Reza Aslan
Reza Aslan and Lauren Green have a heated debate about Aslan's book, "Zealot:The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." Screen Shot from YouTube

UPDATE: Reza Aslan Tells Piers Morgan He Feels Bad For Fox Anchor Lauren Green; Aslan's Book Now Number One On Amazon [VIDEO]

Historian, PhD and academic scholar Reza Aslan was interviewed on Fox News by reporter Lauren Green about his new book "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." Reza Aslan is a Muslim and chose to write a scholarly work about Jesus the man because he is a professor of all religion. The PhD holds four degrees including one exclusively on the New Testament.

During the interview, Dr. Aslan says even though he is Muslim he has been fascinated with Jesus the man for his entire life. The host of the Fox News segment, Lauren Green kept asking Reza Aslan the same question. She wanted to know why a Muslim would want to write about Jesus.

Despite Aslan's clear and straightforward answer about being an academic and a historian of many of the world's religions, Green was not comprehending what Aslan was saying.

"It's not that I'm just some Muslim writing about Jesus," Aslan told Green. "I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions."

"But it still begs the question," Green interrupted. "Why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?"

"Because it's my job as an academic," Aslan said with a perplexed look on his face. It seemed he did not understand why Green was so curious about a Muslim writing about Jesus. Green could not wrap her head around the fact that Aslan was approaching this book from a scholarly stand point, not a religious point of view.

"I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament," Aslan said. "That's what I do for a living actually...Honestly I've been obsessed with Jesus for really 20-years. I've been studying his life and his work and the origin of Christianity, both in an academic environment and at a personal level for about two decades."

Reza Aslan wanted to make it clear his book was not attacking Christianity. He said his wife and her family are Christians. Dr. Aslan added that if you believe his book is an attack on the Christian religion, it just means you have not read it yet.

Lauren Green read Dr. Aslan a quote criticizing his book. The quote claimed the book was an opinion piece by an "educated Muslim" and simply rehashed a lot of already known Muslim beliefs about Christ.

Aslan stated again his book is not a Muslim's opinion, but a historical work about the life of a man and not about "The Christ."

"I just want to emphasize this one more time," Aslan said. "I am a historian. I am a PhD in the history of religion. This isn't a Muslim opinion. This is an academic work of history, not about the Christ or about Christianity for that matter. It's about a historical man who walked the earth 2,000-years ago in a land that the Romans called Palestine."

The Fox News anchor kept throwing criticisms at Reza Aslan from not only other scholars, but an incoming Twitter feed. Each time Green presents Aslan with a criticism or someone questioning why a Muslim would write about Jesus, Aslan has a clear and eloquent argument ready to go.

Aslan argues that a person who happens to be Muslim can write with authority on another religion if the person has been studying religion for all of their academic life. Dr. Aslan said repeatedly that he is a scholar, he has studied all religion and is fascinated by the life of Jesus.

Green asks Aslan to describe his conclusions about Jesus and Aslan's arguments are well rounded and reasonable. He seems to be taking his arguments from a Roman stand point. Now that assertion is based solely on his interview with Fox. However, Aslan mentions the Romans twice during his interview and talks about how Jesus created an uproar in the name of helping people, which got the Romans' attention.

Aslan also talks about how crucifixion was a Roman punishment handed down to the most serious of offenders. It seems from his interview Dr. Aslan's book is looking to answer the question of why Jesus was considered such a troublesome man by the Romans and deserving of what they considered the ultimate punishment.

"I think that the fundamental problem here is that you're assuming that I have some sort of faith based bias in this work that I write," Aslan said to Green. "I write about Judaism, I write about Hinduism, I write about Christianity, I write about Islam. My job as a scholar of religions with a PhD in the subject is to write about religions (Dr. Aslan made sure to emphasize the "S" in religions) and one of the religions that I have written about is the religion that was launched by Jesus."

Lauren Green was not satisfied with Dr. Aslan's sound argument and defense of his book. The Fox News anchor challenges Reza Aslan by saying, "But Reza you're not just writing about religion from a point of view of an observer."

Clearly unsettled by this comment, Dr. Aslan asks Green why she would say that. Green then challenges the idea that Aslan is promoting himself as a scholar, saying the interviews she's done with scholars suggest the information in his book about the life of Jesus, is wrong.

To his credit, Dr. Aslan kept calm throughout the entire Fox interview. There were several instances where he would have been justified in yelling his point or firing back angrily at Lauren Green for challenging his life's work on the simple bias that he is a Muslim writing about the founder of Christianity.

Aslan finished the interview by saying all scholarship and history is a debate. Aslan agrees that there are some scholars that do not agree with what he has written in his book. Aslan also says that there are a number of serious academic minds who have been studying Jesus the man and agree with the conclusions Aslan has drawn.


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