The Lies and Misrepresentations of Reza Aslan

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


Reza AslanAmong the Islamists and supporters of Sharia law, there is one individual in particular who has been capable of making money by misrepresenting himself and his credentials: the tireless self-promoter, Reza Aslan. After 9/11, Reza Aslan found the environment ripe in the United States to make profits by exaggerating and fabricating his qualifications.

First of all, Reza Aslan has continuously presented himself as a professor of religion. This is done in an attempt to sell his few books, which lack academic and credible references. In one of his recent interviews, Aslan claims, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament . . . I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions . . . I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament – that’s what I do for a living, actually . . . To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.” Aslan also recently said on Twitter, “I have a BA, MA and PhD in the history of Western Religions so yes, again, I am an ACTUAL expert in Judaism.”

In actuality, Reza Aslan is not a “professor of religion,” and what he claims he does “for a living” is an outrageous inaccuracy. Reza Aslan is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside.  He teaches there based on his Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction from Iowa, his relevant academic credential.

In addition, Reza Aslan received his PhD in sociology – not “History of Religions” – from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009.

I used to teach at the University of California at Santa Barbara and I am familiar with the prominent theologians, professors and academic scholars at the school. None of these individuals that I met considered Reza Aslan even remotely close to being a scholar in religion. After all, he received his PhD in sociology. At first, I did not know of Reza Aslan. But when his name was brought up, I asked a director of one the departments at the university – who prefers to remain anonymous – for more information. He stated simply that Reza Aslan is a hungry self-promoter who begs for media attention and appearances, and who repeatedly misrepresents his credentials. He added that it goes without saying that Reza Aslan is laughed at within scholarly circles, and that academics do not consider Reza Aslan even a minor religious scholar.

Secondly, the expertise – which Reza Aslan claims is based on his PhD – should be determined by the topic of the dissertation. Reza Aslan’s dissertation, titled “Global Jihadism as a Transnational Social Movement: A Theoretical Framework” reveals that if he is an expert based on his PhD, he should be an expert on social movements in early twentieth-century Islam, not on Christianity or even modern Islam.

Third, although Reza Aslan calls himself a “historian,” he has never attainted a degree or had professional training in history, and has never even taken an elementary course in historiography for that matter. His dissertation focuses on the events and movements of the twentieth century and does not apply any historical methods or archival research. In addition, his dissertation is also an abnormally short one – approximately 130 pages double-spaced – which seems to have been written for publicity purposes for his book, Beyond Fundamentalism. Reza Aslan has been exploiting the situation in the United States after 9/11 to self-promote and make profits through these exaggerations and fabrications.

Fourth, Reza Aslan is a self-proclaimed “scholar,” yet his background is inconsistent with academic scholarly standards. Reza Aslan has barely published any papers or articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

Fifth, Reza Aslan received his PhD in 2009. Yet, there are several interviews and events before 2009 where Reza Aslan sounds as if he is a professor with a PhD.

The work of “real” scholars of religions – not of creative writing – in the United States and across the world speaks for itself, without the need for the author to shamelessly self-promote, boast oneself as a “prominent thinker” and “scholar of religions,” and to beg hungrily for media appearances with insatiable greed. Regardless of the inaccuracy of his self-descriptions, respectable scholars never flaunt their degrees so arrogantly. There are countless scholars and academics that have more prestigious PhD degrees in actual “religion,” which they obtained at a younger age and have had for decades (again, Aslan received his in 2009 at the age of 37). However, these intellectuals seldom boast or even mention their degrees. This shows that the aforementioned author only obtained his degree for flaunting purposes. Finally, the author has found the environment after 9/11 extremely advantageous for himself to exploit, self-promote, and to make profit.

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  • john

    He definitely knows how to make money…

  • JacqueShellaque

    Doesn’t matter! His qualifications are of no import to the mainstream media as long as he keeps disparaging and sowing doubt about christianity and its founder.

