Christian converts.

It is quite amusing …. and in some respects odd that I am regularly accused of lying regarding my views of those people who convert to Christianity.

I hold similar views regarding all  religion but as I come from a nominally Christian background I tend to stick with the one I know.

So here’s my view.

Everyone I have encountered  who converted to Christianity did so as a result of some sort of personal and /or emotional issue/upheaval

These have included , drugs, sex, (Abuse , Pornography etc) alcohol, depression.

I am often challenged about this assertion and invariably taken to task and usually called a liar: that I have encountered ordinary people with none of these issues who have turned to faith.

Well, I still say no, I have not.,

My experience is that people were either raised in a Christian environment, as I was, albeit nominally, or they were non-believers and converted. And when I say non-believers  I include those people who switched faith. Such apostates usually have become seriously disillusioned hence the need to find another version of their god.

So, I am interested to hear from anyone who converted to Christianity who did not fall into any of the above categories;  if you were completely outside the Christian faith and became Christian for some other reason.

Ark

 

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86 thoughts on “Christian converts.

  1. I see Patrick hasn’t answered yet.

    Not sure if I’d say “all,” but it’s unquestionably the lions share.

    Curious, where would place Chinese converts. The evangelicals are furiously busy over there, and their numbers are growing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I keep trying to explain to Wally at co., for whom this simply will not compute, I’ve never said ”All”, merely the ones I have encountered, on and off the blogs.

      As for Chinese converts: I cannot make any sort of judgement as I have never met one.
      Off the top of my head, the immediate question would be: Why did they convert? That alone will give a fairly clear indication of the position they came from.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think it’s that pendulum theory… swing too far in one direction (essentially banning religion) and it’s going to swing to the other extreme without any particular logic (embracing religion).

        Liked by 2 people

          1. “That is the woman you will marry.” I whipped around to see who said it, but no one was around. I have only heard the audible voice of God twice in my life and that was the first time.

            Well, good to see Yhwh has time for matchmaking, but not, it appears, for children dying.

            To be honest, though. I have indeed heard a voice. Once. On Mt. Ginini, when I was almost dead of hypothermia. Literally. All the pain had passed. I was warm, delightfully warm, and oh so sleepy. I just wanted to sleep. Everything was saying, sleep… then a voice shouted GET UP! And it was loud. It was my internal voice telling me to save myself.

            Liked by 5 people

            1. The human mind — especially under severe duress in life or death phenomena — is an INCREDIBLE organ capable of utterly mind-blowing trickeries. It’s similar to being on LSD. It can all be a very good thing in certain cases or a very horrific thing in certain cases. But CLEARLY there is no standard, there is no such thing as monism.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. It was so bloody loud, and so bloody compelling. I had to obey. I had to obey myself. Pretty wild event, and note to self: when snowing, dont spend the day trout fishing waist-high in freezing mountain water then, after dark, in sub-zero temps, attempt to hike out. Death will visit you.

                Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes you have encountered them ark. Daily. You just didn’t know it. ;( They are everywhere, common people, going about their business, being quiet unless asked……….maybe ashamed or embarrassed to speak of their ‘past’ foolery.

          Btw, haven’t you encountered Wally who said he was atheist? just sayin.

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          1. Oh, our Wally is quite the story teller, believe you me. He admitted shortly after our first encounter that he never was an atheist , he merely turned his back on his god.
            This was around the time he put up a post about how he regretted bringing up his kids from his first marriage ( I presume?) as non- believers and was now sorry and afraid because he knew they were going to burn in hell for eternity and he was praying for them to come to the lord or something like this.
            The post was also featured on James’ blog ( Isaiah something)
            But don’t take my word for it … as I am sure you won’t.
            Ask him.

            Liked by 3 people

          2. John S. Dickerson, in The Great Evangelical Recession:

            “260,000 evangelical young people walk away from Christianity each year … This is not a blip. This is a trend. And the trend is one of decline,”

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Let’s me honest jz. did Peter, John, James, Matthew, or Paul ‘walk away?’ So what if half baked people who do not know the difference between Genesis or Revolution ‘flee’ like a scared rabbit.

