Though Fox News’ religious correspondent Lauren Green’s Sunday interview with Muslim author Reza Aslan was difficult to watch at times, it was quite spirited as she hounded him to answer why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus, the founder of Christianity.
“To be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament and fluency of biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim,” Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” told Green. “It’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.”
After defending his qualifications to Green repeatedly, she finally asked him about the controversy surrounding the book, which “calls into question some of the core tenants about Christianity,” she said.
Aslan explained the conclusions he came to about Jesus:
I start with one fundamental truth that everyone agrees on with Jesus and that was that he was crucified.
And the picture that arises from this is of a real political revolutionary, who took on the religious and political powers of his time on behalf of the poor, and the meek, the dispossessed, the marginalized, who sacrificed himself in his cause for those who couldn’t stand up for himself and who’s death ultimately launched the greatest religion in the world.
Green’s immediate follow-up question was to read a criticism from a fellow scholar who said, “So, your book is written with clear bias and you’re trying to say it’s academic. That’s like having a Democrat write a book about why Reagan wasn’t a good Republican. It just doesn’t work. What do you say to that?”
“It would be like a Democrat with a PhD in Reagan who has been studying his life and history for two decades writing a book about Reagan,” Aslan retorted.
Green shot back, “But why would a Democrat want to promote democracy by writing about a Republican?”
“It sounds like you haven’t actually read my book or seen what I’ve said about the resurrection, or about Jesus, or about his claims,” Aslan answered. “I think you might be surprised by what I say.”
Watch the “Spirited Debate” interview here via Mediaite: