What is religious conversion?

First, the Wikipedia explanation:

Religious conversion is the adoption of new religious beliefs that differ from the convert’s previous beliefs. It involves a new religious identity, or a change from one religious identity to another. Conversion requires internalization of the new belief system. It implies a new reference point for one’s self identity and is a matter of belief and social structure—of both faith and affiliation.[1] This typically entails the sincere avowal of a new belief system, but may also present itself in other ways, such as adoption into an identity group or spiritual lineage. Conversion refers to changes from one religion to another, not to be confused with religious reaffiliation which refers to changes from one denomination to another within the same faith.[2] Examples of religious reaffiliation include switching from being Southern Baptist to Methodist (within Christianity) or from Sunni to Shiite (within Islam).

There are different types of religion conversion which include, active conversion which is the free agency, volitional choice to acquire new beliefs and religious identity,[3] marital conversion, Secondary conversion, Deathbed conversion, and Forced conversion

Jewish law guidelines for accepting new converts to Judaism are called “giyur.” 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 mitzvot and Jewish law. A convert must join the Jewish community, 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.

Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life.[1] Conversion to Christianity primarily involves belief (faith) in God, repentance of sin, acknowledgement of falling far short of God’s glory and holiness and confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the all-sufficient and only means by whom one’s sin can be atoned for and therefore the only route to salvation (John 14:6). While conversion to Christianity may simply involve a personal choice to identify with Christianity rather than with another religion, many Christians understand it to mean that the individual attains eternal salvation by a genuine conversion experience or act—a “radical transformation of self.”[2]

Conversion has also been described as the point of transition from “natural life” to spiritual life. In this sense it is seen as both a “radical change of heart and life” and also a more gradual process in which the convert’s spiritual nature develops through Christian culture and education.[3]

(Note: conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ lists the process of religious and spiritual conversion as, first, repentance, faith, baptism by one having authority (restored priesthood), laying on of hands for the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost. And the converted will have to be taught the true Gospel of Jesus Christ by LDS missionaries, confess sins, pray to know the LDS church is God’s true and restored church upon the earth, read and have a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration, a testimony of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.)


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