In my book you can see:

In a free society it is intrinsic that individuals and groups have the inherent right to propagate ideas and try to win converts.

I can understand or guess that the author wants to point out that in a free society people can change their religions readily. But, I am not sure about the exact meaning or technical definition of the phrase.


A convert (noun) is a person who converts (intransitive verb) or is converted (transitive verb) from one affiliation—religious or political or intellectual—to another.

To win converts, then, is to succeed in attracting converts to your affiliation.

What the author is writing about is not freedom to choose your own affiliation but "freedom of speech": freedom to attempt to persuade others to convert to your affiliation.

  • If it was a reading comprehension test, I assure you that I would choose the wrong option! Many Thanks – Cardinal Jun 11 '16 at 11:05

In this instance, the verb win implies that you really had to struggle to convince others to join your side, or agree with your opinions, beliefs, religion etc. It is much like a battle of words and ideas. And in battles, there are winners and losers. Winners win. What do they win? Converts.


It would be difficult to say how the metaphor works there.

Is the idea of (religious) convert secularized, or are secular ideas being treated figuratively as religious tenets?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.