Monday, June 20, 2011

Conversion Stories

Every so often as I am slumming around the web, I come across a conversion story.  Occasionally, the conversion is from a position of non-belief to one of faith.  These confuse me.  Don't get me wrong, people convert to religions all the time, the fact that I think that they are mistaken to do so doesn't really matter.  They have nothing to prove to me.  The stories disturb me though, because there is something that is always just a little off about them. Take this one for example.  The guy starts out not believing in god, then gets into witchcraft and freaks out after he summons a demon.  A demon.  I am not joking.  Atheists, so far as I know, are not into witchcraft.  I mean, we are a pretty difficult group to classify, but nature gods seem to go out the same window as sky gods when it comes to not believing in any gods. This is an extreme (and I think silly) example, but there are quite a few stories out there that are similar.    The person starts out a "real hardcore atheist".  In this case he also killed his pet rabbit as a child (have you read the article yet?  I am not making this up).  I don't know.  I believe that people have religious experiences, or rather what they interpret as religious experiences.  But the way these always come across like "and then one day: Jesus." or "I came upon a bible passage and just kept repeating it."  On the one hand it sounds like they were in a rough spot and pulled themselves up, then giving the credit to the mystery.  On the other hand it sounds like they have drunk the Kool-Aid and they have learned afterwards what their conversion was about.  Of course, I can't say for sure.  It would be very presumptuous for me to walk up to someone and tell them what they feel.  And hey, maybe it is God talking to them through vague metaphor and random Bible passages, but I doubt it.  I mean I really doubt it.  Then, I am very skeptical.  If Jesus was descending from the sky on a golden chariot flanked by choirs of angels and whisking people away to paradise left and right, part of me would still say, "this is some sort of trick, right?"

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