Susan Jacoby Examines the History of Religious Conversions

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 (Photo: Marion Ettling)

We tend to think of religious conversion as a spiritual experience. But historically, people have changed religions for plenty of reasons other than faith: Jews in 14th-century Spain became Catholics to avoid torture and execution and 19th-century German Catholics converted to Protestantism to enter advanced professions. In "Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion," author Susan Jacoby takes a closer look at the multitude of factors that have drawn people - from Augustine of Hippo to Muhammed Ali - into the fold of organized religion. We?ll also talk to her about her New York Times op-ed on how political campaigns continue to ignore nonreligious voters, even though they?re growing in number.


Susan Jacoby, author most recently of "Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion"; her other other books include "The Age of American Unreason" and "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"