Reza Aslan: From Islam to Christianity back to Islam

Published on 20 May 2016

Reza Aslan: From Islam to Christianity back to Islam

Recently we sat down with Muslim scholar and best selling author Reza Aslan for an in-depth interview on a wide range of issues. This is the first in what will hopefully be a longstanding series of interviews that are planned with high profile scholars and movers and shakers in pop culture.

We covered Reza’s days as a break dancer, conversion to Christianity and return to Islam, his thoughts on Islamophobia, Robert Spencer, the Arab Spring, reformation of Islam and the current saber-rattling with Iran.

It was a fascinating and hilarious interview and I think you will find we covered new ground, such as the breaking news that Reza is willing to finally reciprocate Robert Spencer’s man crush!

Loonwatch (LW): I heard you used to break dance?

Reza Aslan (RA): Yes, (laughter) I used to be a break dancer. My name used to be El Penguin, because I was so bow legged.

LW: Did you ever graduate to doing head spins and flares?

RA: I could do a really poor head spin but it was definitely not my forte with my footwork. I was in a (laugh) break dance troupe called Etron, which was Norte spelled backwards because we were on the north side of Fresno.

LW: Do you still break once in a while?

RA: Hell no. If I tried to break dance today I would definitely break something. Oh, I could still pop-lock with the best of them but break dancing, no.

LW: We heard in the course of one of your interviews that you converted to Evangelical Christianity at one point in your life?

RA: Yes, when I was 15 years old…

LW: Were you practicing taqiyyah?

RA: Yes. (laughter) My entire life is just one big practice of taqiyyah. Like everything I do as a human being.

Actually, it was part of this group called Young Life, pretty famous nation-wide group. They go into High Schools and Junior High Schools and they evangelize. I went to this summer camp where you hear the Gospel message, and yeah when I was 15 years old, a sophomore, and so it was before my sophomore year of HS. Yeah, I found Jesus, he was awesome.

LW: How was that, what was that experience like when you were an Evangelical?

RA: It’s magical! The thing about Evangelical Christianity and why I think it is so appealing, particularly to young people is that I mean it is just such a brilliant and profoundly moving story. There is a reason why it is called the greatest story ever told, right? That God had this physical son, like His little baby boy you know that came down to earth and because you yourself are such an awful human being, because of all the terrible things you do, God decided to have His son tortured and murdered in order to save you from yourself and that if you don’t accept that story, not only are you spitting in God’s face but oh yeah you are also going to burn in hell for all eternity.

It’s an amazing story, that’s why it is so appealing. Now the important thing to understand is that is what it precisely is, a story. I am not by any means discounting it or criticizing it. All religion is story, all mythology is story but that is a particularly good one, and it’s a story, I think particularly for young people looking for easy answers to complicated questions, that they can flock to, and the last 2000 years are testimony to that.

LW: That is quite profound. I was wondering, going from that to becoming an Islamic scholar and someone who regularly speaks on Islam, how did you return to Islam? Was it a going back to your roots?

RA: Well, after High School, like most people who are introduced to Evangelical Christianity when they’re kids then go to college, you realize, “oh wow, a lot of the stuff that I was told by my youth leaders and my pastors was kind of nonsense actually” and so you begin to question those issues, question those ideas.

I went to a Catholic College, a Jesuit Catholic College and began studying the Bible and particularly the New Testament from a scholarly perspective and the more I kept studying the more I realized almost everything I was told about the Bible and about the New Testament and frankly about the Gospel story was false. More importantly the truth behind the Gospel story, the truth behind who Jesus was and what Jesus really said was far more interesting, far more profound and frankly far more appealing than the false notions of it that I was fed as a kid. So throughout my early years in college I decided to get a degree in Biblical Studies. I became fluent in Greek and became a young scholar about the origins of Christianity and the historical Jesus and then when I graduated I was heading off to Harvard to get a Masters degree in that topic when one of my undergraduate professors, one of my mentors, Katherine Bell sat me down and basically said, “Why aren’t you studying Islam?” and I said “what do you mean?”

Click here to read the full article:

http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/11/excl…



Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Christianity, God, History, Islam, Quran

72 replies

  1. The more you study christianity the more specialist you become in christian texts the more you will find christianity is untenable.

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  2. Eric, there are plenty of believing scholars, like Dan Wallace, James White, Michael Kruger, D.A. Carson, Andreas Kostenberger, and many others who believe in Christ and know the scholarship and go toe to toe with the liberals and skeptics. When someone is unwilling to debate with them, they are proving their fear of letting believing scholars challenge them.

