Muslim author Dr. Reza Aslan, who made waves last year with the release of a controversial book alleging that Jesus never called himself God and that the Christian savior sometimes promoted violence, recently blasted prosperity preachers and essentially likened Christ's teachings to Marxism.
Speaking with HuffPo Live's Marc Lamont Hill Monday, Aslan, who authored last year's "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," said that the Bible can be interpreted in many ways and that it has often been used by both sides of a controversial issue to validate opposing viewpoints.
"You can make the Bible … mean whatever you want," he said. "Marxism comes from the teachings of Jesus, as does capitalism and the prosperity gospel."
Aslan took particular aim at preachers who are traditionally accused of touting the prosperity gospel — that is, the controversial theology that tells Christians they have an increased ability to achieve financial blessing by appealing to God.
"[Prosperity preachers] are fleecing people, that they are taking this notion of … what you give will be returned to you tenfold, which is a metaphor, and they're taking it literally," Aslan told Hill.
The controversial author continued, delving into his take on Jesus' historical preaching, saying that his views were "as close to Marxism as it gets."
In particular, Aslan said that Jesus' focus was on the poor, teaching that the downtrodden would one day be the "inheritors of the earth."
"If there's one thing that you can really zero in on when it comes to Jesus' preachings — and I mean the historical Jesus — was his absolute hatred of wealth," Aslan continued. "This wasn't the man who was neutral about it … what he preached was that those who have wealth, that wealth will be taken away."
He added, "That's as close to Marxism as it gets."
Calling the prosperity gospel an inaccurate paradigm both spiritually and historically, Aslan dismissed it as "a bastardization of the core tenet of Jesus' teachings."
Read more about Aslan's views on Jesus here.
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