Posted: January 22, 2018, 12:23am
When I was in undergrad, a short clip of James Joyce Award winner Reza Aslan debating a Fox News anchor exploded through the Internet. Although the video was brief and not within my area of study, I immediately remembered it when I received an email about a session with the acclaimed religions scholar and writer himself! Put together by the USC Office of Religious Life and the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Outside the Box [Office], this event included a conversation between Reza and the USC Dean of Religious Life Dr. Varun Soni and a book signing for God: A Human History. They discussed many different topics, ranging from pantheism to the Trump administration, television contracts to spiritual exploration. As an explorer myself, I learned so much about the commonalities between all of the world’s most widespread religions and the importance of finding a good fit. Younger generations are shunning labels and hierarchical religious constructs, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t believers. We’re just all redefining our own beliefs and creating meaning for ourselves.
Afterwards, my friend and I actually got to meet Reza! He signed both of my books (I had Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth as well) and talked a little bit about what it feels like to be the only one in the family to shed a shared religious belief. I had plenty more to ask him, but I think I can do some research on my own. There is simply so much to learn! I’ve already started perusing through some of the historical texts cited in some of Reza’s endnotes. If you’re interested in exploring your spirituality here at USC, take a look at our existing organizations here. The Secular Student Fellowship is a great place to start before moving on to more established religions.
Published on January 22nd, 2018
Last updated on April 1st, 2021