or possibly a "Master's focussed on the history of religion" (if that was his area...no idea what his MA concentration was). He could even describe his area as the "historical sociology of religion", but he does need to recognize that the difference matters.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:10 am |
      • lol??

        Academia nuts are slippery, too?? MacDAMIa Nut!!

        August 2, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  18. aallen333

    One day all will reflect back and consider how utterly foolish it was to treat evolution as serious science.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Edward MacGuire

      Hahahahahaha .. hilarious.

      August 2, 2013 at 5:13 am |
  19. aallen333

    If a machine is self-replicating, is it logical to automatically conclude that it had no need for a designer.


    August 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  20. Bob123

    Jesus is Love

    August 1, 2013 at 9:56 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.