So You Studied Your Way Into Your Religion?
As if to add credibility to a conversion skeptics often hear from religious zealots that they “studied their way into their religion“. At least half the time the claim isn’t even true to any real extent that would lend academic kudos to the conservative believer. But, occasionally one comes across someone who at least in their representation of themselves, has undergone a long and arduous journey involving years to decades of study, existential turmoil and argumentative strife finding resolution at the pinnacle in a conversion experience. Just today, I attended a liberal synagogue where a more orthodox minded Christian-turn-Jew told me their wonderful and compelling story of becoming a Jew after a decade and a half of this grueling process of study. I admire this sort of devotion, which has at least taken the time and energy to sort itself out to the best of it’s ability, but I find even this sort of conversion problematic.
I frequent Christian Bible studies with older men who look at me and say that in their younger years they had questions as well, but that their existence today as conservative Bible believing Christians should give me a personal premonition of what my fate will be IF I truly follow the truth with my whole heart.
This Christian-turn-orthodox-Jew seemed totally adamant that she came to her position today because of her hunger and drive for truth.
Additionally, I have met Christians turned Muslims, I have seen internet groups for Christians turned Hindus, I have met Christians turned Buddhist, and I have met Christians turned atheist. All who came to be what they are for their zeal towards intellectual honesty.
Does the fact that someone changed their mind about something that radically defined them as a person through study and struggle REALLY validate their process and conclusions? Surely, it gives them more credit than your average pew potato, but should it really convince me that him or her or you came to believe the dogmas of this or that religion through a long hall of exploration and even pain?
I assert that whatever credibility this adds to the potential of the converts conversion being the right decision, it is so minimal as to hardly weigh in the scales of consideration for whether or not a claim is true.
So please, I appreciate your story. It really does interest me. I do enjoy hearing it. But, if your going to try to convince me on the spot, save me the pious bullshit. Stick to the evidence, the arguments and the facts and don’t serenade me with your biography as a red herring against the point I just made!
Let me know what you think in the comment box below
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