WHEN LOVE AND FAITH COLLIDE: Womens Conversion to Husbands Religion in Flores

Fransiska Widyawati


This paper explores the religious conversion of women along with their struggle during the marriage and its implication to broader the community in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. It considers four cases of women who have converted both from Islam to Catholicism and vice versa. It finds that the complexities and problems arising from interfaith marriage in Indonesia become the main reason for women's conversion to their husband's religion. Besides, in a patriarchal system, women are more often subjected to forced conversions than men. Individuals, especially women, undergoing a religious conversion for the sake of marriage convenience often feel burdened and guilty for trading their religious and personal beliefs for political convenience. In the process, women require time to come to terms with and accept their new religious identity. It is not an easy process - one with countless identity struggles and societal, religious, as well as political burdens. Nevertheless, some women can remain faithful to their original belief that conversion does not necessarily motivate them to transform their identity to the new religion. This study shows that conversion, marriage, gender equality, and religious identity in Indonesia, especially in Flores, are interconnected and complex.


Religious conversion; love and faith; woman; Flores

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DOI: 10.15642/JIIS.2020.14.2.335-358


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