Religious Conversion, a Bio-Psychological Study

By Sante De Sanctis; Helen Augur | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
AFTER THE CONVERSION : THE BEHAVIOUR OF CONVERTS

THE conversional process has its culminating moments, its crises. All authors, no less than the autobiographers, endeavour to seize upon the phenomena of consciousness which immediately succeed these climaxes. Literature furnishes a considerable body of information upon this subject.

The convert experiences characteristic situations of consciousness; but these are not lasting. Their appearances are fitful; ultimately revealing, however, a profound mutation of his entire personality. He enters upon a new reality, for he now has a new interpretation and conception of reality. He realizes clearly that he is not an isolated member of the spiritual human family; and feels the reality of communion with all -- he is 'religious' in the etymological sense -- and participates in the solution of the mystery of communion with God, to whom he is united by the ties of filial veneration. This idea can be traced as early as St. John and St. Augustine, and it has received constant re-affirmation from all the converts whose testimonies I have collected. Conversion is the acquisition of a new sense, as Bossuet has said. The metaphor of the man born blind who finally gains sight has been used many times. The analyses of the psychologists have revealed various aspects of this new sense.

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