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Encyclopedia > Religious conversion

Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity, or a change from one religious identity to another. This typically entails the sincere avowal of a new belief system, but may also be conceived in other ways, such as adoption into an identity group or spiritual lineage. "Conversion" occurs not only from one religion to another, but also between different sects, such as Protestant denominations, within the same faith, when this involves a felt change of identity rather than other reasons such as convenience. Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... This article is about religious groups. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... For other senses of this word, see denomination. ...

Contents

Within the Christian faith, conversion is intended to involve more than a simple change in religious identity. In fact, the Latin word conversio, translating the Greek metanoia, literally means "going the other way." The convert, therefore, is expected to renounce sin and personally commit to a life of righteousness as defined and exemplified by Saul of Tarsus. In some Protestant traditions, this is called "accepting Christ as one's Savior and following him as Lord."[1] For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... ... For other uses, see Sin (disambiguation). ... A 19th century picture of Paul of Tarsus Paul of Tarsus (originally Saul of Tarsus) or Saint Paul the Apostle (fl. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ...


In another variation, the 1910 Catholic Dictionary defines "conversion" as "One who turns or changes from a state of sin to repentance, from a lax to a more earnest and serious way of life, from unbelief to faith, from heresy to the true faith."[2] In this older usage, the term "pervert" was occasionally used to mean transition in the opposite direction. For example, the Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI promulgated on 27 May 1832 entitled Summo Iugiter Studio (On Mixed Marriages) included the following: "the Catholic party must not be perverted, but rather must make every effort to withdraw the non-Catholic party from error."[3] English-speaking Muslims sometimes prefer the term "revert" to describe converts to Islam, since that religion teaches that all infants are born Muslims until made members of another religion through a religious ritual. An encyclical was a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Christian church. ... Pope Gregory XVI (September 18, 1765 – June 1, 1846), born Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari, named Mauro as a member of the religious order of the Camaldolese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1831 to 1846. ...


Christianity and Islam are major religions which emphasize the desirability of conversion. Buddhism has done so historically, and still witnesses modest levels of missionary activity. (Many Buddhists hold multiple religious identities.) Judaism allows in-conversion, but does not encourage it. A few sects of Hinduism promote the possibility of "becoming a Hindu" (or a Brahmin), but their stance does not meet with wide acceptance in Indian society. Much the same could be said of Sikhism. Chinese traditional religion lacks clear criteria for membership, and hence for conversion. Several ethnic religions—including the Yazidis, Druze, Zoroastrians, and Mandaeans—appear to refuse all applicants for conversion. The Shakers and some Indian eunuch brotherhoods do not allow procreation, so that every member is a convert. A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... hinduism also involves the exchange of male pun. ... The term Brahmin denotes both a member of the priestly class in the Hindu varna system, and a member of the highest caste in the caste system of Hindu society. ... Clothed statues of Matsu / Mazu (Chinese goddess of the Sea) Chinese folk religion comprises the religion practiced in much of China for thousands of years which included ancestor veneration and drew heavily upon concepts and beings within Chinese mythology. ... Religions Yazdânism (Yazidism) Scriptures Kitêba Cilwe (Book of Illumination) Languages Kurmanji, Arabic The Yazidi (also Yezidi, Kurdish: Êzidîtî or Êzidî, Arabic: يزيدي or ايزيدي) are adherents of the smallest of the three branches of Yazdânism, a Middle Eastern religion with ancient Indo-European roots. ... Religions Druze Scriptures Rasail al-hikmah (Epistles of Wisdom) Languages Arabic. ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... Mandaeanism is a pre-Christian religion which has been classified by scholars as Gnostic. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... European illustration of a Eunuch (1749) Chief Eunuch of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II at the Imperial Palace, 1912. ...


Proselytism is the act of attempting to convert another individual from a specific religion or belief system. (See proselyte). Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion, usually another religion. ... Proselyte, from the Koine Greek προσήλυτος/proselytos, is used in the Septuagint for stranger, i. ...


Apostate (n.) is a pejorative term used by members of one church or religion to refer to someone who has left that church or religion. Apostasy (from Greek αποστασία, meaning a defection or revolt, from απο, apo, away, apart, στασις, stasis, standing) is a term generally employed to describe the formal renunciation of ones religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. ...


Conversion to Judaism

Main article: Conversion to Judaism

Conversion to Judaism (Hebrew גיור, giur, conversion) is the religious conversion of a previously non-Jewish person to the Jewish religion and to the Jewish people. ...