    • Christopher Mooney

      I think Jesus appeared in the Koran before he did the bible.

      • KKing

        Chris? Really? Islam did not become a religion until

        • K.King

          Chris? Really? Islam did not become a religion until the 600s AD. The first New Testament was published no later than 150 AD. Can you explain that? What is this with progressives lying and hating all the time about Jesus?

          • moneekwa

            what do you THINK is all this lying and hating against Christians. hint: it was foretold in the Bible.

          • Frank

            Thank you for this church lady. Could it be…SATAN! Lol.

          • Frank

            He didn’t lie, he made mistake and I think you know that so cut the crap! I am a progressive, I have been very honest here about my lack of official expertise and I don’t hate Jesus. If he existed I think I would like him very much. How do you explain this?

          • haah

            Maybe liberals aren’t lying, they could be just dumb.

      • De Doc

        Patently absurd and proof you’ve never even read the Quran. The Quran (sura 5:110) lifts a story from the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas”, which was written in late 2nd c. CE.

        Aside from that, manuscript evidence alone conclusively shows that the New Testament works predate Quran by many hundreds of years. Stick to your leftie political polemics and leave the scholarship to us you dolt.

    • rob

      Guys, you can see him discussing Jesus and about History of Religion in front of a big audience p.e. in Harvard! I think this guys know what a quite prominent religous scholar is (Youtube: rezas aslan harvard)

  • Christopher Mooney

    Breaking news – Conservatives don’t like Muslims. Especially smart ones

    • thomas_h

      “”Smart Ones” ???

      HA! HA! HA!

      Listen “Christopher Mooney”: Mohammedans are at the very bottom of ALL fields of human endeavour, “Christopher”

      And NO – goat shagging, clitoris ripping, vagina sowing, rape, taqyiah lying, limb amputation, flogging, beheading, camel piss drinking, “honour” killing, child molestation, infidel murder, whining… DON’T COUNT as human endeavor despite of what the revolting kuran says.

      One and half billion of the followers of the “prophet” muhammed succeeded in producing eight Nobel prize winners! Four Peace Prize winners led by the terrorist pig Arafat, one in literature (or is it two?) most obscure characters with names nobody heard of or cares to hear, and one, yes ONE, in Physics. The laureate probably stole the work from an infidel. So smart are muhammedans.

      Just for your information, the Global Jewish population is aproximately 13.2 million or about 0.2% of the world population and Jews received 168 Nobel Prizes!

      • thomas_h

        Just to make things clear: although muslims claim eight Nobel Prize winners I only note six in my above comment. This is because the two Nobel Prize winners in Medicine: Peter Brian Medawar and Ferid Murat had nothing to do with islam. The former was born of a British mother and Christian Lebanese father, while the latter was an American of Albanian origin and a perfect atheist. Nothing illustrates better the desperate stupidity of islam better than the virtually total absence of representatives in top science, medicine, music and literature. islam makes man dumb.

        • bill reitzes

          And the most famous terrorist in History won one didn’t he?

          • thomas_h

            Oh, I didn’t know that. Do you want to tell me they have given the peace prize to the “prophet” muhammad?!
            I wouldn’t be surprised they started awarding Nobels posthumously just to please mohammedans.

            ps. The most repulsive, treacherous liar Obama got one too!

          • bill reitzes

            Well, I was talking about Yasser Arafat, one of history’s BIGGEST snakes, but as the prophet(PBUH) was the perfect man, don’t be surprised, to see a movement starting up to gloss him over too

