On-line Literature on Conversion between Religions

On-line literature collected, screend and commented by Mogens S. Mogensen.

Anthony, Dick & Thomas Robbins, "Conversion and 'Brainwashing' in New Religious Movements"
This article, which was later pubhlished in a revised edition in The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, ed. by James R. Lewis (2004), focuses on involuntary conversion from the perspective of the brainwashing theory. The article gives a summary of the research and presents a critique of it. Download.

Robert J. Barro and Jason Hwang, "Religious Conversion in 40 Countries" (2007)
The study concludes that ”Empirical findings for a panel of countries accord with several hypotheses: religious-conversion rates are positively related to religious pluralism, gauged by adherence shares; negatively related to government restrictions on religious conversion; positively related to levels of education; and negatively related to a history of Communism. Conversion rates are not much related to per capita GDP, the presence of state religion, and the extent of religiosity. Effects from the type of religion adherence are minor, except for a negative effect from Muslim adherence.”  Download.

Blouin, Samuel, Rethinking Conversion: Beyond the religious and the secular. (European University Institute Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Relgiowest. Working Paper 2016)
”Therefore, I posit that “religion without conversions” (understood as purely individual change) gave way to “conversions without religion” which implies that religion has been downplayed to the status of one of many possible kinds of convictions. This proposition should be understood less as a descriptive statement than a working hypothesis that could bring about fruitful ways of rethinking the phenomen on of conversion. I argue that there is no sociological reason a priori to study conversions involving religious, sexual, political and philosophical convictions as separate phenomena. Focusing on religious identity change fails to acknowledge the variety of conversions thattake place in the contemporary world.” Download.

Box, Rogier, Conversion Converted
The article summaries an article with the same name by Brad Kallenberg and his book
"Live to Tell - Evangelism for a Postmodern Age", both of which contain an evangelical redeninition of conversion in a postmodern contest. Download.

Brice, Kevin, A Minority within a Minority. A Report on Converts to Islam in the United Kingdom (Faith Matters, 2011)
The survey estimates that in 2010 5.200 people in Great Britain converted to Islam, and that the total number of converts in 2010 reached 100.000. Download.

Bromley, Bromley,  Brainwashing and Conversion
David G. Bromley, "A Tale of Two Theories: Brainwashing and  Conversion as Competing
Political Narratives", i Benjamin Zablocki and Thomas Robbins (eds.), Misunderstanding Cults.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001, 318-348. Læs mere.

Calvert, Pamela, "Media and Metanoia. Documentary 'Impact' through the Lens of Conversion" (2003)
The article discusses the relation between communication and conversion, or rather attempts to undersand religtious communication through the media from modern conversion theories.  Download.

Conversion to Judaism


Converts to Islam
A website designed especialy for converts to Islam. Read more.

Current Dialgue 50 Februar 2008
This issue is devoted to the discussion of conversion. The issue contains documents from two conferences held in Lariano 2006 and Toulouse 2007 organised by The Pontifical Council ofr Interreligious Dialogue and the Programme on Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches. Download.

Duin, Julia, "Daring Leaps of Faith" (The Washington Times)
Interviews and stories about converts from Islam to Christianity in the US. Download.

Dwarswaard, Esther, Proselytism and Conversion Zeal (Paper July 2010)
"Proselytism confronts Western development workers in various ways. They may be confronted with national and international missionary activities from mostly Christian and Islamic organisations. In those cases, power plays an important role in these activities: not only in a financial way, but also psychologically. Especially in non-stable multi-religious settings these missionary activities may contribute to increasing conflicts between (religious/ethnic) groups. On the other hand, Western development workers from Faith Based Organisations may be falsely accused of converting the people they work for. In order to prevent these accusations, religious development organisations should either conceal their religious inspiration, or be completely open about it, depending on the circumstances they work in. If they choose an open attitude, it may help to use and internalize ethical guidelines." Download.

Guzik, Elysia, "The Search for Meaning: Information Seeking and Religious Conversion". Paper presented
"Based on a search for peer-reviewed articles and conference proceedings in the major library and information science (LIS), religious studies, anthropology, and sociology databases, this paper includes what Marci a J. Bates has called a “rigorous systematic bibliography”(1976). I identify ways in which the concept of information seeking in the religious conversion process has been presented in the literature under subject terms, incombination with keyword searching." Download.

How to Become a Jew
En kort guide for dem, der overvejer at konvertere til jødedommen. Læs mere.

How to Convert to Islam and Become a Muslim
"The steps a person needs to take to accept Islam as his/her religion, enter its fold, and become a Muslim". Read more.

Ijuzu, Christopher I, "Conversion" in Traditional African Religions
Ijuzu discusses in this article, if you many talk about conversion in t raditional African religions. Download.

Inaba, Keishin , "Conversion to New Religious Movements" (2004)
This article by the Japanese sociologist of religion at Kobe University Keishin Inaba contains a reassessment of the Lofland/Skovnod conversion motifs and the Lofland/Start conversion process. Download.

