tv The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann RT August 9, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
the day. well i'll tell marvin in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture on tuesday morning miami police officers tasered and killed an eighteen year old for spray painting an abandoned mcdonald's yet another example of senseless and unnecessary police brutality so what will it take to put an end to police violence in this country that are more into night's big picture rumble and the story of jesus is deeply ingrained in our cultural memory but how much do we really know about the life and times of the man whose followers call him the messiah i'll ask dr raise oslo in tonight's conversations with great bods.
it's friday you ready to rumble joining me for that ides big picture rumble are jesse jane duff retired u.s. marine corps gunnery sergeant and member of the organizing committee of concerned veterans for america story and union organizer and author and poet and kevin callie political commentator thank you all for joining us tonight. so take a look at this headline we cannot build a strong equitable economy low paying jobs true or false just jane well it depends upon what perspective you're looking at it from right now if an employer has to hire somebody at a certain wage they're going to try to get the most qualified employee that they can if you're delegating what they must pay then they're going to hire somebody who has probably a bachelor's degree for a job that only pays eight dollars an hour so actually minimum wage can actually hurt you know if i let initials were we're talking about an economy you can't build a strong equitable economy absolutely that ninety five percent of people in the
united states are not on minimum wage ok stuart. you can't build a strong equitable economy on a minimum wage hour on low wage jobs we're seeing that right now we've got the largest economic gap between the haves and the have nots that we've seen in history right now that's toxic to our democracy not only to the economy but also for our democracy because when you have such a huge gap between the rich and the rest and when you have a citizens united decision that says money is speech and corporations are people pretty soon wealth trumps political democracy in terms of swaying how the how the country works and we're headed. towards an oligarch you say your answer is no jesse james the answer is yes maybe no qualified kevin your your answer is sort
of you can use it as a supporting structure for the foundation of the middle class you can't have you can't have a large low income wage earner people and you can have a large group of a pie and compete well you have to have in the middle so what you have to build your foundation at some point into those basic structures are the low paying jobs which allow you to then get experience to get the training to get the this experience essentially in order to move up into the middle class you have to start somewhere so almost a yes i don't think anybody ok i will say yes but there has been digression from what historically would be check out this chart this is a this is productivity and wages and as productivity has gone up historically in america from george washington to ronald reagan as people got more productive the readline they made more money for their employers their employers paid them more following raygun employers stopped paying the employees and started keeping all the money themselves in large part because reagan to drop the top tax rate down to
twenty eight percent from seventy four percent so they could take that money and pay themselves as a consequence is. if wages had followed productivity the minimum wage right now would be twenty two dollars an hour the minimum wage in the united states it's seven dollars and twenty five cents if the minimum wage was seven twenty five we would i would was twenty two dollars i would i submit we would have a strong economy stuart you know we would we'd have a booming economy like we did and it would be an entry prior to thirty five years ago where since in the last thirty five years we've had stagnant and declining wages which has been terrible for our economy and it's why we can't get out of this recession slash depression having canada's minimum wage is sixteen dollars an hour there one of the few countries that didn't go down in flames during during the economic downturn part of the story well i mean i'm not trying to make a ridiculous sort of these are countries that are not the size of the state actually that i mean why are there is a size of the united states i agree with you
a small population economy wise they don't have the same difficulties and the same intricacies of the entire country that if you look at the united states if you look at those states that have a two dollar higher minimum wage than the than the rest of the country in the poor states they made it through the recession a lot better than the states with our employees and so on employment our unemployment rate between ages and the minimum wage was established for people to start jobs and the reality is employers aren't hiring them anymore are african-american population up to age twenty four is thirty percent unemployed in washington d.c. right now that is the unemployment rate and they can't get jobs because they're trying to force these higher wages for example like with wal-mart and they've decided to move out into debt not because somebody is trying to force higher wages are not going to obs because we've had thirty two years of reaganomics and we've been shipping those jobs overseas transactions that operation since and raise eighty have sent seven million jobs overseas and have laid off seven seven and a half million american employers pay somebody what they're worth for the job they're doing if you're stocking shelves and i've got to pay you twenty two dollars
