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date: 27 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A useful way of reviewing the different understandings of conversion is to examine conversion in connection with the spread of religions through propagation and conversion. Three religions in particular, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, have been the most missionary of the world religions. This chapter considers conversion in the light of the historic spread of these three religions. Their spread is viewed social scientifically as being the result of a set of causes: three internal religious causes (belief in a central human figure giving access to God, moral energy based on the offer of compassion and salvation, ability to gather and organize people,) and four external social causes (opportunity to make religious choices, intersocietal relationships, social relationships, motivations). The ways in which these religions spread and the causes for their spread affect the various ways in which conversion may be understood, especially in the level of volition in conversion.

Keywords: Keywords: conversion, propagation, spread of religions, missionary, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, volition

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