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Thursday, May 15, 2014

What is "Conversion"?

Photo by: Photokanok

Boko Haram says that many of the girls they kidnapped have converted to Islam. In the book, In the Land of Blue Burqas (reviewed here), I learned some interesting facts about Islam. One of them was how to become a Muslim. I would like to share some facts about different religious conversions with you.

Islam—Conversion is “taking the Shahadatyn pillar.” All one needs to do is to recite a prescribed statement of belief: that Allah is the only god and Muhammed is his messenger. In English, this confession is seventeen words long. Say it, and one becomes a Muslim.

Buddhism—Conversion consists of refraining from five things: killing, stealing, lying, being drunk, and improper sexual conduct. These works make a person a Buddhist. Later, one can add more restrictions, but these are the basics.

Judaism—“What  is necessary to convert to Judaism may vary in detail from rabbi to rabbi, but a period of study is central to the conversion process. This study would not only familiarize the prospective convert with the basic beliefs and practices of Judaism, but it would also help him or her integrate into the actual community. . . . Once this slowly happens it will be possible to assess how far the conversion has really gone. There is nothing miraculous here, simply an educational process that every rabbi needs to evaluate until his or her subjective criteria are met. Then there are of course ritual aspects to formalize matters which I would strongly encourage that they be done. In the Reform rabbinate the requirement of ritual bath and circumcision will vary from rabbi to rabbi.” (Rabbi Alex Lilenthal) Conversion to Judaism seems to be a process of education, religious involvement, and determined by individual rabbis.

Shintoism is more of a mindset and it includes rituals of cleansing with water, wearing amulets, etc. It doesn’t involve conversion, as its practices are not defined.

Hinduism—Conversion doesn’t seem possible. A person is not Hindu without caste, which basically means one is born into it. "You can change your religion, but never caste. Even if you are an nth generation Christian or Muslim, you have to have a caste identity when you revert to Hinduism.” (Tamil Nadu, convert to Hinduism)

And, there are many more –isms out there!

How does one, in great contrast to the above religions, become a Christian?

Christian is a term that was first used in Antioch for the disciples of Jesus. (Acts 11:26) A Christian is a follower of Christ, someone who believes in Him.

Nicodemus went to Jesus wanting to know about his soul. Jesus told him, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:3b-6, 9, 13-18).

We know that Nicodemus believed in Jesus, because we see him again after Jesus’ death, making sure Jesus had a proper burial. (John 19:39)

The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ is summed up in three facts:
  1. The death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins.
  2. His burial.
  3. His resurrection.

To be born again, one must put his faith in the fact that Jesus died as his substitute—to pay the penalty for his sins. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

Being born again makes us completely different. When someone is born again, he knows it in his heart.
  • Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16).
  • These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).

Being a Christian is not a religion.
  • A religion is man trying to please or appease God/gods. Christianity is God saving man.
  • Religion is works. Christianity is by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Religion depends on man. Christianity depends on Jesus.

Have you been born again? Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Research on religions from:


  1. The most important of topics - I hope this is a help to people.

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I agree. Our souls are the most important things in the world!


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