Looking at Other Religions

Religion and spirituality are a huge part of human existence. Many people feel that each individual person should be allowed to choose what they want to believe and how they worship. What if, however, part of the religion was say eating a cooked bit of human brain? Reza Aslan, host of “Believer” on CNN did just that. Aslan goes around the world and studies different religious practices from many different people.  Aslan meets up with a sect of Indian religious nomads outside the city of Varanasi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The Aghori, as they are known, reject the Hindu caste system and continue to bathe in Ganges, a river that Hindus considers sacred. An Aghori guru smears the ashes of cremated humans on his face and then invites Aslan to drink alcohol from a human skull and eats what was a bit of human brain. Aslan got lots of backlash from the premier of this episode from both Indians and Americans. “With multiple reports of hate-fueled attacks against people of Indian origin from across the U.S., the show characterizes Hinduism as cannibalistic, which is a bizarre way of looking at the third largest religion in the world,” lobbyist group U.S Indian Political Action Committees. From one Americans point of view is, “It is unbelievably callous and reckless of CNN to be pushing sensational and grotesque images of bearded brown men and their morbid and deathly religion at a time when the United States is living through a period of unprecedented concern and fear,” Vamsee Juluri, a media studies professor at the University of San Francisco. Do we accept another religion even if it involves things that make us feel uncomfortable?