Podcast – Episode 0280 – Gratitude For Your Religious Upbringing

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the gratitude they’ve found for their religious upbringing.

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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the gratitude they've found for their religious upbringing. #gratitude

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  • Stephanie

    Oh, I also wanted to say that I would love to hear you guys talk sometime about what you do to pass the gifts you received from your respective religions on to your children outside of that paradigm. That wad a question that I wanted to ask as I listened. I started wondering if my kids were missing out on some of those things, since we aren’t part of religious community, or if our embodiment of the things we value is what really matters.

    I also miss the community aspect of religion, the church as a place to organize for good, to develop deep friendships, to connect to ways to serve…I have found those things in other ways, but it is so convenient to do it from within a framework like a church. It seems like you are developing some of that through PH, which is pretty cool. And maybe that’s some of the great energy you get from the live trainings. Kind of like the energy I got from church youth conventions where we made a prayer circle and held hands and sang and people saw angels. You’re creating something akin to that, just maybe minus the prayers, but with the same level of energy and feeling. And I really couldn’t say one way or another about the angels. 😉

    • Alex

      I haven’t listened all the way through this episode yet, but I found your question really interesting and wanted to share some of my experiences that I recall. (context: I’m in my 20s now, and not a parent). I was raised Catholic and in 8th grade everyone went through confirmation, which means that you are (I’m probably phrasing this wrong) reaffirming your baptism as a conscious grown-up human (not a newborn baby anymore). As a kid who was kind of on the fence about my beliefs, I told my mom that I didn’t want to get confirmed yet because it felt like everyone was just doing it cause they had to, not because they really meant it. I said, “I like all of the ‘be nice to people’ stuff, obviously, but I just don’t know if I believe in God.”

      For me, it was all about the ideas, and nothing to do with the framework. I picked through which values I liked and which I didn’t, whether it came from church or from my peers or from reading fiction. In contrast, my brothers had/have more trouble being decisive about their values, for various reasons. Beginning to go to church again, of their own volition, brought massive stability to their lives and sort of, really, saved them. So in my family, the church and its values are the bedrock of stability. Whenever I go to my parents with some troubles, they always end up saying, amongst other advice, “go to church.” I wish sometimes that that would appreciate the ways that they did the job of “church” without being vocal about the religion itself in everyday life– That they can (and did) teach me to be kind without scripture, that my mom pushed me to be brave without telling me to look to God for support, and that my dad encouraged me to think for myself despite the fact that often the structure of our church didn’t support that.

      So I guess that I see it both ways– that embodiment of values is what really matters, but that some people have an easier time sorting through the abstractness of that and some people are aided by a more decisive list of rules to guide them, whether that comes from a religion or just the way a household is structured. I wish that my parents would understand how much impact the structure of our “more abstractly defined” family culture has on me; versus how little I gain, and how dismissive it sounds, when they advise me, knowingly against my beliefs, to “go to church” for answers.

      I can’t wait to listen to the rest of this episode!

  • Stephanie

    Hey guys, thanks for this show! I think I have treasured and retained certain aspects of my religious upbringing, though I lost my belief for it years ago. And I’ve certainly critiqued it and blamed it for certain things, like shame and guilt around certain things. But I don’t think I’ve really practiced gratitude for it and the gifts it gave me. It has felt good to spend some time in gratitude, and even, to feel permission to do that. I resonate with the scriptures you quoted as well, and went for a walk filled with love, joy, and peace after listening. So you guys sowed some good seeds. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Kris

    Really appreciated this episode. I am a Christian and a preacher, and I have done a lot of study to better myself and the congregation I serve since discovering practical, growth-focused typology @ PH a couple of years ago. It has especially helped me recognize where I have not valued the cognitive functions and perspectives of others in my teaching and example.

    I find it interesting how you associate different religions with different types. Our congregation I would say leans SJ (Fe/Te/Si) with a heavy dose of Ti from my influence (INTP). An outside viewer would probably describe us as kind and traditional with an ability to reason and defend our faith. The problem, though, is that we have not valued Fi/Se/Ni as much in my opinion. Did I mention my wife is an ISFP?! She has really helped me widen my perspective as we’ve gotten closer after both learning our type preferences.

    I have a sermon series I have been working on that preaches the value of the perspective of each cognitive function. The premise is that if type is at least partly inborn, and if we are created by God in His image with purpose, then His nature and His righteousness should be able to be reflected and valued in all types. It’s been a very valuable study for myself, and I hope it will make a difference for my congregation.

    BTW, Antonia, if you were calling out and quoting scripture from memory, that was impressive. May I ask what type/denomination of church you and Joel came from? His sounds heavily Calvinistic, but I can’t tell for you. (I am a member of a church of Christ.)

    • Antonia Dodge

      Your sermon sounds like it will be helpful to people in your congregation to accept their unique wiring. 🙂

      I was raised in a religion that most mainline Christians consider a cult, but which prized reading the Bible. So I ended up reading it three times through. Once from Matthew to Malachi (it was easiest to start with the Greek scriptures), then in chronological order, finally from Genesis to Revelation. Of course, that doesn’t account for years of study projects and reading my favorite books many more times than that. (I must have read 1 and 2 Samuel a dozen times, Lamentations only the three times.)

      Since it’s been 10+ years, I’m admittedly losing a lot of recall.


    • Alex

      I really appreciate that you are using typology to understand and reach various people! I never felt heard in my congregation, which was probably aligned with my back-seat functions (Si/Fe), and I think it would be really cool to help people understand how their strengths uniquely fit into the picture.

  • Ty

    Haven’t finished listening yet- but I’m so grateful for this! I left the same religion approximately 5 years ago and had the same experience. Everyone else I found who left was all vim and vitriol and I was just a dying star blackhole of sadness collapsing in on itself. I could never bring myself to feel anger towards the religion, because it changed my parents lives so radically when I was a toddler (they were heavy drug users, mom was suicidal), and therefore the entire trajectory of my childhood. The contrast between the lives of my cousins and my own makes it obvious that the religion gave me an extreme advantage. I ended up being very privileged by comparison, even if you factor in what I ultimately lost and the grief I experienced from losing my entire social support structure at age 25.

    C.G. Jung summed it up best “All religions are therapies for the sorrows and disorders of the soul.” My parents needed that therapy, potentially still do, and I cannot bring myself to begrudge them that. My boyfriend also said it nicely once, “They did exactly what they were supposed to do as parents- they got to a better place so you could have a better life.”

    How could I harbor ill-will towards them for that? If anything I feel guilt that I stood on their shoulders, was able to climb higher, and consequently left them behind in what sometimes feels like a lower ring of hell.

    My comfort is that I know if I had children that’s exactly what I would want them to do. Even if they never consciously allow themselves to have that thought and only fret for my soul forever, it’s still true that they gave me a profound gift. I think ultimately the greatest gift a parent can give a child.

    I also am grateful that I was forced to work through that dark sadness and those emotions on my own. The religion is so good at feeding you mental stories that I really didn’t have any idea of how to author my own. And if my growth path has taught me anything it’s that learning how to tell your own narrative with purpose and intention is the #1 way to get to a place of health and wellbeing.

    • Antonia Dodge

      I feel exactly the same way. My personal metaphor is salmon swimming upstream, but it’s the same sentiment.


  • Masaki Kidokoro

    I don’t know if it was more of coincidence, but it was amazing to find this episode back to back with Why the World Needs Introverted Intuition, as I thought this episode was a very good representation of YOUR Ni!

  • Danielle

    The idea of being immune to being triggered sounds amazing. Though I’m not sure if it’s possible to fully achieve. I’ve found that I’m naturally harder to trigger than most people (largely because I’m fairly easy-going personality wise), and I’ve worked towards becoming less easily triggered. But there are a very select list of things that of someone does or says to me or someone else, I will instinctively have a more volatile reaction.

    I’m still loosely in the religion I spent most of my youth in, but decided a few years ago that I wanted it to be a solely personal experience. So, I distanced myself from public spaces of religious expression for the most part. I found a lot of the ways I saw the religion used and the religion expressed were wholly inauthentic to what I saw as the true core and meaning and, at worst, very toxic. So, I can understand feeling gratitude for the paradigm of childhood because what I essentially did was take the things that resonated with me and kept them for myself.

    I can more relate to the experience of having transcended the political ideology that was dominant in my upbringing. I wasn’t too engrossed in it since the process of me leaving coincided with my coming of age. That’s coincidentally just when external factors drove me to abandon significantly large chunks of it. Had those outside events not happened, I think I would’ve stayed more in line with the party and adopted my parents’ stance of “We disagree with you on some things, but you’re better than the other guys.”

    In the end of the day, it was actually another paradigm that was instilled in me that caused me to turn away from that political ideology. And that was respect. My parents raised me to be open and accepting towards people of all backgrounds, even if that doesn’t always translate into being the nicest (they usually line up well). I felt that the ideology had turned into a force that was actively being used as a tool of disrespect. This was abhorrent to my introverted feeling since I’ve integrated my concept of respect as my guiding principle. When I’ve evaluated my actions and responses, the concept of respect has consistently popped up as something I subconsciously consider pretty much constantly.

    The feeling I felt when realizing these things was mostly frustration, which is very closely connected to anger. I also feel that the things I took from both my religious and political backgrounds are often connected in my mind because the two factors were so very much conflated together in a lot of circles. Though since I only consider myself to have left the political ideology, I’ll just comment on that. I get a lot of my strong work ethic from that particular paradigm and my persistence and perseverance to improve my own standing. It also instilled ideas of self-reliance in me as well. Then there are principles embedded in the ideology that are more society wide and are espoused by people regardless of major paradigms. I still consider these to be things I received from the paradigm. I get my sense of the rule of law, justice, and rights from that environment.

    I think there’s also an inherent advantage in just understanding and comprehending the paradigm you came from because it allows you to develop more empathy and understanding with others. I’ve encountered a lot of people from different backgrounds who seem to have trouble comprehending the thought processes behind the religious and political groups of my youth. And I find that, even if it’s an aspect I rejected, I can utilize my own experience to try to bridge some understanding.

    I especially try to do this politically. In a heavily polarized society with two major parties, there seems to be a concerningly sizable portion of people who are willing to disregard everything about people on the other side. It’s a gross overgeneralization. And people can make their own choices of who to associate with and who to take seriously. But, to this day, some of the most important people in my life, past and present, subscribe to this ideology. Several of these people have supported me and saw my talents and value when not many people seemed to. I can disavow some of the things they are complacent with, but I know that they and most others do not represent the worst impulses of the party. And I try to argue this whenever the need arises. I want to foster an understanding for others about why genuinely good people might think a certain way or hold certain beliefs and prioritize certain issues. And I see this as a strength I have as someone who left one political paradigm and, while not truly on board with, have found myself closer to another.

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