Procedure

Jewish law guidelines for accepting new converts to Judaism are called "giur." Potential converts should desire conversion to Judaism for its own sake, and for no other motives. A male convert needs to undergo a ritual circumcision conducted according to Jewish law (if already circumcised, a needle is used to draw a symbolic drop of blood while the appropriate blessings are said), and there has to be a commitment to observe the 613 commandments and Jewish law. A convert must accept Jewish principles of faith, and reject the previous theology he or she had prior to the conversion. Ritual immersion in a small pool of water known as a mikvah is required. The convert takes a new Jewish name and is considered to be a son or daughter (in spirit) of the biblical patriarch Abraham, and a male is called up in that way to the Torah. Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה ; alternate transliterations include Halocho and Halacha), is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Ger tzedek (Hebrew: righteous convert or convert [of] righteousness) or Ger (stranger or convert) or is a gentile (i. ... This article is about male circumcision. ... Main article: Mitzvah 613 Mitzvot or 613 Commandments (Hebrew: ‎ transliterated as Taryag mitzvot; TaRYaG is the acronym for the numeric value of 613) are a list of commandments from God in the Torah. ... Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה ; alternate transliterations include Halocho and Halacha), is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions. ... There are a number of basic Jewish principles of faith that were formulated by medieval rabbinic authorities. ... Mikvah (or mikveh) (Hebrew: מִקְוָה, Standard Tiberian  ; plural: mikvaot or mikvot) is a specially constructed pool of water used for total immersion in a purification ceremony within Judaism. ... Ώ // ---- Insert non-formatted text here]] For other uses, see Abraham (name) and Abram (disambiguation). ... Template:Jews and Jewdaism Template:The Holy Book Named TorRah The Torah () is the most valuable Holy Doctrine within Judaism,(and for muslims) revered as the first relenting Word of Ulllah, traditionally thought to have been revealed to Blessed Moosah, An Apostle of Ulllah. ...


The Reform and Conservative movements are lenient in their acceptance of converts. Many of their members are married to gentiles and these movements make an effort to welcome spouses who seek conversion. This issue is contentious in modern Israel as many immigrants from the former Soviet Union are not considered Jewish. Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of American Jews and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th-century Germany. ... This article is about Conservative (Masorti) Judaism in the United States. ...


Orthodox Jews tend to discourage conversion, urging the person to find their path to God through being a righteous Gentile and observing the Noahide laws and living a life of kindness, but they will accept conversion if the person persists.


Conversion to Judaism in history

In Hellenistic and Roman times, some Pharisees were eager proselytizers, and had at least some success throughout the empire. This page is a list of Jews. ... For the followers of the Vilna Gaon, see Perushim. ...


Some Jews are also descended from converts to Judaism outside the Mediterranean world. It is known that some Khazars, Edomites, and Ethiopians, as well as many Arabs, particularly in Yemen before, converted to Judaism in the past; today in the United States, Israel and Europe some people still convert to Judaism. In fact, there is a greater tradition of conversion to Judaism than many people realize. The word "proselyte" originally meant a Greek who had converted to Judaism. As late as the 6th century the Eastern Roman empire (i.e., the Byzantine empire) was issuing decrees against conversion to Judaism, implying that conversion to Judaism was still occurring. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...


In recent times, members of the Reform Judaism movement began a program to convert to Judaism the non-Jewish spouses of its intermarried members and non-Jews who have an interest in Judaism. Their rationale is that so many Jews were lost during the Holocaust that newcomers must be sought out and welcomed. This approach has been repudiated by Orthodox and Conservative Jews as unrealistic and posing a danger. They say that these efforts make Judaism seem an easy religion to join and observe when in reality being Jewish entails many difficulties and sacrifices. Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of American Jews and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th-century Germany. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... “Shoah” redirects here. ... Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonised in the Talmudic texts (Oral Torah) and as subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim. ... This article is about Conservative (Masorti) Judaism in the United States. ...


Differences between Jewish and Christian views

The subject of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is the history of the Children of Israel (also called Hebrews), especially in terms of their relationship with God. Thus, Judaism has also been characterized as a culture or as a civilization. Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan defines Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. One crucial sign of this is that one need not believe, or even do, anything to be Jewish. The Rabbinic definition of "Jewishness" requires only that one be born of a Jewish mother, or that one convert to Judaism in accord with Jewish law. Today, Reformed and Reconstructionist Jews also include those born of Jewish fathers and Gentile mothers if they are raised as Jews. For the musical collective, see Tanakh (band). ... The Children of Israel, or Bnei Yisrael (בני ישראל) in Hebrew (also Bnai Yisrael, Bnei Yisroel or Bene Israel) is a Biblical term for the Israelites. ...


