Notions of Deity, in View of a Trainwreck of an Interview
This weekend, I saw, as many others did, a video –now gone viral–of a closeminded attack on faith and Deity, in the form of the abysmal interview between Lauren Green of Fox News and Reza Aslan, who was promoting his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. From the outset, it was clear that Green was more focused, even obsessed, about Aslan’s religion, Islam, than about the book itself. She seemed to find it unfathomable that a person of another faith, who worships another Deity, could write about, and be an expert in, Christianity and Jesus.
Here is the first cringe-worthy exchange:
Green: You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?
Aslan: Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus; I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions.
Instead of taking the hint, Green pursues the religious bias claim further; I love his response:
Green: “But it still begs the question though of why you’d be interested in the founder of Christianity?”
Aslan: ”Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’ss what I do for a living.”
The rest of the interview revolves around quotes of (negative) critics, rather than on the book itself. At one point, Green accuses Aslan of hiding this faith; he points out that page two of his book as well as other published interviews, contradicts her claim: he then calls her out for not reading the book ahead of time.
Reza Aslan beautifully defends himself, his book, and academia in general, but what does all of this have to do with the Pagan and his or her relationship with Deity? This interview reminds us of the divisive nature of some people who assume an “us vs. them” mentality and who tend to compartmentalize religion. However, Paganism believes in the All, that the Goddess and the God interact with us through the archetypes or aspects that resonate with each individual worshipper. Whether the God appears as Thor, Apollo, Pan, Shango, Quetzalcoatl, Great Spirit, or Jesus, they are all part of the All, a supreme spiritual entity. All travelers on a positive path will find the various roads lead to the same destination: this is what makes the horrible interview that Reza Aslan endured a moot point.
What do you think about this interview? Please feel free to share your thoughts, as well as your thoughts on Deity, in the comments section.