an hour to do that i'm going to hire someone with a bachelor's degree to do it then because why would i pay somebody. no education no experience for a job that doesn't require any employer pre-one nine hundred eighty because that's what everybody's saying if i could just say the problem with the economy now is we don't have enough consumer demand we don't have enough people with enough money in their pockets to drive the economy and the only way that's going to change is when we rebuild the middle class when we lift people from the depths of poverty into the middle class we've got twenty five percent of that demand kevin that drives the economy is the thing that comes from people who are spending one hundred percent of their income which is people from minimum wage to the median wage which is right now twenty five thousand dollars a year you know one of those here yes i agree with you that may be revisiting seven twenty five is maybe a too low number twenty two i think is the ridiculous in my opinion but really why
put the onus on the government or even the corporations want to put the onus on the people that the employees don't take the job don't want to work with don't take that they're not going to go in the victims of choice is the choice the employer lives in and it's the it's the workers fault these people know this is a freedom of choice have a choice to go and get an education have a choice to go get a productive job if somebody is working at every our job or somebody is that working at mcdonald's in their twenty eight years old trying to raise their family off of that my question goes back to what happened when they were eighteen and nineteen when they could have had an opportunity to do that job and advance further people have to take ownership of their lives in detroit were all those jobs in philadelphia go to work at all those jobs and obviously a lot of the other ones and show their own lives and that a lot of those industries had to shut down there were their unions were doing just fine the wages were doing just fine so you know now before that we have foreign corporations treating this the the american south like we use to treat the
developing world you've got b.m.w. in south carolina you've got honda. into the sale of an hour in germany right what do they pay and hear that twenty one twenty two bucks an hour no benefits at all. and it's undercutting not only the american automobile industry and wages in the automobile industry which create which began the creation of the middle class after world war two as wages unions wages we had little exactly police brutality moving out of miami beach florida where on tuesday night israel hernandez an eighteen year old miami graffiti artist known as ripa was killed when miami police tasered him to death outside an abandoned form mcdonald's restaurant he had been spray painted when did graffiti become a crime punishable by instant execution. when did it become ok to run from the police to challenge the police to do crime in general are these ever but ok but people historically weren't shot for those historically if you
challenged the police you. gut shot no i disagree i you know it's really funny i was out for a while last year we had a surgery and i was laying in bed watching old mcmillan and wife episodes the guys the police commissioner of san francisco these were made in the one nine hundred seventy s. and over and over and over again to be a long car chase they finally get the guys the guys you know the guys jump out of the car they run and them and the commissioners chasing them through the streets nobody ever pulls a gun nobody ever shoot anybody that the senate ted all came after after dirty harry. well this was a taser this wasn't an exam and the point was is that i don't agree that the young men to have been killed i'm not advocating that anybody should be killed at all if at all preventable and yes it should be investigated however he was running from the police and they tasered him because he would not stop and unfortunately he did
become to cease but we have to recognize before we are throwing stones at the police officers we don't know the whole situation sixty one police officers in the united states today are dead trying to defend us they've been shot and killed in the line of duty and i think it's really harsh when people start judging the police without looking at some of the things they have to go through every day to protect all of us police have a tough job i'll give you that and we and we do not pay them anything close to what we should and therefore we don't necessarily i or the very best for the jobs either but we're seeing the hyper militarization of the police forces of the united states because you know terry is handing off money to them they're watching dirty harry was long after dirty harry you know that they're watching t.v. shows where it's glorified that the cops are you know being brutal and and we've seen police training actually change to become more violent. remember in the demonstrations and miami. they were geared up for riots there wasn't
a riot but there was violence in any way. in this case. you know they're given additional weapons and in this case that the young man had committed a non buy life. yes it was a crime nonviolent crime and violence was used against him now to subdue if you're close enough to tase a guy you're close enough to wrestle him to the ground i went through the georgia police academy ninety six we were taught explicitly you don't pull your weapon unless you're prepared to use it and you don't use it unless your life is or that's right that's right. this guy presented a life threatening risk was i don't think i disagree with the he should have wrestled him i don't believe that that is part of the training i don't want is it absolutely it absolutely it shouldn't actually was going to try to that's out there shot if you start to wrestle somebody i mean i really absolutely don't train it there was no mention of death here we really cannot through maybe you and i as you
know it's here and just like it used to be part of the training and even more well it should be part of the training because as little violence as possible should be used against a suspect particularly in a in the commission of a nonviolent crime no victim no victim nonviolent crime so we don't you let them get away what point do you just stop the chase really you know i'm sorry you're breaking the law and just you know if you don't taser is not supposed to kill so let's clarify that so maybe we need to understand why they had him as it has of course it has and i understand that but to assume that there was the intention to kill we want to be careful before we cross that line it wasn't intentional not ensue meaning that there was an intention to kill i'm sure there wasn't an intention to kill but to use more force than is required to subdue a suspect or a history and the standard is what is the absolute minimum minimal amount of force ordered a nice big picture on the right after birth. some
