Today my sister came into town from Texas so that we could celebrate our cousin's birthday. It turns out Neko-chan has been hiding something from everyone. While we sat at the restaurant eating our dinner, she announced that she has converted to Christianity.
At first I thought she was joking. After all, she was raised in a Buddhist temple. Her father is a priest, for heaven's sake! The last time she visited, she told me that she had made some friends at school who invited her to their weekly bible study. It's one of those college student groups where the kids get together and make it a sort of social get-together after they read a chapter or two from the Bible. She liked going because they were really nice and friendly and fun to hang out with but she assured me that she had no plans to convert. Apparently between that visit and this one, something changed.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. I believe that everyone should be free to change their religion or religious affiliations if they want to. I know what it's like to feel obligated to stay with a religion because you were born into it, so I would never criticize her for converting. Still, there's something a wee bit unsettling about this. I just don't know how to articulate what it is that I'm feeling.
One of my brothers converted to Islam earlier this year and it didn't bother me at all. He had shown an interest in doing so some years ago but never went so far as to do it. When he told everyone in the family after he recited the shahada for the first time, I made sure I let him know how much I supported his decision. Somehow, this feels a lot different though.