Recently religious scholar and author Reza Aslan recently appeared on the Fox News web show Spiritual Debate. Aslan came on the show to promote his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. But the interview quickly turned into an awkward display of Fox News’ tried-and-true numbskullery. The video and story have since gone viral.
Reza Aslan is a former Evangelical Christian who has converted to Islam; can you guess which part of that sentence Fox News’ Lauren Green focused on? Detractors have stated that Reza Aslan shoudn’t be writing about Jesus Christ since he is a Muslim; a point that Green embarrassingly re-iterated several times.
Reza Aslan himself reassured Green multiple times that along with being a Muslim he is a religious scholar who has been studying Jesus and Christianity for over 20 years. When Green initially questioned Reza Aslan’s right to cover the topic of Jesus and Christianity, the author seemed a little shocked.
“Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim,” he said.
Zealout: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth puts Jesus in the historical context of the time and world he lived in. Reza Aslan welcomes open discussion to the content of his book, but constantly finds his own religious beliefs at the center of the argument instead.
“I do think it’s perhaps a little bit strange that rather than debating the arguments of the book we are debating the right of the scholar to actually write it,” Aslan said.
Reza Aslan kept himself pretty well-composed during the interview, trying to delve into the research that he had done in preparation for the book. But leave it to Fox News to glaze over any actual information and instead search for flashy headline sound bites.
Throughout the course of the interview, Green would interrupt Aslan to read another quote of criticism; not really leading up to it, not really following it up, simply to elicit a reaction. Lauren Green’s interview of Reza Aslan was basically the “I’m not touching you game” of journalism.
Besides having to repeat the fact that he has a PHD in religions of all kinds, Aslan also had to address the fact of his “secret religion.” Green proposed that Aslan had been keeping his faith hidden in the press, implying that he was being dishonest. Aslan responded by encouraging Green to find media that didn’t mention his religious beliefs.
This is another laughable example of how Fox News does business. The basis of this interview’s argument is “why should a Muslim be allowed to write about Jesus?” This may fly over the heads of those at Fox News, but that is religious prejudice.
Also, how can Lauren Green ask Reza Aslan if he can write about Jesus? The man’s last name is Aslan, the lion Jesus of The Lion the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!
See the video for yourself:
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