The little Google bio for John S. Dickerson tells us that he “is a Christian pastor, author and a nationally-awarded American journalist.” He wrote a book called The Great Evangelical Recession, and I don’t plan on reading it, but I’d like to find out if it contains any warning labels about John S. Dickerson’s Christianity. The reason I’d like to do that is because John S. Dickerson apparently believes (via) that Muslims should only be allowed to write books (assuming we’re going to allow them to write them at all, amirite sheeple?) if those books are clearly marked (on the cover? on every page? he doesn’t say) with warning labels that read “CAUTION: THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN BY A MUHAMMADAN, CHRISTIAN BUYER BEWARE”:
Reza Aslan, author of the new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” has been interviewed on a host of media outlets in the last week. Riding a publicity wave, the book has surged to #2 on Amazon’s list.
Media reports have introduced Aslan as a “religion scholar” but have failed to mention that he is a devout Muslim.
BREAKING: “and that’s the way it was” is receiving new information, just in, that “media reports” have also “failed to mention” the religious leanings of authors of JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER FREAKING BOOK EVER WRITTEN, also. Too.
His book is not a historian’s report on Jesus. It is an educated Muslim’s opinion about Jesus — yet the book is being peddled as objective history on national TV and radio.
Well, Aslan isn’t a historian, so OK, but aren’t all books about “the historical Jesus” essentially educated opinions since we don’t have a whole lot of facts to go on? Actually it is “a historian’s report on Jesus.” Apparently I, too, am ignorant enough to write for Fox News.
Hey, quick, guess whether John S. Dickerson offered any evidence that “the book is being peddled as objective history on national TV and radio”? Your choices are a) no, b) not a chance, or c) of course not. And before you say anything, portraying it as objective historical scholarship (which it is!) is not the same thing.
“Zealot” is a fast-paced demolition of the core beliefs that Christianity has taught about Jesus for 2,000 years. Its conclusions are long-held Islamic claims—namely, that Jesus was a zealous prophet type who didn’t claim to be God, that Christians have misunderstood him, and that the Christian Gospels are not the actual words or life of Jesus but “myth.”
Look, I got the book but I’m only a few chapters in, so maybe Aslan goes all ooga-booga Muslimy at some point, but so far there’s nothing in here that you wouldn’t find in, say, any of John Dominic Crossan’s books, but presumably Crossan doesn’t have to have his books marked with a scarlet letter before they’re allowed to be sold.
Also, dude, Islam doesn’t teach that the gospels are “myth.” Islam holds that the core message of the gospels was revealed to Jesus by God. Sheesh. Plus, I haven’t gotten to the crucifixion yet, but as Aslan says in this painfully offensive Fox News interview, his conclusion that Jesus was actually crucified directly contradicts Islamic belief. Sweet merciful crap, is complete mind-numbing ignorance of the subject a requirement for being a contributor at Fox?
As a journalist and author who is Christian I cannot imagine penning a so-called objective biography of Muhammad and then concealing my conflict of interest in national media interviews.
First of all, learn what a “conflict of interest” is, OK? Second, learn what “to conceal” means (I mean, the guy talks about his conversion to Christianity and then back to Islam in the introduction to the book). Then we’ll talk.
In world history there are no religions more violently and anciently opposed than the crusading, fighting, at times blood-shedding rivals of historic Islam and historic Christianity.
OK, I guess, but is there any evidence that Reza Aslan is some kind of holy warrior?
Even non-violent Muslims and Christians, like Aslan and myself, understand that we hold aggressively oppositional views—particularly about Jesus.
So no, no evidence, and also too you’re wrong. Islam and Christianity are at odds over Jesus’ divinity, yes, but Islam reveres Jesus as a Messenger of God nearly on part with Muhammad. That might not mean much to someone like John S. Dickerson, who clearly couldn’t be bothered to read up about Islam before describing its core tenets to his readers, but compared to Hinduism and Buddhism, which just sort of treat Jesus as one of any number of potential holy men, or mainstream Judaism, which considers Jesus a False Messiah, Islam and Christianity are pretty close to each other in terms of liking Jesus. Islam just doesn’t like-like him, is all.
“Zealot” is written with the self-assumed authority of groundbreaking revelation from a historian.
Aren’t all books written with “self-assumed authority”? Does anybody write a book that starts off, “Hey, I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, but let’s dive right in!”
Aslan informs us that we cannot trust the Gospel of Mark–because it was written 40 years after Jesus’ death. He then chides us to trust his new book, written almost 2,000 years later.
Wow. Take a freshman-level history course, learn the difference between “primary sources” and “secondary sources,” and then come back and give this review another shot.
I believe in Aslan’s right to hold and propagate any opinion.
Well that’s very big of y–
It’s a right that, ironically, Christians do not have in many Muslim countries.
What the hell does that have to do wi–
My concern is that national media coverage be smart and forthright about this conflict of interest, just as it would be if I—a Christian author and pastor—wrote a book about Muhammad.
Well, again, the guy talks quite forthrightly about his religion in the introduction to the freaking book. Maybe your problem is that the national media assumes that most people read books before deciding to burn them? That’s probably where the disconnect is happening.
Pouring praise onto “Zealot” as new information about Jesus, without explaining its author’s devotion to a combatting religion, is blatant bias. This same bias would be unthinkable if the Christian and Muslim roles were reversed.
What the hell is “a combatting religion”? Never mind, I don’t care. And please, spare me the sad wingnut “reverse racism” crap. Lunatics like Pam Gellar and Robert Spencer are still publishing complete nonsense about Islam and nobody’s doing anything to them, and that shit is actually dangerous.
With its riveting demolition of Jesus, “Zealot” will continue to attract interviews—some from reporters who want to see Jesus deconstructed. Many more interviews will come from reporters who simply don’t understand that Reza Aslan has a horse in this race. He is not an objective observer, but, to use his own word, a zealot, with religious motivation to destroy what Western culture has believed about its central figure for hundreds of years. In many ways, this conflict is larger than Christianity and Islam. It is a conflict of Western and Middle Eastern foundations. These are great and important debates that we should welcome, but let’s be honest about our motivations, positions and conflicts of interest as we dialogue.
This is like the idiot cherry on top of the sundae of stupid, the pièce de putain d’idiot, if you will. If Reza Aslan is a “zealot” then John S. Dickerson would qualify as certifiably insane. Is there any evidence apart from his name, religion, and skin tone that would suggest that Aslan, who has profited quite well from Western culture in recent years, is out to destroy what it believes about Jesus? And if he were out to do that, wouldn’t there have been a better way than to write a book about the historical Jesus that is no more radical than what many self-described Christians have written before him?
Hey, quick, guess whether John S. Dickerson offered any evidence that Reza Aslan is “a zealot, with religious motivation to destroy what Western culture has believed about its central figure for hundreds of years,” apart from pointing out that OMG HE’S A MOOSLEM? Your choices are a) of course not.
Tell you what, Pastor Dickerson. Why don’t you go grab some whackaloon Muslim fundamentalists and the lot of you can go find a nice, quiet cave somewhere to have your great and important Holy War over the survival of Western culture, so threatened by the great unwashed masses, while the rest of us go about our own lives in peace for a change?