To Jews, Jewish peoplehood is closely tied to their relationship with God, and thus has a strong theological component. This relationship is encapsulated in the notion that Jews are a chosen people. Although some have taken this as a sign of arrogance or exclusivity, there are Jewish scholars and theologians who have emphasized that a special relationship between Jews and God does not in any way preclude other nations having their own relationship with God. For Jews, being "chosen" fundamentally means that Jews have chosen to obey a certain set of laws (see Torah and halakha) as an expression of their covenant with God. Jews hold that other nations and peoples are not required or expected to obey these laws, and face no penalty for not obeying them. Thus, as a national religion, Judaism has no problem with the notion that others have their own paths to God (or "salvation"), though it still makes claim as to the truth or falsehood of other beliefs, and about whether Gentiles are allowed to hold them. Theology is literally rational discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, rational discourse). By extension, it also refers to the study of other religious topics. ... Template:Jews and Jewdaism Template:The Holy Book Named TorRah The Torah () is the most valuable Holy Doctrine within Judaism,(and for muslims) revered as the first relenting Word of Ulllah, traditionally thought to have been revealed to Blessed Moosah, An Apostle of Ulllah. ... Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה ; alternate transliterations include Halocho and Halacha), is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions. ...


By contrast, Christianity is characterized by its claim to universality. Renowned Harvard theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich defines this claim as meaning that "the Christian message is universal and valid for all cultures and religions, so that Christ must become what he potentially is, the center of history for all historical developments."[4] Tillich, addressing the theology of Christian missions, offers both an affirmation of the universality claim and a caution: Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. ...

What Christian missions have to offer is not Christianity (per se) but the message of Jesus as the Christ, of the New Being. It is the message about Jesus as the center of history which, day by day, is confirmed by missions. It is not, however, Christianity as an historical reality that is this center of history, but the mediation of a reality which is the criterion for all human history. It stands critically not only against paganism, Judaism, and humanism wherever it may be, but it also stands critical against Christianity, outside and inside the Christian nations. All mankind stands under the judgment of the New Being in Christ.

Paul Tillich[4]

Christianity's claim to universality marks a break with Jewish identity. Christianity has had to define itself in relation to religions that make radically different claims about their gods. Christians believe that Christianity represents the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and the nation of Israel, that Israel would be a blessing to all nations.


This crucial difference between the two religions has other implications. For example, conversion to Judaism is more like a form of adoption (i.e., becoming a member of the nation, in part by metaphorically becoming a child of Abraham), whereas conversion to Christianity is explicitly a declaration of faith. Conversion to Judaism also entails a declaration of faith. In Christian churches, conversion also has a social component, as the individual is in many ways adopted into the Church, with a strong family model.


Conversion to Christianity

Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. The exact understanding of what it means to attain salvation varies somewhat among denominations. It primarily involves repentance of sin, baptism in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and a decision to live a life that is holy and acceptable to God. Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. ... St Francis Xavier converting the Paravas: a 19th-century image of the docile heathen The historical phenomenon of Christianization, the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once, also includes the practice of converting pagan practices, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


The process of conversion to Christianity varies somewhat among Christian denominations. Most Protestants believe in conversion by faith to attain salvation. According to this understanding, the person professes faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. While an individual may make such a decision privately, usually it entails being baptized and becoming a member of a denomination or church. In these traditions, one is considered to become a Christian by publicly acknowledging the reality of the death, burial and resurrection Jesus for the remission of sins, and thereby receiving Jesus as their personal (as opposed to corporate) Savior. Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... Look up saviour, savior in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ...


A person converting to Christianity often chooses to experience believer's baptism as a sign of their conversion. It is required by some Churches and denominations as a prerequisite to membership. Catholics and some Protestants believe that baptism is essential for salvation, though most Protestants do not. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Catholics and many Protestant denominations encourage infant baptism, welcoming children into the Christian faith before they are aware of their status. Baptized children are expected to participate in confirmation classes as pre-teens and affirm their faith by personal choice. Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ...


Transferring from one Christian denomination to another may consist of a relatively simple transfer of membership, especially if moving from one Trinitarian denomination to another, and if the person has received water baptism in the name of the Trinity. If not, then the person may need to be baptized or rebaptized to become incorporated into the new Church. Some denominations, such as those in the Anabaptist tradition, require previously-baptized Christians to be re-baptized before being accepted into their respective religious community. The adjective trinitarian is used in several senses: Ideas or things pertaining to the Holy Trinity A person or group adhering to the doctrine of Trinitarianism, which holds God to subsist in the form of the Holy Trinity The Trinitarian Order is a Catholic monastic order founded in 1198 by... This article is about the Christian religious act of Baptism. ... This article is about the Christian Trinity. ... For the architectural structure, see Church (building). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Anabaptists (Greek...


