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Author Topic:   Religious Conversions
Straggler
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Posts: 9949
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(2)
Message 1 of 97 (633139)
09-12-2011 6:15 PM


Religious Conversions
At the end of the Subjective Evidence of Gods thread a rather off-topic discussion regarding religious conversions started up. Chuck77 seems intent on the idea that hordes of Moslems are converting to Christianity. He also seems to think that the reverse (i.e. Christians converting to Islam) is a rarity. In this thread I would like to ask two questions:

1) What is the actual evidence regarding inter-faith conversions? Are there any reliable statistics on such things?

2) More importantly as far as I am concerned - Why does anyone think this matters? What does it tell us about the relative worth of different religions if people are converting from one to another?

Personally I have no frikkin idea who is converting from what to what. But I deeply suspect most of the main religions will be claiming converts in some sort of subjective pique of propaganda.

And as for why people convert - Well a myriad of reasons might make one faith more appealing than another to any given individual. But any suggestion that it has to do with the truth of one religion over another is, in the absence of any other evidence, surely just the fallacy of argumentum ad populum is it not?

So - Who is converting from what to what and why on Earth does anyone think it matters?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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AdminPD
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Message 2 of 97 (633141)
09-12-2011 6:48 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Religious Conversions thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9949
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 3 of 97 (633146)
09-12-2011 7:13 PM


Religious Conversions
Wiki on religious conversions seemed like an obvious place to start.

Wiki writes:

According to Guinness Book of World Records, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion by number of conversions each year

Plus a whole load of other data and statements which can no doubt add fuel to the fire here.

But still I ask - Why does it matter? What does the relative appeal of a particular religion tell us?


Replies to this message:
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Chuck77
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 4 of 97 (633147)
09-12-2011 7:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
09-12-2011 6:15 PM


Al-Gharib's conversion
Nice topic, I like it. I don't have any time right now for a lengthy response and look forward to delving into this. For now tho my friend(not really)Al-Gharib wanted to say a few things:

Within a three day period of reading the Holy Scriptures in the light and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit I was able to discover many of the answers I was looking for (i.e. the Trinity, the Deity of Jesus, his crucifixion, resurrection…). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit extended my spiritual sight to see beyond the natural realm like discerning about time and sights. Regarding Islam, I discovered overwhelming biblical prophecies that were bitter for me to swallow. The most shocking answer I received was about Allah. He is not God "Yhwh" of the Bible, but someone else

He has much more to say and looks forward for the oppurtunity to tell you why he believes christianity over Islam.

http://www.answering-islam.org/Testimonies/algharib.html

After all, this is part of his testimoney. And many many many more have testified to the same thing.

1) What is the actual evidence regarding inter-faith conversions?

See above.

2) More importantly as far as I am concerned - Why does anyone think this matters?

Geeez Straggs, don't be so inconsiderate of our new friend Al-Gharib. He's very sensitive and plus, I told him everyone here was nice and accepting of other people's faiths.

We have to run now, so take care and try to be a little more compassionate with people I bring around here


This message is a reply to:
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jar
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Posts: 24667
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 5 of 97 (633148)
09-12-2011 7:18 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Straggler
09-12-2011 7:13 PM


Re: Religious Conversions
It is a matter of importance when it comes to cash flow, religions that gain converts proper while those loosing converts see revenues go down. That is sometimes masked by very effective marketing among a decreasing support base, getting blood from the turnip.

The evidence though seems to show that in general, education reduces the acceptance of religions of all faiths, but those with a teaching that is totally counter to reality, ones like the Biblical Creationists see the greatest losses and so the trend is to try to set up avoidance systems to keep their members from exposure to reality.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Theodoric
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Posts: 4530
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 6 of 97 (633176)
09-12-2011 10:24 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Chuck77
09-12-2011 7:18 PM


Re: Al-Gharib's conversion
Again as I said on the previous thread, all you have are anecdotes. Why don't you go find some evidence that more people are converting to Christianity than are converting to Islam, Then come back and post something that supports your assertion.

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

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Straggler
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Posts: 9949
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 7 of 97 (633209)
09-13-2011 4:04 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Chuck77
09-12-2011 7:18 PM


Re: Al-Gharib's conversion
Is that it? Is that your indisputable evidence?