Ipgrave, Michael, Reflections on Conversion in Interfaith Context
Michael Ipgrave, der er anglikansk præst med stor erfaring omkring dialog og mission i England, giver en spændende redegørelse for en række problematikker i forbindelse med omvendelse i dialogen mellem religionerne, hvor man ofte tager afstand fra eller forbigår omvendelse. Download.

James, William, The Variety of Religious Experience
Read (most of) the classic on conversion by William James online. William James - biography
is a 5-pages biography of William James with a short summary of his theories on conversion. Download.

Jindra, Ines W., "How Religious Content Matters in Conversion Narratives to Various Religious Groups". Sociology of Religion - a Quarterly Review 72(3):275-302.
"My aim in this article is two-fold. Based on the detailed discussion of three case studies originating from an interdisciplinary comparative analysis of 50 narrative biographical interviews with converts to the Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, Christianity, Unitarian Universalists, and Baha'i in the Midwestern United States, and the data of this larger study, I intend to analyze first how converts’ motives (“push factors”) and reasons for conversion (“pull factors”) (Allievi 1999) interact to form trajectories which differ from group to group. Secondly, some preliminary findings regarding “life course agency” and network influence are offered. After a discussion of the state of research on conversion and a description of the methodology, the three case studies and findings from the larger study will be highlighted, followed by a presentation of factors that studies of conversion should take into account."  Download.

Kraft, Kathryn Ann, Searching for Heaven in the Real World: A Sociological Discussion of Conversion in the Arab World (2013). Review by Duane Alexander Miller
"Kathryn Kraft’s book is a study of groups of converts from Islam to Christianity in Egypt and Lebanon. Working in the field of sociology of religion, she attempts to analyse and understand the consequences of the decision to leave Islam and embrace a Christian faith. ... In making the dangerous and difficult move of converting they are hoping for heaven on earth, but in fact meet with disappointment on multiple levels. They are disappointed by churches that don’t welcome them, by missionaries who are overbearing or pastors who are disconnected, they are alienated from their (Muslim) families and nations, they are disappointed by the intolerance of Islamic law, and so on ..." Download.

Kreider, Alan, "Conversion and Culture in Early Christianity"
Alan Kreider analyses how the understanding and praxis of conversion was in the church in the first centuries. Download.

Leone, Massimo, "Religious Conversion and Identity. The Semiotic Analysis of Texts."

Lerer & Mayer, In the Footsteps of Ruth: A Sociological Analysis of Conversion to Judaism among American Jews
A research report from a research project on conversion to Judaism in the United States. Theire hypothesis is that conversion to Judaism contains two separate dimensions, a religious and a socio-cultural dimension. Download.

Lerner, Natan, Proselytism, change of religion, and international human rights
This 38 pages long article gives an excellent introduction to the field of conversion, apostacy, proselytism, evangelisation, mission and human rights (the article is printed in Emory International Law Review, 12, 1, pp. 478-561). Download.

Malony, Henry Newton, "The Psychology of Religious Conversion" (1998)
An interesting introduction to the psychology of religious conversion by a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, presented in a short 4-page paper at a conference on "Religious Freedom and the New Millennium", in Tokyo, Japan, 1998. Download,

Månsson, Anna, Becoming Muslim. Meanings of Conversion to Islam
Introduction to the book with an abstract. Read more.

Mason, John Edwin, ""Some Religion He Must Have": Slaves, Sufism and Conversion at the Cape"
Paper presented at a seminar i Georgia in 1999. "The more we learn about the role sufism played in the growth and consolidation of Islam at the Cape, the more probable it seems that we must revise our understanding of the grounds for and meaning of conversion." Read more.

Meral, Ziya, No Place to Call Home. Experiences of Apostates from Islam. Failures of the International Community (Christians Solidarity Worldwide, 2008)
This report calls on Muslim nations, the international community, the UN and the international media to resolutely address the serious violations of human rights suffered by apostates. Download.

Mendosa, Flores & Sarah Haioty, and Harun Gadzo,  "Fools Rush In: Where Faith, Race, and Fundamentalism Intersect in Denmark's Convert Communities " (2008) A 20 page paper on conversion between Islam and Christianity in Denmark.

Miller, Duane Alexander, Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians (PhD draft 2013)
Duane Alexander Miller has submitted his PhD dissertation on conversion of Muslims to Christianity and their theology-making. "Since the 1960’s there has been a marked increase in the number of known conversions from Islam to Christianity. This thesis asks whether certain of these ex-Muslim Christians engage in the process of theology-making and, if so, it asks what these theologies claim to know about God and humans’ relation to God." He argues "that ex-Muslim Christians are engaged in theology-making, that areas of interest to them include theology of the church, salvation and baptism, and that the dominant metaphor in these theologies is a conceptualization of love and power that sees the two divine traits as inseparable from each other; they represent a knowledge about who God is and what he is like, which, in their understanding, is irreconcilable with their former religion, Islam.". Download dissertation draft.

