Reza Aslan Q&A: ‘Believer’
“This is a show I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time,” admits Reza Aslan as we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above) about his new series “Believer.” The religious scholar and author hosts and executive produces this CNN documentary program that takes viewers on a tour of some of the world’s most fascinating faiths. In its premiere season, Aslan travels the globe to explore Hinduism in India, Vodou in Haiti, and Scientology in Los Angeles, among others.
The series is not merely an exploration of different faiths, but of different cultures as well. “Religion, beyond the beliefs and the practices, is first and foremost a matter of identity,” Aslan explains. “When someone says, ‘I am Christian, I am Muslim, I am Jewish,’ they’re not telling you what they believe. They’re telling you who they are.” While, “it is a show about faith, and about practice and belief and all that stuff,” it’s also, “about different world views.”
Born in Tehran, Iran, Aslan holds four degrees in the subject, including a PhD in sociology of religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has authored several books, including the bestseller “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” He has been a frequent guest on several talk and news programs as a religious expert, and served as a consulting producer on the HBO series “The Leftovers.” Watch our full interview above for more about his work on “Believer.”