Over in the other thread you got very belligerent about the undeniable truth of your assertions. Simply because I questioned them you started subheading your posts with things like "Straggler is always right every time eternity infinity" and enlisting the support of RAZD to your conversion rate cause Message 444

Chuck writes:

Although there are MANY more muslims converting to christianity than the other way around I think it says something regardless don't you?

Straggler writes:

Is that actually true?

Chuck writes:

Yes, it is.

Chuck writes:

It's very true that more Muslims are converting to Christianity than Believers of Jesus Christ (Christians) are converting to Islam.

Chuck writes:

I said more muslims are converting to Christinaity than Christians are converting to Islam. How many times do you need this repeated? Apperantly many many times. Can you ever admit anything is true?????

I'll ask again - Is it true?

Please note that simply asserting something doesn't make it true. Please note that you simply repeating something doesn't make it true either. Please note that even the anecdotal evidence you have supplied in support of your claims has been shown to be dubiously sourced. (See Dr A reply in Message 458)

So do you have anything other than anecdotes? Because we could sit here all day quoting competing conversion anecdotes at each other but there wouldn't be much point because we can hopefully both agree that anecdotes are not evidence of your statistical claims. Right? Have you considered a simple Google on the topic more widely?

Wiki on religious conversions seemed like an obvious place to start.

Wiki writes:

According to Guinness Book of World Records, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion by number of conversions each year

And still you haven't answered my original question - Why do you think it actually matters who is converting from what to what anyway? Do you think it is indicative of the truth of a religion?

Is the Guinness book of records statement above evidence of the superior truth of Islam?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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DubyaDeeEm
Junior Member (Idle past 1009 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 09-09-2011


(1)
Message 8 of 97 (633401)
09-13-2011 10:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
09-12-2011 6:15 PM


Re: Religious Conversions
Straggler wrote

1) What is the actual evidence regarding inter-faith conversions? Are there any reliable statistics on such things?

It's really hard to know what the actual evidence is. Exact numbers I'm sure are impossible to come by, for good reason. Those who leave Islam are under a death sentence so most who leave (especially in Muslim countries) keep it secret if they possibly can. Mark Gabriel, a former professor of Islamic history and doctrine at the Al-Azar University in Egypt, was reminded of that after he told his father he had left Islam and become a Christian. His father immediately pulled out a gun and started shooting at him, he was lucky to escape with his life.

It's a little hard to get volunteers to come forward and share about their conversion experience when it will be fatal for them to do so.

"How many of you have left Islam this week? Come forward to be
beheaded"

That kind of puts a damper on proclamations of newfound faith in Christ in Islamic countries.

Here is a site with a few links on the masses of Muslims who are leaving the "religion of Peace":

http://www.hyscience.com/...ives/2006/01/are_muslims_lea.php

a couple of the links from that page:

This site says 6 million Muslims convert to Christ each year in Africa:

http://www.formermuslims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=972

2 million Russian muslims baptized into Christianity:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=513

As for those converting from Christianity to Islam, that only happens with people who were very nominal Christians - those who were not committed to Christianity at all in the first place. It's hard to imagine someone who understands what Christianity is (including the overwhemling evidence that it is THE only completely true system of belief out there), a belief that says "love your neighbor as yourself, love God above all, be true, fair, honest and honorable in everything that you do and say, and be at peace, if possible, with all men" . . .

.. choosing to abandon that belief system in favor of one that says, "kill anyone who refuses to convert to our belief, and kill anyone who leaves Islam. You are commanded to practice deceit in order to further the dominance of our belief system over the whole world, to subjugate everyone into subservience to the whims and sayings of a murderous 7th century pedophile "prophet" who teaches that the earth is supported on the backs of elephants standing on top of the backs of turtles and that drinking camel urine is a cure.

Nope, can't see it.

Mark Gabriel, during his time as a student, then graduate student and eventually a professor at Al-Azar University, was constantly struck by how wrong Islam seemed to him. How could the real God be one who loved evil, deception, treachery and violent murder? It just didn't seem right. Despondent, he actually had decided to leave Islam before he looked into Christianity BECAUSE Islam was so obviously wrong and opposite all that seemed right to him.

