Over the weekend Fox News anchor Lauren Green interviewed Reza Aslan about his new book on the life of Jesus that challenges the validity of Jesus being the Messiah, hence the validity of the New Testament. Resa was a Muslim as a child, then he became a Christian when his family fled Iran for America in 1979. While in college working on his Phd on the New Testament, he started studying the Muslim faith. That lead to his reconversion back Islam. The title of his book is all you need to read in order to understand his perspective on Jesus. Zealot: The Life And Times of Jesus Christ. Any definition you use for zealot is less than flattering.
Lauren's first question was "you're a Muslim so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity". If that question seems like a decent question to you, then you are not a liberal. Because that question is being mocked today by liberals all over the world on sites like Slate, Huffington Post, and The New Yorker. Their implication is that the question is sophomoric. That his religious affiliation in no way could sway his interpretation of facts.
Now if the tables had been turned and a Christian who also happens to be a scholar, say someone like Francis Collins wrote a book that challanged the validity of Muhammad as a prophet and hence the validity of the Quran. Skip past the part where Francis would be dead before he could even give an interview. Just consider how his interview would go...."26% of the earth inhabitants are Muslim. You are a Christian, which roughly 30% of the world follows. Obviously as a religious scholar you have studied both and decided the Christianity is the one true religion. So is this book an attempt to show Muslims they're on the wrong course"?
There are certain things that are unprovable which at the same time makes them un-unprovable about the life of Christ. One of the facts Resa takes on is the fact that Mary was a virgin who was impregnated by God with Jesus. Short of Maury Povich having Mary, God, Joseph and perhaps some other random guy on stage to read the DNA results and say "God you are the father" no one can prove of disprove that she did or didn't have sex.
Christian's look at the facts that Joseph told Mary he was going to quietly call off their engagement so as to not humiliate her once he discovered she was with child as proof that he wasn't having sex with her. We assume that if Mary created this whopper of a story and got Joseph to buy into it, that she would be the most manipulative person to have ever lived to play it out to the end. First Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem because of the prophecy written 700 years earlier in the book of Micah. So they travelled 80 miles on foot/donkey near the end of her pregnancy. Then they would have to flee to Egypt and raise Jesus there for a while as prophesied in Hosea. There are hundreds of prophecies he would have to fulfil and Mary would have known going into it that if her son was the Messiah according to ancient Jewish prophecy then it wouldn't end well for him. As Isiah wrote about the coming Messiah; He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Not something a mom wants to sign her kid up for. And if she was lying then she would be stoned. If she told Joseph I'm pregnant with the Messiah. We are to name him Yeshua (which in Greek is translated to Jesus). They didn't have sonograms back then. She could have been stoned the second the baby was born if it was a girl.
She had to brainwash Jesus too that he was the Messiah! She had to get her cousin in on the act too so she could make up the story about her son John the Baptist recognizing Jesus while they were both still in the womb. Then both John and Jesus had to play out their entire lives ultimately both dying brutal early deaths all so that Mary could claim she was a virgin.
Some guys love their mom a lot, so I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm just saying some facts are interpretable, and when I weigh the evidence it appears Jesus is who He said He was. If I studied the facts and came to a different conclusion then it would be expected I would drop the faith as Reza Aslan did and convert to something else. He converted to Islam. But even Reza knows that he doesn't know for sure. As he writes in his new book trying to describe the challenge of profiling Jesus; The task is somewhat akin to putting together a massive puzzle with only a few of the pieces in hand; one has no choice but to fill in the rest of the puzzle based on the best, most educated guess of what the completed image should look like. Where I and 2.1 billion followers see the Son of God who lived the perfect life we all should have lived and then sacrificed himself to pay our debts. Reza and billions of others see a phony. A man who claimed to be God but wasn't. A man who claimed to have the secret to ever lasting life, but didn't. A con man, and a zealot. Asking him his motivation for writing a book that calls out the founder of a religion he has converted from would be the question 2.1 billion Christian's would want answered. So that in itself makes it a great question!