Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/180187
Title: WHY PILGRIMS PROGRESS? : MOTIVATIONS IN CHRISTIAN CONVERSION AND PERSEVERANCE AMONG SINGAPOREANS
Authors: TEOH CHENG PING
Issue Date: 1999
Citation: TEOH CHENG PING (1999). WHY PILGRIMS PROGRESS? : MOTIVATIONS IN CHRISTIAN CONVERSION AND PERSEVERANCE AMONG SINGAPOREANS. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: As the world moves into the next millennium, our lives in Singapore are increasingly distinguished by the concept of choice. Instead of simply keeping with tradition, personal conviction is now frequently seen as the most important factor in decision making. The same observation applies in the realm of religion. The days when religion is entirely a matter of adhering to the beliefs passed down from generations before are passing. It is increasingly a matter of one's personal choice and preference. A religion that historically has no cultural roots in any of the three main ethnic groups in Singapore has gained remarkable following in our society, particularly in the past decade. Why are Singaporeans attracted to Christianity? Why do Christian converts persevere in the religion after conversion? In short, why do pilgrims progress? This is the main subject of my study. Religion, I propose, is a very powerful channel through which we can gain insights into our community. It is the window to the soul of a society. The study of individuals who were motivated to embrace Christianity and to persevere in it would, it is submitted, shed light on the larger societal issues. The decision to embrace a religion, I submit, is never done in a vacuum. Our environment and the people we interact with influence the decisions we make in our daily lives. For an individual to turn to Christianity, he must first and foremost perceive the religion in a positive manner. This favourable meaning he ascribes to the religion is not generated from within himself. Rather, it is through his interaction with others that he arrives at such a view. In our multiracial and multi-religious society, the level of tolerance towards other races and religion is relatively high. The law in Singapore also does not place any significantly onerous restrictions on one's religious affiliation. However, rules on what constitutes religious transgressions within each ethnic community continue to operate apart from the formal legal system. Conversion to Christianity is frequently viewed as such an act of religious transgression, and may attract consequences of different degrees of severity, depending on the surrounding circumstances. Potential converts to Christianity are fully aware of the potentially negative interpretation of their conversion by their family, relatives and friends. Yet they have made the decision to embrace the faith and to remain in it. It is believed that it would be a worthwhile task for us to take a look at the motivations behind such decisions in a uniquely Singaporean context. It is hoped that this study on the relationship between society and religion would enrich our understanding and appreciation of Singapore society and provide insights into the direction that our nation is movin
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/180187
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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