I just can't fathom that that would be a great number, compared to the reverse, and in fact, I challenge anyone to find one person who was a born-again Christian, who clearly lived his/her whole life for the purpose and mission of Christ for any length of time and then converted to Islam. You won't find even one.

But I can find you many who were deeply committed to Islam, living very circumspect and seeking fervently in every area of their life to follow the teaching of "the Prophet" to the letter, who are now glowing, thrilled, committed born-again Christians.

2) More importantly as far as I am concerned - Why does anyone think this matters? What does it tell us about the relative worth of different religions if people are converting from one to another?

Well, the funny thing is that those of us who believe what the Bible says understandably care if people are going to Heaven or Hell. It matters to us and encourages us to see people freed from the demonic chains of enslavement to a Satanically-inspired violent belief system (inside the Kingdom of Darkness) and instead delivered into the Kingdom of Light - loved, forgiven children of their Creator God.

It's exciting to see what God is doing. In a lot of the cases, from what I have heard from missions sources, God is appearing to a lot of these people in their dreams at night, telling them over and over in their sleep, "Jesus is the Son of God."

As far as the relative worth of different religions, you seem to ignore that the Darwinian/atheistic worldview/belief-system essentially is a religion as well, and if you want to compare the relative worth of one system of belief to another, I'd say a belief system that was the basis for over 100 million people dead or disappeared (in the Soviet Union/Eastern bloc over the past century as well as those who perished because of the Nazi rise to power in Germany) is going to look even worse than Islam in the "relative worth" department.

Just because you don't care if you leave this life forgiven or not doesn't mean most people don't care. In fact, most people DO want to have assurance that they are right with God before they leave this life for the afterlife. And it matters infinitely to God who is, apparently in some instances at least, personally enlightening those who diligently want to be following and obeying the Truth.

Personally I have no frikkin idea who is converting from what to what. But I deeply suspect most of the main religions will be claiming converts in some sort of subjective pique of propaganda.

I don't agree. Why would Christians point to conversion numbers to make their case when they have something far more compelling: the actual person and message of Jesus Christ himself and the forgiveness and peace He offers?

But any suggestion that it has to do with the truth of one religion over another is, in the absence of any other evidence, surely just the fallacy of argumentum ad populum is it not?

I disagree (see above arguments). And what "other evidence" would you want?


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Coragyps
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Posts: 5142
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 9 of 97 (633402)
09-13-2011 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by DubyaDeeEm
09-13-2011 10:03 PM


Re: Religious Conversions
as well as those who perished because of the Nazi rise to power in Germany

Who said "I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work" back in 1936, WDM?

Nazi /= atheist. Closer to = Lutheran. Try again.


"The Christian church, in its attitude toward science, shows the mind of a more or less enlightened man of the Thirteenth Century. It no longer believes that the earth is flat, but it is still convinced that prayer can cure after medicine fails." H L Mencken

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Wollysaurus
Member (Idle past 927 days)
Posts: 52
From: US
Joined: 08-25-2011


(1)
Message 10 of 97 (633404)
09-13-2011 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by DubyaDeeEm
09-13-2011 10:03 PM


Re: Religious Conversions
I have actually lived and worked in Muslim countries.

I think a reason a Christian might convert to Islam, at least at the outset, is because it seems much simpler. A simple declaration that there is only one God, and Muhammed is his prophet. Coupled with the relative simplicity of the five pillars (okay, six if you count Jihad) it can appear a much simpler, more straightforward alternative to Christianity.

Mind you, I learned that Islam is much more complex than I imagined, with a very rich tapestry of competing theologies, even within what we consider the two big factions, Sunni and Shiia. Obviously, this can lead to a great deal of bloodshed, both within the "boundaries" of Islam and directed against the infidels or apostates (who they refer to as "takfiri").

Of course, the social pressure a involved and the history of conversion (to live in a dimi status, pay a jizya, etc, or shed your old religion for societal and material comforts) come into play as well. It's not a simple story.

But you can find some similar trends in the history of Christianity as well, for example, Charlamagne's treatment of the pagan Saxons, or the conversions of Danes to gain favor with Alfred's Wessex.

Conversions, or their successes or failures, don't prove anything about who is right. The perceived gains (whether other worldly or in socio economic terms) play a huge role.

Added by edit:

Also, keep in mind that the convert does not have to "reject" Christ, but revere him as the prophet Isa upon conversion. Makes it a bit easier, I'm sure.

