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Iranian American Scholar Reza Aslan Delivers A Lecture At Habib University

The renowned Iranian American scholar and the author of best-selling books including No God But God, Zealot, and God: A Human History addressed a full house at Habib University Karachi. Aslan’s visit comes as part of the university`s esteemed Yohsin Lecture series. The widely acclaimed lecture series has previously hosted Dr. Vali Nasr, Dr. Fitzgerald, and Dr. Maria Klawe. This year the lecture was titled as “Why Do We Believe”.

The name “Yohsin” is derived from the Arabic terms of “Ehsan”, “Husn” and “Hasan” explained Wasif Rizvi, President of Habib University. Rizvi was particularly appreciative of Dr. Aslan`s efforts and his phenomenon books pertaining to religion, spirituality, etc. He has always been able to provide a profound historical and theological perspective to outright cynical narratives to religion in general and Islam, in particular, said Dr. Rizvi.

“Reza’s very presence here is a testament to his commitment to appreciate beautiful ideas,” remarked Dr. Rizvi.

Dr. Aslan upon taking the stage began with a historical background towards religion and religiosity in the past. He reflected upon the fact that how humans have been inclined towards attributing human characteristics to God.

“It is we who have given our image to God, not the other way around.”, said Aslan.

In his attempt to explain how human beings associate with God in everything they do Aslan pondered over politically motivated images of God where a liberal, a conservative, a fascist or any other ideological believer might interpret God in a different manner.

Followed by his lecture, Aslan was in a panel discussion with Dr. Christopher Taylor where they discussed the interrelation between human experience and religiosity.

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In one of the questions by the audience, Aslan answered,

“Faith is an experiential phenomenon, not a rational phenomenon.”

The panel discussion was followed by a series of questions from the audience. The audience, on the other hand, comprised of Academics, industry professionals, students, faculty, etc.

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