    Reza Aslan is hard to figure out in relation to Islam, because even though he claims to have gone back to Islam, he denies the virgin birth and miracles; and he accepts the historicity of the crucifixion of Jesus and death of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross. Whenever any one asks him about that contradiction, he starts cursing and cussing at the other person or calls them names and boasts about his own scholarship. His arrogance just oozes off of him in all his interviews as he says he is an expert and a scholar, etc.

    He is not hard to figure out though, if you have read his stuff and listened to him – he is basically just a very arrogant western educated left-wing liberal, whose emphasis is on left-wing politics. His hatred of conservative politics just oozes off him all the time. The way he mocked the message of Christianity was especially ugly and condescending. Remember his main degrees are in Fiction/Creative Writing and Sociology. He knows how to market himself as a scholar, but he is not really scholarly in the details of the Bible.

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    • Well,those scholars are minority but vocal voices at very conservative seminaries at the paycheck of a campus minister and a religion major who didn’t like their faith challenged by the well-established and long-accepted consensus views of biblical scholarships.

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  3. Reza Aslan –
    His main degrees are in Creative writing (Fine Arts in Fiction) and Sociology (Phd). He mostly writes on political issues, especially Middle East and Muslim geo-political issues with a bias toward a left-wing western Obama-Clinton agenda.

    Think about that, “Creative Writing”; Sociology. “Fine Arts in Fiction” (Creative Writing) – he knows how to creatively spin things and create fiction. He is a master of deception by using a little knowledge of Greek and knowing some liberal writers and theories, he appears to be an expert to the masses. His book Zealot has been thoroughly refuted.

    Having a degree in Religious studies from Santa Clara University and Master of Theological Studies from Harvard is not saying much, because they are so liberal that most Muslims would not even agree with most of the things they teach. A lot of modern “religious studies” in the west is like what the Muslims here criticized about the “Study Qur’an” – the Perennial Theology in it – the validity of all religions. (Which is a contradiction) Western modern scholarship is like that – it is just having fun with a little knowledge about a lot of different religions and using Hegelian dialectic theory of history and Darwinian Evolution to basically say that life here on planet earth is what matters, and humans are all on the journey of progressing politically and socially to making a better work with left wing politics, socialism, anti-Christian values.

    “Aslan does have four degrees, as Joe Carter has noted: a 1995 B.A. in religion from Santa Clara University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and wrote his senior thesis on “The Messianic Secret in the Gospel of Mark”; a 1999 Master of Theological Studies from Harvard; a 2002 Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and a 2009 Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.”

    See the article at “First Things” – Reza Aslan Misrepresents his scholarly credentials

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    • With the name of Allah

      It is silly that you attack  Reza Aslan credentials, He has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University (Major focus: New Testament; Minor: Greek), an M.T.S in Theological Studies from Harvard (Major focus: History of Religions); an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and received his Ph.D in sociology of Religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

      So no,  his main degrees is not in creative writing. It’s silly to say Aslan didn’t study religion just because has degree in sociology of religions. Here is a quote from his PhD advisor Mark Juergensmayer:

      “Since I was Reza’s thesis adviser at the Univ. of California-Santa Barbara, I can testify that he is a religious studies scholar. (I am a sociologist of religion with a position in sociology and an affiliation with religious studies). Though Reza’s PhD is in sociology most of his graduate course work at UCSB was in the history of religion in the dept of religious studies. Though none of his 4 degrees are in history as such, he is a “historian of religion” in the way that that term is used at the Univ of Chicago to cover the field of comparative religion; and his theology degree at Harvard covered Bible and Church history, and required him to master New Testament Greek. So in short, he is who he says he is.”

      You simply make silly accusation about him because you just hate him.

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    • Not really; his “expertise” is in Fiction and Creative Writing and modern liberal sociology. Sure he has some knowledge of many religions and can write. There are many mistakes in his book Zealot and I found a few in his book on Islam also (about the early church).

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    • Mark Juergensmayer, a renowned American scholar in religious studies, says Reza Aslan is a religious studies scholar in the field of comparative religion, theology, Bible and Church history, includes skills of New Testament Greek.. who are you then who think otherwise?

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    • But Aslan lied twice on live TV to Lauren Green and said “I have a Phd in the history of religions”. no. his Phd is in sociology. he does have undergraduate and masters in religious studies, but not Phd. He lied about his Phd.

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    • Also, just so you know, I don’t approve of the cussing and cursing and dirty language in that video on the top 10 lies of Reza Aslan; but it was done by secular skeptics, not Christians. But in content, it is well documented. Aslan does lie and skew the truth.

