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
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.