Edited by Wollysaurus, : No reason given.

Edited by Wollysaurus, : Autocorrect is the enemy

Edited by Wollysaurus, : No reason given.


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Chuck77
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 97 (633420)
09-14-2011 12:42 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Straggler
09-13-2011 4:04 AM


Re: Al-Gharib's conversion
Straggler writes:

I'll ask again - Is it true?

What kind of evidence would do you? Give me your address and i'll stop by with a converted Muslim ok? You won't trust any sources so whats the use for a thread?

Did you really need a whole thread to say "nanernaner it's not true chuck"?

This is from the one site I referenced at the other thread that Dr Adequate found fault with

'More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history. A spiritual revolution is underway throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As a result, a record number of ex-Muslims are celebrating Christmas this year, despite intense persecution, assassinations, and widespread church bombings'. These are the words of Joel C. Rosenberg, the author of the New York Times best selling political thriller."

If you have a problem with that email Mr. Joel C. Rosenberg whos name is on the line as we speak ok? Im sure him lying about this cannot be good for book sales, what do you think?

Author of the New York Times best selling political thrillers, THE LAST JIHAD (2002), THE LAST DAYS (2003), THE EZEKIEL OPTION (2005), and THE COPPER SCROLL (2006), more than one million copies in print, writes: "More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history."

http://www.salemvoice.org/news117.html

Related articles off that site include"related articles of: "Muslims turn to Christ" (article of the American Daily), "Persecution Harder Among Muslims Who Convert to Christianity, But Saved Souls Bring Great Joy to Believers" (news story of Assist News Service), "India: Islamic Extremist Threatens Christian Convert" (news story of the Compass Direct News), "Persecution harder; but saved souls bring great joy" (news story of SVM News), "Gospel to Muslims" (article of SVM), "Rehabilitation Center for the Persecuted Christians" (article of SVM), "6 Million Muslims LEAVE Islam every year" (Interview of AL-Jazeera satellite TV between Maher Abdallah and Shiekh Ahmed Katani) and
"Muslim converts face ostracism in France" (Zee News)..".

Maybe Dr Adaquate should stop assulting my character and do a little more research and also email that gentleman since he knows more than him. Has Dr Adaquate lived in the Mideast for three months as He, his wife and kids did? Im going to take Joel C. Rosenberg's word over Dr A's who spends all day online and calling everyone liars. How about you?

How many links/sources would you like? There are tons. Try reading a few instead of saying "is this true"?

How are we going to address this

Why do you think it actually matters who is converting from what to what anyway? Do you think it is indicative of the truth of a religion?

I think truth matters. Im not one to believe in relativism. My whole point about Islam/Christianity is to show that truth always wins out.

Mr Dawkins likes to always compare Islam to Christianity. He seems to think there is no difference and likens us to terrorists. Well, it seems there is a difference. Ask the converts.

Is the Guinness book of records statement above evidence of the superior truth of Islam?

Is the sheer number of non-Christians evidence that Christianity is not true? There are religions with bigger numbers obviously. Conversion rates favor Christianity more than others.

Where would you like to go with this thread exactly?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2137
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 12 of 97 (633423)
09-14-2011 12:50 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by DubyaDeeEm
09-13-2011 10:03 PM


Re: Religious Conversions
In case you need a translation for Coragyps' reply: Nazi (ie, Nazionalsozialistisch) does not equal "atheist". Rather, it comes closer to equaling Lutheran.

After all, consider Luther in the process of the creation of the Reformation. Early on, he sought to reach out to the Jews, to draw them in. But when they refused to convert, Luther's rhetoric became very anti-Semitic.

Yet, as I understand it, Hitler was a Catholic. Circa 1934, he had negotiated an agreement with the Catholic Church, the Reichskonkordat, which remains in effect to this day and was used in the mid/late-1980's to prosecute dissidents against Catholic views on birth control for blasphemy.

At the very least, Nazi forces all marched into the field under the same banner: Gott mit uns ("God is with us").

Nazis were far more Christian than they were atheist. Incredibly far more so.

Now, what are the numbers of those deconverting from Christianity? 60% to 80% of those children raised on fundamentalist Christianity. And most of them are not converting to another form of Christianity (which is the primary source of fundamentalism's numbers in Catholic countries), but rather giving up on religion altogether.

