8. The Strange and Familiar Spiritual Journey of Reza Aslan

Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Martha Smith Roberts [+-]
Denison University
Martha Smith Roberts is Assistant Professor of Religion at Denison University. Her primary research is a critical analysis of post-racial and post-ethnic theories of American religious pluralism. Roberts is also working on a co-authored manuscript analyzing the various spiritualities emerging within the hula hooping subculture. She is the Executive Secretary and Treasurer for the North American Association for the Study of Religion, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life in Austin, Texas.

Description

This anchoring essay of the media section presents the CNN series Believer, hosted by Reza Aslan, as a paradigmatic example for a specific liberal progressive discussion of religion in North American mass media. It delivers a detailed description of the series (considering content, form, as well as marketing and genre of the series) and points out that Believer, rather than interjecting a critical examination of religion into the mass media, instead reinforces a series of popular perennialist ideas that are intellectually problematic. This happens primarily by portraying religion as a personal, “authentic,” universal element of human experience.

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Citation

Smith Roberts, Martha. 8. The Strange and Familiar Spiritual Journey of Reza Aslan. Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781797273. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35422. Date accessed: 15 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35422. Jul 2020

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