From the full article at STLToday:

Religious commitment in a conversion-prone culture

“There is no happiness in the world comparable to that of the experience known as conversion.” Those words were penned nearly a century ago by Robert Hugh Benson, an Anglican convert to Catholicism who knew the joys of conversion firsthand. Benson also knew its costs: As the youngest son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was inundated with pleas from shocked and saddened Anglican friends urging him to return to the faith of his father.

Benson never did. But the experience solidified his belief that authentic conversion — the kind that justifies a break from one’s religious roots — must be driven by a sincere search for truth, not a self-centered quest for spiritual novelty or emotional highs.

Given the new Pew Forum poll that found nearly half of Americans have switched religious affiliations, it is worth pondering whether our contemporary conversions meet Benson’s criteria.

Are we a nation of sincere spiritual seekers driven by our hunger for truth to leave the confines of our childhood churches? Or are we a nation of spiritual dilettantes more interested in finding a faith that suits our fancy than one that challenges and transforms us? The results of Pew’s groundbreaking U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of more than 35,000 American adults could be interpreted either way.

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