          • Frank

            This is the one time I’m going to agree with one of you at least in part. Yasser Arafat was indeed a “snake”. He was a murderer, a terrorist and a religious extremist who hated Jews. You know. The same way that most of you people on this thread hate Muslims. That is the real reason that Mr. Azlan is being attacked by right wing Christians. It isn’t his credentials. It is because he is Muslim. As a Muslim he does not believe that Jesus was the literal son of God. And that is the real problem now isn’t it? But Reza’s Muslim faith is not the focus of the book. Anyyone who has read the book with an open mind knows that it is not an attack. He is simply attempting to do what other scholars have done for years. He has described Jesus as a man of his times who among other things was likely bitterly opposed to the Roman empire’s brutal occupation of his homeland. And why wouldn’t he be? As I said and as Reza has said this is a conversation which has gone on for many years. It is an interesting conversation to have and. I find nothing offensive in this book unless one is a Christian fundamentalist who is, quite naturally I suppose, offended by any suggestion that the bible is not literally true. I wonder, how many of you folks believe that the Earth us 6000 years old? How many of you believe that man walked with dinosaurs? How many of you don’t believe in evolution? How many of you. That the Earth us flat and at the center of the Universe. A universe that is quite large by the way. It extends for many thousands of miles. :-D How many of you believe that the atmosphere exists inside of a dome on top of the Earth. Certainly those of you who boast about being scholars while attacking Reza for doing the dame cannot believe these absurt and ancient conepts. But no doubt there are some people here who do and you should know that you have much in common with Islamic extremists and literalists. For believe in fantasies that are either exactly the same or at least equally absurd.
            Look I believe that Jesus was a great man and a great philosopher. In fact I personally would choose him over Mohamed any day as that is the tradition I was brought up with and I do not approve of Mohamed’s adherence to violence in order to spread his religion. But Jesus as the son if God? A vergin birth (which actually comes from another ancient pagan myth)? Sorry, not so much. That said you are all entitled tour own beliefs but there is no reason to be offended when someone argues a different point of view. And by the way it is worth mentioning that while I believe that Jesus was a great man and perhaps the single most important man to ever live, Muslims go a bit further. They believe he was a profit sent by God. At least they respect the founder of the Christian faith. This indicates a level of respect and admiration that is certainly not reciprocated by many Christians.

          • bill reitzes

            Are you implying that Christianity is at war with Islam?

      • WYNEMA GONZAGOWSKI

        WOW, you have made yourself the poster-child for bigotry :(

  • Christopher Mooney

    “Anonymous University Lecturer” abuses the guy

    Why don’t you just be honest, and admit that you made the quote up.

    What is it with Christians, and lying and hating all the time?!

    • Paul of Alexandria

      And the trolls circle.

    • Frank

      Given all of the idiotic and hatefull things I have read from these bigots I can completely understand your sentiment believe me. But why sink to their level man? I used to be a Christian before I became an athiest. These people posting here are not Christians. They ate extremists. They strand mean spirited bigots. I don’t think you really are.

    • Edward

      What is it with socialists and lying and hating all the time?!

      • Frank

        Socialists, fascists, islamists. You’re all over the political specrum here probably because you don’t really understand what the spectrum is or why people fall where they do on it. You are simply using words that sound bad in order to describe those with whom you disagree.
        While it is possible to be both a fascist and a socialist in some waysit is not easy. Yes Germany had the National Socialists. But the leadership was not really interested in left wing democratic socialism. Hitler was a true right wing fascist who believed that socialism and democracy were Jewish conspiracies. That’s probably why he purged the NAZI party completely within a few years of coming to power. Whatever leftist elements may have existed in the party during the 1920′s were destroyed and everyone was murdered. My point is simple really. Before you attack someone you really should decide what they are first.:-) Socialists, fascists, Muslims, Christians, Democrats, liberals, progressives etc. Make pretty odd bed fellows. Generally speaking these combinations coexist only in the bubble that is Fox News aka the TEA party propaganda network.

  • Christopher Mooney

    To correct, you’re dishonest article.

    1: The guy has a degree in religion. A Master Degree from Harvard in Theology. And a doctorate in RELIGIOUS sociology.

    2: The guy doesn’t call himself a historian. He’s a religious scholar. And a religious sociologist

    Aren’t Conservatives bored of lying on this subject.