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  4. Typo:

    Western modern scholarship is like that – it is just having fun with a little knowledge about a lot of different religions and using Hegelian dialectic theory of history and Darwinian Evolution to basically say that life here on planet earth is what matters, and humans are all on the journey of progressing politically and socially to making a better world with left wing politics, socialism, anti-Christian values.

    (promotion of socialism, Global Warming, Homosexual rights, LGBT rights, Transgenderism, Abortion on demand, etc.)

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  5. ‘there are plenty of believing scholars, like Dan Wallace, James White, Michael Kruger, D.A. Carson, Andreas Kostenberger, and many others who believe in Christ and know the scholarship and go toe to toe with the liberals and skeptics. When someone is unwilling to debate with them, they are proving their fear of letting believing scholars challenge them.’

    Personally I would be honoured and happy to debate the scholars on your list. They all have genuine, accredited PhDs – accept James White who is not a real scholar, but a fundamentalist polemicist by trade who I would not debate – though Bart and Shabir came to a different decision.

    The others are the real thing, though their views are not widely accepted outside of conservative evangelical circles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • White’s knowledge and content is right up there with those guys, sometimes even better. You just want an excuse to dismiss him, just because he didn’t have enough money to uproot his life and move to a different city and state in order that Phd or Thd. (and therefore decided it was better use of time and money to get his doctorate at that unaccredited school.)

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    • Paul do have a Master’s Degree?
      or just a Bachelors?

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  6. ‘Reza Aslan is hard to figure out in relation to Islam, because even though he claims to have gone back to Islam, he denies the virgin birth and miracles; and he accepts the historicity of the crucifixion of Jesus and death of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross. Whenever any one asks him about that contradiction…’

    In the opinion of some scholars (Professors Tim Winter and Sidney H. Griffith come to mind) the Quran does not teach that Jesus was not crucified per se but that he was not crucified by the Jews.

    That is an honourable position to take and not a ‘contradiction’.

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  7. But Aslan denies the virgin birth of Christ, which does go against the Qur’an and Islam.

    And the Qur’an clearly says that Jesus was not crucified or killed on the cross.

    That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not —nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” (Qur’an, 4:157-158, Yusuf Ali)

    This is saying much more than only, “The Jews didn’t crucify or kill Jesus” (The Romans did). That is amazing that anyone could really think that that is all the Qur’an is saying, if that is what they mean.

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    • The new Study Quran has this to say about surah 4: 157:

      ‘It does not come in the context of a critique of Christian belief, however, but rather as part of a lengthy passage criticizing historical incidents of Jewish unfaithfulness to their covenant. It is important to note that here the critique is not aimed directly at the belief in Christ’s crucifixion and death, but rather at the Jews’ claim to have killed him. Their claim, seen as their way of mocking and dismissing Jesus’ prophethood, is understood in the context of the Quranic assertion that the Israelites or Jews rejected some of the prophets that had been sent to them (in v. 155 and elsewhere).’

      See also:

      The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought, by Todd Lawson (Professor, University of Toronto, Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations).

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crucifixion-Quran-History-Muslim-Thought/dp/1851686355

      Cover reads:

      ‘According to the majority of modern Muslims and Christians, the Qur’an denies the crucifixion of Jesus, and with it, one of the most sacred beliefs of Christianity. However, it is only mentioned in one verse – “They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, rather, it only appeared so to them” – and contrary to popular belief, its translation has been the subject of fierce debate among muslims for centuries.

      This the first book devoted to the issue, delving deeply into largely ignored Arabic sources, which suggest the the origins of the conventional translation may lie within the Christian Church. Arranged along historical lines, and covering various Muslim schools of thought, from Sunni to Sufi, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an unravels the crucial dispute that separates the World’s two principal faiths.

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    • Paul, have you read Todd Lawson’s book? I have interacted with another Christian who has read it and written on it (see below) and what Lawson proposes is that Jesus really was crucified and really was killed and died. Lawson re-interprets it to mean, in the light of Surah 3:169 – “think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord and they have provision.”

      This is kind of amazing. He is saying Surah 4:157 has to be re-interpreted to mean “the Jews didn’t crucify or kill Jesus; but the Romans did; and even though Jesus really died physically, his spirit is alive in heaven with Allah, therefore he really did not die.”

      Lawson also takes Surah 3:55; 5:117, and 19:33 as saying that Jesus really did die in Arabic.

      You can some of my interaction with David Waltz at his blog, Articuli Fidei

      http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2009/11/does-quran-deny-crucifixion-and.html

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    • More interaction I had with David Waltz at his blog about Todd Lawson’s view:
      http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2011/12/dr-todd-lawsons-stimulating-lecture.html

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    • Yes I have read the book from cover to cover. I recommend you do so to if you want to grasp how the interpretation of this verse has been the subject of fierce debate among Muslims for centuries. Its meaning is not as open and shut or clear cut as you suppose.

