Conversion Experiences Overview

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Conversion Experiences
A conversion experience is classed as a case in which some experience of `divine truth' results in a
change to a religious way of life, such as Saul's conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus.
A conversion experience is often described as `transformative' as it often results in religion
becoming the central part of a person's life. An example of this radical change in ideas is
Siddhartha Gautama, who left his life of luxury as a prince and eventually achieved enlightenment.
Alternative Explanations
Conversion experiences often occur at times of great trauma and often occur in young adults or
adolescents who are trying to `find their place in the world'. Freud argued that people who had
these experiences often had difficult upbringings and theorised that they may not have had
parental love and affection and so form an attachment to something that will love them
unconditionally ­ God.
Conversion experiences hold authority as they, supposedly, come from God however, we have no
objective way of knowing if they are true experiences of God.
The individual may be deceiving themselves or the experience could be the result of stress or
Freud suggested psychological explanations for conversion experiences.


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