This research project discusses a case study of the conversion process from Christianity to Buddhism in the U.S. This is based on interviews with five individuals living in the northeast Ohio area, who identified themselves as formerly affiliated with Christian traditions, and currently having a Buddhist one. This study analyzes the five cases in conversation with Lewis Rambo’s model of religious conversion in his 1993 classic, Understanding Religious Conversion. This study begins with a discussion on the context in which the conversion process took place, including relationships and education. Then the crises, quest, and encounter stages of Rambo’s theory are loosely followed to analyze the forms of conflict and unrest felt by individuals which lead to a search or opportunity for new religious connection. The ways in which these interviewees are introduced to Buddhism are then mentioned. Next, Rambo’s stages of interaction, commitment, and consequences are used to frame discussion on interviewees’ further involvement with Buddhist teaching and practice, and the variety of displays or feelings of commitment that are involved. Finally, the consequences or effects of the conversion on the individual at the time of the interview are discussed. The analysis of the interviews’ experiences shows that this process of conversion is complex and unique among every individual. This project aims to make an account for these specific individuals in their own context of time and space, and provide a discussion on how to understand their experience of religious transformation.


Park, Chan Sok


Religious Studies


conversion, Buddhist to Christian, Buddhism in the U.S., conversion process

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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