According to most branches of Christianity, sharing the message or Good News of Jesus Christ and his gospel is a responsibility of all followers of Jesus. According to the New Testament, Jesus commanded his disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Evangelism, or "spreading the Good News," has been a central part of the life of Christians since that time. This article is about the Christian scriptures. ... Look up evangelist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Conversion to Islam

There are five pillars, or foundations, of Islam but the primary, and most important is by believing that there is only one God and creator, referred to as Allah (the word for God in Arabic) and that Muhammad is God's last prophet. A person is considered converted to Islam from the moment he or she sincerely makes this declaration of faith, called the shahadah. It is common belief among Muslims that everyone is Muslim at birth [derived from a single source and brought into being by the single entity] but sometimes chooses to take steps to revert back to their origins. Muhammad in a new genre of Islamic calligraphy started in the 17th century by Hafiz Osman. ... White flag featuring the Shahada text as used by the Taliban. ...


According to Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, it is highly recommended that one's conversion be documented. New converts should obtain a certificate of conversion from a reputable Islamic centre, organization or mosque, which has been registered for this purpose. Sheikh Kutty writes that such a certificate might be absolutely necessary for the purposes of pilgrimage, marriage, etc.


In Islam, circumcision is a strongly recommended Sunnah custom (a practice of the Prophet) to be emulated by all the males among Muslims. According to the Shafi`i’ School, it is obligatory for all Muslim males.[5] Men converting to Islam are expected to undergo circumcision either before or after taking the formal shahadah (testimony of faith). They are cautioned against postponing it indefinitely after embracing Islam. There are five ingredients of natural religion and therefore part of the common legacy of Prophets: removing the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the mustache, removing the underarm hair, and cutting of the nails."[6]


A new Muslim is expected to familiarize himself/herself with the practices of Islam. It is a personal process; acceptance of all of that is taken to follow from the original statement, since all of Islam is considered to derive from either divine inspiration, in the form of the Qur'an, or for prophetic example, in the form of the hadith and sunnah of Muhammad. For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: , literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Hadith ( transliteration: ) are oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad. ... Sunnah(t) () literally means “trodden path”, and therefore, the sunnah of the prophet means “the way of the prophet”. Terminologically, the word ‘Sunnah’ in Sunni Islam means those religious actions that were instituted by Muhammad(PBUH) during the 23 years of his ministry and which Muslims initially received through consensus... Muhammad in a new genre of Islamic calligraphy started in the 17th century by Hafiz Osman. ...


"Al Mu'allafun kulubuhum" means those whom hearts need company or affection. So they receive a part of the zekat (due religious alms) and friendship from already and well established Muslims. The aim was to help these new converts to restart a new life as they were banned of their families and tribes in the early times of Islam.


Conversion to Indian religions

The practice of conversion is not generally accepted in Hinduism and can be explained from two points of views: 1) philosophical basis, and 2) current practice.


Philosophical Basis of absence of conversion in Hinduism
If there is one thing that was not imagined within the vast Hindu literature, it is the concept of conversion (i.e, one can change their religion to attain salvation). One may even argue that the concept of conversion is non-applicable to Hinduism because 1) under Hinduism all paths to god, if sincerely followed, are equal, 2) Hinduism (also referred to as universal religion) is philosophically considered to have no beginning, no end, and universally includes everything imaginable as incarnations of one supreme god, 3) being the oldest religion in the world, much of Hinduism evolved without any influence from other competing religions.


Given that Hinduism considers all paths to god equal, an activity such as conversion is considered a waste of time and a distraction away from your path to god.


Philosophically, Hinduism encompasses everything in this universe (including time, mass, energy, soul, etc) as various incarnations of one supreme being. This concept has been delved into great detail in Hindu literature. Irrespective of whether you realize the truth of not, it is there (just like "time") and irrespective of whether you accept it or not, you are part of this universal philosophy. It basically means that the "thing" that you are converting out of and the "thing" that you are converting to are both the same; hence, conversion is futile.


In more practical terms, considering the fact that Hinduism is the oldest region in the world and much of its philosophy and beliefs developed without the presence of competing religions, it is understandable why the concept of conversion was not-needed within Hinduism.


Current practices related to conversion in Hinduism
Hindu leaders have condemned the practice of religious conversion by any religious tradition. Some Hindus assume Hindu identity to be inherited at birth, i.e., that one cannot "convert to Hinduism" but must be born one. Some other people believe that the mere belief in the values of Sanatana Dharma makes one a Hindu. Others ackowledge the possibilty of becoming a Hindu as Vedic Dharma can become one's spiritual language. Saṃskāras such as Shuddhi (purification), Yajnopavit (thread ceremony) and Namakarana Samskaras (Name-giving ceremony) are suitable for westerners. Generally speaking, Hindus are very tolerant and do not feel the need for proselytizing. However, some religious traditions within the umbrella of Hinduism do accept converts. See, for instance List of converts to Hinduism. hinduism also involves the exchange of male pun. ... This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ... Veda redirects here. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ... Samskaram (Sanskrit accomplishment, embellishment, consecration; Hindi Sanskar) is a word used in both Hinduism and Sikhism for special event in life. ... Shuddhi is Sanskrit for purification. ... The following is a list of people who have converted to Hinduism from non-Hindu religions. ...

  • The (Vaisnava) International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON, better known as the Hare Krishnas) give new members the cord of a Brahmin, though the group is not entirely satisfied with the term "Hindu" (owing to the diversity of views which might be associated with it.
  • Below is a link to an American book by a Saivite guru, himself a Western convert, on how to "become a Hindu." Its author advocates the Namakarana Saṃskāra naming ceremony—in which one adopts the name of a Hindu god—and a legal name-change, on the principle that most Hindus will accept as Hindu anyone with a Hindu name on some official document.[7]

Because of growing Christian missionary activities in India,[8][9] some Hindu organizations are aggressively trying to counter them. Because of this, reconversion drive of ex-Hindus (mostly Christians) by Hindu organizations in India has become well organized and seen many successes in recent years.[10] In former Hindu places such as Indonesia there have been Hindu restoration movement in which certain tribes, be they Muslims or anything else still practicing many of the ancient Hindu traditions have converted.[11] The term Brahmin denotes both a member of the priestly class in the Hindu varna system, and a member of the highest caste in the caste system of Hindu society. ... Samskaram (Sanskrit accomplishment, embellishment, consecration; Hindi Sanskar) is a word used in both Hinduism and Sikhism for special event in life. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... There is also a collection of Hadith called Sahih Muslim A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Persian: Mosalman or Mosalmon Urdu: مسلمان, Turkish: Müslüman, Albanian: Mysliman, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. ... This article discusses the adherents of Hinduism. ...


Sikhism is not known to openly proselytize, but accepts converts. See: List of converts to Sikhism Sikhism (IPA: or ; Punjabi: , , IPA: ), founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and nine successive gurus in fifteenth century Northern India, is the fifth-largest religion in the world. ... Following are the list of converts to Sikhism: Dr. Lonnie Smith: famous jazz player Kuldip Manak: famous Punjabi folk singer converted from Islam ...


It does not appear to be possible at present to convert to Jainism. However, according to Indian law one has the right to assert him/herself as a follower of any religion which also includes Jainism. Jain and Jaina redirect here. ...


Buddhism allows conversion, but does not generally engage in proselytism. The current Dalai Lama discourages it without ruling it out altogether. [12][13] New Buddhists traditionally "take Refuge" (express faith in the Three Jewels—Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) before a monk, nun, or similar representative. Buddhists often hold multiple religious identities, combining the religion with Shinto (in Japan) or Taoism and Confucianism (in China; cf. Chinese traditional religion). Some Himalayan groups are ambiguous as to their status as Hindus or Buddhists. A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... Tenzin Gyatso (born 6 July 1935) is the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama. ... Shinto ) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ... Taoism (or Daoism) is the English name referring to a variety of related Chinese philosophical traditions and concepts. ... A Confucian temple in Wuwei, Peoples Republic of China. ... It has been suggested that Chinese folk religion be merged into this article or section. ...


According to Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation, taking refuge in the Buddha precludes one from worshiping gods and nature spirits. Other traditions take the position that a lay Buddhist can pay respects to, and give gifts to, gods or spirits, but should not regard them as a refuge. This position is generally practiced in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Thailand. Gampopa or Dakpo Rinpoche (1016-1053) was the formost student of the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Milarepa. ... Theravada (Pāli: theravāda; Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda; literally, the Way of the Elders) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). ...


Conversion to the Bahá'í Faith

Though it actively seeks converts, the Bahá'í Faith prohibits proselytism and does not pursue "missionary" work. In sharing their Faith with others, Bahá'ís are cautioned to "obtain a hearing" – meaning to make sure the person they're proposing to teach is open to hearing what they have to say. "Bahá'í pioneers," rather than attempting to supplant the cultural underpinnings of the people in their adopted communities, are encouraged to integrate into the society and apply Bahá'í principles in living and working with their neighbors. This article is about the generally recognized global religious community. ... For Baháís, the term pioneering refers to something similar to missionary work, but they use a separate word as proselytization is strictly prohibited in the Baháí faith. ...


Bahá'ís recognize the divine origins of all revealed religion, and believe that these religions occurred sequentially as part of a Divine plan (see Progressive revelation), with each new revelation superseding and fulfilling that of its predecessors. Bahá'ís regard their own faith as the most recent (but not the last), and believe its teachings – which are centered around the principle of the oneness of humanity – are most suited to meeting the needs of a global community. Progressive revelation is a core teaching of the Baháí Faith that flows from central teachings of the religion, namely, the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of humanity. ...


In most countries conversion is a simple matter of filling out a card stating a declaration of belief. This includes aknowledgement of Bahá'u'llah – the Founder of the Faith – as the Messenger of God for this age, awareness and acceptance of His teachings, and intention to be obedient to the institutions and laws He established.


Conversion to the Bahá'í Faith carries with it an explicit belief in the common foundation of all revealed religion, a commitment to the unity of mankind. and active service to the community at large, especially in areas that will foster unity and concord. Since the Bahá'í Faith has no clergy, converts to this Faith are encouraged to be active in all aspects of community life. Indeed, even a recent convert may be elected to serve on a Local Spiritual Assemby – the guiding Bahá'í institution at the community level.


[14][15]


Conversion to Scientology

The Church of Scientology attempts to gain converts by offering "free stress tests" (see picture at auditing). In contrast to other religions, which require one to sign a card or membership book (e.g. Unitarian Universalism) or be baptised (e.g. Roman Catholic Church), Scientology requires converts to sign contracts before attending church. Scientology cross Symbol The Church of Scientology is the largest religious organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. ... Doctrine Practices Concepts People Public outreach Organization Controversy Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by American pulp fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as an outgrowth of his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. ... The flaming chalice is the universally recognized symbol for Unitarian Universalism. ... Catholic Church redirects here. ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ...


Other religions and sects

Conversion to new religious movements (NRMs) (some of which have been referred to as cults) is riddled with controversies. The anti-cult movement sometimes uses the term thought reform or even brainwashing. Often they will call certain NRMs cults. There are many different definitions for the word cult. NRMs are very diverse and it is not clear whether conversion to NRMs differs from conversion to mainstream religions. See also Brainwashing controversy in new religious movements A new religious movement or NRM is a term used to refer to a religious faith, or an ethical, spiritual or philosophical movement of recent origin that isnt part of an established denomination, church, or religious body. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original meaning. ... It has been suggested that Opposition to cults and new religious movements be merged into this article or section. ... Thought reform is the alteration of a persons basic attitudes and beliefs by outside manipulation. ... Brainwashing (also known as thought reform or as re-education) consists of any effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person — sometimes unwelcome beliefs in conflict with the persons prior beliefs and knowledge. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original meaning. ... Brainwashing (also known as thought reform or as re-education) consists of any effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person — sometimes unwelcome beliefs in conflict with the persons prior beliefs and knowledge. ...


Research both in the USA and the Netherlands has shown there is a positive correlation between lack of involvement in mainstream churches in certain areas and provinces and the percentage of people who are a member of a new religious movement. This applies also for the presence of New Age centers.[16][17] The Dutch research included Jehovah's Witnesses and the Latter Day Saint movement/Mormonism to the NRMs. In statistics, the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (sometimes known as the PMCC) (r) is a measure of the correlation of two variables X and Y measured on the same object or organism, that is, a measure of the tendency of the variables to increase or decrease together. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... The Latter Day Saint movement (a subset of Restorationism) is a group of religious denominations and adherents who follow at least some of the teachings and revelations of Joseph Smith, Jr. ...


Religious conversion in international law

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines religious conversion as a human right: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief…." (Article 18). Though this is controversial because some groups either forbid or restrict religious conversion (see below). UN and U.N. redirect here. ... The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (abbreviated UDHR) is an advisory declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ...


Based on the declaration the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) drafted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a legally binding treaty. It states that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice…" (Article 18.1). "No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice" (Article 18.2). United Nations Commission on Human Rights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Parties to the ICCPR: members in green, non-members in grey The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a United Nations treaty based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created in 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976. ...


The UNCHR issued a General Comment on this Article in 1993: "The Committee observes that the freedom to 'have or to adopt' a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views [...] Article 18.2 bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to their religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert." (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, General Comment No. 22.; emphasis added) United Nations Commission on Human Rights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


Some countries distinguish voluntary, motivated conversion from organized proselytism, attempting to restrict the latter. The boundary between them is not easily defined. What one person considers legitimate evangelizing, or witness bearing, another may consider intrusive and improper. Illustrating the problems that can arise from such subjective viewpoints is this extract from an article by Dr. C. Davis, published in Cleveland State University's 'Journal of Law and Health': "According to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Jews for Jesus and Hebrew Christians constitute two of the most dangerous cults, and its members are appropriate candidates for deprogramming. Anti-cult evangelicals ... protest that 'aggressiveness and proselytizing . . . are basic to authentic Christianity,' and that Jews for Jesus and Campus Crusade for Christ are not to be labeled as cults. Furthermore, certain Hassidic groups who physically attacked a meeting of the Hebrew Christian 'cult' have themselves been labeled a 'cult' and equated with the followers of Reverend Moon, by none other than the President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis."[18] Cleveland State University (abbr. ... The Union for Reform Judaism, formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UHAC), is an organization which supports Reform Jewish congregations in North America. ... Jews for Jesus is a Christian [1] evangelical organization which targets Jews for conversion to Christianity. ... Note differences: Hebrew Christians identify themselves primarily as Christians. ... // Campus Crusade for Christ is an interdenominational Christian organization, focusing on evangelism and discipleship in over 190 countries around the world. ... Hasidic Judaism (Hebrew: Chasidut חסידות) is a Haredi Jewish religious movement. ... Sun Myung Moon (born January 6, 1920) is the founder of the Unification Church (established on May 1, 1954, in Seoul, South Korea). ...


