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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
    • September 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for your honest appraisal, Stephen. It takes a lot of courage to realize something is lacking with your faith and decide to move on. Such a thing can be traumatizing if it means losing a community you had become adjusted to.

    When I read your experience, something came up for me. You’re an INFJ, which means you lead with Introverted Intuition (we call it Perspectives). This means you are not married to your own perspective but can sense other people’s perspectives. In other words, its like looking through someone else’s eyes and seeing things the way they see them.

    You were already experiencing some cognitive dissonance apparently (that “funny taste” you describe). All it took was bringing along your friend and you were able to see things through his detached perspective, which is what caused your eyes to be open.

    That’s my theory anyway. What do you think?

  • Charis Branson
    • Charis Branson
    • September 2, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for the insight David! I grew up in a fairly ascetic religion and I must admit to being drawn to the beauty of traditional rituals, such as those found in Catholicism. I don’t ever see myself joining another religion, but I like to sample the various traditions on occasion just to see if any one type feels supremely me. I think you have an incredibly healthy view in that you realize perfect symbiosis is not possible and you don’t torment yourself over an inability to assimilate or judge others for the same. “I still favor chewing my own food, and recommend the same to others.” Great way of saying it!!

  • Brittani
    • Brittani
    • September 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Great job on this podcast! I am an INTP and a Christian, and find that many do a really poor job in explaining religion and type especially as relates to NTs and Ti users, typically depicting logic as opposing belief in God, and faith as being a highly emotional choice. You guys did a good job in this area. I am a Christian because, like Joseph, the INTJ a couple of posts ahead of me, my interest in science, mathematics, and nature have led me to think that the most logical option is intelligent design, and the intelligent design argument that makes the most sense to me is the Christian God. There is an element of personal experience, but I doubt it would be enough if I thought that it made no sense. I think that NTs and Ti users tend to dismiss religion very quickly and dislike it deeply because they think that it opposes critical thought. This is probably because so many organized religions discourage questioning and true understanding in favor of authority, and their preferences are confused for actual teachings. Faith does not inherently oppose critical thinking though, and you guys did a very good job of expressing that and remaining objective, regardless of your personal beliefs – thanks!

    I also think that this podcast might be the absolute best explanation I’ve ever heard regarding the differences between sensors and intuitives, even without the connections to religion! Your explanation of these differences in this podcast gave me a really good understanding of the basic differences of a much deeper level, so thanks!
    I really do resonate with the concept of intuitives redefining what religion means, as I have done this in my own experience with religion. I do attend church, but do not believe it is fundamental or necessary part of my faith… actually I probably wouldn’t even consider it part of my faith, per se… more like going to a formal class isn’t necessary for learning, but still won’t necessarily be detrimental, you know? I do not feel any need to rely on authorities to interpret or mediate my faith or relationship with God, which is not always typical of Christian practice, but probably fairly common for religious intuitives, if I understand the gist of the podcast correctly.
    Bottom line, this was a great exploration of the topic – I enjoyed this!

  • Stephen
    • Stephen
    • September 2, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Im an INFJ Christian. A year ago I left the church that I was attending because there was this funny taste in my mouth whenever I left. It wasn’t the beliefs as I loved listening to the sermons. Recently a friend of mine (ENTP) moved into my area (from a different city) and wanted to check out some churches. Every recommendation he got was to this particular one I’ve attended. A couple Sunday’s ago we both went together. The same funny taste came up again. Things were different this time; I know that being an INFJ, I pick up tons of other people’s emotions like they were my own (A year ago had no MBTI knowledge, and on top of that I was trying to deaden that emotional sensitivity.) I received a lot of resentment, bitterness, grudge-holding etc. Sometimes the reasoning might even be silly. It’s all really subtle but I intuitively know it’s there. Now I know why I left. For me it wasn’t the beliefs, it was the poisonous social structure. It doesn’t surprise me that Jesus (an INFJ) would call some of his followers a “den of vipers” haha. Me and my friend are gonna “church hop” lol. But, I feel that I should be kind and call out what I see =

  • David
    • David
    • September 1, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I appreciate your honest sharing, Danny. As a fellow INFP I may understand the difficulties of figuring out how to deal with the nagging concerns that “the emperor has no clothes,” and “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” For my part, humbly I will offer, it’s O.K. that we’re all on our own paths, and for many it is difficult to handle the fear that comes with exploring hand-me-down beliefs. In my opinion, there is nothing whatsoever “broken” in your genuine desire to understand. Cheers!

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