IRI Hosts Book Talk with Religious Scholar Reza Aslan

Prominent author, TV personality, professor, and CTS Trustee, Reza Aslan discussed our human relationship with the divine and challenged the audience on their perspective on faith and religion at the 1st Annual Winter Lecture, hosted by the InterReligious Institute on Thursday, March 15.

Aslan was introduced by Rachel S. Mikva, Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Chair & Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, and Senior Faculty Fellow of the InterReligious Institute, who spoke about Aslan’s relationship with CTS.

“You saw something special in us,” she said. “And when you nurture a spark it turns into a fire for leadership in theological education, inter-religious engagement and bridging the divide between academia and activism. Reza helps us believe in this way because he believes in us, too.”

In his opening remarks, Aslan stated that the majority of people think of God as a divine version of themselves. “A super human being, with human attributes, but no human limitations,” Aslan said.

Aslan also touched on the difference between faith and religion. “Faith is fundamentally an emotion, like love,” he said.

The lecture concluded with Aslan sharing the reason he believes Christianity is one of the most successful religions in the world is the idea that, “[Christianity] is the one religion that allows you to fully succumb to this unconscious impulse [that] God isn’t human-like, God is literally a human being,” Aslan said. “Do you want to know what God is, then imagine the most perfect human being.”

The lecture wrapped up with a question & answers session, moderated by Christophe D. Ringer, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics & Society.

Lisa Seiwert, Project Director of the InterReligious Institute shared her thanks, saying, “I am very appreciative to our friend, Dr. Reza Aslan, for joining the IRI for our first Winter Lecture. We had a great turnout and engaged discussion as Reza helped us to trace our human histories of God and to consider those histories in relation to today.”

Copies of God: A Human History can be purchased through Reza Aslan’s website. Click HERE to go the official page.

Missed the lecture? Watch it in its entirety below.