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Religious Experiences: Conversion

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Matthew Martin

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Religious Experiences: Conversion

Religious Experiences:
CONVERSION Lets start simple... What actually is a conversion religious experience? A Conversion Experience is.... When a person starts believing in God or converts from one faith to another. There are two different forms of a Conversion Experience? Violational
Non-Violational What is a violation Conversion Experience? But, what is a non-violational Conversion Experience? In these conversion experiences individuals consciously change themselves. Such conversions often occur over a period of time and may have no sharply defining moment except the point at which the individual becomes something / someone new.

They are often said to be intellectual conversions since they involve periods of study and thought. The conversion of St Augustine was volitional. In such cases the recipient is said to be changed by an external power. These are sometimes referred to as moments of “self surrender”. Such experiences may also be instant, or at least rapid, in contrast to the volitional experiences identified above. These experiences are taken to have a strong spiritual or supernatural element.

The conversion of Saul (St Paul) is an example of a non-volitional conversion. Consolidation Now, fill out the boxes that you know on you sheet There are many different forms of Conversion Experiences, each subjective and each can severely effect people. Intellectual
Coercive Intellectual Here the recipient of conversion goes through a period of intensive study- finding out about Christianity with little interpersonal contact with the religion or its followers. Mystical This type of conversion occurs suddenly and dramatically. It is often accompanied by dreams or visions. Experimental Here the recipient will engage in active exploration, assessing the religion over a period of time through participation before their conversion. Affectional In these conversion experiences the recipient will have contact and bond with actual members of Christianity. The experience of being loved and nurtured will contribute to their decision to convert. Coercive Obviously not common but this type of conversion does happen, mainly in Christian sects and not so much in mainstream Christianity. Here conversion happens as a result of persuasion and thought programming. Consolidation Now, fill out the appropriate sections DISCUSSION TIME
Opinions of the video? What is your opinion of the Conversion Religious Experience from Saul to Paul? Consider some of these points:
What type of conversion is it? Mystical, coercive etc...
Is it believable?
Is it likely to re-occur?
Is it violational or non-violational?
Was he a believer? Would this have an impact on the experience?
Are there any alternative explanations? It's time for the Strengths... Can you think of any? Key Characteristics There is a pattern of characteristics for Conversion Experiences, for example, they often happen over a long period of time. However, some of the most common characteristics are as follows:

People experiences tensions in their lives
People seek solutions within a religious perspective
Converts seek religion and something deeper
Converts perceive a turning point in their lives shortly before or concurrently with their encounter with the religious movement
The convert forms an affectional bond with the members of the religion which makes them feel accepted and able to overcome any personal conflicts There are many different similar characteristics: Inductive
They are common, as there many different forms and levels of conversion: Cumulative
Principle of Testimony and Credulity: Swinburne
Subjective! It can be a very deep and personal experience - possibly feeling 'ay one' with God.
Feelings of Awe, joy and happiness surely can't be bad. But what are the weaknesses? Subjective: They are so diverse and so personal, that is it really possible to understand them!
Bias: Who is not to say that they are seeing Ganesh or Vishnu, instead of The God of Classical Theism.
It seems that only theists get religious experiences - even Saul was a religious. He was a Jew.
Who is not to say that people just lie.
Doesn't work for the mentally ill or those on drugs Now for some Conversion Dominoes Change: Take Saul to Paul, he ultimatelty changed into a better man!
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