    • Patrick A. Daley

      Quite right. History of religions is a general term for the study of religions from an objective, as opposed to a sectarian, point of view.

      There is nothing new in considering Jesus as a Zealot. I am not convinced by such arguments as I have seen, but he seems to paint a vivid picture of Jesus’ times. Sister Rose Pacatte did an excellent interview with Reza Aslan and she really allowed him to talk. Unfortunately, it is broken up into nine short parts, but it is worth seeing. I really must find this book and read it. Here is a good article, and you can reach Sister Rose’s interview from it.

      http://www.politicususa.com/2013/08/02/glenn-beck-attacks-reza-aslan-sister-pacatte-shows-civility.html

      • Frank

        I would suggest that you do. I have no problem with those who are critical of Mr. Aslan’s conclusions as I would describe most of them as little more than educated guesses but the key word here is “educated”! And the idea that he some how hates Jesus is simply not true. His book does not “attack” Cristians it Christianity. He has only “attacked” those who he considers literalists or fundamentalists. His book simply seeks to point out the glaring contradictions that exist throughout the bible. It is also worth noting that the Koran also has similar contradictions through out the text and while I have not yet read any of his works on Islam I have seen him attack Islamic extremists many times in numerous interviews. I would also like to point out the clear bigotry of many of the posters on this thread partcularly those who liked the despicable Fox News interview. I’ll put this way. Why do you people suppose that Mr. Aslan went to such lengths in the interview to point out his credentials? The reason is simple. He was asked why a Muslim would write a book about Christianity! In what way is that a legitimate question!? Come on folks! Whatever his credentials may be he has an interest in and has studied all three of the major western religions including Christianity. His book was very well researched. Now I have no degrees in religion but I was raised a catholic and I have read the New Testament twice and the old once. Disagree with his conclusions about Jesus if you want, that’s fine. But I am here to tell you that the contradictions he points out are for the most part all correct. What’s wrong with pointing that out? It would appear that the harshest attacks on him have come from fundamentalists. No surprise there I suppose. Anyway I will leave you all with three fun facts that the author of this article has not mentioned. 1. Mr. Aslan’s mother also converted to Christianity and unlike Reza she is still Christian. 2. Reza has recieved hundreds if not thousands of death threats over the years for the the attacks he has made on Islamic extremists and terrorists. 3. Now this is the most interesting. Reza’s wife is a Christian! His kids are being raised in both traditions and are being told to decide for themselves. This does not sound like a man who Hayes Christians.
        The bottom line is we should be able to have a discussion about Jesus who is perhaps the most important man to ever live without being paranoid about eachothers motives!

    • De Doc

      And yet Christopher has yet to give us his review of Aslan’s latest book. I’m guessing he doesn’t read anything longer than short, cheap blog posts or opinion pieces. Nice! And rather typical of an ignoramus. Get back to me when you decide to read it dude.

  • Metatrona

    Aslan is another mad dog Muslim pretending to be a human being!

  • WW4

    It’s one thing to sort of rhetorically bait and switch, as Robert Spencer’s previous FPM article did, on what was “wrong” with Aslan’s Fox appearance.

    It’s another to just be knowingly wrong, like this article, which has the same purpose as the Fox interview–to create doubt, discord, and division.

    Aslan did not “flaunt his degrees arrogantly.” He was caught off guard by the repeated, uninformed and fundamentally rude suggestion that he was either unqualified to write the book he wrote, or had some sinister motive. Because of this treatment by the propagandist, Aslan had to assert why he had the background, the interest–and indeed, the scholarship–to write this book.

    Aslan is no different than countless academicians who literally for centuries have written across a wide range of disciplines, sciences and humanities–not just the ones for which they hold a current departmental position or degree. His book may or may not be any good–but our culture is better for interdisciplinary, “out of the box” type thinking. To claim academicians should just “stick to their post” is anti-intellectualism at its finest.