              God’s word loses no lustre, yea rather, the very book that they now despise marks them out as wimpy imposters.

              They may ‘leave their attraction,’ but rest assured, folks like Wally, InsanityB, CTom, and myself know of whom, and to whom we stand.

              Let God be true, and every man a liar.

              Like

              1. ‘At least Trump has guts and a spine.’

                A pity he seems to lack good judgement and a sound temperament.

                What really puzzles me is why so many Christian groups supported President Trump. I mean to say he is hardly the epitome of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. @ Peter

                  he is hardly the epitome of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.

                  I was under the impression he had quite a liberal outlook about Mounting … and Grabbing.
                  😉

                  Liked by 3 people

                1. Is it possible for you to remain focused? For one second?

                  Of course not.

                  I challenge you to use your God given brain inside that skull……….and consider the difference between Saul of Tarsus and Paul the apostle.

                  Gee, I wonder what happened and WHO opened His eyes……………you want to talk about converts from darkness to light?

                  I just handed you a platter. Enjoy the feast of truth. And thank God for the mind and heart which KNOWS truth from lies.

                  Like

                2. What happened, CS, is that Saul probably had too much wine the night before. Or maybe he tripped on a rock during his trip to Damascus and hit his head, causing him to “see” something that wasn’t there. No special miracles involved. Sorry.

                  Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I am a “new” arrival to Earth… which is 4.5 billion years older than myself.

        If Ark’s and Zande’s experiences with religious converts are different from mine, why should that be surprising? We live in very different parts of the world.

        I expressed my experience with religious conversion truthfully. I have never encountered a secular non-believer who converted to Christianity or any other institutionalized religion. However, I know many people who were raised as Christians, left their churches as young adults because it was boring and inconvenient, and then found Jesus again later in life after years of drug and alcohol abuse. One such elderly man, a close friend of mine, has told me repeatedly that his “conversion” back to Christianity saved his life – and, I believe him.

        I suspect my experience with religious conversion is quite common. That’s why religious membership has been declining worldwide for decades now. Even Christians are admitted so: http://www.christianpost.com/news/largest-christian-groups-report-membership-decline-37180/

        Liked by 6 people

        1. Along with your assessment Robert about Christian “conversions and deconversions,” I think we can add to your fine inference a prevalent trend to what generally “moves” people or inspires people: those moved by emotional hype (sales & marketing rah-rah cheerleading, ala The Wolf of Wall Street) …and those moved by reason, empirical evidence, and flexing degrees of moderation and basic human decency for all. And then there are clearly the types with diagnoseable psychological disorders with LITTLE or no self-control/weak will-power that want someone else or something else to be in total control of their present and future being. Those are the types that are not categorizable really or standardized by religion or non-religion. They are simply and currently biological-neurological anomolies until we continue to better understand genetics, molecular dynamics, endocrinology, and embryology — which is fortunately happening and will continue to happen. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        2. When I called myself a Christian I was genuinely puzzled by westerners converting to Islam. I studied the matter in some depth and concluded that most such conversions were folk who had troubled backgrounds and found a sense of community and purpose in their life from conversion.

          What I realised was that in religion converts tend to be attracted to more fundamentalists forms of a religion. The fervour of the fellow adherents and their confidence in their faith seems to be a key attraction. Though whether this lasts in the longer term is questionable, I note that many ISIS adherents seem thoroughly disillusioned after a couple of years of actual Jihad experience.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. >>> “I studied the matter in some depth and concluded that most such conversions were folk who had troubled backgrounds and found a sense of community and purpose in their life from conversion.”

            Yes Peter, Professor Taboo detailed much of the psychology behind religious conversion earlier. Those troubled westerners who join ISIS are looking for something which doesn’t exist – namely, an external solution to their own personal problems. I would add that the ideological appeal of ISIS far surpasses its religious doctrine, encompassing geopolitics, economics, tribalism, and ethnocentrism.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I would agree with you: most but deffo not all. I would also add family tragedy, crisis and personal upheaval (massive or not) to your list .