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    • Do you agree with him that Surah 3:169 (along with 3:55; 5:117; 19:33) controls how to interpret Surah 4:157 ?

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    • Ken I can’t be bothered to look up all these references. Seems to me that the courteous thing to do would be for you to actually cite them in full for others to read.

      Anyway, go and read Lawson’s book for a scholarly account of the diverse interpretations of the Quran on this verse.

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    • shows you don’t know the Qur’an very well; and you are too lazy to look them up. I gave you Surah 3:169 earlier. I think I may know the Qur’an better than you do, it seems.

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    • So you just dump a pile of references and expect others to do the work and look them all up LOL

      Ken you are funny sometimes

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  8. Ken, I think we can both agree that Aslan knows far more about Christianity and Islam than you.

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  9. Oh no; I don’t agree with that at all. He is an arrogant megalomaniac, dirty mouthed (one can see him all the time on the net loose his cool and start calling people names and using the f-word and sh-word), left wing political and social commentator on Middle Eastern issues, and against traditional Christian ideas when it suits him to lump them in with politics, etc.

    He is a scholar of fiction, creative writing, modern social and political issues. He is not a credible scholar of the Bible or historical theology.

    he does not know more about Christianity than me.

    he spins and twists everything to fit his left wing agenda. His book Zealot is a joke.

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  10. No, I don’t hate him at all. I strongly disagree with him; and his arrogance and potty-mouth is disgusting.

    I got his book on Islam in both English and Farsi and enjoying them. ( I started those several years ago and not finished to the end; skipped around; and like so many other books on my shelf, I am in the middle or half-way through many books, or 3/4 of them read, etc. )

    I liked this and it helps me with Farsi to have both English and Farsi in print. I told him and he appreciated that; but when I just asked him a few questions, and pointed out some of his errors, he blocked me. It seems he cannot take constructive criticism.

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    • thanks for your comments about Farsi. I know readers will be fascinated to read them.

      Of course you hate him. Your hatred of liberal/socialist politics just oozes off you all the time. The way you mocked his work is especially ugly and condescending…

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    • It is only obvious that you hate Aslan no matter how you deny it. He is the antithesis of your missionary works. A man of Iranian origin, who is an expert in in Biblical Studies and early christianity and historical Jesus and fluent in Greek and once became a a christian but then find the truth in Islam because of his sincere quest and intelligence.

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    • No; not at all. He does not really believe in real Islam, he calls them symbols. He denied the virgin birth and miracles.

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    • What he said was Islam represent a better symbol than christianity (symbol here is humanity attempt to describe who God is and His relation to human). In other words he think Islam is correct whereas christianity is false. His view virgin birth and miracles are irrelevant to the fact he is a scholar of christianity who reject christianity because he think it is false after careful and serious study.

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  11. No, I don’t hate anyone.

    Your hatred of liberal/socialist politics just oozes off you all the time.

    Hatred of false ideas and false doctrines and evil practice is a good thing.

    “You who love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10

    of course you hate him
    your accusation is very unjust of you, since you don’t know and cannot know. The prophet Jesus rebukes you in Matthew 7:1-6.

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  12. Ken, you’re just jealous.

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  13. I think it’s hilarious that Ken attacks Aslan’s credentials, even though his credentials are solid. Yet what is ironic is that when other scholarly views are presented from those with degrees in NT studies, Ken rejects their views on the grounds that they are “liberal” scholars! Double standards are his forte.

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    • Many others have pointed out the problems with how Reza Aslan portrays himself, when his main thing was creative writing and sociology.

      If you are too lazy to research the problems with this, that is your problem, not mine.

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  14. “Many others have pointed out the problems with how Reza Aslan portrays himself, when his main thing was creative writing and sociology.

    If you are too lazy to research the problems with this, that is your problem, not mine.”

    LOL yes, people like you! You are a two-faced liar, as we have seen. No use denying it. Double standards are your forte. Only liars and idiots question someone’s credentials rather than deal with their arguments. If Aslan is not as credible as you say he is, then surely you should be able to refute his claims. But that doesn’t happen, does it? No, what you do is attack his credentials. It’s the last resort of an brain-washed apologist, such as yourself.

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    • “Only liars and idiots question someone’s credentials rather than deal with their arguments. ”

      Well considering the amount of slander attached to those Paul and co call “fundamentalists” as well as the wholesale dismissal of James White due to his credentials, I fear I’ve never seen a more clear cut case of hypocrisy.

      Are you suggesting Mr Williams is a liar and idiot?

