UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Walter H. Capps Center present Reza Aslan, renowned author, commentator, professor and scholar of religions, discussing God: A Human History on Thurs., Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
Reza Aslan has captured the world’s attention with his fascinating exploration of religions, as the visionary host and producer of the documentary series Believer and author of bestsellers including Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth and No god But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam. His newest book, God: A Human History, traces how people across diverse times and places have humanized God (or gods). In his fascinating lecture, the UCSB alumnus will examine the ways we think about the divine.
In God: A Human History (Nov. 2017), Aslan explores the origin of religion and how different ideas of God have both united and divided humankind for millennia. At the nucleus of his provocative new work is one idea that has spanned time, locations and cultures: the concept of the “humanized —a supercharged, divine version of ourselves. Aslan synthesizes a broad range of historical, psychological and cognitive studies to conclude that human beings, regardless of whether they believe in God or not, are compelled to conceive of God as a divine manifestation of themselves. But we endow God not just with all that is worthy in human nature – our capacity for boundless love, our empathy and eagerness to show compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is vile in it: our aggression and greed, our tendency toward bias and bigotry, our penchant for violence, our need to dominate others. Aslan contends that this inborn compulsion has made religion a force for both good and bad throughout human history. Indeed, in Aslan’s telling, we justify most of the religious conflicts that continue to roil our world with the assumption that God’s agenda mirrors our own. Aslan attempts to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God or many gods or no god at all, Aslan will transform the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.
For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.