Zeal of the convert

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The zeal of the convert is a phrase describing the typically fierce devotion of someone whose belief system has changed because of personal experience or argument, especially as compared to someone who has held their beliefs since childhood. In addition to some empirical support of the phenomenon, the occasionally excessive fervency of converts has long been proverbial.[1]

While typically spoken of in reference to religious beliefs, it is not uncommon to hear this phrase used to describe those with newly-held political ideology.

[edit] Examples

The political conversions in recent years, especially from "liberal to wingnut", are a little dubious at times, with some cynical liberals and moderate conservatives (such as Mike Lofgren) pointing out that the concept of "redemption" has become a big feature among the religious right, so claiming to be a liberal who have "opened their eyes" and seen the "truth" can be a good way to get sympathy from their target audience. That being said the "conversion" is oftentimes genuine, and in recent years has tended towards a hard-lefty going to the hard-right, perhaps because the fall of Communism and rise of reactionary politics in the western world forces gave a more appealing "black-and-white" political philosophy tending toward the political right.

[edit] External links

  • Pew Research Forum survey on the different levels of devotion between converts and childhood believers, by religion.
  • A blog post from the reactionary right-wing American Thinker where a crazed author explains how they went from being an extreme liberal to an extreme conservative

[edit] Footnotes

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