    • Petero

      I agree with your post almost entirely. One thing though that is incorrect is that you say “:he was caught off guard”. In fact, Aslan has stated he fully expected the question, and expected it right out of the gate. He said he was surprised that she kept asking it and digging a deeper hole. But he knew the question was coming because of a Fox News hit piece article written 2 days prior.

  • CarlosDanger

    This article is just a continuation of the interview on FOX.

    • Edward

      Anthony, Lucky you that your can change the channel to BSNBC with your one free hand.

  • Michael

    I don’t care for Reza Aslan — and his new book on Jesus sounds catatonia-making — why read it when you can read a real master like Boyarin or Hurtado or etc.? — but if you look into Majid Rafizadeh’s charges, there is nothing in this. Aslan’s books are cited in hundreds of books and journals and it seems many textbooks, including textbooks in religious studies. See for example http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=5846874275435974230&as_sdt=5,39&sciodt=0,39&hl=en In fact the record of citations is highly desirable, and it you put things together, the epithet ‘major scholar of religion’ seems apt, like it or not, though of course it is consistent with ‘complete idiot’ and ‘utterly out of his depth with this stuff’ and ‘tiresome windbag’ and so on. It wouldn’t be the first time. This essay strikes me as Majid Rafizadeh’s own anxiety projected onto another.

    • trolls

      I disagree with your opinion on Reza Aslan as I like. That said you are entitled to your opinion and at least you have been fair. Most of the people here are just trolls.

  • Karim B. J.

    Wow, you have some ax to grind with this guy. Your own wiki page is full of lies about having a degree from Harvard, UC Santa Barbara, etc.

    Where did you go to school and what makes you an experts on US Foreign Policy and Middle East (As you claim on Huffington Post)?

  • De Doc

    So I’m guessing his published works are part of his expertise – Creative Writing. Hehe.

    I tried very hard to give this twit a break for his newest book, thinking that we should judge it for its contents, rather than the author’s uncouth and self-aggrandizing ways. But his misrepresention of credentials is completely uncalled for and unnecessary. I have no issue with a person saying they are acting as an historian when writing about the past, however, his degree flaunting seems a sign of insecurity. By the way Brandon broached this topic some 46 years ago with his exhaustive and academically targeted book, “Jesus and the Zealots”.

    • Petero

      Apparently you did not try hard enough, or at all. His complete CV is all over the internet, and makes clear that his credentials are not inconsistent with claims. A masters in Theology from Harvard, a masters in religion, and a PHD in Sociology which was in the History of Religions and whose course load included mostly religious studies and religious history courses.
      Whether or not you like his book is immaterial, I myself find it to be a decent approachable book on a toplc that has been certainly covered by other academics. But that is I think the point about Aslan. He writes books to be accessible to non-academics. There is certainly room in the paradigm for that sort of author and he certainly has the credentials to do so.

  • Daniel Rubio

    One doesn’t have to investigate much about his credential. One has only got to listen to this clown for a few minutes to discover his “credentials”. He is a pompous, self-agrandizing minnow who read an article or two about a subject or two and now goes around claiming he is a scholar. No wonder islam is where it is. Such are its “scholars”.

    • Alex

      Absolutely – his degree in Religion from Harvard, and the other degree in Religions from University of Southern California count for nothing! Call those credentials? Pah. Daniel Rubio, I’m sure you’re better qualified than this clown. The fact that he’s written a bestseller about Islam, and then spent years studying Jesus from a historical perspective before writing about his life in a highly respectful and objective manner doesn’t mean he’s qualified to write about him. Right? (Just want to make sure I’m getting the point you’re making). How can someone with degrees in religion write about religious figures?! Makes no sense.

      Daniel, at least you have your comment published here. Yay! And while Reza’s work has been translated into half a dozen languages, you can put your comment into google translate and post it here too!!

      • Frank

        Haha! Be careful Alex. Too many facts might make someones head explode. Are you sure you want to be responsible for that? Could get messy.

