Unfortunately, like so many facets of present-day news and information, the recognition and merits of the book are a metaphor for rampant dishonesty under the guise of unbiased journalism. Consequently, much of the hype and many of the reviews have created the tidal wave of interest in Reza Aslan’s work are inaccurate. Not so much for what they say, but because of what they do not say.
In an effort to praise the historical depth of Aslan’s intense research into the contradictions of biblical texts surrounding the life of Jesus Christ, mainstream media is either failing to mention, or simply ignoring one major fact about the author. Aslan is a devout Muslim.
Though it may appear a small matter to those promoting Aslan as an important religious scholar, the significance of this unmentioned aspect of his treatise is considerable by its absence.
Reza Aslan has the right to his beliefs and to express them as he wishes. What is dishonest about his premise, and the way it is being presented by the press, is that it is being marketed as a bold new objective historical account of the life and times of Jesus that are groundbreaking in scope. What is being praised as a scholarly history, however, is nothing more than long-held Islamic beliefs about Christianity and Christ.
The falsehoods lie in the context that interviewers and reviewers fail to understand the Islamic perceptions of Jesus, or they are conveniently overlooking factual evidence that Aslan offers nothing new about Muslim bias toward Judaism and Christianity.
In their eagerness to extol the virtues of Zealot, the media is itself zealously over-reacting in an effort to endorse the intellectual magnitude of Aslan’s writing. Forget the fact that Aslan is on the board of the National Iranian American Council, a lobbying group for the
Reza Aslan has written a book which offers conclusions about Christianity that fit the paradigm the liberal press prefers. As far as media is concerned that is the only thing that matters. As a result Aslan has become a media darling to the extent he now commands honorariums of up to $30,000 or more for a lecture.
Imagine the uproar in the Islamic world if a similar book had been written about the inconsistencies, contradictions and vagaries of the Prophet Mohammad which, by the way, are too numerous to count. Remember the violence that erupted in the Middle East over the YouTube video about Mohammad? The real violence that is, not the deadly
Just because Christianity and Islam trace their roots to Abraham does not mean the two religions are not polar opposites in their precepts. So what? Why does it matter? In the United States, people are free to believe, or not, as they choose.
What does matter, however, is declaring Reza Aslan’s research to be radically new in an effort to demean the influence of Christianity and its believers. Presenting something as revolutionary, insightful and intelligent when it is nothing more than a reiteration of age-old beliefs is intellectually dishonest.
Too much of what we read, see and hear in the media and from politicians these days falls under the same dirty cloud of partial truths and distortion. We are constantly bombarded by misdirection and misinformation for the sake of hiding the truth. Not due to ignorance, but by design.
Reza Aslan has the freedom to proclaim whatever he wishes and to write about it. However, neither he nor the media has the right to tout those views as bold new information that has been uncovered through exhaustive historical research. Not when those opinions actually reflect nothing more than centuries of traditional Islamic beliefs that media is too lazy to discover for themselves.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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