. go back with me for tonight's big picture rumble jessie jane duff story kevin callie let's get back to it. the u.s. postal service is just released a new series of stamps titled made in america building the nation we looked at these stamps earlier and what i thought was really interesting was that eleven of the twelve stamps are pretty reagan america they're they're from photographs of a famous american photographer and. why do we have to go back to pre reagan to find made in america i think the answer is i'm bedded in that question but stewart well it's because we adopted a policy in the industrial policy in the reagan era shoring wealth producing more industrial work manufacturing work and we've been suffering
for it ever since look i think you learn in economics one o one that you produce wealth by creating things we no longer create things in america i love those photographs i love the pictures of the guys ride no voice. building the skeleton of a. skyscraper. and guys still do that when they have the opportunity you know you you talk to an iron worker and you're talking to somebody who takes his life in his hands every day he goes to work now there aren't enough of the jobs so leslie those those structures when they're built are no longer owned by americans that's right because there are damn trade deficit but kevin the you know this was the whole point of adam smith's wealth of nations and seven hundred seventy six in america seems to have lost since one thousand meter forgotten it that a country only gets richer when it makes things it doesn't get richer when one person says you want fries with that the other person says that twenty five dollars charge
on your credit card i'm right there with you i strongly support a strong manufacturing fits them and you know doing what's necessary in order to bring jobs back into where you do things that you have to do the bomber is the internet in my opinion it wasn't reagan it was the. internet the ability to communicate across broad distances transfer information you know no longer need to do things locally you can do pieces of everything all over the world and transit internet allows us to to buy refrigerator some china essentially. guard i believe so yes or order by. wind turbine towers from china i mean the thing that breaks my heart is drive and. forty through texas are through arkansas and watching a flatbed trailer carry wind tunnel tower that had to be transported from china it's ridiculous we don't you know the was the oakland bridge one of those right
avery one of the big bridges is you know it's ago they brought the bridge over from china we just we don't build bridges in this city and in this country anymore jesse well i can't what. a. what specific policy why is it that we made things in america from the george washington of ministration to the reagan administration and we're just i was thirty one years america we have a toyota plant that is doing very well in this in this country we have not many many other reagan last week we talked about it ever to have a negative trade. get the same or get out of that you've got what i looked at was that we don't have youth that even wants to do labor anymore they are having a very difficult time no it's not nonsense they've they've actually talked about how difficult it is to get young men and women who are traders everybody wants to be techies and they're having a very hard time getting enough people to be plumbers and electricians those skills there are companies out there that are offering internships free and a lot of the military is getting out and doing those internships employers electricians seven to eight twenty five an hour i would know that many of them very
well a lot of them a lot of people don't want to do the labor work a lot of youth today feels that they are too good for it and it's been defined by a lot of records that i've read that a lot of young people feel that that's dirty work their fathers did this they had the farming that are a lot of young people today see the glamour of hollywood. they see the internet they see technologically unemployment rate if you if you looked at it from my point of view as a union organizer who watched plant after plant after plant shutdown who watched rural georgia literally carved out after nafta america's georgia which which made manhattan sure blue jeans from levi's were made in valdosta and up in the man in blue ridge thousand workers in valdosta there was such a good relationship between the union and the company that they had worked out how to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome by having people work in teams and do a different job every day so they use different muscles and their arms and their
hands. and and nafta literally carved the heart out of much of the rural south but by taking away jobs. they weren't great jobs they were hard jobs apparel manufacturing tax how manufacturing but they were jobs that allowed people to live in dignity and they made well and retire have dignity and they created wealth with principles of business are the same no matter where you are if you make it cheaper and better than somewhere else you're going to get that work so if america means something cheaper and better than mexico or china or taiwan or wherever then we'll not get so i say in the principles of football are the same wherever you are except in australia they have a different set of rules than we do australian football is played by a different standard rules on the rules and the rules before reagan were that if you want to make something in the united states great if you want to make that in mexico when that product hits the u.s. border there's a fifteen percent tariff on it if you want to make it in china because china is
