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Transformative Religious Experience
A Phenomenological Understanding of Religious Conversion
  • By Joshua Iyadurai
What makes a priest of one religion become a preacher of another religion? How could a person embrace a religion suddenly that he or she had up to then opposed? Why would young women risk their reputation and endanger their lives for the sake of newfound faith? How could an alcoholic detest a sip of wine all of a sudden? What drives an atheist to become an ardent worshiper of God? How could an intelligent person relate to God as to an adult human being? Transformative Religious Experience answers these questions with fascinating narratives of conversion. These narratives together show how the transforming effects of conversion permeate the daily lives of converts in a multireligious context. Joshua Iyadurai analyzes psychologically the mystical turning point in the conversion process and finds that the divine-human encounter entails a cognitive restructuring: a new set of beliefs, values, and desires replaces previously held religious beliefs, values, and desires. By drawing insights from the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and theology, Iyadurai develops an interdisciplinary step model from a phenomenological perspective to explain the conversion process that incorporates the religious practices and social-psychological factors while giving a central place to religious experience. ""Iyadurai allows us to hear the firsthand stories of Indian Christian converts, whose transformative religious experience has positively changed their lives and enlarged their world. These stories challenge popular assumptions of conversion, adaptation, witness, and service, and contribute to academic discourses on conversion."" --Daniel Jeyaraj, Liverpool Hope University ""Iyadurai has given us the gift of these conversion stories drawn from the religiously complex subcontinent of India with its plethora of religions and complexities of castes. In doing so, he helps us understand the complex nature of conversion in our own cultural setting. Iyadurai gives voice to the converts themselves, letting them tell their own stories in all their richness and messiness, and only then does he step in as a theologically trained social scientist to help us interpret the process of conversion. This is a fine book, rich in insight and based on research, which anyone engaged in the ministry of evangelism should read."" --Richard V Peace, Fuller Theological Seminary ""This beautifully written and compelling book is rooted within the matrix of the vast and complex world of contemporary India. Iyadurai joins the ranks of scholars like William James who remind us that conversion is first and foremost an experience of real people who are captivated by transcendent forces that both shatter and reshape lives."" --Lewis R. Rambo, San Francisco Theological Seminary ""A well-researched study on a crucially relevant theme. 'Amazing' was a reaction both Joshua and I had as he would narrate these moving experiences. Besides gathering over one hundred and thirty accounts of unexpected and deeply transforming conversion experiences, often in the most unlikely settings, the author has developed a convincing theoretical framework for a wider grasp of this phenomenon."" --Joe Mannath, University of Madras Joshua Iyadurai is the Director of Marina Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion, Chennai. He is Guest Faculty at the University of Madras, a state university, in Chennai, India.

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  • Additional Details
    • SKU: 9781620327463
    • Manufacturer: Pickwick Pubn
    • Language of Text: English
    • ISBN 13: 9781620327463
    • Publication Date: 04/01/2015
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Joshua Iyadurai
    • Page Count: 278
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