Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Religious Conversion - personal accounts

Religion Conversion of Faith

  • Please log in to reply
57 replies to this topic

Poll: Have you ever experienced religious conversion? (47 member(s) have cast votes)

Have you ever experienced religious conversion?

  1. I went from no religion to religion. (4 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  2. I converted to another religion because it was more of what I believed at the time. (1 votes [2.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.78%

  3. I converted to another religion because I became convinced of its rightness. (3 votes [8.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.33%

  4. I have never converted - my religion is sufficient for me. (9 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  5. I have never converted - I appreciate my religion even though I don't agree with everything about it. (9 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  6. I lost faith - and became agnostic. (7 votes [19.44%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.44%

  7. I lost faith and became atheist. (3 votes [8.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.33%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:18 PM

This thread is about people's change of belief systems, and is inspired by Christopher's article about religious conversion which can be read here.
(It's a good read - check it out!)

Have you ever had a change of faith?  What are your experiences?  Did you find that you mostly simply adopted a faith that more closely reflected what you already believe? Was it a totally different religious outlook?  

QT

Edited by Kevin Street, 20 October 2003 - 04:23 PM.

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#2 Rov Judicata

Rov Judicata

    Crassly Irresponsible and Indifferent

  • Islander
  • 15,720 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:20 PM

Hrm. What option exists for those who were always agnostic or atheist?
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#3 the 'Hawk

the 'Hawk
  • Islander
  • 5,281 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:23 PM

Um, I went from religion to no religion to religion.... same religion straight through. How should I vote?

:cool:
“Now is the hour, Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken! Now, fulfil them all! To lord and land!”  
~ Eomer, LotR:RotK

#4 Themis

Themis
  • Islander
  • 6,544 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:47 PM

I was raised in the Episcopal church but never really "felt" it, just accepted it as fed to me the way you accept what teachers say in school.  I realized I didn't believe the words I was mouthing during my confirmation.  By college I was just not thinking about it at all much; in adulthood I've had a quest or two and done a great deal of reading, but gradually have gone from professing to be agnostic to admitting I'm an atheist.  There might be some higher power out there that started the cosmos in motion, but nothing I have read or experienced makes me feel that it gives a fig what I do or don't do on this cosmic speck of dust.  Nor can I believe that any higher power that could start the cosmos in motion has any need to be exalted or worshipped.  So where's the option of "lip-service to agnostic to atheist?"

Themis
Cats will never be extinct!

#5 Lover of Purple

Lover of Purple

    Mustang Man

  • Retired Board Owner
  • 11,215 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:59 PM

From athiest to Christian.

#6 tennyson

tennyson
  • Islander
  • 6,173 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 05:08 PM

I'm with the "Hawk on this. I went from religion because it was what everyone else did to no religion at all back to religion again, all in the same religion. While I've considered certain oter religions like the Bahai "fellow travelers" I've never seriously considered converting to them no matter how much I admire thier ethics. I'd really rather not talk about what precipitated the change in religion in open forum.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#7 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 05:23 PM

Javert Rovinski, on Oct 20 2003, 05:20 PM, said:

Hrm. What option exists for those who were always agnostic or atheist?
None - if you've had no change then it doesn't apply! (((((Kosh)))))

From religion to no religion back to religion again - those are two changes - from religion to NO religion is one change, from No religion back to the religion you had before (or to some other religion - no real difference). Pick one and talk about it if you can!

tennyson does that include all changes or just one of them?

QT

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#8 tennyson

tennyson
  • Islander
  • 6,173 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 05:37 PM

The intial change is out but the change back I will talk about. It is the story of a very persistent Lebanese-American woman who was strong in her Christian faith and the most beautiful woman in both flesh and soul I think I've ever known.(although things would end very badly for us both on the more prosiac plane)  I started on the path back for all the wrong reasons but eventually it became true. Even in the weak and waery state I find myself in now, I don't find the fault to be in the universe.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#9 the 'Hawk

the 'Hawk
  • Islander
  • 5,281 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 07:58 PM

tennyson, on Oct 20 2003, 06:08 PM, said:

I'd really rather not talk about what precipitated the change in religion in open forum.
It's the same for me. I did once, and thought the better of it, edited it out twenty minutes later. I stand by that decision. Sorry, QT.

:cool:
“Now is the hour, Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken! Now, fulfil them all! To lord and land!”  
~ Eomer, LotR:RotK

#10 Kosh

Kosh

    Criag Ferguson For President!

