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Monday, October 24, 2016

You would never have even seen Fox News host Lauren Green’s interview with scholar Reza Aslan, which only aired on, if it hadn’t been so ridiculous.

For nearly 10 minutes Green repeated the same basic attack against Aslan’s book  Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth: “How can a Muslim write a book about Jesus?”

Forget that at least one of the Gospels, along with some of  the most popular Christmas songs, were written by Jews. Aslan, who converted back to Islam, the faith of his childhood, after converting to Christianity, calmly explained over and over why he — a historian and Ph.D. in the history of religion — had written a book about “the founder of Christianity,” a phrase Green kept using.

“Anyone who thinks this book is an attack on Christianity hasn’t read it,” Aslan said.

Notably, Green had no such qualms when a Baptist wrote a book about Islam.

The New Republic‘s Marc Tracy helps explain how this inexplicable interrogation went viral. The book now tops the bestseller list on Amazon and Aslan took to Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything” on Monday.

The simple explanation for why this “embarrassing” interview spread is that it’s hard to believe it even happened. Also, it is, as The Atlantic‘s David A. Graham writes, “a great example of the Fox News hype cycle.”

Fox News’ hostility to the book supposedly comes from the fact that the “liberal media” love Aslan’s book.

But The Washington Post’s Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite thinks there’s something deeper at play:

In fact, Jesus’s advocacy for the “poor and the dispossessed,” as Aslan documents throughout Zealot, is, in my view, yet another driver of the conservative Christian pushback against Zealot, in addition to the well-known Islamophobia message machine of the right.

The life and teachings of Jesus, understood in their historical context, are about feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for the sick and loving the neighbor as yourself.

That’s Jesus.

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  • sigrid28

    Try to ignore this whole thing. Get a copy and read the book. Call the local food bank and make a donation of fresh produce on the day they can use it best.

  • Lynda Groom

    When I saw the clip my first thought was ‘lord that woman is dumb.’ Then I realized that she was working the correct venue for someone with her limited level of intelligence.

    • Allan Richardson

      She may in fact BE more intelligent than that, but she had to follow her script which was written by people who are just as dumb, but not as photogenic.

      • latebloomingrandma

        I think Fox hires people who are photogenic but not journalists with any kind of training or resume. What role will Elizabeth Hasselhoff have?

  • Sand_Cat

    Looks like a message some of the “Christians” who post here need to read.

  • Jim Myers

    The real surprise in this interview is that Fox actually allowed it to be aired in the first place. (Hint: pre-record these so they can be edited for “Correct” content.)

    Dr. Aslan does a terrific job of taking her bated questions and turning every one of them against her. By the end of the interview I got the notion that she knew she was in a battle of wits, a battle in which she came totally unprepared to fight.

    I was also impressed by Dr. Aslan’s ability to continue his responses, (without raising his voice), even while she tried to “over-talk” him in an effort to change the direction of the conversation.

    She needs a refresher course in the art of basic interviewing skills, as well as in journalism 101.

    • Allan Richardson

      Failing Journalism 101 is a prerequisite for being hired by Fox News. If they had been around in 1898 they would have talked down, and condemned as traitors, any engineers who pointed out that the boiler in the USS Maine was of faulty construction, and kept the footage of the burning battleship in the background of their reports throughout the Spanish-American War that they would have helped start.

      • Jim Myers

        Thank you. Interesting comment.

      • Sand_Cat

        Really? The most common explanation I’ve seen is that the propellants used in the ammunition were extremely unstable and likely ignited spontaneously, but I’ve never made a study of it. I should think the boilers would be relatively tamped down while the ship was at anchor, but again, I’m not an engineer, and especially not of [coal-fire?] ships in 1898. Is there are book or article on the topic (of the Maine and why it blew up, not engineering, thanks) you could recommend?

  • Allan Richardson

    The irony of this “what does a Muslim know about Jesus” harangue is that the Koran DOES honor Jesus and Mary (also affirming the Virgin Birth), just not in the same way as traditional Christians, only as the greatest prophet before Mohammed (who, by the way, is NOT worshiped, only honored as the last prophet). The Koran predicts that Jesus will be among the prophets standing with Allah on Judgement Day, and will HIMSELF criticize (but forgive) Christians for idolatry because they worshiped him. However, until recent decades when geopolitics trumped religious wisdom in Muslim (and Christian) countries, Muslims practiced full tolerance for Jews and Christians, calling them Peoples of the Book, and considering them “almost” ready to become Muslims.

    Personally, I am a liberal Christian who has studied other religions, including Islam. I have read both the Koran and the Book of Mormon to find out what the scriptures of those religions really say. I also have available for reference a Hebrew-English edition of the Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament is the same books in a different order) and a Greek-English New Testament, with which I occasionally struggle as I learn a bit more of their languages.

  • Bill McKee

    This is typical of dumb ass fox talking heads. No clue what they are talking about and when they do speak it smells like someone had boiled eggs and beer the night before. Does this spewing head get paid for how stupid she is? If so, she makes as much or even more than the biggest idiot on fox, hannity.