Widely thought of as an Iranian-American incarnation of Christ, Reza Aslan- more commonly known by the nickname 'The Ayatollah' owing to his supreme religious insight- recently achieved his Messiah-like status following his crucifixion at the hands of Fox News, a province of the Rupert Murdoch empire almost universally equated in contemporary New Testament scholarship with the Whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelation.
Having overcome the torment of the evil ones and conquered death with his miraculous resurrection and appearance to Piers Morgan (among other famous celebrity disciples of Reza), Reza Aslan joins me for an exclusive interview in my Brasenose dormitory to preach the Gospel according to his new book Zealot, and explain why we must spread the Good News of it to the four corners of the Earth.
Aymenn: Ahh, Reza! A pleasure to be speaking to you today! Care for some vanilla tea and custard creams, perhaps?
Reza: No thank you, my adoring fan. Scholars with four degrees- including a PhD in the history of religions and fluency in New Testament Greek- much prefer Rich Tea biscuits and chili-flavored hot chocolate, courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.
Aymenn: With due respect, you are no more 'fluent' in New Testament Greek than I am in classical Latin and Greek. Could you discuss the current state of the Iranian economy under sanctions in New Testament Greek?
Reza: Hey look here you moron, I didn't take time out of my busy schedule as a professor of religions- yes, someone who studies the history of religions for a living- to come here to be abused by a little nobody with ten followers on Twitter. To repeat, I am a scholar with my credentials, including a PhD.
Aymenn: The last I heard, you were actually teaching creative writing.
Reza: Stop questioning my credentials you fucking twat and get on to talking about my must-read book that is essential reading for the whole world if we're going to have interfaith harmony and world peace.
Aymenn: Umm…okay. So tell us about the underlying message of your book.
Reza: Well it's quite simple really. As a scholar with a PhD in history of religions, I believe I can show as an expert on Christianity and Judaism that the Gospels were never meant or purported to be historical accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, this true revolutionary. Indeed, Jesus himself is not found to be claiming a messianic identity in the Gospel of Mark.
Aymenn: Hold on one moment, there are many of quotes one could draw on from the New Testament that challenge both of your assertions. For example:
καὶ ὁ ἑωρακὼς μεμαρτύρηκεν, καὶ ἀληθινὴ αὐτοῦ ἔστιν ἡ μαρτυρία, καὶ ἐκεῖνος οἶδεν ὅτι ἀληθῆ λέγει, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς πιστεύσητε. ('And the one who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true, and that man knows that he speaks true things, so that you also may believe'- John 19:35).
ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε θεόφιλε, ἱνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὡν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν ('I also, who had followed all things closely from the beginning, decided to write an account of the events arranged in order for you, so that, o most excellent Theophilus, you may know for certain about those things of which you have been informed'- Luke 1:3-4).
Meanwhile, even NPR noted your false statement on the Gospel of Mark, drawing attention to Mark 14:61-2, where Jesus, when asked if he is 'the Christ' (Messiah), asserts: ἐγώ εἰμι ('I am'). Your response?
Reza: Yeah yeah, you dumbass. You don't think I haven't come across those talking-points before, asshole? I know where you got them from: that fat gay Melkite walrus Robert Spencer, who, by the way, inspired the fucking racist, Islamophobic murder of an Iraqi woman even though it turned out it wasn't an anti-Muslim killing.
Aymenn: Any chance you'll apologize to him for that accusation, as Justin Raimondo did? And maybe answer his talking points on the Gospels too?
Reza: If anything, he owes me an apology for that beard of his, that sexy walrus. And you don't think I actually pay any attention to anything that kid says, do you? He's a clown and the only proper response to clowns is laughter. I've told that cunt a million times: I'm into women, not walruses. Maybe if I sent him a picture, that would satisfy his lust for a while. Funny that: I'm now recalling practically verbatim those automated e-mails I had my assistant Roshi send him nearly three years ago!
Oh, and don't try to impress me with your (at best) amateurish knowledge of New Testament Greek. You're nothing more than a mere undergrad and moron I blocked on Twitter: I am a scholar with 4 degrees and a PhD. I am an expert on Christianity, Judaism, basically all the religions, which are in essence saying the same thing.
Aymenn: Gee! What an original talking point that is! Now where have I heard that before, just like your purportedly ground-breaking work on Jesus?
Reza: You haven't. Do you know how fucking stupid you truly sound? Maybe that's no surprise given you're a tool for that Islamophobic pile of shit Daniel Pipes.
Aymenn: I could think of many exceptions to your derivative 'all-religions-say-the-same-thing' thesis. What about the early Indo-European ideas of no afterlife and kleos aphthiton won in battle and narrated by oral poets for subsequent generations. A heroic ethic- also featuring anthropomorphic gods- and quite different from what you purport to show as the true nature of all religions, particularly the monotheistic ones. As a self-identified follower of a particular religion (in this case, Islam), you can't be so arrogant as to judge the essence of other faiths, can you?
Reza: Again, you are a clueless idiot- stupid and profoundly misunderstanding- with no formal training in the study of the history of religions. I am a scholar with four degrees, including a PhD. So stop wasting my time, idiot. I've got a plane to catch to Suriname so I can instruct my disciples to spread the Good News of my book and make disciples of Reza from all nations, including the profoundly ignorant Saramaccans of Suriname's rainforest. I've only got 35 days or so before I ascend into heaven and sit at the right hand of God, just like Jesus, my hero whom I emulate, despite my obsessive propensity to smear, insult and belittle anyone who disagrees with me.
So, go fuck yourself. I kind of feel bad for you: it was so embarrassing having to defend myself here.