Religious conversion


December 3, 2021

Religious conversion (from Latin. Conversio, conversion) is a term for a process in which a person has adopted a new religious identity or changed his or her current religion. The opposite process - apostasy - is apostasy. Religious conversion often represents a major turning point in a person's life and in some cases can completely change his life, either because of the different approach to life of the previous and new worldviews, or because of the practical consequences that conversion may have. Conversion is usually initiated from above in society. As a result of the conversion, the current social and family ties of the convert may be broken and sometimes the family refuses to accept this change and breaks up the conversion in a bad way, sometimes it is a consequence that some religious societies members are prohibited from contacting apostates. Shunning is considered one of the hallmarks of sects. But it is practiced, among others, in the established religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Conversion types

According to psychologist and religionist Lewis R. Ramb, five types of conversion can be distinguished. The basic criterion is the extent to which cultural and social change must take place in order for an individual to be considered a convert: Apostasy is the act of rejecting a religious tradition or its faith by an individual who has previously identified with it. The laity can be described as an apostasy. It is considered the opposite of conversion. The term deconversion is also used in connection with the loss or lack of religious faith. The difference between the two concepts is subtle but fundamental: according to P. Říčan, apostasy means "a departure from religion to a secular worldview", while deconversion "a departure from religious beliefs adopted by a previous conversion, either to atheism or another religion." Intensification is the revival of a faith to which an individual previously had sympathy. It occurs when ordinary members of the religious community place their devotion to the faith at the center of their lives or when their integration into the religious community deepens through some deep religious experience, such as marriage, childbirth, dying. Affiliation is the movement of an individual or group from a minimum religious commitment toward maximizing it through an institution or religious group. Affiliation is a controversial concept because it uses manipulative strategies, which are associated especially with new religious movements (Hare Krishna) or Christian fundamentalists. Institutional transition is the process by which an individual or group changes the starting community to another within one tradition. It is, for example, a conversion from Baptists to Presbyterians (both taking place within one tradition: Protestantism). This process is also referred to as denominational switching and can also occur for pragmatic reasons (eg geographical distance). Tradition transition is the process by which an individual or group changes the starting community to another, across traditions. This is a phenomenon that has historically appeared on a mass scale (eg Christianization during the colonization of American Europe). An example of a change in tradition is the conversion from Christianity to Islam.

Causes of religious conversion

There are several different factors influencing (or directly causing) religious conversion in the sociology of religion. The main factors are in particular: a) Psychophysiological response to stress and coercion Conversion is the result of conscious pressure from one person or community to which the convert is not

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