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A Cognitive Psychology Perspective On Religious Conversion As Told In The Gospels

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Chapter Summary

This chapter intends to approach religious conversion from the perspective of cognitive and social psychology, describing those mechanisms and mental processes at the basis of a socially and culturally complex behavior such as that of religious conversion. As a model of conversion the chapter mainly refer to some pericopes and sayings drawn from the Gospels. The chosen textual reference has, therefore, a paradigmatic relevance from a historical-cultural point of view. A first interpretation model of the conversion process as narrated by the Gospels is that according to which there would be a mechanism that involves, as its first step, the acknowledgment of a supreme being at the origin of all that exists. The fact that in Gospel stories conversion implies a social competence has as a consequence that the believer's faith is not measured on doctrinal and magisterial knowledge, but on the empathic ability of recognizing other people's needs.

Keywords: cognitive psychology; Gospels; religious conversion



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