      • Daniel

        No. Of course he’s qualified to talk about Jesus or Jerusalem or any other subject he desires. That’s the greatness of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. You yourself are qualified to talk about them too. That his opinions have any substance or any intelligence, well, that’s another subject. When one places more emphasis about himself than about the stuff he writes on, you start wondering about the quality of what he writes about.
        I know people who have degrees in you-name-it, and still that doesn’t avoid them being jerks. And about having a book published, well, that’s what “scholars” do, isn’t it? I know people who have published books and they are still jerks. So your Reza Aslan has the credentials, has the books, but still he IS a clown and a jerk. And yes, he is a fine example of islam’s “scholars”.

        • Petero

          Daniel, It is not Aslan who wanted to talk about himself. He repeatedly asked to discuss his book. the interviewer was the one that questioned his motivation for writing the book and questioned his ability to be objective in doing so. Lets get real here. The interviewer barely mentioned anything about his book other than her apparent amazement that a Muslim could write it. She accused him of deception. She and the conservative media made it about him.

        • Alex

          Hey Daniel, and that’s kind of the point. The interviewer kept asking about him being a muslim. She made it personal, all about him. I agree with you that he came across as pompous and defensive…lots of, “I’m a scholar with a Phd” answers (not much humility there). But she didn’t seem in the least interested in the book, there was a clear bias in her questioning. She kept waiting for the “gotcha!” moment, which never came. And that’s what made this such great spectacle, such great entertainment.

      • Tadeusz Hanski, Copenhagen

        “…Reza’s work has been translated into half a dozen languages…”

        Hm, …but not as many as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, or Mein Kampf.

        Reza may have as many titles as he wants,or imagines, but he will never be a scholar in the true sense of the word. He may sell well for a few more months, or a year, but that hardly reflects on the quality of his research and arguments. Quality is not a matter of consensus. Please do your own research and try reading others. There is good chance you may realize that the guy is peddling absolute trash. Of course, there is a chance you will not…

  • WYNEMA GONZAGOWSKI

    Why do authors consistently say Ph.D in Sociology but neglect the entire title…. IT is Ph.D in Sociology of Religions which includes the history of religions…

    People who do not post the ENTIRE truth are just as, or even more guilty of fabrication than those they accuse!

  • Frank

    Don’t you get the point Alex? There was a time in this country when educated people who did research and wrote books on the topics they researched were looked up to and respected. Sadly this is no longer the case. Now educated people are considered elitist snobs. Millionaires who worked SO hard to inherhite fast’s money who live in castles and don’t give a shit about the poor and working class are just regular Americans. Oh yes they aren’t elists at all! Ha! What a joke. We have an entire political party built around anti intelectualism! It is stunning and frankly a little scary. But hey we’ll be ok. You can act like an asshole all week but as long as you are intentionally ignorant and you go to church once a week then you’ll be fine just as long as thou remember the most important things about being an American Christian Make sure to hate the poor and make sure to vote for people who will hurt your economic interests by allowing the wealthy to keep as much money as possible while paying employees as little as possible because Jesus loved the rich because they create minimum wage jobs. And always remember when you leave church on Sunday to ask the most important question of the week. “Are you ready for some football!!!? Haha! I know I’m a little off topic but I think you’ll get the point. Its all connected.
    Finally I have to add one more thing just so I can be as clear as possible about my opinion concerning the topic at hand. Just as Mr. Aslan was was clear that Jesus was a man if his times. So to was Mohamad. And unlike Jesus when it comes Mohamad we don’t have to do any guessing. He said (whether he really believed it or not who knows) that he was called upon by God to spread his new religion by any means at his desposal. In the middle ages this could mean only one thing and so he was responsible for many thousands of deaths. He was a fallible and imperfect human being. We all need to be honest and if I’m being honest I think all religion is nonsense. Sorry if that offends anyone. That’s just how I see it.