    And a slightly different thought but hopefully connected to yours.

    Those who you call deconverts – might the the same be true for falling out of faith? That a similar category of event (as the falling in) was not answered as it should have been – and a falling out followed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Again I did not say all, only those that I have had experience with, reading about or talking to.
      Also, from what I have garnered about former believers ( all those I have read about), they deconverted because they finally realized that what they had been brought up to believe turned out to be false.
      Many felt ashamed at their own credulity, angry they had been conned and saddened they had passed on such beliefs, often in the form of indoctrinating their own kids.
      All without exception are relieved to be free of religion and many are scathing of religion and god belief in general.

      But I am only one individual and there are billions of believers. Maybe the vast majority can offer a different perspective. But somehow I doubt it.

      The clergy project is an excellent source and is loaded with testimonies that appears to bear this out.

      Here is a typical example.

      http://clergyproject.org/nealh/

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Ark this song speaks to the emotional tension that goes on in a Christian heart/mind when dealing with Cognitive Dissonance (obviously not the intent of the song writer):

    Liked by 4 people

  4. “Everyone I have encountered who converted to Christianity did so as a result of some sort of personal and /or emotional issue/upheaval.”

    I’ve observed the same — those who take it to extremes, i.e., conservative Christianity. Based on a comment here, I would also agree that most I’ve met, and including myself, did not deconvert for the same reasons. Your assessment helps explain why conservative Christians tend to target and are the most successful at converting those who are vulnerable.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It is a pattern and it is repeated all over the place. I would not be surprised if there was not an active Plan of Action in place that evangelicals are schooled in.

      Over on IBs site they are rabidly calling me a liar.It is quite funny actually.
      IB herself is saying she was quite ordinary and yet her testimonies are wild.
      Father a believer, mother not. Broken home, mother takes her, they join a cult she eventually leaves her mother and finds her way back home to daddy.Custody battles etc etc.
      How the frak is that not seriously messed up! And she claims she discovered god when she was like 4 or 5 or something!
      Does that sound like no trauma or emotional upheaval to you? Perhaps my life was so normal that it did not register on the Normal Meter for most people.
      I dunno…. these people just sound wack to me.
      And if you read Patrick’s reply to me asking why am I ”afraid” and all I have to do is ask god to show / reveal himself.
      Seriously…
      Just off the chart.

      https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/explain-how-my-life/comment-page-1/#comment-52218

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In my many years working in Psych/A&D therapy and counseling Ark, this IB thread/scenario is all too common with many/most passionate faith-followers, especially those in impoverished families and demographics. As Neuronotes alludes, those unfortunate victims are indeed desperate for any sort of relief. If they were in another part of the world, it would easily be another non-Christian dogma and ideology. It is the search for higher levels of dopamine and peer-acceptance, peer-assimilation and of course the Placebo-effect.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Did you read Patrick’s response to my question?
          There is an almost desperate tone to it.
          It sounds rehearsed. Much like the pressure you explain you were put under to convert.
          How can they not see that every other Faithful Believer of every other religion has, to some degree an almost identical thought pattern about their god.
          And Mel’s of the cuff comment about ”God hating atheists”.

          Do they hate Santa or Vishnu or Quetzalcoatl?
          Why would I hate Yahweh? I don’t believe in him/it

          Liked by 2 people

      2. He was around age 4 or 5 when he asked Jesus to come into his heart — in the U.S., in the conservative South. Gee, I wonder how he knew to ask Allah, I mean the monkey god, I mean Jesus. Also, had that woman been unattractive to him, or old enough to be his mother, would he have taken that voice as seriously? As far as his other comment to you, I find it ironic that he’s accusing you of being afraid, and yet, the god he’s chosen to submit to will burn his arse in the lake of fire if he doesn’t make it into the “lamb’s book of life.: Who’s really afraid?