labor so much cheaper when it hits the u.s. where there's a thirty five percent tariff on we had an average twenty five percent tariff on imported goods from the washington administration to the reagan administration then it slowly decline until this point out now after what it hit three percent and it's below two percent now that's the difference and after nafta may. factoring wages and in mexico went down ten percent and the government support mexican government support for the growing of corn and beans was taken away because of now the rules of the game and defining and all the. campus you know some farmers couldn't grow corn and beans and workers in the cities couldn't buy tortillas and so we have an upsurge in the immigration trying to feed their family. even at the games even the score if you have a tariff than i have a tariff you know that's what we owe on that's what we all did and when it worked countries kept their economy solid. mother jones slate and the new republic have
announced that they will no longer refer to the washington redskins washington d.c. as n.f.l. team as the redskins instead they will refer to the team as either the washington f.l. team or the washington pro football team through their publications the washington city paper d.c. is just and the kansas city star as well as the buffalo news writer tim graham already refused to use the term redskins your thoughts on this kevin we don't see the you know the brooklyn jew boys or the you know there's a lot more that could be a lot worse than that that i'm reluctant to frankly say on the air but isn't this racist i wish i had a better answer than saying i don't really care. it's not an issue that most people really are interested in changing the name or there's not a large outcry from the native american community that you have a decent outcry in the past year because the redskins are good if you had a real problem with the name then be mad all of the time the twenty years of the
redskins were terrible i didn't hear much of a complaint and that's because they're not breaking through the media because the redskins are not in the news this is personal for me both of my grandfathers were american indians one was cherokee and the other was chickasaw. one's family was from the east and assume that there's the. it was from west of the city it is racist and it's beneath the dignity of this country it's been meet the morality of this country and a lot of people care and i worked for years with maynard jackson and atlanta to change the name of the braves or the land of braves we didn't succeed but we have succeeded particularly in college it is the need to dignity this country and this. to use the same. for american indians for native americans that was used when they skinned when they played. killed indians killed natives and use their skin for lampshades that's
a redskin way. and that's what happened that's what really happened not to mention the fact that from new england to florida entire nations of people were wiped out but intentionally with smallpox. this is a review a history of genocide and to celebrate the genocide by using pejorative. and then i don't mean to be mean to say i don't care that represents genocide the use of redskins' represents genocide represents seven hundred years of genocide so yeah it was skins that read so now we don't have any of that and the context which is being used is that in a very honorable way first of all i almost agree with kevin because this is a private enterprise if dan snyder wants to change the name of the feels the pressure to say i would do it then do it however this is being used in
a very complimentary way it's being used in a very honorable way and not all colleges tribes will want to change because the some of the seminal tribe is very supportive of the florida teams that are named after the seminal because it's in honor of the sandals they're not called however every indication in context is that it's not. the news in a pejorative way it's been used in a very positive way is a very motivated ways that fans are very supportive but in the context of my lifetime it has never been used in a pejorative way when then let's go after the end. of the national advancement of the collar people and that has been used in a negative way to get said let's advocate against the wall so let's make it fair ok i'm sorry for. ok wednesday night's episode of piers morgan live c.n.n.'s medical chief medical correspondent sanjay gupta said that americans have been systematically in this web about marijuana and apologized for previously opposing its use for medicinal purposes take
a look at two thousand and nine you heard of time magazine article entitled why i would vote no. you change your mind i have and as part of my thinking reason i've apologized for some of the earlier reporting because i think you know we've been terribly and systematically misled in this country for some time and i was part i did part of that misleading you know jesse i just think it's wonderful that he's addressed that he was wrong and i really have no issue with it either way do you think the republicans in general are starting to wake up to this i don't think it's a republican or democratic issue i think it's a matter of is it an illegal drug that is a gateway drug or is it harmful to society and i think both parties have concerns on masters i just think a lot of lives have been wasted because of prison because they got a felony for doing something that we now know. does more good for some people than it does harm and it was kids in my generation who went
to jail. for smoking we have a weed in the car yeah i'm really proud of sanjeev gupta for changing his mind for whatever reasons and then having the bravery come out in the courage to come out and say he changes his mind it's so rare that anyone changes their mind no it is so i'm really proud of him but overall i just want the marijuana discussion to make a decision either not legalize it nationally nationwide federally statewide or then just stop legalizing it feet wide but it's still crime and federal crime to make a decision saying ok jesse stewart ok thank you all for being with us thank you great to be with you. coming up. how much do we really know about the greatest story ever told i'll ask dr reza aslan into nights conversations of great minds right after the break.