Paloutzian, Raymond F.  & James T. Richardson and Lewis R. Rambo, "Religious Conversion and Personality Change". Journal of Personality 67,6, 2011

Popp-Baier, U., "Narrated Embodied Aims. Self-transformation in Conversion Narratives - A Psychological Analysis".
The author uses Peter Stromberg' theories on conversion as an attachment om the convert's story to a religious canon in an analysis of the story of a convert to charismatic Christianity.  Read more.

Price, Kevin, A minority within a Minority. A Report on Converts to Islam in the United Kingdom (Faith Matters 2011)
According to the report, in 2010 5200 people converted to Islam, bringing the total of converts to islam in Great Britain to about 100.000. Download.

Rambo, Lewis, "The Psychology of Religious Conversion" (1998)
A short lecture delivered at a Conference on "Religious Freedom and the New Millenium" in Berlin, Germany, May 29-31, 1998. Download.

Religious Conversion
Article in dictionary with brief survey on conversion i various religions.Read more.

Religious Conversion Bibliography
An up-to-date (2003) 80 page religious conversion biography (pdf), covering theoretical perspectives, ancient world, medieval world, conversions in many geographical areas, Jews, Muslims and modernity. Download.

Romain, Jonathan A. , Guide for Those Considering Conversion
Ten pieces of advice for those considering conversion, developed by the author of the book "Your God Shall Be My God. Religious Conversion in Britain Today" (2000), Jonathan Romain, who himself is a Jew. Download.

Sebastian, J. Jayakiran, "A Fresh Look at the Issue of Conversion and Baptism in relation to Mission"
Jayakiran of Gurukul Seminary endeavours to to situate and problematize various issues in relation to baptism, conversion, and mission in India today.In his conclusion he writes, that "Avoiding superficiality which skims the surface without dirtying oneself, a fresh look at these questions demands of us a faith commitment to the source of renewal, to that lonely and betrayed person, whose own baptism in the river Jordan, was a symbol of his commitment to being a part of messy human existence. Download.

The Conversion Crisis: The Current Debate on Religion, State and Conversion in Israel
"The current controversy surrounding pending Knesset legislation barring non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism in Israel is only the most recent attempt to determine by pre-state custom, legislation, judicial decision, or political compromise the definition and expression of Jewishness and Judaism in the Jewish State."
Læs mere.

Theology, News and Notes: Conflicting Understandings on Christian Conversion (2003)
May 2003 issue of Theology, News and Notes, from Fuller Theological Seminary, is a special issue on conversion edited by Richard V. Peace. It contains articles by Gordon T. Smith ("Making Sense of Conversion"), Richard V. Peace ("Conflicting Understandings of Christian Conversion"), Brad J. Kallenberg ("The 'P'-word - Conversion in a Postmodern World"), Andrew Wingate ("Converting away from Christianity"), Newton Malony (Conversion as 'Psycholingtusitic Labeling'"), Lewis R. Rambo ("Researching Religious Conversion") and others. Download.

Trade and the Spread of Islam in Africa
A short survey article on the conversion of Africans to Islam. Read more.

World Council of Churches and the Vatican, Codes of Conduct for Conversion 
The World Council of Churches and the Vatican have started to cooperate in order to develop guidelines for conversion between religions - with a view to including representatives of other religions. The study project is entiteled "Interreligious reflection on conversion: from controversy to a shared code of conduct". Read more.

Yang, Fengang,"Chinese conversion to evangelical Christianity: the importance of social and cultural contexts" (1998)
A study of Chinese converts to evangelical Protestantism in the United States is based on interviews and ethnographic observations in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. Download.

Zock, Hetty, "Paradigms in Psychological Conversion Research. Between Social Science and Literary Analysis"
"In this essay I focus on the contribution of the psychology of religion, in which conversion has long been an important subject. ...  First, I trace the theoretical changes in psychological conversion research by looking at how and why psychologists of religion ‘convert’ from one theory, approach or view of conversion to another, with a particular focus on ruling paradigms and their relations to the scientific, societal, cultural and religious contexts.  .. Second, I argue that the paradigm emerging in current psychological conversion research – what I call the biographical-narrative paradigm – offers a promising perspective for an interdisciplinary study of conversion in a pluralistic context, combin- ing literary, historical and social-scientific approaches." Download.


Articles in English by Mogens S. Mogensen:

Migration and Conversion. The Conversion of Immigrants in a Danish Context (2007)
In Thormod Engelsviken & Thor Strandenæs (eds.), Mission to the World. Communicating the Gospel in the 21st Century.  Essays in Honour of Knud Jørgensen. Download.

Conversion between Islam and Christianity in a Danish Context
A paper presented at a conference in Aarhus in May 2002. Later printed as
Mogensen, Mogens S. Mogensen, "Conversion between Islam and Christianity in a Danish Context". In Theology and the Religions. A Dialogue, Viggo Mortensen. Pp. 287-317. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 2003. Download.