I like to convert people. Not to my religion, just to a different religion from the one they believe now. It’s fun. It’s challenging. And it keeps me in trouble, which, for this excitement junkie is a good thing.
Ever tried something like that? Probably not. But just in case you decide to take up this hobby, here’s a quick lesson on how it’s done.
First, start out asking questions about what the target believes. If he or she is a passionate true believer, it’ll be easy to get him to talk. Look him in the eye, smile and intermittently say “so true!”
“I agree completely!” you add. “We must know the truth and get down to its very essence, as I see you have.”
Then start recapping accurately his religious beliefs, slowly and steadily morphing them into a completely different popular religion. Keep the names of the holy people and the symbols the same but change the essential teachings. If you can (and I’m good at this), use most of the terminology of his current religion while doing this.
For example, turn a Catholic into a Jew thusly:
“Of course, the Trinity is a mystery as God intended it to be. How can three be one? And yet it is. There is only one. God is one. And speaking of original sin and guilt, when are you going to call your mother? I mean, Mary, mother of God!”
In two weeks, I’ll have the guy turning away from the synod and turning to the synagogue rounding out a minyan. I’ve just as easily turned Jews into Catholics.
Now I’ve arranged to bring together my multi-denominational congregation, the hundreds of converts I’ve made over the years. If I’ve been successful, they’ll understand each other and get along just fine. If not, they’ll start killing each other over something arcane like transubstantiation. I sure hope I handle this right.