the world with. science technology innovation all the least of melamine stuff from around russia we've got the future covered. i would rather ask questions to people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf and that's why you can find my show larry king now right here on r.t. question more.
should have you with us here on t.v. today i'm sure. joining me for tonight's conversations in the great minds is dr reza aslan dr klein is a critically acclaimed writer and religious scholar and currently serves as an associate professor of creative writing and is cooperating faculty in the department of religion at the university of california riverside is degrees in religion from santa clara university of the university of california santa barbara and harvard university and is an adjunct senior fellow at the council on foreign relations his new book zealot the life and times of jesus of nazareth is a must read for anyone who wants to know the true story behind the greatest story ever told dr oz long joins us now from our los angeles studio thanks for thanks for
being with us tonight sir it's a great pleasure thanks for having me let's start with you i'm curious what provoked you to pursue religion as a as a vocation as well as an avocation. it's funny you know i've always been interested in religion and spirituality i don't understand why i didn't come from a religious family at all i mean my mother is sort of culturally muslim my father is an exuberant atheist and really didn't have much religious training or education growing up. but i have always been deeply interested in it i think partly it has to do with my experience of revolutionary iran my family frett fled iran in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine at the heart of the revolution and i think that those childhood images of revolutionary iran sort of seared themselves in my unconscious the power that religion has to transform a society for good and for bad is something that i think i have never forgotten and
have always been deeply interested in both spiritually and as an intellectual enterprise some people are provoked into religion by virtue of the transcendental experience of some sort is is there. have you had that experience is there is there that part of your life also that might have pushed you and mr. well absolutely i mean i sort of always wanted to have a spiritual experience but i didn't really have any kind of outlet for it when i was a teenager i went to an evangelical youth camp with some friends and that was the first time that i heard the gospel story this as you say greatest story ever told about the god of heaven and earth coming down in the form of a child and sacrificing himself for our sins this was a profoundly spiritual experience for me hearing this story for the first time i converted to evangelical christianity began preaching the gospel to my friends to my family pretty much anyone who would listen to me even people who wouldn't listen
to me frankly and then when i went to college to study the new testament in a more academic environment i started to notice a bit of a difference a chasm if you will between the jesus of history that i was learning about and the christ of faith that the church taught me about and although i eventually moved away from that from christianity from my christian faith i nevertheless became deeply deeply interested in jesus the man and. that led you to obviously to this book what is it about. jesus the man versus jesus the savior. what is that what is the what is the point of bifurcation there. now that's a that's actually a really really good question and the answer may not may seem kind of surprising in a sense because it's obvious but the point of bifurcation is that jesus the man was a jew now obviously everybody agrees with that statement that jesus was
a jew even christians believe that jesus was a jew but there are consequences to that belief what it means is that everything that jesus said or did has to be understood exclusively within the jewish context of the world in which he lived it means that the only god that he knew was the god of the old testament the only scriptures that he was familiar with were the hebrew scriptures the only religion that he had any encounter with was ten second temple judaism but that means if that's true then how we understand what jesus said and did and what was said about jesus has to be filtered through that jewish lens and that kind of changes things it changes the way the sort of the biography of jesus that arises from from that truth then sort of the celestial spirit of christianity that jesus has become changes as. well first and foremost let's just
take the central argument about jesus that he was the messiah well messiah means something very specific in the jewish context it means the descendant of king david who is you know here on earth to reestablish the kingdom of david to usher in the rule of god anybody who heard jesus say the words i am the messiah would have understood precisely what i just told you that's what their expectations would be and by the way if you do not do those things then you are not the messiah the christian conception of messiah of course is something quite different it's a celestial. office it's an office that whose kingdom is not of this world but but of a kingdom of heaven indeed many christians believe that messiah is synonymous with god literally big gotten son of god no jew in jesus' time would have possibly thought that no nobody who heard jesus say i am the messiah no jew certainly would
