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Thread: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

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    Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    I recently watched an interview Fox conducted of Reza Aslan, who wrote a book called "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," and the interviewer was obsessed with why Aslan, a Muslim, decided to write a book about Jesus. Aslan essentially spends the entire interview explaining what a scholar and a PhD is, along with what an academic work is.

    To me, the answer seems obvious, but do you think that an academic can write about a person such as Jesus without being influenced by their personal religious background?

    The video is really worth watching, especially the part at 9:10. Absolutely hilarious.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/256805964...ds-to-critics/

    If you're interested in nuance, can an academic career like Aslan's overcome any potential personal influences?
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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    Why considering Jesus plays a part in Islam, I would say they are good to write a book on it.

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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    No. Religion does not. Preconceived notions do, so it is therefore not limited to only religion.

    While I don't know a whole lot about Islam, I did know that Jesus is part of it. My understanding based upon what I was told a longtime ago is that one of the differences between Sunnis and Shi'ites is that one accepts him as a Prophet while the other says he was a great teacher. So to those who are not aware of that, then they may think it wrong for a Muslim to write about Jesus.

    Religion is hardly the only thing that can block historical objectivity. Simply look at the number of socialist who believe it can actually work at anything higher than a hunter-gatherer tribe.
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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    I recently watched an interview Fox conducted of Reza Aslan, who wrote a book called "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," and the interviewer was obsessed with why Aslan, a Muslim, decided to write a book about Jesus. Aslan essentially spends the entire interview explaining what a scholar and a PhD is, along with what an academic work is.

    To me, the answer seems obvious, but do you think that an academic can write about a person such as Jesus without being influenced by their personal religious background?

    The video is really worth watching, especially the part at 9:10. Absolutely hilarious.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/256805964...ds-to-critics/

    If you're interested in nuance, can an academic career like Aslan's overcome any potential personal influences?
    The interview is hilarious. "Why would you as a muslim be interested in the founder of christianity?" "Because it's my job..." The interviewer is a complete and total idiot.
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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    I voted no, but I will elaborate by saying that it certainly can. Some people are able to separate the subject and their personal biases better than others. So, it certainly can, but that does not mean it does all of the time.

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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    I recently watched an interview Fox conducted of Reza Aslan, who wrote a book called "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," and the interviewer was obsessed with why Aslan, a Muslim, decided to write a book about Jesus. Aslan essentially spends the entire interview explaining what a scholar and a PhD is, along with what an academic work is.

    To me, the answer seems obvious, but do you think that an academic can write about a person such as Jesus without being influenced by their personal religious background?

    The video is really worth watching, especially the part at 9:10. Absolutely hilarious.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/256805964...ds-to-critics/

    If you're interested in nuance, can an academic career like Aslan's overcome any potential personal influences?
    Yes - non religious and religious-but-not-looking-at-it-from-my-religious-perspective minded people can be removed and analytical if they decide that's important. It's not easy nor is it first nature. It is, however, essential - and this needs to happen more often as, otherwise, you risk tainting your research/studies/findings with opinion and bias.
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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    If you're interested in nuance, can an academic career like Aslan's overcome any potential personal influences?
    I was confused by this question, it seems to be the opposite of the header. I voted 'yes', to this question ^^^ , but maybe I should have voted 'no' for the header. I don't know, it probably doesn't matter that much. (What, are the poll police gonna get me?)

    I think that all people's perceptions are altered due to preconceived notions, which influences their expression of their knowledge. A big one is religion, so I'd expect a very different take of the Jesus story from a Muslim than a Christian. But, to the point of whether he can overcome this burden of preconceived notions? Of course, a fresh look at this story is probably going to lead him a top spot within theologian historical writers. This isn't a burden for him to overcome, this is a gift.

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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    It can, especially when discussing a subject the author may feel strongly about, but suggesting that it's inevitable and impossible to overcome is silly.

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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    "Why would you as a muslim be interested in the founder of christianity?"

    what an ignorant question as if muslims dont believe in jesus christ
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    Re: Does Religious Background Preclude Historical Objectivity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    "Why would you as a muslim be interested in the founder of christianity?"

    what an ignorant question as if muslims dont believe in jesus christ
    Yes - his question should have been "tell me about Islam. I know nothing at all."
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