      Or perhaps Mr Intellect is a liar and idiot for the way he berates shamoun and Qareshi for their credentials?

      Are you willing to call them the same endearing titles?

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    • Muslim1:

      “No, what you do is attack his credentials. It’s the last resort of an brain-washed apologist”

      Let me introduce you to Muslim 2

      “They all have genuine, accredited PhDs – accept James White who is not a real scholar, but a fundamentalist polemicist by trade”

      And let’s not forget Muslim 3

      “Well,those scholars are minority but vocal voices at very conservative seminaries at the paycheck of a campus minister and a religion major who didn’t like their faith challenged”

      It seems this comment thread is oozing of self contradictory “brain washed” Muslims according to Faiz! Lol

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  15. Aslan’s views on Islam are not the issue. He is an expert on the New Testament. He is NOT an Islamic scholar. He is a scholar of Christianity and the New Testament. Therefore, his views on issues like the virgin birth are not even relevant. For sure, those views are incorrect, according to the precepts of Sunni Islam, but that is not the issue here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, the notable issue is Aslan abandoned his christianity after serious study which lead him to become specialist and scholar, and there are plenty of scholars who experienced the same faith trajectory in their bible fact finding quest.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. On page 11 of his book about Islam, “No god but God”, Reza Aslan makes 2 mistakes about church history:

    1. “The Ghassanids, like so many Christians who lived beyond the ever-tightening grip of Constantinople, were Monophysites, meaning they rejected the Nicene doctrine of confirming Jesus’ dual nature.”

    Some of the statement is true. The Ghassanids were Monophysites, church history tells us.

    But it is not true that Monophysites rejected Nicea. The Monophysites accepted the Creed of Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381 AD), but they rejected the Chalcedonian Creed of 451 AD. they believed in the Trinity and the Deity of Christ, they just a different way of using different words to explain the nature and person of Christ. They don’t even like being called “Mono-physites”. they prefer “Mia-physite”.

    2. “the Montanist Christians like Tertullian believed Jesus possessed the same quality as God, but not the same quantity as God.”

    That statement is somewhat obscure, since God cannot be measured in terms of “quantity” – since God is Spirit – unseen, non-physical, does not take up space or matter or time.

    But whatever Aslan means, it is not true, since Montanism had nothing to do with disagreements over the Trinity or deity of Christ, etc.

    Tertullian became a Montanist towards the end of his life because he thought the catholic church was too lax and lazy on issues like church discipline and excommunicating people who were in sin. He thought they forgave people and accepted people back into the church too easily. He wanted a more rigorous disciplined church. He later even left them, as most scholars believe, and started his own group, later called “The Tertullianists”.

    Montanism’s big thing was believing in new prophesies, ecstatic utterances, the gift of tongues, trances, dreams, spiritual gifts; along with a more rigorous asceticism. It was called “The New Prophesy”. They emphasized fastings and no remarriage after death of a spouse and they were against all divorce.

    In Zealot, page 188-189

    Also, Kindle version, Location 2935 (Kindle) – “(when [the apostle] Paul does look to the Hebrew prophets—for instance, Isaiah’s prophecy about the root of Jesse who will one day serve as “a light to the gentiles” (11: 10)— he thinks the prophets are predicting him, not Jesus).”

    Aslan, Reza. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Kindle Locations 2935-2936). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition

    He says that the apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 11:10 as referring to himself rather than Jesus Christ.
    A clear mistake – see Romans 15:8-12.

    Aslan claims that Paul never called Jesus, “the Messiah of Israel” –

    Paul calls Jesus ο χριστος (The Messiah) in Romans 9:5 & the context the promises to Israel in Romans 9:4; Never speaks of Jesus anointed of Israel?

    Also, Ephesians 2:12 connects and parallels being separated from Jesus the Messiah as being alienated from the commonwealth of Israel.

    Also Romans 11:26 quote of Isaiah shows a clear understanding of Jesus as the Messiah who will come for Jacob and both to Zion and from Zion (both Hebrew and LXX Greek are true – Jesus comes from Zion (Israel, was a Jew), and comes to them, for them, in giving them hearts of repentance and turning ungodliness from the Jews and restoring them.

    He claims fluency in NT Greek, but writes that the term “Ebionites” is used in James chapter 2.

    Ebionites- “the term is found in ch. 2 of James”.Zealot , page 272; Kindle Locations, 4607-4608 Kindle Ed. – where is the word Ebionite?

    Greek word for poor in James chapter 2 is πτωχος-

    Dr. Reza Aslan, are you really fluent in NT Greek?

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    • With the name of Allah

      Your mostly ‘not in the book’ criticism of Aslan does not hinder the fact that Aslan book is well written  and interesting story about an illiterate Aramaic-speaking Jew, a peasant who fought to liberate the Jews from Roman occupation.