have thought what he meant was i am god that's an important distinction i'd like to go back to that but just a slight digression if i may you mentioned judaism was and the world of the day was the only one that jesus really knew or expose was exposed to which. raises two questions one what was the religion of the romans who surrounded and interpenetrated that area and then ruled that area at the time and how might that have influenced his thinking or that of the people around him and to there has been for a long time a lot of speculation about his years between twelve and thirty one the bible is silent that perhaps he travelled people claim he traveled india for example because some of the things that are associated with hindu metaphor metaphysics physics or seem to be appearing particularly in things like the gospel of thomas i'm curious just in general your thoughts on the no very good very good i mean look it's important to if you want to know who jesus was you have to know the world in which he lived i mean if jesus was
a jewish tecton or woodworker as he is referred to in the gospels then that would put him at the second lowest rung of the social ladder in first century palestine just above the slave the indigent and the beggar so again what we're talking about here is someone who was very likely in a literate and educated marginal poor peasant from the backwoods of galilee who came from a village nazareth that was so small so in consequential that its name does not appear on any map or document before the end of the first century even if this was a land that was done. unaided by the roman empire was occupied by the roman empire even if there were certainly greeks and syrians and arabs that lived in certain urban metropolis centers in the holy land a poor jewish day laborer and peasant would have very little access to these ideas or to these people for that matter and that's what we have to constantly remember is that while jesus was certainly remarkable charismatic somebody definitely worth
getting to know because of his teachings and his actions he wasn't utterly unique he was very much like all the other jews who that he grew up with and if you want to know who jesus was you need to know the world in which he grew up and in so far as the years between twelve and thirty i would say actually it's the years between zero and thirty i mean really until jesus begins his public ministry on the banks of the jordan river everything before that is all speculation and legend from the nativity stories to these stories that come up many many years later about his travels to india etc a poor jewish illiterate an educated peasant who is barely living above subsistence level does not travel to india you know well you just said all of this is is a story. so in their words very specific prophecies largely about what the messiah would do how you would identify the messiah where he would
be from how he would present himself and there are some who have suggested over the years that the biography in the early biography of jesus has been reconstructed in order to match that template in that it had very little to do with who jesus was and a large part of that is that he is this poor illiterate carpenter i mean is it possible that he wasn't a poor letter carpenter or that he was you know born into a decent family a good family was educated he had studied i mean there are some who suggest that he had been. for many many years educated by these scenes for example what. might be sort of like today's community. you know the people who are deeply into this stuff in very very metaphysical very into a following what i thought all the. while the essence mostly only took in the children of priests and jesus wasn't from
a priestly family but everything that you say is possible that's absolutely true it is possible that jesus unlike what scholars estimate to be about ninety eight percent of his fellow jews could read and write it is possible that jesus unlike what we would expect from every other day laborer an artisan of the time was educated was extraordinary it's possible that unlike every other jew in his time his idea of what the messiah was was utterly unique and innovative those are all things that are absolutely possible but of course the job of the historian is to not talk about what's possible but the talk about what's likely and i think that's what's important to understand this by the way doesn't in any way mean an attack on faith i think all those other things that i said about jesus which are very much a part of the christian conception of who he was are matters of faith and that's perfectly fine but we're talking about matters of history in so far as we can have
some sense of it when we're talking about ancient history like this so if the matter of history is that he was a poor illiterate carpenter second on the bottom of the social and economic wrong how did he become the sky we're still talking about two thousand years later. well i mean first of all what's remarkable about this man is that despite all the things that i just said he was through his charisma and through the power of his social teachings able to put together a movement on behalf of the outcasts the marginalized the the poor. possessed those that society had deemed unworthy of salvation on behalf of these people he started a movement that was seen as such a threat to the religious and political authorities of the time that he was alternately arrested and executed as a state criminal we have to remember that crucifixion was a punishment that rome reserved almost exclusively for the crime of sedition for
treason crimes against the state so if rome thought that you were such a troublemaker such a rabble rouser and revolutionary that you were worthy of execution as a state criminal that they're alone should challenge the general perception that i think a lot of modern people have of jesus as some kind of inveterate pacifist with no concern for the things of this world and that's. the that's an analysis that a lot of scholars have gotten into over the years pay goals func others who have suggested that there was actually in turn the other cheek and walk a mile in my in my you know or walk and walk the extra mile or given your cloak in your code as well really these were calls to revolution i'd like to pursue that and that whole thread with you right after this break if we made darker more of tonight's conversations with great minds with dr risen right after this.