Views on the propriety of proselytism, or even evangelism, differ radically. Some feel that freedom of speech should have no limits and that virtually anyone, anywhere should have the right to talk about anything they see fit. Others see all sorts of evangelism as a nuisance and an intrusion and would like to see them proscribed. Thus, Natan Lerner observes that the issue is one of a clash of rights—the right of a person to express his views versus the right of a person not to be exposed to views that he does not wish to hear. Look up evangelist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


From a legal standpoint, certain criteria are often mentioned in distinguishing legitimate evangelization from illicit proselytism:

  • All humans have the right to have religious beliefs, and to change these beliefs, even repeatedly, if they so wish. (Freedom of Religion)
  • They have the right to form religious organizations for the purpose of worship, as well as for promoting their cause (Freedom of Association)
  • They have the right to speak to others about their convictions, with the purpose of influencing the others. (Freedom of Speech).

By the same token, these very rights exercise a limiting influence on the freedoms of others. For instance, the right to have one's religious beliefs presumably includes the right not to be coerced into changing these beliefs by threats, discrimination, or similar inducements. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society. ... Freedom of association is a Constitutional (legal) concept based on the premise that it is the right of free adults to mutually choose their associates for whatever purpose they see fit. ... This article is about the general concept. ...


Hence a category of improper proselytizing can be discerned:

  • It would not be proper to use coercion, threats, the weight of authority of the educational system, access to health care or similar facilities in order to induce people to change their religion.
  • It would be improper to try to impose one's beliefs on a 'captive audience', where the listeners have no choice but to be present. This would presumably require restraint in the exercise of their right to free speech, by teachers in the classroom, army officers to their inferiors, prison officers in prison, medical staff in hospitals, so as to avoid impinging on the rights of others.
  • It would not be proper to offer money, work, housing or other material inducements as a means of persuading people to adopt another religion.

Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the rise of democracy in the Eastern Bloc, the Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a revival. However, it takes exception to what it considers illegitimate proselytizing by the Roman Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious movements[19] in what it refers to as its canonical territory. The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: ), also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia, is a body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with the other patriarchs and primates of the Eastern Orthodox Church. ... Catholic Church redirects here. ... Shield of The Salvation Army The Salvation Army is a non-military evangelical Christian organisation. ...


Greece has a long history of conflict, mostly with Jehovah's Witnesses but also with some Pentecostals over its laws on proselytism. This situation stems from a law passed in the 1930s by the dictator Ioannis Metaxas. A Jehovah's Witness, Minos Kokkinakis, won the equivalent of US $14,400 in damages from the Greek state after being arrested for trying to preach his faith from door to door. In another case, Larissis vs. Greece, a member of the Pentecostal church also won a case in the European Court of Human Rights. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Athanasius · Augustine · Constantine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas Calvin · Luther · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Pentecostal... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the World Depression. ... Ioannis Metaxas (Greek Ιωάννης Μεταξάς, April 12, 1871 – January 29, 1941) was a Greek General and the Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. ... Minos Kokkinakis (1909 Sitia, Crete- 28 January 1999 Sitia) was a Greek Jehovahs Witness who campaigned to overturn Greeces ban on proselytism, then an offence under Greek law. ... European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), often referred to informally as the Strasbourg Court, was created to systematise the hearing of human rights complaints against States Parties to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by...


Some Islamic countries with Islamic law outlaw and carry strict sentences for proselytizing. Several Islamic countries under Islamic law, Saudi Arabia,[20][21] Yemen,[22] Afghanistan and Pakistan,[23] Egypt,[24] Iran,[25][26] and Maldives[27] outlaw apostasy and carry imprisonment or the death penalty for those leaving Islam and those enticing Muslims to leave Islam. This article is about Islamic religious law. ... This article is about Islamic religious law. ... Apostasy (from Greek αποστασία, meaning a defection or revolt, from απο, apo, away, apart, στασις, stasis, standing) is a term generally employed to describe the formal renunciation of ones religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. ...


See also

Apostasy (from Greek αποστασία, meaning a defection or revolt, from απο, apo, away, apart, στασις, stasis, standing) is a term generally employed to describe the formal renunciation of ones religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. ... A deathbed conversion is the adoption of a particular religious faith immediately before dying. ... A forced conversion occurs when someone adopts a religion or philosophy under the threat that a refusal would result in negative non-spiritual consequences. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The following is a list of notable converts to Islam. ... This page is a list of Jews. ... For other uses, see Missionary (disambiguation). ... The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (often abbreviated RCIA) is the process through which interested adults are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic Faith and way of life. ... In the sociology of religion, secondary conversion is conversion to a religion not due to any inherent attractiveness of the religion, but rather due to a pre-existing relationship with another convert to the religion. ...

