Comments about ‘Best-selling book about Jesus sparks media firestorm’

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Published: Tuesday, July 30 2013 4:00 p.m. MDT

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New York, NY


If you need a believe in a higher power to have love towards your fellow man that is reflection on you and not the rest of society. I have more trust in those that are able to use basic compassion and reason to manage their actions towards the world around them.

Hyrum, UT

It should be fairly obvious to most people that the main reason this book was written and purposely made controversial was to sell books and make money... not something so hard to understand, given the nature of our capitalistic society and of people in general.

From what I've read of this author, there isn't much reason to put stock in what he says and writes about Jesus. The very simple truth of the matter is that he was and is the Christ. Jesus himself prophesied that this fact would become and remain controversial among mankind. And so it has.

If someone really wants to read a much better and more thoroughly researched and documented book about Jesus, they should read "Jesus the Christ" by Talmage. You will learn multiple times more about who Jesus really was (is) and his background Jewish society than from this current controversial written-for-money book.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Healthy Skeptic,

"LOL...yet another entrepeneur seeking to build a cash cow. How many more ways can you twist a thousand or so words spoken centuries ago and reported second-hand well after the fact?"

Well, why not? Why should theologians and Christian ministers have all the fun?

Salt Lake City, UT

As the Deseret News moderators don't want to moderate I will stay within their boundries (which I did before) I will refrain from:
* Comment was off topic or disruptive.
* Comment included obscenities or vulgarities.
* Comment included name-calling, epithets, racial slurs or other derogatory statements.
* Comment included personal attacks.
* Comment included advertising or other promotion.
* Comment included copyright infringement or plagiarism.
* Comment included web links, excessive ALL-CAPS or punctuation, excessive length or violated other formatting rules.
* Comment included personal information
And say:
"Only an LDS author really knows Jesus.
This so-called "scholarship" is sad."

is not representative of a comment made by myself, I am LDS and misrepresents my faith and was a personal attack on me by making a derogatory statement.

Hyrum, UT

To SLC Watch:

It was Ernest T Bass who made those silly comments. Most regular readers of these DN comment sections know that he (or she) is always purposely sarcastic regarding both the Church and BYU... and so should be taken with a grain of salt. For proof, look at the number of his (her) likes. There usually are none or close to it. His (or her) purpose is only get your dire up... which is obviously what happened. It's best to just ignore those particular (and derogatory) comments and let it go.

Hank Pym

re: Tyler D earlier today

Agreed. I'd like to add,

"...religious moral imperatives... as a “Johnny-come-lately” role that emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy. - The Bonobo and the Atheist - Frans De Waal"

to 9MM

"I have often heard that history is written by the victors."

History is written by the survivors.

Salt Lake City, UT

Yes, I know. But some didn't like my asking him to be honest. I guess they thought it was a personal attack even though I specifically said it was not. Just because someone makes a false caricature of there true position does not make it a comment free from moderation. Basically my first comment said exactly what you just got away with saying but the powers that be thought it was too personal. Back to this article...I find nothing wrong with disagreeing with some ones position. We just shouldn't allow people to misrepresnt their own position to draw negative attention to those they disagree with. A certian party on here has an absolute history of doing just that and it violates the first rule of being disruptive.

clearfield, UT

I wonder, don't all who profess Christianity have to believe that Mohommad was a false prophet? He didn't teach that Jesus was the Messiah. Christian doctrine demands that Jesus is. So there is nothing to get riled about with this guy. He supports Mohommad and the Koran. Christians support Jesus and the Bible, and for some of us the Book of Mormon. Like goes on.

Huntsville, UT

Personally, my opinion is that the Jesus everybody worships is a fiction, created by those who "followed" him, well after his death in order to justify their continued existence.

Hyrum, UT

@ RanchHand:

Based on many of your past comments, this latest opinion of yours is no surprise.
Hopefully, someday you'll be fortunate enough to find out for yourself what many have known for a long time... That the Jesus we worship so completely is anything but fiction, and is in fact, central to the very plan of mankind being here on earth in the first place.

But until that day comes, I very much respect your right to your opinion... no matter how uninformed it may seem to many of us who believe... and to some of us who know.


I would like to know what historians are saying about this book. For example, does it accurately represent/portray the historical record of the time period?

I don't see any problem with someone writing about Jesus from a historical standpoint. Of course, it should stand up to peer review for accuracy. Many people during Jesus' sojourn here didn't see/view him as the Son of God. Jews don't view Jesus as the Son of God. Had the author been Jewish would he also experience the hyperbolic criticism?

The author, Reza Aslan, was an Evangelical Christian. His wife is an Evangelical Christian.

Huntsville, UT


Been there, done that.

Hopefully, someday, you'll come to the realization that life is what you make of it, not what some voodoo religionists believe it to be.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO


"I would like to know what historians are saying about this book."

