Chapter: 11. Naturalizing the Transnational Capitalist Class: Reza Aslan’s Believer and the Ideological Reproduction of an Emerging Social Formation
This essay situates Believer as an ideological artefact of a social formation emerging from globalized capitalism. It draws on the theoretical considerations of Louis Althusser formulated in his famous essay “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” and argues that Believer promotes and naturalizes an individual, deregulated spiritual religion that fits the demands of a transnational capitalist class. More specifically, the essay shows how Believer celebrates the notion that religion is the outcome of renegade individualists who can freely choose their religious paths outside of the hand of social constraints. The outcome is the marketing of a kind of “good” religion that does the work of naturalizing the conditions that have made such a transnational class possible.