Toward a psychology of converting in the People’s Republic of China

Lewis R. Rambo, Steven Bauman, Jiazhi Fengjiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The focus of this paper is the nature of converting processes in the People’s Republic of China. This paper seeks to provide an overview of the issues to be considered in the construction of a psychology of converting in China. China is engaged in dramatic transformations. Since the reforms initiated in 1979, religion has been revitalized and is flourishing. The most dramatic and unexpected growth has taken place in Christianity. This paper seeks to provide the contours of how and why many people are becoming Christians. A preliminary case study provides rich details of the experiences of five university students in Shanghai as they cultivate beliefs and practices that eventually lead them to convert to Christianity. The paper also includes a report on recent studies of the psychology of the converting process in the United States. The work of Ullman, Kirkpatrick, and Paloutzian are highlighted. The paper concludes with an outline of important issues that should be seriously considered as psychologists of religion develop an innovative psychology of converting in China: research methods, gender issues, motivations, network theory, cultural psychology, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895–921
Number of pages27
JournalPastoral Psychology
Issue number5-6
Early online date30 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • attachment theory
  • China
  • Christianity
  • collaboration
  • conversion
  • converting
  • gender
  • interdisciplinary
  • Kirkpatrick
  • Paloutzian
  • quantitative and qualitative research
  • religion
  • spirituality
  • Ullman


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