The Transformed Self
William James (1902) defines conversions as “the process, gradual or sudden by which a self hitherto divided, consciously wrong, inferior and unhappy, becomes unified and consciously right, superior and happy in consequence of its firmer hold upon religious realities” (p. 157). For the majority of religious converts examined in this study, “religious realities” are quite narrowly perceived. They consist primarily of the promise of unconditional love and protection by a figure perceived as infallible. In most cases and irrespective of the particular framework in which the experience occurs, conversion is then the process through which a self threatened by intense negative emotions experiences relief and happiness as a consequence of its new attachment to a real or imagined figure.
KeywordsConversion Experience Religious Conversion Firm Hold Revival Experience Unconditional Love
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