last time of the new alert animation scared me a little bit. there is breaking news tonight and we are continuing to follow the breaking news. alexander's family cry. here's a so why did it great things other that had to be added in a court of law found alive is a story made sort of movies playing out in real life. leads
least. more news today volunteers once again flared up. these are the images cold world has been seeing from the streets of canada. showing corporations are on the day. and welcome back to conversations with great minds and speaking with dr riza long internationally acclaimed writer scholar and author of the new book zealot the life and times of jesus of nazareth just to follow on that question i asked about
jesus not so much as spiritual figure although that was the subtext apparently to everything of that day. as revolutionary or social activist. your thoughts. well i first of all you're absolutely right about one part of this which is that in jesus' time there is no difference between religion and politics i think a lot of people have said that this book about jesus is about jesus in a political world but for anyone who heard jesus speak i mean they would not have differentiated any of his words or his actions as being either you know social or political or or religious or political they were all considered one and the same thing but your larger point you're absolutely right i mean what i am claiming in this book is frankly in so far as biblical studies go two hundred years of the quest for the historical jesus not all that new or revolutionary many people have
talked about jesus as a jewish nationalist who tried to rid the holy land of the roman occupation and failed to do so and that as a result of that failure his followers reinterpreted not just his life but the very idea of the messiah into something that was less jewish and more roman which then allowed it to be adopted by romans and then ultimately turned into the largest religion in the world as we know it it becomes very difficult therefore to get past all of those things to that kernel of who jesus was but this is a. thing that that scholars have been doing for many many years and i certainly stand on the on the shoulders of a lot of scholars who have done that the two that reinvention the followers of jesus the church of peter died out within a century and were replaced by the followers of paul who had never physically met
jesus claimed to have seen him when he was riding on a horse one day but and and modern christianity really is many would suggest more of the invention of paul than even of jesus what do you think about that. i think it would definitely fall into that category i mean again we have to remember that jesus is apostles his disciples his followers were very much like jesus himself farmers fishermen many of whom were from the backwoods of galilee so in other words what juju day ends would refer to as kind of a country bumpkin these people could not read or write jesus's followers could not write about what they saw they could not read about what they saw the task of writing about jesus instead fell to the next generation of his followers who were like paul more of these were greek speaking jews hellenistic jews who lived not in the holy land but in these large cosmopolitan centers like corinth in antioch alexandria rome they were deeply influenced by roman ideas roman religion greek
philosophies and as they began to adopt the gospel message of jesus they began to shift it to change it to massage it to hellenized it if you will and make it more palatable for a non jewish audience and certainly i think that one of the most important people in the first couple of generations of jesus' followers to do that was paul paul who never knew jesus of nazareth never met jesus never really says anything about the historical. jesus i think there are only three things about jesus' life that are ever mentioned in any of paul's writings the crucifixion obviously the resurrection and the last supper which he turns into a litter jackal formula paul never quotes anything that jesus says and that's because paul didn't know jesus when he was alive paul's experience of jesus is as he refers to in the risen jesus the eternal jesus and paul crafts jesus.
into something else something unique something that i and a lot of scholars who agree with me would say was utterly and jewish now many scholars disagree they say that paul's idea was you know floating around in judaism at the time that may very well be the case but we can never forget that paul is the man who said that christ is the end of the torah that means that for paul christ is a divorce from judaism which probably would have sounded a little odd to jesus himself who was again a jew it's a fascinating perspective in matthew twenty five one of the great instructional speeches by jesus where he talks about how you know the disciples come to him and say how do i get into heaven and he said you know in the last days i'll be sitting here judging the nations separating the girls from the sheep and the good sheep are
going to go up to heaven the good goats are going to go after helen and the criteria will be did you feed me when i was hungry did you heal me when i was sick did you visit me when i was in them in prison did you you know and so on clothed me when i was naked i guess the modern equivalent to housed me when i was homeless and you know the disciples kind of freak out because they've never seen him hungry and they go oh we're screwed you know we're doomed we're not going to go to heaven you know. how can you say and he said well as you've done unto the least of these among those you know or among you you've done on to me i mean is that part of it's fairly famous the part of it that has always. had me scratching my head and. you're the exactly the person i want to ask this question of because you understand this and you know about the translational differences nothing else is modern day christians typically take this in the most personal of sense that jesus is talking to an individual or at the most to his twelve disciples and he was saying you must feed the poor human and they use it to pitch individual responsibility for charity and
