History of Religious Conversions

Religious conversions are peculiar to almost all religions. The scrutiny reveals that religious conversions might happen either voluntarily or forcefully. Christianity has never encouraged forced conversions. The doctrine of free will is one of the cornerstones of Christianity, according to which each person should accept Christianity voluntarily.
The examples of forceful conversion to Islam are many. There are a number of testimonies and cases of forceful conversion of Christian people (Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Georgians, et. al.), particularly in the Ottoman Empire (the phenomenon of child levy or ‘devshirme’ between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries), later the forced islamization of Armenians and other Christian nations in the 19th century and during the Armenian Genocide). A case of forced conversion is also known in the Christian Europe (catholicization of Jews by the Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in the fifteenth century). However, that was the result of state policy and never the stance and concern of the Church.
Meanwhile, a few religious groups such as Jews, Yezidis, Aliyevs, Druze people, etc., have renounced proselytism or proselytizing outside of their communities.
“TheoLab” Center for Science and Analysis aims to research these phenomena from the scientific point of view while remaining faithful to all the rules of inter-religious ethics.

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