Thursday, August 01, 2013

Reza Aslan

One of the telling, but not surprising, oddities of liberal reaction to the Fox interview with Reza Aslan, is the notion that it was outrageous for the reporter to ask him about his Muslim affiliation. Take this gem from Peter Enns:

And he certainly shouldn’t have to defend his right to write a book on Jesus because he is Muslim (or once was, or whatever).

Needless to say, Aslan's theological orientation is highly pertinent to his book. There is no neutral way of writing about Jesus. Basically, you either write about Jesus as a follower or opponent. Either you accept or reject the NT depiction of who Jesus is and what he did (is doing, or will do). 

From what I've read, Aslan is not merely a Muslim, but a revert to Islam. That makes him an apostate as well as a Muslim.

When an observant Muslim writes a book about Jesus, you know ahead of time that his treatment will be hostile to the NT depiction of Jesus. Same thing with apostates. 

Now, I don't think bias is inherently bad. We need to distinguish between a truth-conductive bias and a truth-subversive bias. The problem with Aslan is not that he has an agenda, but his agenda is dictated by a religious bias that's inimical to finding the truth. And that's not unique to a particular religious bias. The same is true for an atheistic bias (e.g. Robert Price, Dominic Crossan), or a methodologically naturalistic bias (e.g. John J. Collins).  


  1. Crossan.


    I ingested some of his poison in my earlier years, and it took some time to purge. I imagine this mohommedan's blasphemy is either not much better or worse.

  2. Justin,

    From what I've read about the book, if you've read Crossan, you've read Aslan

  3. I am reading it now - skipping around; plan to read it carefully, but I have seen a lot - and a lot of what he ascribes to is also contradictory to Islam - so he is some kind of liberal, western Muslim - he calls himself a Sufi Muslim. A lot of his beliefs are typical for modern westernized Iranians today. Most of his work before Zealot was on Middle Eastern politics from a liberal perspective.

    Reza Aslan's book is theological liberalism and anti-supernatual presuppositions (that prophesy and miracles don't happen) - he relies heavily on Jesus Seminar liberal scholars such as J. P. Meier, John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, Marcus Borg; and others including James Tabor ( who is famous for positing that James and Peter as the original Jewish followers of Jesus vs. Paul as hijacking Christianity ); and one of the most famous old liberals, Rudolph Bultmann.

    According to one review, it is an "odd mixture of sociology and creative writing". His Phd is in "sociology of religions" NOT "history of religions". He indeed mislead Lauren Green.

    Also: he claimed fluency in Greek - I wonder just how fluent he is: