Which Religions are easily convertible to which religions

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Tomislav Addai, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Tomislav Addai Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2017
    Considering the specific nature of each religion, I was sort of thinking that some religious traditions have many specific elements also akin to other religions, which allow the new religion to build upon, thus fastening religious conversions.

    What do you think?
  2. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

    Oct 24, 2017
    Any unorganized religion to Christianity or Islam. These two are active for conversions.
  3. Aqua817 Eternally Exhausted

    May 11, 2014
    Oh, boy, this is one of those fun questions that really could spark something. Generally, unwritten religions tend to convert to written ones, and unorganized ones to organized ones. However, it depends on literally millions of other small factors, such as power in government, religion of conquererors/conquered, the spread and nature of writing, etc.
  4. Pesterfield Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    It also helps if a religions is willing to bring in deities, traditions, etc. from the religion it's trying to get converts from.
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  5. Musadutoe Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2015
    I am surprised that this thread has not been banned.

    Tongue in cheek and at risk of being censured; Roman Catholic to Cafeteria Catholic. Those with the same background as me will understand the humor.
  6. SeaCambrian Alien Space Bat

    May 28, 2018
    Pagan empires that conquered a Christian or Islamic region generally converted to the religion of the annexed area
  7. Jan Olbracht Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2012
    Generally mass conversion from monotheism to polytheism or non-theistic religion is unlikely.
  8. acgoldis Earthling

    Feb 11, 2007
    Brookline, MA
    Many worshipers of the Abrahamic religions adopt some Buddhist practices for personal spiritual growth while keeping the Abrahamic faiths' focus on community.
  9. Emperor-of-New-Zealand It's a figure of speech

    Aug 2, 2009
    Christchurch, NZ
    That isn't always so. The Danelaw in England saw religion become rather muddied. Mass conversion of Scandinavians didn't happen during this period, but later.
  10. Mightyboosh5 Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2015
    Perversely the most similar religions in terms of doctrine (abrahamic religions, heresies within religions) might be the hardest of all to convert between. Narcissism of small differences and all that.
    Miguel Lanius likes this.
  11. Jan Olbracht Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2012
    I don't think so-Middle East was converted from Christianity to Islam, Spain from Christianity to Islam and then back to Christianity. Protestant monarchs converted their subject to their faiths in Northern Europe, Habsburgs reconverted Protestants from Bohemia and western Hungary back to Catholicism, Calvinism gained large number of converts among Polish nobility during 16th century, only to almost disappear from Poland 200 years later.
  12. Tyler96 Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2013
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Is Hinduism the outstanding example of this?
  13. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    I'd say Buddhism was even better. See: Japan and integration with Shinto, China and fusion with Taoism, etc.
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  14. Mightyboosh5 Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2015
    Yes but these processes took hundreds of years and a huge amount of force

    for example the iberian peninsula took mass expulsions and forced ressetlements to truly convert its muslim population, hardly an easy conversion, compare this with the spanish conversion of the indigenous american religions of mexico and peru which were comparatively bloodless and resulted in no massive rebellions on the scale of the morisco revolt.
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  15. Byzantion Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    Forum Romanum, Suburra
    Indonesia Bhuddism, Hinduism and other native faith kingdoms relatively quickly converted to Islam. Maledives ultra fast.
  16. iscariot Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Well, off the top of my head:

    The Three Religions of China (Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism) were long considered to be the same religion or at least closely related. Most people believe in a syncretic version of these faiths, or at least, observe the culture of all three even if they have a specific path.

    Tang Chinese authorities didn't seem to distinguish between Manichaens and Nestorian Christianity very much. In fact, in one place, the Manichean Religious Leader was ALSO in charge of the Nestorian Christian Community.

    The Jesus Sutras of course were the stories of the New Testament, written in Chinese using Taoist and Buddhist terminologies and concepts.

    Uh, the Early Chinese Buddhist Sutras were written in Chinese using Taoist terminology and concepts.

    Islam and any "People of the Book" religions, which historically have included: Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, etc.

    Islam is also compatible with Non-Nicene strands of Christianity, like the Monophysites (and these probably formed early converts to Islam in Eastern Roman territories).

    I personally consider Buddhism and Islam to be very compatible, theologically speaking
    — Infinite Buddhas. 124,000 Prophets.
    — Periods of time with no Buddhas (Dark Kalpa). Periods of time with no Prophets (Ahl al-Fatrah).
    — Devas are mortals, don't worship them. Djiins are mortals, don't worship them.
    — King Mara is a deva who is the Devil. Iblis is a Djinn who is the Devil.
    — The Maras are devas who follow King Mara. The Shaitans are Djinns who follow Iblis.
    — Devas can have their own beliefs (they are not necessarily Buddhist per se). Djinns can be Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other.

    And there are some Muslims who profess the belief that the Buddha is a Prophet of God.

    The Buddha's stories of course eventually inspired the tales of two legendary Catholic Saint. Saint Barlaam, and Saint Josaphat.

    The Early Roman Catholics did more or less just ripped off the Roman state religion wholesale (Jupiter = Jesus, and Juno = Mary).

    And Catholicism and Buddhism are both very adept at adapting itself to local heterodox religions and cults. Catholicism integrates pagan elements, holidays and deities (sometimes rendering the deities as fairies or "legendary kings").

    Buddhism just converts the pagan pantheons wholesale; as gods who have converted to Buddhism, and became "protectors of Buddhism". In fact the Buddhists did this with the Greek Pantheon as well. Which is why some Buddhist deities in Asia are actually Greek Gods, at least iconographically speaking. The most obvious example of this is Boreas/Wardo/Feng Bo/Fujin.

    Hellenism and Mahayana theology, since Mahayana Buddhism developed in the shadow of the Hellenistic culture left by Alexander the Great. In fact, Buddhism was able to become a world religion thanks to the bridging of East and West achieved by Alexander (that, and Ashoka the Great's missionary efforts of course).

    And philosophies. If we can consider Pythagoreanism, Platonism, etc as religions, they are pretty integrated with Christianity. Islam also draws from philosophy as well, and notably, Medieval Muslim scholars consider Pythagoreas (Hermes Trismegistus) to be the Prophet Idris. Philosophy can be key to understanding theology sometimes, for example, because the Buddha's discourses was all about countering Indian Logic to a certain extent, Chinese scholars didn't really get what the Buddhist Sutras was talking about, since China had no exposure to Indian Logic.

    Any of the Abrahamic Faiths are easy to combine.

    People have noted similarities in the Chinese God Shang-Di with the Abrahamic God, since the time of the Jesuits. Though Chinese Theology is Monistic, not Monotheistic.

    In Nepal, Buddhism and Hinduism are the same thing as far as the locals are concerned. And Tibetan Buddhism seemed to have formed as a result of the merging of the local Tibetan indigenous shamanism with Buddhist theologies.

    Mongolian Tengriism seems pretty compatible with Monistic and Monotheistic Theologies, and Genghis Khan was a huge supporter of religious diversity.

    Ancient Egyptian religion, particularly it's conception of the Ma'at or divine justice, seems very compatible with the concept of the Greek Logo, Taoism, and Dharma.

    Ancient Sumerian Religion seems fairly compatible with Abrahamic Religion. Or at least, the Old Testament (for obvious reasons).

    Any Aryan religions (Vedic, Germanic, Greco-Roman, Celtic, Iranian) is likely compatible...because they were literally once the same religion.

    I usually categorize religions into two types: Ethnic and World. The former only really makes sense for a specific culture, or ethnicity. The other is actively trying to spread and is "universal" in theology. Ethnic religions arose first, and spread along with human migration. World religions really started with Buddhism, and has all of the hallmarks of what we think of in religion today: Missionaries, Universal Demographic, actively looking for converts, monastic practices or priesthoods, separated from ordinary geography or polity, etc.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  17. Philip One L only

    Apr 19, 2007
    Behind you
    Monophysitism is fully Nicene.
  18. manitobot Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2014
    Hinduism was able to spread rapidly because of the ability to merge native religious practices and traditions into the religion. In fact Hinduism itself was a synthesis between two cultures.
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  19. iscariot Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Ah, my bad. I thought they were Arianistic....oh well. THE point, is that Monophysites assert a single nature to Christ. As the Muslims do (albeit of course the Muslims insist Jesus is completely human), therefore, it's easier to swing an argument towards the Muslim point of view. The Monophysites of Syria welcomed the Muslims when they invaded Roman Syria, because of religious disputes. They clearly disliked the Orthodoxy more then they do a whole new Abrahamic religion (though from their POV, it must have seemed like a new Christian religion— which arguably Islam is).
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  20. iscariot Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    The Indo-European religion is very adaptable for sure.

    HOWEVER, Hinduism as we know it emerged much later, in the Medieval era. They didn't merge native religions, so much as they came to encompass the local cults (which range from Vedic religions to unrelated cults). Ancient India was more like China in that regard, and the development of Hinduism was like the development of Shenism (the Chinese Folk Religion), and it's specific philosophical schools of thoughts akin to that of different Chinese religious schools and sects.

    Buddhism is older than Hinduism in this sense— and Buddhism was not a reaction to the Vedic faith (although the Buddha frequently engage Brahmins in debates) as the Shakya did not have Brahmanism as a major influence in their culture. Buddhism co-opted the Vedic cosmology, but rejected almost wholesale the entire faith system.
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