Sources of new members is one thing. The hemorraging of current members is an entirely different thing. What is the net flow? And how long can you keep it up?


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12751
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 13 of 97 (633440)
09-14-2011 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Chuck77
09-14-2011 12:42 AM


Re: Al-Gharib's conversion
What kind of evidence would do you? Give me your address and i'll stop by with a converted Muslim ok?

If you had claimed that one Muslim had converted to Christianity, that would indeed be sufficient evidence --- if anyone had doubted you.

This is from the one site I referenced at the other thread that Dr Adequate found fault with ...

I did. Because they were making claims that were untrue, as I demonstrated. In 1990, there were more than 0 Christians in Uzbekistan, and more than 3 in Kazakhstan. Since (whether through design or incompetence) they publish falsehoods, it would be prudent not to believe them.

Maybe Dr Adaquate should stop assulting my character and do a little more research and also email that gentleman since he knows more than him. Has Dr Adaquate lived in the Mideast for three months as He, his wife and kids did? Im going to take Joel C. Rosenberg's word over Dr A's who spends all day online and calling everyone liars. How about you?

I do not, of course, spend all day on line, nor do I call everyone liars.

As for Joel C. Rosenberg, where is he getting his figures from? Having "lived in the Mideast for three months" would not by itself allow him to gauge the number of conversions from one religion to another. After all, I've spent a lot more than three months in the USA, but that gives me absolutely no basis for any quantitative claims about what proportion of people there are converting to what.

You should think more carefully about this. If I told you that I'd lived over two years in the USA, and that more American Christians were converting to Islam than vice versa, would you really take the truth of the first statement as a guarantee or even an indication of the truth of the second?

Finally, I would point out that my post was about Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, which are not in the Middle East. Even if Joel C. Rosenberg's holiday in the Middle East really has made him an expert in that region, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are not in fact part of that region.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12751
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 14 of 97 (633441)
09-14-2011 3:00 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by dwise1
09-14-2011 12:50 AM


Re: Religious Conversions
Now, what are the numbers of those deconverting from Christianity? 60% to 80% of those children raised on fundamentalist Christianity.

Your turn to justify your figures.

Source for the goose is source for the gander ...


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12751
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 15 of 97 (633442)
09-14-2011 3:09 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by DubyaDeeEm
09-13-2011 10:03 PM


Re: Religious Conversions
It's really hard to know what the actual evidence is.

A sensible answer.

As for those converting from Christianity to Islam, that only happens with people who were very nominal Christians - those who were not committed to Christianity at all in the first place.

And you know that how?

.. choosing to abandon that belief system in favor of one that says, "kill anyone who refuses to convert to our belief, and kill anyone who leaves Islam. You are commanded to practice deceit in order to further the dominance of our belief system over the whole world, to subjugate everyone into subservience to the whims and sayings of a murderous 7th century pedophile "prophet" who teaches that the earth is supported on the backs of elephants standing on top of the backs of turtles and that drinking camel urine is a cure.

Er ... you made a lot of that up. Especially the bit about elephants.

I just can't fathom that that would be a great number, compared to the reverse, and in fact, I challenge anyone to find one person who was a born-again Christian, who clearly lived his/her whole life for the purpose and mission of Christ for any length of time and then converted to Islam. You won't find even one.

Well, I've yet to meet anyone "who clearly lived his/her whole life for the purpose and mission of Christ". So I guess they would be a bit thin on the ground. But certainly their are ex-Christian fundies who are now Muslims.

As far as the relative worth of different religions, you seem to ignore that the Darwinian/atheistic worldview/belief-system essentially is a religion as well, and if you want to compare the relative worth of one system of belief to another, I'd say a belief system that was the basis for over 100 million people dead or disappeared (in the Soviet Union/Eastern bloc over the past century as well as those who perished because of the Nazi rise to power in Germany) is going to look even worse than Islam in the "relative worth" department.

I guess you'd say a lot of silly things. But this is hardly on topic.

I don't agree. Why would Christians point to conversion numbers to make their case when they have something far more compelling: the actual person and message of Jesus Christ himself and the forgiveness and peace He offers?

You'll have to ask Chuck that, he's the Christian who is doing so.


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