  • Islander
  • 11,147 posts

Posted 20 October 2003 - 08:12 PM

QueenTiye, on Oct 20 2003, 06:23 PM, said:

Javert Rovinski, on Oct 20 2003, 05:20 PM, said:

Hrm. What option exists for those who were always agnostic or atheist?
None - if you've had no change then it doesn't apply! (((((Kosh)))))

From religion to no religion back to religion again - those are two changes - from religion to NO religion is one change, from No religion back to the religion you had before (or to some other religion - no real difference). Pick one and talk about it if you can!

tennyson does that include all changes or just one of them?

QT
I never went into much detail, but I used to go through the motions, because Mom pushed me, then, although I didn't go through the motions anymore, I didn't really say anything. I just avoided it around Mom. I can remember a time when I just took it for granted that whatever my parents told me was true. A pastor in on the Hollow we were living in at the time, called a bunch of the kids from church and asked them all the same question. "What is special about Christmas?" He told Mom that I was the only one that answered "It's Jesus birthday". I guess I believed it then, when I was maybe three. By the time I was six or seven, I didn't believe it anymore, even though I kept going to church because of Mom till I was about 15. I think she got tired of having to force me out of bed on Sunday mornings. I slept like a stone in those days.

Edited by Kosh, 20 October 2003 - 08:14 PM.

Can't Touch This!!

#11 TechHarper

TechHarper
  • Islander
  • 231 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 12:41 AM

I lost faith and became an atheist.  I was raised a Christian and for a long time I could rectify contradictions between the Bible and what science discovered about the world by taking those parts of the Bible as allegorical.  About four years ago I realized that the stories in the Bible just don't describe reality as I see it and that there are far too many contradictions (both within the text itself and between the text, the way god is defined, and the real world) to believe that the Christian god exists.  It was a bit of an upset when I made this realization (in other words, terribly depressing), but after a while I learned to come to terms with my lack of belief and even found a previously unknown freedom.

Although I chose atheist, agnostic would be applicable as well.  I don't deny that some higher power may exist, but I have seen no evidence that would suggest such a being does exist.  Thus, I am a weak atheist (in that I lack a belief in god-concepts) and agnostic (in that I leave open the possibility of a higher power, but I don't think it's possible to know for sure if a god, as generally defined, exists).


-TechHarper
"When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny. - Thomas Jefferson
"A nation that limits freedom in the name of security will have neither." - Thomas Jefferson

#12 Nikcara

Nikcara

    confused little imp

  • Islander
  • 3,500 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 12:55 AM

Well, I went very Christan, to athiest, to agnostic, to pagan.  So I put down 'from no religion to religion', because that was the most recent thing I did.
Granted I converted a number of years ago and haven't changed since, so my first changes of religions was from about the ages of 8 or 9 to finding what I still believe in at around 13
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama

#13 Blondie

Blondie

    The Peroxide Jihad

  • Dead account
  • 687 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 01:10 AM

Roman Catholic all my life, just don't agree with everything taught.
The ditz FKA TrancesHuggyPillow

#14 Delvo

Delvo
  • Islander
  • 9,273 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 05:41 AM

Well, I've never converted, but I have been known to say some anti-religious stuff around here and hint that I harbor much more anti-religious sentiment than I will talk about, so here's my explanation anyway... I was raised in a religious setting and was never really mistreated or made angry at religion. I just couldn't take the stuff seriously, and I'm not even sure I fully knew that I was supposed to. I couldn't see the difference between the Christian stuff and any other stories of magic and the supernatural, other than that my teachers seemed to favor one set of such fanciful stories above certain others. Fairy godmothers, Santa Claus, shoemaking elves, wicked witches, nymphs & dryads, the gods of Greece & Rome & the Vikings & Egypt, one big male fairy in the sky... what's the difference?

I don't remember any particular event or age at which I first openly expressed that. After the family was no longer going to church and I wasn't at that private school anymore, it just didn't seem to be an issue at all for anybody. (I later found out that I'd only been put in that school and taken to church to keep the peace with my religion-obsessed grandparents, and to learn to read when the public schools in the area were fooling around with that whole-word "see-&-say" nonsense that might as well have been designed to prevent literacy.)

#15 Anakam

Anakam

    Way Star

  • Islander
  • 13,862 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:18 AM

[Kosh]

Yes.

