In a free society, religious expression is the protected right of the individual. But the mobilization of youth, re-interpretation of religious texts with political agendas, external funding, and calls to violence push religious expression beyond what is rightfully a personal prerogative into the social space. In this context, understanding what it means to be "Born Again", when it can be a constructive personal and social realization, and when it can be dangerous, is important.
I am a professor and advisor of inter-faith relations, peace and conflict studies in the department of religion at Africa Nazrene University. I have published about the phenomenon of radicalization and fundamentalist religious identification as it impacts Kenya today. While increasing numbers of youth are drawn into radical interpretations of Islam, the social question is raised-- how can we re-integrate these members of our community?
Read different religious texts. Consider and compare them. Don't be afraid to acknowledge that there is beauty and wisdom in texts from others' religions. Reading religious texts closely helps us detect practices that reflect original religious teachings, versus practices that reflect a contemporary (and often political) interpretation.