Last week, Author Reza Aslan appeared on Fox News to promote his new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” In the interview, Fox News embarrassed themselves by fixating on the fact that Aslan is a Muslim. Aslan capitalized on this by pretending to be an objective scholar. Yesterday, Aslan appeared on The Young Turks for an interview and it was he who should be embarrassed:
There are a few points I want to discuss about this interview starting with the historicity of Jesus. I super glad Cenk asked him about this because Aslan’s answer is embarrassing. Basically, he rests the case for Jesus’s historicity on Josephus – Real scholars are pretty sure that much of Josephus’s writings on “The Christ” were forged. Plus, Josephus for born 40 years after the alleged death of Jesus, so he is basically just writing down stories other people told him and making some pretty basic assumptions which may or may not be based on actual facts.
Then Reza gets into this weird conversation about facts vs. Truths. To illustrate his point he talks about a generous guy named Joe and then makes up a story about how Joe gave the shirt off his back to a homeless guy. He claims this is a Truth even if Joe never actually did that. Reza claims that religion is much the same way and that this is something called “Sacred History.”
Bravo to Cenk for calling Reza out on this. “I’m not buying it!” Sacred History seems like it is just another way of saying that it is all bullshit, but you can’t question it. Sorry, but I’m not buying it either. In fact, I find Aslan’s whole facts vs. Truths argument embarrassing.
Next, Reza tries to have his cake and eat it too. He claims that, “Romans as it turns out were pretty good at documentation,” and yet there is zero Roman documentation concerning a guy who allegedly tried to overthrow the Empire. Reza somewhat responds to my criticism by pointing out how insignificant Jesus was during his time. Unfortunately, he then goes on to say that, “He was seen as such a threat to the religious and political authorities of his time that he was ultimately arrested, tortured, and executed for it.”
So which is it Reza? Was Jesus insignificant in his time or was he such a threat that he needed to be executed? If he was insignificant, then Roman wouldn’t have bothered to crucify him. Crucifixion was reserved for actual threats. If he was such a threat, then why is there no Roman documentation of him especially given the fact (or Truth if you will) that the Romans were “pretty good at documentation?”
The funny thing is that Reza pretty much admitted that it is all bullshit and that his entire book is mere speculation with no basis in fact. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with speculation; my issue with Reza Aslan is that he packages his empty speculation as fact. I know, people 2000 years ago wouldn’t understand the word “fact” and that means that his book speaks real “Truths” – except that his book wasn’t written 2000 years ago. It was written in 2013 for people who do understand facts, history, empty speculation, and bullshit!
Correction & Addition:
As pointed out in the comments section, I got Josephus’s birth date wrong. He was not born 40 years after the alleged death of Jesus, but he was still born after the alleged death of Jesus so my point still stands. Also, a Facebook comment reminded me that Reza Aslan was full of shit when he said that “History” was a modern invention. It was invented roughly 500 years before Jesus was alleged to have been born by Herodotus. Google that shit!
- Searching For The Historical Hercules (skepticink.com)
- ‘Man of Steel’ Is Not About Jesus (skepticink.com)
- Dear Christians: Have You Heard The Harsh Reality? (skepticink.com)
- The Bible II: The Eye of Braxus (skepticink.com)
- WooHoo, I’m Skipping Purgatory! (skepticink.com)