[/Kosh]
Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself... - John of Gaunt, Act II, Scene I, Richard II

"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"Courtesy is how we got civilized. The blind assertion of rights is what threatens to decivilize us. Everybody's got lots of rights that are set out legally. Responsibilities are not enumerated, for good reason, but they are set into the social fabric. Is it such a sacrifice to not be an a**hole?" - Jenny Smith on Usenet, via Jid, via Kathy

#16 Rhea

Rhea

  • Islander
  • 16,433 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:40 AM

Themis, on Oct 20 2003, 02:47 PM, said:

I was raised in the Episcopal church but never really "felt" it, just accepted it as fed to me the way you accept what teachers say in school.  I realized I didn't believe the words I was mouthing during my confirmation.  By college I was just not thinking about it at all much; in adulthood I've had a quest or two and done a great deal of reading, but gradually have gone from professing to be agnostic to admitting I'm an atheist.  There might be some higher power out there that started the cosmos in motion, but nothing I have read or experienced makes me feel that it gives a fig what I do or don't do on this cosmic speck of dust.  Nor can I believe that any higher power that could start the cosmos in motion has any need to be exalted or worshipped.  So where's the option of "lip-service to agnostic to atheist?"

Themis
Here!

I was raised a Southern Baptist, and you don't get much more fundamentalist than that. Like Lil, I was the original "WHY?" kid. And too many of my questions were brushed off with the equivalent of "go away, pest." Add to that that I seriously studied both Christianity and comparative religion in college, and I came to the conclusion that all paths to the Divine should be equally valid. Ergo, agnostic.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#17 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 08:04 AM

O.k. Well - I hope everyone gleaned Christopher's article!

The article was raised some interesting questions about people's process of movement from one belief system to another - and I wanted to include the option of moving from a religious system to a state of non-belief because it is (I believe) just as much a "conversion" as any other.

In summary, and I hope that Christopher chimes in with objections if my summary is incorrect, religious conversion is a process mostly undertaken by the converted, not by the people attempting the conversion.  And - I find this to be largely true, even in the stories shared here.

My own religious background was Christian - I grew up in the Methodist church.  Till today, that is probably still my foundational belief system - not because I believe in the doctrines, but because the practice of Methodism is what I'm most familiar and comfortable with.  And at that - more specifically, Methodism in the context of the black church in America.  Hence - a love for gospel music... :)

So - when in my early adulthood, I converted to Islam - I converted because my beliefs had shifted, and Islam fit the bill most closely (but not entirely).  Notwithstanding - I very early on simply gave up on the notion of going to the Mosque - the social settings simply didn't "fit." In spite of some Islamic interpretations that music was against Islam, I nonetheless continued to enjoy gospel music - including even joining choirs whenever the opportunity presented itself.

And - that hasn't changed, now that I've embraced Baha'i faith.  Baha'i faith, being an outgrowth of Islam, basically addressed the majority of the issues I had with Islam - and hence - was a natural switch.  And - the faith actively encourages the arts (there's a pretty good Baha'i Gospel choir! LOL!).  So - again - in my own experience, the change from one faith to another was not that much of a change - rather, it was more an adaptation of something that fit the paradigms I had already established.

It seems that people generally are inclined to stay with their religion even when they disagree with parts of it.  Why is that?  Is it that nothing else you've heard of addresses your concerns?  Is it that you believe that your faith is "right" and will eventually work out the bugs? Or - is it just more comfortable?  And - for those who went from religion to agnostic - is it that you stopped believing in God, or that you didn't accept as valid anymore the constructs dictated by the faith you started with?  Would you explore other faiths if they seemed more in line with your current outlook, or do you feel that having a faith is superfluous?


QT

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#18 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 32,893 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 08:43 AM

QueenTiye, on Oct 21 2003, 09:04 AM, said:

In summary, and I hope that Christopher chimes in with objections if my summary is incorrect, religious conversion is a process mostly undertaken by the converted, not by the people attempting the conversion.
Yep, that's exactly the Richard Eaton thesis that I was elaborating upon (or rather attempting to generalize, since his work was focussed on Islam in South Asia and I saw parallels elsewhere in world history).  And this idea really pretty much fits into a general trend in historiography these days, to question the old assumption that only an elite, powerful minority was making history and the masses were just passively following or being acted upon.  A lot of modern historical research is about showing how the groups once overlooked by history exerted varying forms of power over their own lives rather than just being pawns -- to acknowledge their "agency," to use a bit of jargon (i.e. they are agents, active parties, rather than purely passive ones).

