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Beck Takes on Aslan

I’ll give Glenn Beck credit for at least trying to engage the substance of Reza Aslan’s book about Jesus, but it’s kind of funny watching him attempt it. His arguments are just plain bad. He cites the beginning of the book of Luke as proof that the gospels were eyewitness accounts, but the very verses he cites say the opposite. He can’t even read the words on the screen correctly, saying the opposite of what Aslan says and adding words to it.

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I have no idea if Aslan’s book is any good. I haven’t read it and I likely never will. It may be total nonsense. But the Christian right freaking out about it has led them to make very, very bad arguments so far.

Comments

  1. says

    “He can’t even read the words on the screen correctly, saying the opposite of what Aslan says and adding words to it.”

    Since we are no longer supposed to say that Glennie Blek is cognitively “excited” or impaired or that he suffers from any of a host of mental health issues, I’m left with his being a fucking lying piece-of-shit sociopath*.

    Virtually every statement Blek makes in his capacity as a spokesman for the ReiKKKwing is a calculated and cultivated lie. He does it for money and self-aggrandizement. He’s happy with the results or at least he’s happy with the social and monetary rewards that go with the result.

    * If his sociopathy isn’t obvious to you, then YOU just might be a sociopath.

  2. mikeyb says

    Aslan – isn’t that the Jesus Lion in CS Lewis – anyway – all this right wing hysteria is succeeding in doing is selling more books. Aslan is laughing all the way to the bank. Seems to me in content, the book is a sophisticated scholarly version of The DaVinci Code. It’s flabbergasting that these right wingers are so threatened by actually a really tame view of Jesus – apparently he was some kind of ancient Martin Luther King sort of fellow. Imagine if they happened to read a book with much more substance – like anything by Richard Carrier. Their tiny brains would explode.

  3. says

    “isn’t that the Jesus Lion in CS Lewis ”

    Someone seems to ask that on every single blog on Reza Aslan on Freethoughtblogs. The answer is ‘yes, his surname is the same as the lion in the CS Lewis books’. Everyone seems astonished by this! Look, I’ve got the same name as the villain in BioShock. A real person with the same name as a fictional character. Surely that’s the least interesting part of the story?

  4. Francisco Bacopa says

    “Aslan” is the word for “lion” in some of the Turkic languages. Reza Aslan’s family is from Iran, which has a sizable Turkic minority.

  5. frankb says

    Turkish? What are all these furreners doing talking about Jesus? Don’t they know Jesus was American and white?

  6. rabbitscribe says

    Right- Luke was an eyewitness to everything from the events preceding Jesus’s birth to Paul’s incarceration in Rome, including Jesus’s private conversations. That’s why sometimes Luke’s account is completely different from other people’s (the Nativity) and sometimes it is identical, word-for-word. But more to the point, isn’t Aslan a C.S. Lewis character?

  7. Sastra says

    Wait, what? Beck argues against the claim that the gospels are unreliable as direct ‘eyewitness testimony’ because they were written 40 years after the fact (Jesus’ death) by pointing out that the person who points this problem out is writing 2,000 years after the fact? So rational inferences no longer apply and all scholarship is, at a swoop, impossible.

    This is a whole new level of wrong. It takes “were you there???” and ramps it up to 11.

  8. Sastra says

    rabbitscribe #7 wrote:

    But more to the point, isn’t Aslan a C.S. Lewis character?

    Well, andrewryan #3 says so — but I haven’t trusted him since he went off the deep end and constructed that underwater city. So take it with a grain of salt.

    “Sastra,” by the way, means “holy scripture; the sword of truth which cuts through illusion.” Just saying.

  9. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @frankb

    Turkic does not mean Turkish, though Turkish is a subset of Turkic and is indeed derived from it. It’s a broad and fairly poorly defined ethno-linguistic-cultural group that originated in Central Asia… all those countries between Mongolia and the Caspian sea that no one’s ever heard of and that all seem to end in -stan, basically; plus Turkey and the few small countries just to the north of it in that vague bit of the world that could be either Eastern European or Asian. There are also fairly large Turkic populations in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as China, Russia and Bulgaria.

  10. freehand says

    I have not read Aslan’s book. I have seen several comments by people claiming to be religious scholars who said that his book wasn’t bad, but it offered nothing new and was basically a rehash of several already published. No comments yet on how they feel about his book outselling theirs.
    .
    Democommie, to be fair to others, it takes a while sometimes to realize that somebody is a sociopath, and it would require folks to have actually seen enough of Beck to notice his sociopathy. So given his omnipresence in news and commentary, yeah, everybody. Never mind.

  11. says

    I’ve just checked on Wiki, and Aslan was definitely in in the Lionel Richie Wardrobe book. I couldn’t find out whether or not it’s the same guy referenced above. I mean, a lion writing a book on Jesus seems unusual, but then apparently he was also interviewed by a fox, so who am I to say?

  12. rabbitscribe says

    “… all those countries between Mongolia and the CASPIAN sea that no one’s ever heard of…”

    Another CS Lewis character! For a bunch of atheists, you all seem unusually interested in his work.

  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    Wait, what? Beck argues against the claim that the gospels are unreliable as direct ‘eyewitness testimony’ because they were written 40 years after the fact (Jesus’ death) by pointing out that the person who points this problem out is writing 2,000 years after the fact? So rational inferences no longer apply and all scholarship is, at a swoop, impossible.

    One of the first things you would want to know about a historian writing from a later perspective is: did he make good use of the primary sources? You would expect him to find and read all the eyewitness accounts and first hand reports, and apply some analysis as to which are reliable or not, and why. So there is no reason to write off a historical account that is written 2000 years later.
    If all the first hand accounts are 40+ years after the facts, and none can reliably be identified as eyewitness accounts, then that is a problem, but it does not make those 40 year accounts more reliable than a 2000 year account.

  14. whheydt says

    I have to admit that, when I saw the headline, my first reaction was… What has Beck got against the works of C. S. Lewis?

  15. daved says

    And since this is Glenn Beck, we’re talking about, it’s entirely possible that he thinks that Reza Aslan is a talking lion.

  16. Francisco Bacopa says

    Turkic does not mean Turkish, though Turkish is a subset of Turkic and is indeed derived from it. It’s a broad and fairly poorly defined ethno-linguistic-cultural group that originated in Central Asia… all those countries between Mongolia and the Caspian sea that no one’s ever heard of and that all seem to end in -stan, basically; plus Turkey and the few small countries just to the north of it in that vague bit of the world that could be either Eastern European or Asian. There are also fairly large Turkic populations in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as China, Russia and Bulgaria.

    Um, I thought I indicated that I knew this when I said “some of the Turkic languages” and mentioned that Reza Aslan’s family was from Iran. I said “Turkic” because I didn’t know specifically what group he was from, just that there are multiple Turkic ethnic groups, and that one or more of them form a pretty sizable minority in Iran.

  17. says

    “Democommie, to be fair to others, it takes a while sometimes to realize that somebody is a sociopath, and it would require folks to have actually seen enough of Beck to notice his sociopathy. So given his omnipresence in news and commentary, yeah, everybody. Never mind.”

    I LOL when I typed my comment back to myself (it took a while–I’m a little S-L-O); I ROFLMAO and SM* when I read the above.

    * Sharted Myself

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