I haven’t seen any reviews of his book by historians. But from what the DN piece reports here and what I heard on the news, there’s nothing original in what Aslan suggests. Many scholars have considered the angle of Jesus as a political revolutionary. Criticisms of what Paul did with Jesus’ teachings are old as Christianity itself.

Suggestions by scholars that Jesus was illiterate is nothing new. But it's still sheer conjecture that can't be proven or disproven. Jesus was obviously familiar with the scriptures, quoted them liberally, and understood the law of Moses better than did many of his Pharisee critics. Of course, he could have picked up much of that in the Jewish oral tradition. That too is a form of literacy that deserves higher regard than modern norms of literacy might allow.


"One of the foremost interpreters of Islam today, Professor John Esposito is a Catholic who spent a decade in a Catholic monastery. He teaches at Georgetown University. One of the foremost scholars of early Christianity is Professor Paula Fredriksen, who is Jewish. She is the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University, and now Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem."

In fact, Jesus’s advocacy for the “poor and the dispossessed,” as Aslan documents throughout “Zealot,” is, in my view, yet another driver of the conservative Christian push-back against “Zealot,” in addition to the well-known Islamophobia message machine of the right.

The life and teachings of Jesus, understood in their historical context, are about feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for the sick and loving the neighbor as yourself.

That’s Jesus."

(Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writing in the Washington Post, is a Professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and its former President.)

Cedar Hills, UT


Opinions - yours or mine - mean nothing. Truth exists in spite of our ignorance or opinion. Opinion alone has no power to determine truth. A few hundred years ago the so-called elite and educated of the day considered the earth to be flat. The earth never was flat and had these ignorant folks been able to see the planet from a few hundred miles up they would have known the truth. Again - their opinion didn't change the earth's shape. You may consider Jesus to be a fraud - it's a free country as the saying goes. However one day you will pass through the veil of death ...as will I ... and we will then SEE for ourselves what truth really is. Death is subject to opinion and neither is the life that follows. What a pitiful waste of life to not at least do an honest investigation into Jesus Christ especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it ...and it does! One day you will look back and wish you hadn't wasted the days of your probation. That my friend isn't a matter of if but is a matter of when.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@patriot – “…especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it…”

I was wondering how long it would take to see the ever faithful, always played trump card, and last desperate attempt to convince the Heathens of the Christian story… a story that, best I can tell, goes something like this:

We’re born into this world already condemned for a theological crime we (as individuals) did not commit. Then our salvation is (statistically speaking) largely a function of hitting the celestial lottery (i.e., being born into the right family/culture). After you’ve passed through that eye of a needle, it gets better.

Being good is not good enough… you must believe certain propositions that if you get wrong, will ensure a one way trip to the eternal torture chamber.

But it gets even better!

These beliefs won’t depend on logic, reason or (good) evidence but instead on a credulous mind as susceptible to believing in Santa Claus as it is in the correct theology.

And for the doubters, all of this can be “confirmed” by spiritual feelings that are reported across all traditions and even outside of religion altogether.

Brigham City, UT

Re: "Opinion alone has no power to determine truth....Death is subject to opinion and neither is the life that follows. What a pitiful waste of life to not at least do an honest investigation into Jesus Christ especially since your eternal welfare may depend on it ...and it does! One day you will look back and wish you hadn't wasted the days of your probation. That my friend isn't a matter of if but is a matter of when."

Have you earnestly investigated every purported god and prophet? If not, how do you know you're not betting on the wrong one?

Just because you believe something doesn't make it true, not even if you believe it with all your heart, not even if a burning in your breast or a whisper in your ear or the declarations of a hundred prophets or ten thousand pages of scripture "testified" that it was true. It's still a mere belief.

In this world, what follows death is subject to opinion, because nobody knows. Not one single person knows. It's all speculation, as far from certainty as one end of the universe is from the other.

Huntsville, UT


Likewise, belief does not determine truth either. Because you believe something, doesn't automatically make it true.

My "eternal welfare" is going to be based more on how I live my life, how I treat others, etc. than what I 'believe' or which god I choose to follow (or not follow). But I do, sincerely, thank you for your concern. As a side note, I've probably investigated Jesus Christ more than you have, believer that you are.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

Aslan over-inflated his background in the Fox interview. He does not have a Ph.D. in religious history, he has a Ph.D. in sociology, with a religious emphasis, with his main focus being things that have primarily happened since 1900. This does not neccesarily mean he lacks the ability to write this book, but he does not actually have the background he claimed for himself in the Fox interview.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

I have read this book and found it to be a solid compilation of many decades (or even centuries) of scholarship on the topic. No, not much new, but that is partly what gives its thesis credibility.

Dismissing this author merely because he is not "christian" (or particularly LDS) is certainly a low-information approach to burying one's head in the proverbial sand. Alas, to each his own.

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