Susan Jacoby on Conversions, Both Profound and Practical

May 31, 2016

Host: Josh Zepps

In the literature about religious conversion, embracing a new faith is usually explained as being a profound and magical experience. A flash of light, a near death experience, an emotional new beginning; these are all common themes in religious conversion stories. But what about the less flashy stories of people who change their religious affiliation simply for reasons of practicality?

Point of Inquiry welcomes back bestselling, award-winning author Susan Jacoby to discus her new book, Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion, an exploration of the cultural, political and secular forces driving religious conversion in the western world. Jacoby argues that while spiritual revelation may be a motivator for some, the majority of religious conversions are far more often due to the secular components of an individual’s life.

Susan Jacoby was honored with a Center for Inquiry Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, and formerly served as the program director of CFI’s New York City branch.