  • Frank

    Chris, your comment concerning Jesus being mentioned in the Koran first was unfortunate. If you are not familiar with the history of Christianity then you might want to do a lttle research before posting so you don’t give some of these idiots the amunition they need to attack you. That’s all buddy. Most of your comments atespot on. Most of the people who are attacking Reza have clearly not bothered to read the book so they are just making things up. Typical right wing idiocy.

    • Edward

      Right Wing Islamofascist idiocy.

      • Frank

        Islamic extremists are indeed right wingers. As are Christian extremists. I am not Muslim though. Nor am I Christian. And I am certainly not a fascist. Do you know what a fascist is? I am a social Domocrat. Some my even say I am a radical but I’m not so sure. In any case there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that Jesus himself was a radical. Politics at the time were if course very different. Prior to the empire even the Roman Republic was really a Republic for the wealthy. Anyway Jesus’ disdain for these wealthy elite and his compassion for the poor would seem to suggest that were he alive today he would be quite left of center. No I don’t claim to know this for certain and I would never attempt to really compare Jesus with any of the fool’s we have as leaders today. Its just some food for thought.

        • Progressives Rule

          If that same Christ, from the Bible, was alive in the US today does anybody truly believe he would be a Republican? Nah.

  • Frank

    Hi Thomas, you are correct about one thing and one thing only. Obama did not desrve the peace prize. In fact I think the prize itself has become something if a joke over the years. That said you are wrong about everything else. I’m not going to get in to everything I would just like to know why you hate Obama so much. One thing I respected abou President Bush and Darth vador…. I mean Dick Cheney is the fact that both of these men knew how to lead and they both did what they believed was right for the country so in that respect I gave them the benefit of the doubt despite the fact that I believe they were wrong all the time about everything. Why can’t right wingers like you do the same with respect to Obama? For God’s sake people were calling him the anti Christ beecause he wanted everyone to have access to affordable healthcare! What is wrong with you people!? When I was unemployed I got a very serious case pnemonia, I ended up in hospital for two weeks and I almost died. Due to being unemployed my savings were already wiped out and my hospital bills were tens of thousands of dollars. Does that sound fair? Give me a break! Now I don’t believe in organized religion but I do think there might be a God and when I was in hospital as soon as my condition started improving and my bills stated sky rocketing I thanked that God every day. For governor Romney! Thanks to him I had insurance. In most other states, even the most progressive ones I would not have been able to afford insurance and I would not have been able to get medicaid (Masshealth) because I had not been unemployed for a year. But thanks to governor Romney’s efforts to work with the Democrats on Beacon Hill I had excellent insurance through Blue Criss. I survived my illness and thanks to the state of Massachusetts I will not have crushing debt for the next 20 years. That is what the “treacherous liar” wants for the whole country but people like you would prefer a tax cot and you would rather keep you unregulated insurance! Perhaps until you get sick and then you’ll find out as a friend if mine in the not so great state of New Hampshire recently did that his expensive and “excelent” insurance through Cigna was going to pay for everything. Yeah, everything accept the $53,000.00 that they decided not to pay! He fought them and in the end he did win having to pay onlya few thousand but that is not a fight you should have to have when your sick. But hey, Obama is a “treacherous liar” right. I admit I’m way off topic so I’ll stop now. I’m just so tired of hearing conservatives who buy in to all this right wing prpaganda! We are living in another gilded age and this time the aristocracy owns an entire political party and about %50 of another. You people are either well to do and don’t care or you are to ignorant to see it. Either way the shills and hacks you keep voting for are destroying our country.

  • Frank

    Amen wynema!

  • Frank

    Rather than spend any more time calling people out I have one last question for anyone here who is really a scholar. I am not being sarcastic as I have a real question. While I like to read and I have obviously strong opinions, my expertise lay elsewhere so here is my last question. Reza Aslan and many others suggest that Jesus was indeed a real person. However there seems to be no real consensus on this. I have been able to confirm no official record of him and the Romans, much lik us, seem to have been great record keepers. So is there any real consensus on this? I kind of hope there is. I admire Jesus very much juror seems he was only ever mentioned in scripture.

