Conversion And How It Relates To Religious Experience

948 words - 4 pages

Conversion and How it Relates to Religious Experience

Conversion has different meanings to different people, and there are
also many different ways to explain it. William James (who wrote ‘The
varieties of Religious Experience (1901)’) describes conversion as “To
be converted is to be regenerated, to receive grace, to experience
religion, to gain an assurance, are so many phrases which denote the
process….” What James is saying here is that conversion is to be
completely changed, to gain something you haven’t had before, to know
what it is like to take part in a faith, to be aware that you have a

When you say somebody is ‘converted’, as a has being a religious term,
it means that the person’s perception has being changed towards life,
the person now has religious aims which crate the regular core of
their energy. The dictionary definition for conversion is “A change
in which one adopts a new religion, faith, or belief” To me, this is
the easiest definition of conversion that you can get as it describes
conversion so clearly and it’s easy to understand. An example of
conversion is in Acts 9:1-19 where Saul(now known as St Paul) was
converted from being against Christians to actually being one and
preaching the word of God.

Bernard Lonergan is one of the greatest Catholic philosophers and
theologians of the 20th century. (He was a Canadian Jesuit priest)
Bernard Lonergan is the author of the book ‘Method in Theology’
(1972), Lonergan stated that “conversion always involves shifting
horizons” To Lonergan, horizon meant anything that set a limitation to
the things people find interesting and their knowledge. Beyond
horizons meant situations that we did not know about, as well as
situations that we did not care about. To Lonergan, conversion only
happens when ‘the horizons are broken through’

There are three main types of conversion: intellectual conversion,
moral conversion, and religious conversion.

Intellectual conversion is where an intense change in a person’s
attitude towards life/the world. The person is turning away from what
the situation look likes/what seems to be happening, to what the
situation actually is/what it actually looks like to a different
perspective-they now see the situation with wisdom, they now have more
intelligence to understand it.

Moral conversion is just changing from thinking to doing. When I say
from thinking to doing, I mean from judging,...

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