VIDEOS
09/08/2014 06:10 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

Reza Aslan Blasts 'Prosperity Gospel' Preachers: Jesus Was 'As Close To Marxism As It Gets'

Religious scholar Reza Aslan has news for "prosperity preachers" like Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes: Jesus was pretty much a Marxist.

Aslan spoke out against the message of Osteen and Jakes, who he called "charlatans" at the 2014 Indian Summer Festival, where Aslan expressed his viewpoint bluntly: "The argument of the prosperity gospel, if I can put it flippantly, is that Jesus wants you to drive a Bentley."

During a conversation with HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill on Monday, Aslan explained that the prosperity gospel -- which recently got Victoria Osteen into hot water for its message that God wants his followers to prosper in life, including financially -- takes the Bible's metaphor about "what you give will be returned to you tenfold" and interprets it literally. That doesn't sit well with Aslan, whose book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth explores the historical roots of Jesus as a revolutionary figure.

"If there's one thing you can really zero in on when it comes to Jesus' preachings -- I mean the historical Jesus -- was his absolute hatred of wealth," Aslan said. "This wasn't a man who was neutral about it. Jesus wasn't about equality. His preaching wasn't that the rich and the poor should meet in the middle. That's not what he preached. What he preached was that those who have wealth, that wealth will be taken away. Those who are poor, they shall be the inheritors of the earth."

Aslan described those ideas as being "as close to Marxism as it gets," but added that Jesus took the message even further.

"Marxism says we should all be in the middle. Jesus is saying, 'No, the ones in the top and the ones in the bottom should switch places,'" he said.

See Aslan's comments about prosperity preachers in the clip above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

CONVERSATIONS