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  1. #1

    Default Types and Religion.

    I am an INTP, and therefore eternally subject to intellectual obsessions.

    I have two: Philosophy of Religion, and Types.

    So, in keeping with that I want to exhale some thoughts on those subjects, and their intersections.

    First of all, I am an Agnostic at heart, as I believe it is natural for an INTP to be. At about 18 I converted to Christianity (LDS, to be precise) and spent two years far from home, doing nothing else put proselyting that very faith. Since then, I have had a great deal of time to ponder my beliefs and decisions. I hope I have used that time wisely.

    NF:

    My basic observation is that NF's are almost always angstful toward religion - gripped on one side by romantic credulism, and on the other by an abstract intellect that allows them to be quite skeptical about anything that can't tie it's loose ends together. More than that, they often have a distaste for the 'box' that religion can put us in, and also for the repression and close-mindedness of those who are convinced that their truth is the only truth.

    Therefore, it seems natural that NF's would lean toward the spiritual, not supernatural... the principles, not the beliefs. But, if they do believe, watch out. Joan of Arc got herself killed and sainted (which, I suspect, is the deep-seeded goal of many NF's. C'mon, admit it!)

    NT:
    As I stated before, I have observed that many INTP's drift toward Agnosticism. I think this is a result of their P aspect not feeling comfortable with absolutes. But, NT's in general have tended to be somewhere between Atheist (The Religion of Science), and Uninterested. With a dash of conspiracy-theorist, science-fiction credulism popping up at certain times in certain people.

    Ultimately, NT's are the disbelievers true. It seems foolish to believe, and mindless to agree.

    SP:
    Hedonism is the religion of SP's. Not sex, not lasciviousness, but happiness and pleasure. Fun, excitement, joy, and sensory fulfillment are the ideals to be upheld. Many religions offer this, or at least aspects of those religions help us to achieve it. Beyond that, SP's are inclined to believe. Where N's miss the mark with their deconstructions, the SP's accept that we don't know everything. Faith leads to fulfillment in a real sense, and real happiness is more important than nitpicky analysis and 'endless possibilities'.

    What brings us happiness and helps in a real way? That's the SP's religion.

    SJ:

    Social order keeps us all together. Religion is a community, a family. Above all that, like many SP's, a great number of SJ's are inclined to be believers. Why? Science has it's uses, but it doesn't always 'pay the bills' or keep us together, nor does it always help us and our lives. Far-fetched beliefs and ideas can be hurtful as often as helpful, and many of the conventions and beliefs that have brought us to where we are, safe and whole, will take us into the future just as well... constantly questioning just for questionings sake can often only serve to shake up the foundations that we have built upon. That being said, it is just as likely that the beliefs that our civilization is based on are more 'true' and more 'expedient' than the long-winded theories of people whose personal lives and practical contributions have been less impressive.

    For the SJ's traditional belief is what brought us here, it is what keeps us going, and has lasted much longer and been more successful than the hippie movement!

    From these different points of view there can obviously be a lot of room for dissension and argument. But, we all fit into a whole. The NT's analyze and discover, the NF's ponder and deepen, the SP's make sure it all lifts us up and makes the moments of our lives more full, and the SJ's keep what works and hold the community together.

    I am interested in what those of the various types have to say about my analysis of their type's tendencies, and how they themselves may fit into it or differ from it.

    Specifics aren't as important. I don't care if you prefer 'same essence' over 'similar essence'. But, how you fit or don't fit into the natural tendencies of your type... and your thoughts about what those natural tendencies might be.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealityDeviantPride View Post
    NF:
    My basic observation is that NF's are almost always angstful toward religion - gripped on one side by romantic credulism, and on the other by an abstract intellect that allows them to be quite skeptical about anything that can't tie it's loose ends together. More than that, they often have a distaste for the 'box' that religion can put us in, and also for the repression and close-mindedness of those who are convinced that their truth is the only truth.

    Therefore, it seems natural that NF's would lean toward the spiritual, not supernatural... the principles, not the beliefs. But, if they do believe, watch out. Joan of Arc got herself killed and sainted (which, I suspect, is the deep-seeded goal of many NF's. C'mon, admit it!)
    I can't speak for the other types, but that does sound a lot like me.

