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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about personality types and religion and unpack which personalities are more likely to leave or stay with religion.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • What’s the relationship between personality types and joining religious movements? Are there some that aren’t compatible with religion? Do certain types leave their religion?
  • What personality types have the tendency to gravitate to certain religions?
  • Externally structured– are surrounded with organization and various methodologies (for example: actual buildings that you worship and certain sacraments that you follow).
  • Internally experienced – some people have much more comfort in expressing their religion internally. These people are not interested in external markers and have that sense of private worshipping processes of expressing their faith.
  • Baptists
    • Have the tendency to be individual expression-oriented in the religious faith. Personal salvation is big. If they don’t like what the pastor or minister is saying, they’ll simply just move to the next church and they’ll look for someone who’s more in alignment with how they feel.
    • Attract a lot of feeler-perceivers because it’s about your personal faith expression and personal salvation.
  • Presbyterians
    • A lot more organized as a collective and structure-oriented. The congregation’s a lot systematized.
    • Attract a lot of feeler-judgers and thinker-judgers.
  • Accuracy people (TPs) have the highest likelihood of leaving religion in general. Oftentimes they leave early (teen years). If there is something they can convert/move on with, it usually is Buddhism. Why Buddhism? Because it does not require them much faith or submission to established systems. Buddhism is more inclined on practices, meditations and exercises.
  • Intuitives V Sensors
    • Intuitives do speculative thinking – things that can’t be proven by reality.
    • Sensors – more interested on what can be verified
    • Intuitives tend to be the one’s leaving religion at some point.
    • Intuitives are the ones who are comfortable with redefining.
  • Understand that no group is entirely representative of those who do or don’t describe themselves as religious.
  • Whatever is your dominant cognitive function (driver process), if you are in a religion that doesn’t honor it or allow full expression, eventually you will leave that religion.
  • If your driver process has full expression of your religious belief, you’re probably stay in the religion for a long time.
  • Ask yourself:
    • Is this truly serving me or just leading me to unhappiness?
    • How can we make sure that we haven’t outsourced our belief system?
    • What tools and models can we gather in order to take a deeper look at the structure of what we think and believe?
  • Let’s celebrate each other’s differences and cultural backgrounds.

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  • Charis Branson
    • Charis Branson
    • August 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for telling us about this book, Mike! We will check it out! :)

  • Mike
    • Mike
    • July 31, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Hi Joel and Antonia. I just listened to your podcast (which like everything else you do is really nicely done!) and I actually know of a Myers-Briggs-based book that is extremely apropos to everything discussed.

    The book is called ‘Soultypes: Matching your Personality and Spiritual Path’ by Sandra Krebs Hirsh. It divides the chapters by each of the 8 cognitive functions and really does a nice job at describing how spirituality/faith can be approached by each type in a highly unique manner. It completely complements everything that you discussed in the podcast and would highly recommend it as a nicely written resource on the topic.

    Between your podcast and this book, a lot of clarity can be identified with regards to the connections between type and spirituality/religion. I love all these really cool resources here!

  • Jeffrey Buresh
    • Jeffrey Buresh
    • April 13, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    I am just now getting into podcasts and so am catching up on some of the older ones on your website. This morning I listened to this one on personality types and religion with some interest. I am wondering if you ever read a book entitled Four Spiritualities by a Unitarian Universalist minister named Peter Tufts Richardson. The approach here is entirely on the four combinations of the cognitive functions, being of course NT, NF, SF and ST, called the Journeys of Unity, Harmony, Devotion and Works, respectively. It is actually this book that lead me eventually to your website, and it deals more with spiritual paths than religious organizations. As such, there is more focus on growth beyond the personality or, if you will, the ego.

    This growth beyond the ego/personality is something I would like to see more of on your podcasts, meaning the vertical structures of growth beyond the horizontal typology of Meyers Briggs. In my reading I have become a fan of Robert Kegan and his “subject-object” theory of personal development, where higher levels take increasing numbers of concepts as “out there” objects and less as “in here” subject. To me this points toward an ultimate sense of being pure awareness, where everything having been made an object, including thoughts and feelings, means that in a paradoxical way you become one with everything. At an extreme, this gets to a recognition that an atheist and a mystic are but a variation on the same theme.

    Without this variation on mindfulness, I question how personality distinctions and understandings will ultimately create meaning.

  • Christina
    • Christina
    • March 9, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Joel/Antonia, this podcast was quite interesting. I would like to actually get your feedback on this. I grew up in an Evangelical environment, like how you describe. As an adult, I questioned my faith and left the Church. During that time, I guess I had what the Amish call ‘Rumspringa’, dealing with atheism and agnosticism, then eventually transitioning through questions about Islam and other faiths. Three years ago, at 27, I converted to Eastern Orthodox and I feel very devout. In my experience there seem to be a lot of NFs in my church, like me. I’m an INFP. How do you think this melds with your comments and questions in the podcast?

  • Alice
    • Alice
    • March 7, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for this excellent podcast. I’ve always been amazed by the number of INFPs who are Quakers.

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