      Most of your point is a matter of different interpretation, and I am not interested in responding to each of your point,  take for instance Aslan statement in his book:

      “(when [the apostle] Paul does look to the Hebrew prophets—for instance, Isaiah’s prophecy about the root of Jesse who will one day serve as “a light to the gentiles” (11: 10)— he thinks the prophets are predicting him, not Jesus).”

      I  do see this as error of Aslan part, he basically says that Paul in Romans 15:12 when he quotes Isaiah 11:10, was emphasizing  of his right the inclusion of the gentiles into his his version of christianity. Nowhere actually it says a prophecy about Jesus (p). Jesus was sent only for the lost sheep of Israel.

      The issue here is Aslan was an evangelical christian who took trouble to go to college to study the Bible in an academic environment and became a scholar himself, and then he realized he can no longer believe it because of obvious errors and contradictions.

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    • typo: ” I do see this as error of Aslan part, ..” should be “I do not see this as error of Aslan part, ..”

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  17. In Aslan’s book, Zealot, pages 121-122, he makes a big mistake by leaving out Leviticus 19:33-34. He tries to claim that “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18) was only about fellow Jews. But later in verses 33-34, proves Aslan wrong.

    33 When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
    34 The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.

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  18. Reza Aslan in his own words:

    “my book questions the historicity of the virgin birth of Jesus” = of course no modern, progressive, thinking person believes in the virgin birth of Jesus the Messiah.

    This goes against Islam, as the Qur’an and Islam affirm the virgin conception and birth of Christ. Allah said, “be, and he became” in the womb of Mary. Surah 3 and 19 are clear on this.

    So, what kind of Muslim is that?

    Also, Aslan clearly says:
    “Jesus was most definitely crucified”
    He affirms Jesus’ death on page 173 of his book Zealot

    He also affirms Josephus and Tacitus as showing Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and was crucified and died, and that His followers sincerely thought He rose from the dead, because of the empty tomb and appearances to them. (page 164-165)

    Reza himself does not believe in historicity of the resurrection, but he does believe the followers of Jesus really believed that.

    What kind of Muslim is that?

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  19. Paul Williams,
    What do you think of Lawson’s view that 4:157 is not denying the crucifixion or death of Jesus.
    Rather Jesus really did die by crucifixion, and after he is really dead, Surah 3:169 says don’t consider him dead, but living.

    What do you think of that?

    Surah 3:169 – “think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord and they have provision.”

    Lawson uses that and
    3:55 – Allah said to Jesus, “I am causing you to die”
    19:33 – “Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!”

    this one has an even clearer word for die, I recognize the root, Mowt, موت which we also have in Farsi for “death”.

    5:117 – “when You caused me to die” (same verbal root as 3:55)

    Lawson sees these as affirming the crucifixion and death of Jesus in history.

    What do you think of him using 3:169 to interpret 4:157, as meaning, “he was crucified and killed, but because he is alive in heaven with Allah, don’t think of him as dead”
    ?

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  20. Paulus said:

    ““Only liars and idiots question someone’s credentials rather than deal with their arguments. ”

    Well considering the amount of slander attached to those Paul and co call “fundamentalists” as well as the wholesale dismissal of James White due to his credentials, I fear I’ve never seen a more clear cut case of hypocrisy.

    Are you suggesting Mr Williams is a liar and idiot?

    Or perhaps Mr Intellect is a liar and idiot for the way he berates shamoun and Qareshi for their credentials?

    Are you willing to call them the same endearing titles?”

    LOL, you must be joking! I have seen many posts made by brother Paul that actually deal with James White’s arguments. In contrast, Christian apologists desperately try to slander Aslan rather than deal with his claims. It seems you are comparing “apples to oranges”, as you would say! 😉

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  21. Another problem I found on page 11 of Aslan’s book, “No god but God”, by Reza Aslan.

    “After Christianity became the imperial religion of Rome, all of those variations on Jesus’ identity were replaced by the single orthodox position, most clearly represented by Augustine of Hippo (d. 430 AD), that the Son was of the same substance or being” as the Father – one God in three personae. All at once, the Montanists, the Modalists, the Nestorians, the Gnostics, and the Arians were declared heretics and their doctrines suppressed.”

    The problem with this is that phrase “all at once” is anachronistic, as most of these groups were already deemed heretics centuries earlier. So it was not “all at once”.

    Also, “After Christianity became the imperial religion of Rome, . . . ” means after 381 AD. Then Aslan anachronistically fails to mention that all of those groups were already heretics for centuries, except for the Nestorians.

