12. Authentic Religion – Or, How To Be A Good Citizen
Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith
Steffen Führding [+]
Leibniz University Hannover
Steffen Führding teaches at the Department for the Study of Religion at Leibniz University Hannover. He has published on the history of the study of religion and theoretical debates within the discipline, including Jenseits von Religion (transcript, 2015).
This essay compares Believer with a German documentary called “What Do You Believe In?”. This documentary differs from Believer in some regards. It fully relies on an insider approach that is not interrupted by an (academic) expert-presenter like Aslan. “What Do You Believe In?” does not present an exotic other, but apparently “normal” young people living their religion in a pluralistic society. The essay argues that this form of representation helps to legitimize and authorize a specific populist image of religion as “real,” and thus as “authentic” and “good,” while subtly allowing the audience to delegitimize other forms of religion that do not directly manufacture “good citizens” who secure the stability of the community.