Religious scholar refutes Bill O’Reilly’s Republican Jesus

Religious scholar refutes Bill O’Reilly’s Republican Jesus November 12, 2014

Religious scholar Reza Aslan says “the Jesus of history” is Bill O’Reilly’s nightmare: “a Middle Eastern Jew who advocated for free healthcare and fed the poor.”

Raw Story reports Aslan made the remarks while speaking at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in February.

During the discussion about his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, an audience member asked Aslan if he had read Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s book about Jesus, called Killing Jesus: A History.

Aslan replied:

Yes, ‘Killing Jesus,’ which apparently is not a manual. I have not read Bill O’Reilly’s book so I can’t really talk about it in any sort of intelligent way. I will say that the main difference between my book on Jesus and Bill O’Reilly’s book on Jesus is that I wrote my book.

I have friends who have read it, and I’ve read reviews of it. I understand basically he’s turned Jesus into a member of the Tea Party. Because it’s all about taxes as far as he’s concerned. That Jesus was upset about the high cost of taxes, which actually is true, and government interference and that’s why he rebelled and that’s why he was killed. That’s fine.

I will say this though. What fascinates me is the way that the political Right in this country has absorbed Jesus and made Jesus their own icon. The Jesus of history is a Middle Eastern Jew who advocated for free healthcare and fed the poor. That’s the nightmare of Bill O’Reilly! That’s the exact opposite of everything Bill O’Reilly thinks.

While there may be some doubt about the existence of a historical Jesus Christ, Aslan is right in his critique of O’Reilly and other conservatives who try to remake Christ in their own image. Despite the conservative attempt to refashion Jesus Christ in the image of an angry, ignorant, intolerant and mean-spirited Tea Party yahoo, the textual evidence supplied by the New Testament fails to justify such a reading.

Previously Aslan called Joel Osteen a “charlatan” while condemning America’s sick love affair with the prosperity gospel.




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