    1. The Montanists were considered unorthodox, schismatics, and heretics in the 170s AD.
    2. The Modalists were also considered heretics in 180-220 AD. (Tertullian wrote against them in “Against Praxeas”
    3. Nestorius, who the Nestorians are named after, was deemed a heretic in 431 AD at the council of Ephesus, and exiled. This is the only one that fits with the date.
    4. The Gnostics were heretics in the first century and second and early third. Irenaeus and Tertullian wrote extensively agains them. (100s,180-220 AD) Their foreunners, the Docetists, were clearly condemned in the NT in the books of Colossians (61-62 AD) and 1 and 2 John (90 AD).
    5. The Arians were deemed heretics in 325 AD at the council of Nicea. (over one hundred years before Augustine died.

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  22. Lol Ken! I hate to disappoint you but Paulus failed to save you! He didn’t make any substantive points at all, except to try to deflect the topic, just like Christian apologists usually do. Ah, who am I kidding? I love disappointing you! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Although Aslan has a lot of mistakes and problems, many times he has enough good material that helps Christian apologetics. For here in this short video, David Wood and Mike Licona discuss how what Reza writes in his book Zealot, pages 175-176, helps us with the death and resurrection of Christ.

    Reza Aslan affirm’s scholar’s knowledge that the apostle Paul’s tradition he is quoting in 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 is based on the preaching of the other apostles (Peter, John, James, and the rest) in Jerusalem (Acts 1-8) – that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures, etc.

    Mike Licona makes a great point about 1 Corinthians 15:11-14 – “whether then it was I or they . . . ” (whether I preach this gospel message or the other apostles (verses 5-8 of 1 Cor. 15 where he mentions Peter (Cephas), “the 12”, the rest of the apostles, James, the Lord’s brother, and Jesus’ appearance to 500 brothers at once. This word preached ( “proclaimed” – “preaching” = kerugma (verse 14), from karruso, κηρυσσω – verbal form, preaching, proclaiming, verses 11 and 12. This all points back to the early preaching of the gospel right after Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven. (Acts chapters 1-8)

    Aslan wrote: “Paul may have written those words in 50 C.E., but he is repeating what is likely a much older formula, one that may be traced to the early forties. This means belief in the resurrection of Jesus was among the community’s first attestations of faith – earlier than the passion narratives, earlier even than the story of the virgin birth.” ( Reza Aslan, Zealot, page 175)

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  24. Another important point that Licona makes about the crucifixion and death, and resurrection of Jesus is that Jesus predicted these things in:

    Mark 8:31
    Mark 9:31
    Mark 10:33-34
    and
    Mark 14:28 – “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

    and
    Mark 16:1-8 is the account of the women coming to the empty tomb and the angel saying to the women, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him” Mark 16:6

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    • It is important to realise that most historians see considerable problems with the passion predictions in the gospels and consider them unhistorical. Do you know why Ken?

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  25. “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him”
    Mark 16:6 (my embolding)

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  26. Because the ones you are using, they are liberal – they don’t believe in predictive prophesy. They presuppose in an a priori fashion and dismiss them, since they are supernatural predictions of future events.

    But they are inconsistent, since they start by saying Mark is the earliest and most historical in order to dismiss John, but when we find good apologetic material in Mark, they then dismiss the miracles and evidence for early writing there also.

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  27. which also demolishes Islam, since it is based on supernatural prophesy and ideas of God inspiring prophets and books, etc. also.

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  28. Historians also see considerable problems with the Qur’an, Muhammad and Islam’s claims.

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    •  

      With the name Allah the Gracious the Merciful

      The current state of western scholarship Islam and Prophet of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) reject the idea of so called  revisionist scholars who question the historicity of the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad (p). Perhaps  the most succinct of that premise is the one recently articulated by Angelika Neuwirth, one of the most prominent western scholar on  Quranic and Islamic  from Freie University, Berlin. She says in his paper on Structural, linguistic and literary features of the Qur’an in the Cambridge companion to the Qur’an , edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe of Georgetown University:

      The presentation quranic developments in this chapter presupposes ¯ the reliability of the basic data of traditional accounts about the emergence of the Quran, assuming the transmitted qur ¯ anic text to be the genuine ¯ collection of the communications of the Prophet as pronounced during his activities at Mecca (about 610–22 CE), and again at Medina (1/622 until his death in 11/632). It is true that the earlier consensus of scholarly opinion on the origins of Islam has, since the publication of John Wansbrough’s Quranic studies and Patricia Crone and Michael Cook’s Hagarism, been shattered, and that various attempts at a new reconstruction of those origins have been put forward. As a whole, however, the theories of the so-called sceptic or revisionist scholars who, arguing historically, make a radical break with the transmitted picture of Islamic origins, shifting them in both time and place from the seventh to the eighth or ninth century and from the Arabian peninsula to the Fertile Crescent, have by now been discarded,…

      Liked by 1 person

  29. at 2:07 in the video, Reza Aslan says,

    “My book pretty much overturns every thing Islam thinks about Jesus as well”

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    • More deflections? Aslan is not an Islamic scholar, you dingbat! You have continuously proven everything I have been saying thus far! LOL!!!