    I think religion does have some more individual implications, but to a degree, I think your analysis has a lot of merit.

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    Senior Member gretch's Avatar
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    Come on! When God tell you to go slay englishmen, you go slay englishmen!!!

    Actually my Keirsey title is the CHampion. I find that I always find one cause to champion or another. Currently it is general acceptance and love despite disagreement of ideas. I think I have something to learn from anyone. A very beautifully put analysis btw.
    A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.
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  4. #4

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    I agree with you very much about the individual implications of religion.

    For example, I am a 'believer' and exist within a type and a metatype that is almost always non-religious or at least begrudging or indifferent.

    Many people believe or don't believe based on their experiences and upbringing.

    There are no doubt many atheist SJ's and quite a few NF fundamentalists. I guess it all comes down to what we get out of it, and what those moments of epiphany and discovery have led us to.

    I would love to see some people come into this thread who break the mold of what their type would 'normal' lean to. I think it could be very enlightening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RealityDeviantPride View Post
    I would love to see some people come into this thread who break the mold of what their type would 'normal' lean to. I think it could be very enlightening.
    Often that tends to be an indication that they aren't the type they claim to be. But usually not.

    My mother is extremely ESFP, but her religion is very traditional spiritualist. My grandmother is ESFJ and she is a new age agnostic. It isn't so much what they are that shows their personality, but how they practice it. My mother prays to God often, but usually for some trouble her free spiritedness has gotten her into. My grandmother tries to include the entire family in her new age beliefs, practically to the point that she tries to indoctrinate us.

    Many of the NFs on this forum are devout Christians, but I notice they always have their own unique way of interpreting their beliefs. The only people on this forum who have ever really confounded me with their religious beliefs are Jennifer and INTJMom who are both NTs.

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    Senior Member DaRick's Avatar
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    I'm an INTJ who is also a moderate Catholic. I'm not a zealous Catholic like my SJ brother and mother, but I am pressured to attend church. Nevertheless, despite my displeasure at this, I still believe in God. However, my NT is weak, so I may not be a good example. The bold text below applies to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RealityDeviantPride View Post

    NF:

    My basic observation is that NF's are almost always angstful toward religion - gripped on one side by romantic credulism, and on the other by an abstract intellect that allows them to be quite skeptical about anything that can't tie it's loose ends together. More than that, they often have a distaste for the 'box' that religion can put us in, and also for the repression and close-mindedness of those who are convinced that their truth is the only truth.
    Religion is the cause of many wars and a perennial source of misunderstandings. I've also known people in my faith and other faiths who have taken the closed-minded, bigoted approach. In my opinion, this is because they fear what they are unaware of, thus leading to conflict. That case about the British teacher and Mohammad the teddy-bear is a good example.

    NT:
    As I stated before, I have observed that many INTP's drift toward Agnosticism. I think this is a result of their P aspect not feeling comfortable with absolutes. But, NT's in general have tended to be somewhere between Atheist (The Religion of Science), and Uninterested. With a dash of conspiracy-theorist, science-fiction credulism popping up at certain times in certain people.
    I occassionally theorise to myself whether God is dead and whether Jesus was the Messiah he is purported to be. However, due to the relative good fortune in my life, I tend to ridicule these internal musings.

    SP:
    Hedonism is the religion of SP's. Not sex, not lasciviousness, but happiness and pleasure. Fun, excitement, joy, and sensory fulfillment are the ideals to be upheld. Many religions offer this, or at least aspects of those religions help us to achieve it. Beyond that, SP's are inclined to believe. Where N's miss the mark with their deconstructions, the SP's accept that we don't know everything. Faith leads to fulfillment in a real sense, and real happiness is more important than nitpicky analysis and 'endless possibilities'.
    I actually agree with this last part, partially due to the beliefs instilled in me by my ISFJ mother. Still, I tend to debate the endless possibilities which could be associated with Catholicism (i.e - God may be female) which my Mum just shoos away.


