Reza Aslan Presentation: Good historical context of Jesus of Nazareth.
I just finished watching Reza Aslan presenting at the Aspen Institute. He’s well spoken. He does a good job of explaining the difference between historical Jesus and how Jesus has been redefined in almost every culture on Earth including American Christianity. I don’t know how to factcheck everything he said since I don’t speak Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. He’s definitely well studied on Jesus and is a fan of Jesus. None of his presentation though sounds like he’s had personal encounter with the living Jesus, or believes the historical account of all the miracles Jesus performed, including His resurrection.
His presentation strikes me for three reasons:
- I just drank a really strong cup of coffee.
- Reza had some kind of God encounter when he was a teenager in an Evangelical Christian setting and went back to Islam a few years later, but continued to study Jesus. That’s almost inversely parallel to my faith journey: I studied Jesus the role model for years as a teenager before accepting Jesus the Savior during my years at Johns Hopkins. Since then I’ve had zero temptation to go back to agnosticism or atheism.
- Reza strongly pointed out how much Jesus’ wasn’t from a family of political influence. He was from a village so small that it didn’t even have a synagogue. Jesus was one of several men that claimed to be the Messiah. All of those men were executed for challenging Roman rule in Palestine including Jesus. So what made Jesus stand out from all the other candidate Messiahs? Unfortunately Rez believes it was Jesus’ charisma rather than His miracles, His unique, intimate relationship with God the Father.