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  30. He wrote a book on Islam, “No god but God”; he claims to be a scholar of religions – mainly Christianity and Islam – he claims he is an expert on the political and social aspects of modern Geo-politics of Islamic countries.

    One does not have to be a scholar to be able to come to the conclusions he came to. He applied the same liberal presuppositions to both Christianity and Islam. The result is his view that historical research can not allow for any miracles or supernatural power or events in either religion.

    So history affirms the Crucifixion and death of Jesus, but not the virgin birth or resurrection, according to Aslan. Same for Islam – history does not allow Allah to say to the womb of Mary “Be and Jesus became in the womb”; so no virgin birth of Christ for Islam either. history affirms Muhammad as a great warrior and political statesman in unifying the Arab tribes and making war on Persia and Byzantium and conquering them, but the Qur’an is not supernatural revelation. It has the best symbols for monotheism, that is about it, in Aslan’s understanding.

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    • LOL. I repeat: Aslan is not an Islamic scholar. He does not have a degree in Islamic studies, either from a Muslim university like Al-Azhar or from any western university. As a historian, he will obviously follow the secular historical method, which presupposes that miracles do not happen.

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  31. Paul W. wrote:
    Ken I can’t be bothered to look up all these references.

    looking up Qur’an verses was a “bother” to Paul Williams, a Muslim.

    Do you agree with him that Surah 3:169 (along with 3:55; 5:117; 19:33) controls how to interpret Surah 4:157 ?

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    • With the name of Allah

      Regarding how Islamic tradition came to interpret Q 4:157 (شُبه لهم)  there are several opinions among Muslims scholars. This is highly ambiguous verse, and I do not think whichever the opinions,makes it  a big issue for us Muslims that compromise our aqeedah or violating Shirk, the egregious sin in the sight of God. Jesus (p) is a great prophet who teaches the greatness of the Almigthy God, the father,  and to obey Him. He never claim to be God.

      Now there are three opinions which I try to summarize s follows:

      1) That Jesus did not die on a cross but that God made someone else look like Jesus. Then God miraculously took Jesus body and soul into the heavens. I am more in this position.

      Some commentary  states that God  chose someone else to look like Jesus and than that person was put on a cross (Judas Iscariot)

      2) The swoon theory that Jesus actually survived the cross and lived like the other men (Gistas & Dismas) crucifed alongside with him (some historian record this man survived the cross).

      This is especially popular among the Ahmadiyyah. The late sheikh Ahmad Deedat also has mentioned this possibility in his debates.

      3) a few interprets  thas Jesus (p) ‘died’ but as the Qur’an says do not think that those who are killed in the way of God they are dead, they are alive but they perceive it not. Some scholars like Lawson and Murad suggest that the original intent of it being upon the Jews as not being those to carry out the crucifixion, they are reading in light of the Qur’ans view on the martyr, 2:154 and 3:169 – 170.  As the  Qur’an says: “do not think that those who are killed in the way of God they are dead, they are alive but they perceive it not ”  similar to what we find  in  1 Corinthians 15:31. “I die every day“.

      Even if I later I accept this interpretation , I will have no problem with this too as the Quran clearly addresses that Jesus (p) will dies in some manner like everybody else as in Q 19:33.

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  32. the first view seems like what the Qur’an is actually saying;
    but it goes against history and knowledge. Contradiction to reality.

    the second view is stupid.

    The third view is just goofy and tries to say that it means the opposite of what the text actually says. Amazing.

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    • With the name of Allah

      Far from against history the first is the most elegance miraculous explanation. How can not God save His servant and prophet when he cried for help? How do you know that Jesus died on the cross? Is there any ancient post mortem analysis of his death? No. At best you can only speculate , and I believe the Qur’an supernatural explanation.

      The second is still plausible . After all some historian record that other 2 men (Gistas & Dismas) crucifed alongside with Jesus actually  survived the crucifixion.

      The third is a kind of explanation from the angle of rhetorical  and metaphorical statement which the Qur’an employ, still plausible because Jesus (p) will eventually dies in like everyone else as in Q 19:33:” So peace is upon me [Jesus] the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life.”

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