    • Christopher Letzelter

      Frank, check into the writings of Richard Carrier – an actual historian- and “The Jesus Puzzle” by Earl Doherty – a layman, but supposedly still full of citations. They are two authors that spring to mind who make good arguments for the ahistoricity of Jesus. Robert Price (The Incredible Shrinking Jesus) is another scholar who, over the course of decades of study, has come to doubt the historicity of Jesus. Carrier is, to my mind, the most in-depth of the three.
      Cheers!

    • Progressives Rule

      And you will find no, zip, nada writings from any writers or philosophers who lived during Christ’s time. Interesting that, with all those wild stories and miracles that none of his peers wrote about him. Hmmm….
      .
      Maybe the fact that many of the bible’s stories appear in many other religions’ writings. You know: son of God, virgin birth, death, rise from death, flood, etc.

  • Frank

    Patrick thanks for posting tha interview. It was great! Anyone who has not read the book should check it out if they ate interested in being fair and they don’t immediately hate the guy because he is Muslim. Frankly he puts me to shame too when I think about it. The right wing reaction to this book has been so extreme and so completely uninormed that it really pissed ne off. I should have just ignored those who were not interested in having a serious conversation. Anyway thanks again.

  • Frank

    Your statement is almost entirely false. I have seen numerous interviews with Aslan where he either doesn’t discuss hi credentials at all or he mentions his studies only breifly. He mentioned them over and over in the Fox interview because that was the only way to defend himself against what was esentially one appalling question which was repeated over and over again. As I’ve said before the book does not attack Christianity. It is a fascinating book if you could only get over your hatred of Muslims and give it a chance. At the very least you could watch a real interview like the one Patrick posted where he is interviews by a catholic nun. She challenged him a few times but always over the content of the book and neversimply because he iis a Muslim.

  • Gino B

    What would happen if a Christian published a book about Mohammed, that talks about him as an ordinary man and doubts he was indeed the prophet???
    We all know the answer to that one.

  • Green Girl

    Sounds like Rafizadeh’s head is going to explode from pure unadulterated jealousy.

  • XB99Z

    What an utter moron/liar the writer of this junk article is. For those who care about truth and not lies here are Reza’s REAL qualifications.

    Masters degree from HARVARD in Theological studies

    Phd in Sociology focusing on the history of religion. From wikipedia – His dissertation was titled “Global Jihadism as a Transnational Social Movement: A Theoretical Framework”

    Again from wikipedia – In August 2000, while serving as the Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Aslan was named Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Iowa, becoming the first full-time professor of Islam in the history of the state.

    Next time the writer of this article should calm down, leave his stupidity and bigotry at the door and write a good article maybe trying to challenge some of Reza’s points in his book rather than laughable ad hominem attacks.

  • IshiKen

    One of you plagiarized of the others work.
    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/07/29/scholarly-misrepresentation/
    I think you should stop talking about Aslan being hypocritical and start cleaning up your own business.

  • Nathan

    Those who want a scholarly and balanced look at the contradictions regarding Jesus would be much better off with the book “Misquoting Jesus,” wherein the author exposes many of the thousands of errors and contradictions in the New Testament, backing each claim with actual evidence. As a Christian believer myself, I was not offended at all by “Misquoting Jesus.” Aslan, on the other hand, is an insult to an intelligent reader. He states that Jesus was “illiterate,” based on the fact that 98% of the people of Jesus’ time were illiterate. However, if he is going to make such a claim he needs to deal credibly with the instances (numerous) in the Gospels where Christ is “writing in the sand,” “unrolling a scroll and reading in the synagogue,” etc. Aslan fails to do this, apparently choosing to rely on the ignorance of his readers.

  • YesMan11

    Ad hominem, ad nauseum.