        Liked by 3 people

        1. For interests sake this was my answer to Patrick posted 45 mins after he responded. IB moderates all my comments so it is not a sure thing it will be released.

          Well, you fit the profile of being brought up in a religious home and influenced by the christian religion so contrary to what Wally and co. are saying you do not meet the non Christian paradigm of conversion.
          *Smile* Afraid? I am not afraid. Why on earth do you imagine I would be afraid of something I do not believe in?
          Are you afraid of Unicorns or Santa? How about the gods Hannaman, Vishnu or Quetzalcoatl ?
          I cannot prove that your god is real or not. And neither can you and your only source material is a collection of ancient text that is corrupt.
          Also based on the evidence then he or she or it … and every other god can be dismissed with impunity.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. As I read his comment, Ark, I had flashbacks of when I was a Christian listening to other Christians give their testimonies in church. Eventually, you recognize the patterns of indoctrinated rhetoric.

            “I knew Jesus was real.”

            Well, that settles it. Jesus is real.

            “I just knew that I knew there was a god.”

            Lol — Gotta love Christianese.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Yeah… they are all the same.
              It becomes so cliche after a while that I halfheartedly hope that someone will actually come up with a response that will make me go … Wow! and for a positive reason rather than a WTF reason.

              Liked by 3 people

              1. Upon returning from visiting Swarn, I was waiting for my connecting flight at the Atlanta airport, and I overheard a conversation from a man talking to a woman in a wheel chair. They were not traveling together. He was “witnessing” to her by telling her how Jesus had done this and had done that in his life. Now, tell me — why did he need to witness to her? Why was he being so loud? Why, of all the people in the whole section waiting to board, did he start talking to her about Jesus — the one who was disabled?

                She was gracious and patient, but I could tell by her body language that she felt like he had crossed boundaries.

                Then, she turned her head and we made eye contact. She rolled her eyes. Lol I suspected that this wasn’t the first time she’d been targeted.

                A few days later, I read a tweet from Dan Barker:

                ” Dan Barker‏ @DanBarkerFFRF Aug 6

                “If God exists, why do we need books to explain it? Or preachers? The fact that he can’t do it himself is good evidence he does not exist.”

                Liked by 5 people

      3. Ark when the sociologist Rodney Stark studied religious conversion he concluded that the key factor was social. That is that if the majority of a persons social group follows a particular religion then that person is more likely than not to join. After joining they will rationalise it as them accepting the teaching of the group, but the reality is that it was the desire to belong that was the key factor.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Ark, your summon would include me Sir. I was raised by my Agnostic father and non-active (evangelizing, nominal) mother. Honestly, my father just simply had a higher IQ than my mother — the cognitive edge — and my Mom just felt/believed “actions speak louder than words” so she simply lived with a huge heart, for anyone no matter their beliefs. From my sophomore year in high school until graduating I began getting targeted and ‘challenged’ by members & leaders of Young Life and FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). This did not change even into university because I went on a full scholarship to a strong footballing/soccer program that happened to be a Xian liberal arts university in Mississippi. There the challenges to me from many other students and the bible/philosophy professor there was politely unrelenting. After a year and 3-months enrolled and all of them and myself at an impasse, to simply ALLOW this God, Son, and Holy Spirit to show themselves as real… in 1983 I completely and genuinely gave it an open shot; disarming and suspending all of my doubts. I went all in 110%, no holding back. Even so far as to eventually enroll in seminary (RTS) and become heavily involved in my church and outreach programs, becoming a Co-Director of our Singles Ministry. All of this lasted for almost 10 busy, invested years.