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/index.php?action=getCommentaryText&cid=1&source=1&seq=i.47.16.5
  2. ^ http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/ncd02330.htm
  3. ^ http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0254f.htm
  4. ^ a b Tillich, Paul. "The Theology of Missions." Journal Christianity and Crisis, March 4, 1955. Online: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=390. Accessed 00-30-2007
  5. ^ http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-AAbout_Islam/AskAboutIslamE/AskAboutIslamE&cid=1123996016714
  6. ^ Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; quoted by IslamOnline.net. Available online: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503546248
  7. ^ http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/2000/1/2000–1–10.shtml
  8. ^ http://www.skeptictank.org/rapeindi.htm
  9. ^ http://www.christianaggression.org/
  10. ^ http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050219/asp/nation/story_4396023.asp
  11. ^ http://www.swaveda.com/articles.php?action=show&id=49
  12. ^ http://www.tibet.ca/en/wtnarchive/2001/1/26_2.html
  13. ^ http://www.cephas-library.com/na/buddhism_dalai_lama_against_prosylitizing.html
  14. ^ Smith, P. (1999). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1851681841. 
  15. ^ Momen, M. (1997). A Short Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: One World Publications. ISBN 1851682090. 
  16. ^ Schepens, T. (Dutch) Religieuze bewegingen in Nederland volume 29, Sekten Ontkerkelijking en religieuze vitaliteit: nieuwe religieuze bewegingen en New Age-centra in Nederland (1994) VU uitgeverij ISBN 90–5383–341–2
  17. ^ Stark, R & W.S. Bainbridge The future of religion: secularization, revival and cult formation (1985) Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California press
  18. ^ http://www.religioustolerance.org/cult_art.htm
  19. ^ http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru:83/ne207011.htm
  20. ^ http://www.persecution.org/Countries/saudi_arabia.html
  21. ^ http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/saudi/issues/polpris.html/
  22. ^ http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGMDE310052000/
  23. ^ http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGASA330081994/
  24. ^ http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGMDE120091997/
  25. ^ http://www.mcjonline.com/news/04a/20040811b.shtml/
  26. ^ http://usinfo.state.gov/dhr/Archive/2005/Dec/27–622911.html/
  27. ^ http://www.leaderu.com/common/maldives.html/

The Vrije Universiteit is a university in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ...

References

  • Barrett, D. V. The New Believers—A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions (2001) UK, Cassell & Co [1]
  • Cooper, Richard S. "The Assessment and Collection of Kharaj Tax in Medieval Egypt" (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 96, No. 3. (Jul. – Sep., 1976), pp. 365–382.
  • Barker, Eileen The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? (1984)

Eileen Barker is a professor in sociology and is an emeritus member of the London School of Economics, and a consultant to that institutions Centre for the Study of Human Rights at. ...

External links

Look up convert in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
  • "Proselytism, Change of Religion, and International Human Rights," by Natan Lerner, Ph.D. (legal aspects of defining illicit proselytism)
  • How Does One Convert to Judaism?
  • All Roads Lead to Rome Catholic conversion experience at The Truth about the Catholic Church
  • Choosing Judaism: Resource Center for Prospective Converts
  • Discussion Forum for American Muslim Converts
  • Jewish Encyclopedia: Proselyte
  • Online Book on conversion to Hinduism
  • Podcast about Mormon conversion experience
  • Islam converts change face of Europe

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Psychology of Religious Conversion (2588 words)
Initially, let it be admitted that while we are primarily considering the issue of religious conversion, conversion is a more general term that applies to all changes that involve a transformation of opinion from one belief to another.
Religious conformity is the term that describes the decision to do what is religiously expected in one’s culture, for example, in Japanese culture, to follow along with the Buddhist and Shinto way of seeing things.
As the conversion process progressed, seekers were encouraged to engage in further study of the group’s approach and to cut off their contact with those outside the group who might deplete their newfound approach.
Conversion (4871 words)
Conversion could take place within the same religious system to which an individual or group already belongs or professes, or it could involve a change away from a religion to which one was previously affiliated to another one all together.
The fluid and complex nature of religious conversion is clearly a reflection of the characteristic dynamic nature of religion itself among the groups.
Their cumulative spiritual heritage and religious insight were preserved and handed on from one generation to the next through such oral media as speech-forms, including myths, legends, stories, proverbs, and names, art-forms including sculptures, carvings, and festivals, and important institutions like shrines, masquerades, kingship institution and so on.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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