Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Conversion Story

About every week here in Germany, there is a page five story about more immigrants or refugees which have converted from Islam to Christianity.  It might be eight lines.....maybe even twenty lines with a quote or two from the attendees.

This week, I read a comment by a Islamic scholar who was concerned that Islamic parents were converting, and bringing their child along with them.  The scholar insisted that a child should not be "forced" into another religion, and should stick with the original religion until age eighteen.  He didn't really explain how the newly converted Christian parents would continue to bring up Islamic "Joe" the kid.

The actual numbers of conversion?  Unknown, and the German government....frankly....does not want to ask this question or get into any discussion over religion.  It's a personal stay like you are, or you convert.....but you do this on your own time and decision-making process.

If you asked me to take a guess.....probably less than 200 Muslims convert a month across Germany.  It's simply based a story I saw late last year and one Christian minister noted he'd converted 30-odd refugees in the past quarter (in some 'burb' of Berlin, if memory serves me).  So I'm guessing on this mostly across all of Germany.

Why a conversion?

Well, there are two ways of approaching this.

First, a number of Muslims are from various countries which aren't Iraqi or Syria....and they want a better chance of a permanent visa to stay in Germany.  So they think that by presenting themselves as a Christian.....they won't be sent back to the old country (of a Muslim origin).  It does make sense, but it puts you into hot water if any friends or associates find out about your conversion.

Second, an awful lot of Muslims grew up in a system which they simply didn't agree with but had no plan B or other opportunity. So, when standing in Germany and noting the freedom of religion....especially in integration have a chance to ask stupid questions and feel some conviction to the 'other' religion.

A major trend?  No.  You have to remember that twenty-odd thousand Germans quit their religion every year and it's a country under constant spiritual change.  Even Scientology operates in Germany today (they often up up info stands in shopping districts to attract potential new members).

I sat in Wiesbaden last year and observed some older Muslim gal (in her fifties) who'd stopped at a Scientology stand and was getting the five-minute orientation speech.  I think she was just amazed that other religions would put up a info shop in a public place.

So, it's just a trend....nothing more.  But if you were an Islamic scholar and you figured out that a couple thousand were converting over each year, and there was an upward might bother you.  Course, you wouldn't go and ask your members what their anxiety was about, or if they were demoralized about behavior within the religion, or have a Q and A with younger members who are cynical about the old country values and cultural landscape.  You'd just continue on with plan-A.

It is as I've noted on numerous occasions....a very tough atmosphere for some extreme conservative to survive and flourish under their religious principals.  Germans are progressive, liberal, and accepting of a lot of wild behavior.

So, when you see this stories of's really not big numbers or anything to brag about.  But if you were a religious scholar and worried about your flock decreasing.....every single conversion is a problem you can't get around.

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