yet when you read it he said in the last days i will be judging the nations was he was he saying that communities have responsibility for for feeding the hungry or was he or was that just a mist speak or a mistranslation or what why nations why not i will be judging the individuals well because judaism in so far as jesus's conception of its second temple judaism is not an individual mystic religion it's a communal religion it's about the nation of israel that's how the jews would have thought it certainly how jesus would have thought and more to the point you know this message that jesus is is preaching in that in that wonderful verse is the very core and criminal of jesus's ministry the reversal of the social order we always for we always remember the nice parts about the beatitudes right you know blessid
are the meek for they shall inherit the earth blessed are the poor for they shall be made wealthy blessid or the hungry for they shall be fed we forget the second part of the beatitudes which is world to the rich for they shall be made poor wall to the fed for they shall be made hungry what jesus is referring to here is not just some utopian world you know what he's talking about is the a stark reversal of the social order where in the rich will be made poor the poor we will be made rich the last will be first. the first will be last now you can understand why this message of his would be simultaneously enormously appealing to those who are poor and hungry and incredibly threatening to those who are rich and well fed it explains i think a lot how these teachings were seen as so revolutionary and frankly so threatening
that it would result in his death so would you to the specific question would you suggest that. a better lesson today to take from matthew twenty five that you and i individually should be giving money to the local food bank would be. we should be if we are genuinely christians we should be lobbying our elected representatives to make the food bank available to anybody who is hungry. if you are someone who claims to walk in the footsteps of jesus to imitate jesus regardless of whether you think that he is god or just a man then your primary concern has to be precisely the reversal of the social order i mean jesus is message from beginning to end is about equality not individual striving for equality but equality for all peoples now when jesus said all peoples he meant the nation of israel but two thousand years later of course we
need to think about what the nation actually means this is something that i think is very very important i'm so glad that we're talking about it because as you know there are many people in the us certainly who claim to speak for jesus politicians religious leaders and i think that word jesus alive today were he to suddenly show up today i think that his primary mission would be precisely to attack to go after those who most claim to speak for him while. strong stuff any or if i if i may digress a bit you need. book no god but god the origins evolution and future of islam your previous book you talked about mohamed as an economic and social reformer two are there parallels between him and jesus in that regard. there are the interesting thing of course is that while both of them preach a social message of economic equality this is at the core of i think both of their of their message that jesus preached it from
a position of extreme poverty whereas mohammad preached it from a position of of well what we would refer to i guess as kind of an upper middle class in in our terms so same message different perspectives and it's interesting to note you know where that straight comes from how the how the message itself changes depending on the social position of the one preaching it. and you also suggested the islam is sort of going through or might be going through a bit of a reformation right now as christianity went through many centuries ago. updated thoughts on. well by reformation of course what we mean is individualization reformations are a universal phenomenon that all great religions go through as they constantly battle between institutions and individuals over who gets to define the faith the great christian reformation of the sixteenth century was primarily that argument is
it the church that gets to say what christianity means or is it the individual as the protestants declared that argument has been taking place in islam for more than a century indeed a great deal of what's going on right now with the turmoil in the arab spring in the post arab spring is precisely a part of this notion there is a vast majority of muslims who are tired of being told what islam means by these great institutions that claim to speak for god and the more they begin to interpret islam for themselves for good and for bad for peace and for via. for democracy and for authoritarianism that's the thing about individual interpretations is that it relies on your own personal viewpoints the more you're going to see this eruption of conflict in this region i mean you know reformations as i write in no god but god are messy affairs the reformation of christianity led to the thirty
years war and the death of over a half the population of germany alone we should not be surprised that that same thing is happening now in islam remarkable dr oz long thank you so much for being with us tonight. my pleasure thank you for having and thank you for writing a remarkable. to see this and other conversations with great minds go to our website at conversations with great minds dot com and that's the way it is tonight friday august twenty thirteen and don't forget democracy begins with you get out there get active tag you're it.
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on larry king now the stars of one life to live on the shoulder coming back after cancellation prospect park very smartly said no this is not an end we need to put this back on television and our fans were very very happy on their carriages crazy's story lines my twin sister from different fathers and now we have the same product i'm out she has part of my liver and plus i was i was fired from saved by the bell you know what a lousy actor you have to be to be fired for it said by the bow slapping again i just want to see me get slammed. it's all ahead on larry king now.