At the end of class today Nathan proposed the question "what makes a person adopt a new religion?" This question has stuck with me through this afternoon. As I have been contemplating this question I have reached the conclusion that there are a number of reasons why someone would choose to adopt a new religion. These include a desire to fit into a new society, sensing an opportunity for power, an act of rebellion, intuition or a profound feeling from the religion, or a need for something more or some sort of fulfillment. I'm sure people have other reasons for adopting specific religions as well but these seem to be the most obvious to me.
However, as I was compiling this list I thought about a point Nathan made in my Christian Traditions class. Regardless of the reason a person had to adopt a new religion it always involves a personal choice. No one ever simply falls into a religion. Conversions personal choices that are purposefully made. This shows a lot about the nature of religion. You must choose to believe in such a thing before you can adopt it. I have yet to actually figure out the repercussions of such a notion, but I can't help but shake the feeling that this is a really profound quality. I think it may have something to with the connection people feel with those who share in their religion. No matter what your purpose for conversion was, you must still possess a faith in that religion. This faith is something you share only with those of your religion; its a special connection only a select group of people have. This quality is constant through out every religion.
I'm not sure where this conclusion is taking me but I felt it was important to address in context of the question "what makes a person adopt a new religion?" All of the reasons I listed above could be driven by the desire to develop this spiritual connection with others in society as well as a spiritual connection with some higher power.