Quote

So - when in my early adulthood, I converted to Islam - I converted because my beliefs had shifted, and Islam fit the bill most closely (but not entirely).  Notwithstanding - I very early on simply gave up on the notion of going to the Mosque - the social settings simply didn't "fit." In spite of some Islamic interpretations that music was against Islam, I nonetheless continued to enjoy gospel music - including even joining choirs whenever the opportunity presented itself.

And - that hasn't changed, now that I've embraced Baha'i faith.  Baha'i faith, being an outgrowth of Islam, basically addressed the majority of the issues I had with Islam - and hence - was a natural switch.  And - the faith actively encourages the arts (there's a pretty good Baha'i Gospel choir! LOL!).  So - again - in my own experience, the change from one faith to another was not that much of a change - rather, it was more an adaptation of something that fit the paradigms I had already established.

It seems that people generally are inclined to stay with their religion even when they disagree with parts of it.  Why is that?  Is it that nothing else you've heard of addresses your concerns?  Is it that you believe that your faith is "right" and will eventually work out the bugs? Or - is it just more comfortable?

This fits the thesis very well.  The religious institutions like to think that they tell everyone else what to believe and the flock follows.  But in practice, all individuals interpret and adapt their faiths to fit their own needs, and hold their own distinct beliefs, no matter how much they go along on the surface.  Sometimes one group will turn their variant practices into a distinct institution or organized faith, and thus a new sect or even new religion will be spawned; but most of the time they still define themselves as part of the main religion's community, even when their practices differ profoundly from orthodoxy.

And this is one of the points I touched on in the paper -- to many people, religious identity is more about your sense of community than it is about orthodoxy.  As I wrote in the paper:

Quote

In a Muslim community one may find at least two kinds of people: those who define Muslim custom in terms of Islamic law, and those who define it in terms of the rituals of their own community, regardless of those rituals' ultimate origin.


Okay, my own story: My mother was very religious, and I was raised to believe in God, but it was something I only believed because I was told it was true.  I lost my mother when I was young, so that influence was gone, and my father always left my sister and me free to choose our own paths.  As I learned about science and logic, I questioned my childhood assumptions and found them wanting.  I was also rather influenced by the humanist and skeptical viewpoints of people like Carl Sagan, Arthur Clarke and Gene Roddenberry.

When I questioned, I found a (to me) surprising and aggravating closed-mindedness on other people's part when it came to religion.  Like when in a classroom I raised the hypothetical possibility that God was some really advanced alien being that watched over the universe, I was met with unexpected anger and responses like "God isn't a being!"  I always wondered about that one, because a being is literally just "something that exists."  It seemed to me that most people didn't examine or think about their beliefs any more than I had as a kid.  So I became convinced that religion was just superstition, a product of the failure to think, observe and question.

But in college I made friends who were deeply religious, but hardly thoughtless about it.  They believed for their own personal reasons, not just because they'd been told to.  I didn't agree with their interpretations, but I recognized that they were smart people whose reasons for belief were sincere and had personal meaning.  Also they didn't judge me for my lack of faith.  (Well, one of them did to an extent, and it caused tensions between us for a time, but we finally worked it out and came to a better understanding.)  Through them, I came to recognize that religion isn't just about explaining how the universe or humanity came into being or what causes lightning to strike or whatever -- that it's about one's personal relationship with the universe, about finding spiritual hope and meaning and comfort.  It still wasn't something that held personal meaning to me, but I learned to respect it in others.

I also stopped calling myself an atheist.  Because I realized that by calling myself an atheist, I was defining myself only by what I didn't believe, and saying nothing about what I did believe in.  It's not enough to be against something.  If that's your sole motivation, then your existence is hollow and pointless.  It's more important to be for something.  Besides, if you define yourself only as the opposite of something, then you basically become an extension of it, an outgrowth of the same core assumptions and approaches.  Atheism is really just another faith, and taken to the extreme it becomes just as intolerant and blind as any other faith taken to its fanatical extreme.  So these days I think of myself as a humanist.  Because, although I still don't believe in supernatural beings, that's not the defining aspect of my beliefs.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Facebook Author Page

#19 Rov Judicata

Rov Judicata

    Crassly Irresponsible and Indifferent

  • Islander
  • 15,720 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:16 AM

Ah, I see QT. Thanks.

Quote

Rhea: Like Lil, I was the original "WHY?" kid.

For some reason, I'm just not shocked. I have no idea why.  :wideeyed:.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#20 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:36 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Oct 21 2003, 10:16 AM, said:

Ah, I see QT. Thanks.
For what?   :unsure:

Een Draght Mackt Maght




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Religion, Conversion of Faith

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users