    Then I met my fellow footballer from Kashmir, India who — while I was attempting to evangelize to him via our informal outreach program — asked me if I could tell him with certainty where Jesus was from the age of 12 to 29 and what exactly he was doing (critical formative years for such a global Cosmic icon!), then he would accept my invitation and attend our outreach gathering. Ark, you already know the rest of this story.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. “.. where Jesus was from the age of 12 to 29 and what exactly he was doing…” Man, what an easy question to answer. From Mark: 26-29, “And Jesus, at age 12, became a stoner, went to L.A., started a short-lived band called ‘God’s Son Sings,’ and then, finally, took up a lifeguard job at a popular public beach until he was 29, at which time it was found out he couldn’t swim so he was fired and returned home.” $Amen$

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Indeed Ark. When a faith such as Christian Fundamentalism or any religion for that matter that constructs itself as rigidly infallible, righteous, discriminatory, and the only one true path to any sort of “life” since 1 CE and for all time, it only takes one major error, crack, or contradiction and the entire frame and foundation collapses… unless of course there is glaring denial or flagrant disregard for the hundreds of errors, cracks, and contradictions of a canonical Greco-Roman New Testament.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. But professor humans are very good at explaining away the ‘cracks’. How else can we explain the vast numbers of people around the globe that follow religions whose Holy books have been clearly shown to be fallible in regard to the creation of the earth and the development of animals and humans?

          In one area Muslims and Christians are as one, they both cherry pick their books to ‘prove’ that they have scientific insight.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Very true Peter. I will happily admit that I belong(ed) in that group too. My pride was the biggest obstacle to deal with regarding scrutiny, their’s or my own, and genuinely attempting to examine things from varying points of views. I do feel it is part of human nature to reinforce our own choices whether those choices are true/realistic or not. We feed our egos in many different ways.

            Specifically regarding the “Holy Scriptures” and especially the 4th century CE canonical New Testament, what I have found to be the case with Fundamentalists is their staunch refusal to exhaustively seek INDEPENDENT sources — i.e. not Gentile-Christian, not Roman-Christian, not Judeo-Christian — to support the veracity of their Tanakh or New Testament. In this regard, the “Scriptures” are severely lacking! Well, lets be honest… those independent sources do not exist on any level of corroboration. Period. So as you say, the human imagination kicks-in and comes up with all sorts of contemporary rational (anachronisms) to feel good about their stance.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. An interesting thought has struck me following the accounts of granddaughter R and her mother who went to see a hypnotist show last night, where people were made to do utterly ridiculous things without being aware they were doing them. These evangelical conversions — simply hypnotism?

    Liked by 4 people

      1. The hypnosis idea struck me because indoctrination is a slow process; however the planting of firmly-believed false information via hypnosis is almost instantaneous.
        At the show in question, someone was in floods of tears after searching vainly all over the place for a non-existent lost duck.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. And in such cases people have trouble coming to terms with what they know, that is the experience is contrived, as it ‘feels’ so real.

            In many ways feelings are more powerful motivators than thinking.

            Liked by 4 people

  7. Ark, I outlined my conversion in my book and I’m pretty sure I gave a brief description on your blog at some point, but briefly …

    I was NOT brought up in church. I was taken to the Catholic church when very young (5? 6?), primarily because my father’s family was Catholic (my mother was a non-believer). I briefly attended catechism as I got older, but I can assure you nothing “took.”

    My conversion was in no way the result of any “personal and /or emotional issue/upheaval” — unless one calls being “scared” into believing through reading the book of Revelation an “emotional” issue.

    When push comes to shove, I believe Christianity at its core is simply a way for people who (for various reasons) find themselves unable to face the inevitable trials and tribulations of living and thus must seek “outside assistance.”

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      1. Through my early teenage years I use to pray nightly that I would still be on the earth when Jesus returned. “Please Jesus let me live long enough to be here when you return.” The book of Revelation was an “emotional” issue for me.

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        1. I had not been exposed to True Christianity™ before reading this book of the bible. I don’t recall how I got started on it, but it sure left an impression!

          It was at the urging of my then mother-in-law that I visited the pastor of a local Pentecostal church to try and get an explanation of what it all meant. He told me you can’t understand the last chapter of a book until you’re read the first part. And of course, he proceeded to tell me about “Jesus.” And pow! The next thing you knew I was a bonafide Christian!

          Like

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