Should I convert from Buddhism to Islam

What it's like to find a new faith

Those between twenty and thirty looking for the meaning of life often find a new faith. Patrick became a Muslim, Eva discovered Buddhism, Simon Catholicism and Samson Rastafari. Four converts tell their story.

In the beginning there was doubt. In their early 20s, many people start asking themselves questions. The questions in life. How should i live What gives meaning to my life? It is a phase in which you question things and begin to locate yourself in the world.

Young adults are looking for answers that will give them support in an increasingly confusing world. Some find it in faith, others in guides on correct behavior in matters of love, nutrition or fitness. Believing Christians also question the foundations of their religion - a discussion about their own point of view in the world.

“As an 18-year-old I was in a certain crisis of faith,” says Patrick Brooks (picture on the right). “There was the foundation, I believed in one God, I believed in salvation history, but there were still contradictions and inconsistencies that I discovered in the Bible. Then I got hold of the Koran. The first experience while reading it was that God's speech to me has a more direct, immediate effect. "

As a result, the history and Islamic studies student took a closer look at the teachings of Allah and found answers in the Koran that the Bible could not give him. He converted to Islam.
The number of Muslims of German origin has multiplied in recent years. According to the Islam Archive in Soest, 4,000 Germans converted to Islam between August 2005 and July 2006 - four times as many as in the previous year.

What motivates young adults to convert? Often it is encounters with people who think differently, from a foreign culture, that give the impetus to question previous beliefs. “I stumbled into the Tibet Kailash house by accident ten years ago,” says body therapist Eva Bräutigam (picture left). “Whereby - in Buddhism there is no coincidence, there is only the cause that becomes an effect at some point. So I actually came to the Tibet Kailash House, ”she corrects. She took part in the open Buddhist discussion group - and was touched by the spiritual chants.

“I felt that I was in good hands, I had never seen it before,” says the 39-year-old. “Somehow at the time I was looking for the meaning and purpose of my life.

In Buddhism I got the answers to my questions: There is a goal and a way in life. Since I've been following this path, I've felt a lot more stable. ”Previously firmly anchored in the Catholic faith, she turned her back on her religion. “At some point I just couldn't believe that there was a God who would judge me. When this constant breaks, you take the reins into your own hands instead of being exposed to a situation, you actively shape your life. "

Such a clear break with the previous religion does not take place with many converts. Often the beliefs they grew up with are the basis of the new belief. "I see my conversion to Islam as a continuation, as a kind of extension of what I already believed and what I was convinced of", explains Patrick Brooks, who now calls himself Isa.

With Simon Löschke (picture on the right) it was initially only the scientific interest that led the Protestant pastor candidate to deal with Catholic doctrine. "I found it interesting to discuss faith with my fellow students over lunch," says the 22-year-old, who is now studying Catholic theology. “When a boy came to me in preparation for confirmation who had suffered a severe blow of fate, I began to question myself and my beliefs. How can I answer the question about death? "

The answers that Catholicism offers seemed more logical to him. "The Protestant Church has some deficits in its teaching, Catholicism is more diverse," says Simon. Then it became clear to him that he wanted to become a Catholic. He feels more at home in the Catholic faith, even if he often has to assert himself with his decision. "Those who enter the church these days make themselves vulnerable," he explains.

In front of his parents in particular, it was initially difficult to justify his decision, says Simon. “It was just a bit of a shock for her. They consciously baptized me Protestant and it was also their wish that I study Protestant theology. In the meantime, however, they are behind me because they have noticed that it is the right way for me. "

Simon has never regretted his conversion - despite heated discussions with a friend who simply cannot understand why he took this step. “Catholicism offers me an abundance of life. Despite all the ups and downs, there is a basis of my being, ”says Simon.

With Samson (picture left), too, his Christian upbringing was decisive for him to take a closer look at the Rastafarian faith. “When I started listening to reggae during my community service, I noticed that the lyrics were full of Bible quotes,” says Samson, who used to be in a Baptist church.

The 25-year-old listens more closely - and can quickly identify with the values ​​of the Rastafarian belief. “In the end, it was reggae music together with my Christian background that brought me to Rastafari. I also have a lot of contact with Africans and am therefore at home with the mentality, ”he says.

Today he plays in several reggae bands, is married and sees himself with his family in Africa in the future. The plan is to emigrate there at some point - in line with the Back-to-Africa movement, which demands that the Rastas should return to their mother country.

There is no conversion to a Rastafarian in the sense that, according to Samson, one is a Rasta as soon as one has received awareness of life. “Of course there was never a time when I said: Now I'm a Rasta. It was more of an advancement, a path of spirituality. At some point I found my identity, ”he says. Rastafari is less about strictly following the commandments than it is about living consciously. Although the Rastas generally reject tobacco and alcohol consumption, it is up to the individual to decide what to do and what not to do, says Samson. “The only commandment is life. We follow our hearts and follow the motto: Everything is allowed, but not everything is useful. As a result, I never had to resist anything. When you really understand something, it's not difficult to make the right choice, ”he says.

The multitude of religious currents - and also the increasing knowledge about them - makes it possible today to choose the faith with which one can best identify. Faith has become individual. Many a person arranges his religion in such a way that it suits him - a danger that exists especially with denominations that come from a completely different cultural area. “A lot of people don't really care about the values ​​Rastafarian stands for. People who listen to reggae a lot associate it with smoking pot, rebellion and Jamaica. Most of them have very superficial ideas, ”says Samson.

Eva Bridegroom has also noticed how difficult it can be to deal with a foreign faith. “Sometimes the mind turns everything the way it would like it to be. This creates a lot of confusion. There is a lot of crunch in the gears, but that also brings debate and awareness. It always takes me one step further, ”she says. She doesn't want to call herself a Buddhist - that would be another drawer she would be put in.

Adopting a different belief is a process that doesn't happen overnight. Whether Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism or Rastafarian - each of the converts understands the intensive confrontation with his new religion as a further development of his personality that has not yet been completed. The question of real life is one that is asked again and again.

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Posted in: people

Keywords: Faith, Religion, Buddhism, Islam, Rastafarian, Catholicism, Becoming Muslim, Becoming Buddhist, Becoming Catholic, Becoming Rastafarian