After eating human brains on his TV show, Believer, CNN's self-proclaimed religious scholar, Reza Aslan, is now a cannibal as well as a Muslim.
In a recent episode of his show, Reza got down to it with a Shiva worshiping Hindu sect, the Aghori. After eating half a human brain and drinking an alcoholic concoction from a human skull, the Aghori guru threw human feces at the liberal journalist and threatened to cut his head off. Perhaps the guru sensed that Reza didn't take the Aghori very seriously. If so, he'd have had a point.
Here's Reza's take on religion, in his own words:
Can you have faith without religion? Of course! But as the Buddha said, if you want to strike water, you don’t dig six 1-foot wells; you dig one 6-foot well. In other words, if you want to have a deep and meaningful faith experience, it helps — though it is by no means necessary — to have a language with which to do so.
So then, pick a well.
Different words, same thing.
My well is Islam, and in particular, the Sufi tradition. Let me be clear, I am Muslim not because I think Islam is “truer” than other religions (it isn’t), but because Islam provides me with the “language” I feel most comfortable with in expressing my faith. It provides me with certain symbols and metaphors for thinking about God that I find useful in making sense of the universe and my place in it….
So, Reza doesn't think any one religion or "well" is actually true, it's just that some are more suited to the way someone happens to feel than others. For Reza it's Islam, but not because it's "truer", it's just more comfy.
In other words, religion, for Reza, is a game, a metaphorical language game of pick 'n mix according to what makes you feel "comfortable." How very enlightened and CNN progressive, until of course the rubber hits the road and you find yourself eating human brains out of a skull while a guru throws **it at you.
You can't blame the guru for wanting to cut Reza's head off. CNN's famously enlightened religious scholar was essentially mocking the Aghori faith, in the same way he mocks all faith by relegating it to a matter of opinion. But faith has to do with truth, about belief that's either right or wrong, regardless of how comfortable or otherwise it makes you feel.
Perhaps Reza pondered that as he ate his brains.
What a cannibal.