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Conversion to ChristianityHistorical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transformation$
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Robert Hefner

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520078352

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520078352.001.0001

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Afterword: Boundaries and Horizons

Afterword: Boundaries and Horizons

(p.305) Chapter Eleven Afterword: Boundaries and Horizons
Conversion to Christianity

Robert W. Hefner

University of California Press

Conversion to Christianity means different things to different peoples and entails divergent social consequences. The Christianity that conversion produces in different human communities is complexly diverse. Christianity has worked to the moral improvement of civilizations. Conversion to Christianity can proceed successfully even if the converts have only a vague grasp of the symbolic and cosmological content of their new religion. African Christianities have been employed like other religious cults and have been modified or dispensed with as suggested by circumstances. The close association of Buddhism with the Thai national identity would seem to present few conceptual openings for Christianity except among those marginal populations that have little invested in the Thai polity. Christianity remains an intellectual horizon that may make the human macrocosm more visible and more accessible to people who seek to join it.

Keywords:   Christianity, Buddhism, religious conversion, Thai national identity, Thai polity

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