    SJ:
    Social order keeps us all together. Religion is a community, a family. Above all that, like many SP's, a great number of SJ's are inclined to be believers. Why? Science has it's uses, but it doesn't always 'pay the bills' or keep us together, nor does it always help us and our lives.
    Religion has endowed me with a sense of direction and therefore a sense of moral and social responsibility which I may not have otherwise had.

    Far-fetched beliefs and ideas can be hurtful as often as helpful, and many of the conventions and beliefs that have brought us to where we are, safe and whole, will take us into the future just as well... constantly questioning just for questionings sake can often only serve to shake up the foundations that we have built upon. That being said, it is just as likely that the beliefs that our civilization is based on are more 'true' and more 'expedient' than the long-winded theories of people whose personal lives and practical contributions have been less impressive.

    For the SJ's traditional belief is what brought us here, it is what keeps us going, and has lasted much longer and been more successful than the hippie movement!
    True, that! (Sorry if I sound discriminatory, but I've had bad experiences with hippies ).
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    ...Many of the NFs on this forum are devout Christians, but I notice they always have their own unique way of interpreting their beliefs. The only people on this forum who have ever really confounded me with their religious beliefs are Jennifer and INTJMom who are both NTs.


    And what do you think my beliefs are again? (I end up sometimes seeming to support beliefs I don't necessarily accept for myself, simply to balance out strong perspectives.)

    On INTPc there are a number of INTPs who are much further in the traditional religious camp than I am. In fact, there is a thread that just started there... It's humorous, because there are INTPs claiming faith and other INTPs arguing with them.

    My path actually does follow RDP's suggested path. I grew up in a religious environment, always had questions that were not really answered but I merely "flexed' and tried to make them all fit together for years (and there is some good stuff there that I could use to do that), but the whole time I was drifting more towards an agnostic/ambiguous view and finally my little boat went far enough downriver that I crossed into a new territory and had to admit where I had found myself....

    My problem with Christianity is not that I disagree with the ideal beliefs on how people should be treated [if you look at the main tenets of Jesus and not get caught up in Old Testament law or the intricacies of Paul establishing New Testament church policy] but just in that none of it can be "proven" historically in the sense that many modern-day Christians seem to insinuate it can. I just cannot do lip service to that without feeling as if I have compromised my integrity.

    Oh... and I do distinguish between what IS provable, and what I'd LIKE to believe. I really DO wish that there was a celestial parent who loved me and cared about me and valued me for what and who I am (i.e., the perfect parent), and I really DO wish that life made sense in some way even if I could not perceive it all the time -- but it's just my wish and hope, and at this time in life I cannot be sure any of it is true. (So I don't go to INFPGlobal at all, for example, since over there that line has been pretty muddied out... belief = true for many.) So I think I am the perpetual seeker.

    Quote Originally Posted by RealityDeviantPride View Post
    First of all, I am an Agnostic at heart, as I believe it is natural for an INTP to be. At about 18 I converted to Christianity (LDS, to be precise) and spent two years far from home, doing nothing else put proselyting that very faith. Since then, I have had a great deal of time to ponder my beliefs and decisions. I hope I have used that time wisely.
    How influential was that two-year enforced missions trip in helping you determine what you actually could believe about God and life? Was it an eye-opener for you?

    My best friend (mentioned in another thread, INTP) spent 2 years after college in Haiti as a Christianity missionary. That time was very very influential in his life... because it basically entirely burnt his faith to the GROUND, forcing him to start over. The question, "Where is God?!" is a very powerful one when you are in that sort of environment, especially among other missionaries most of whom are more interested in dragging people into their little safe environment rather than taking the road of Jesus and walking out into the world on ITS terms and becoming incarnate. (Rather like much of today's church, which still insists of bringing people into a church environment than leaving the church environment and going into the world.)



    NF: My basic observation is that NF's are almost always angstful toward religion - gripped on one side by romantic credulism, and on the other by an abstract intellect that allows them to be quite skeptical about anything that can't tie it's loose ends together. More than that, they often have a distaste for the 'box' that religion can put us in, and also for the repression and close-mindedness of those who are convinced that their truth is the only truth.
    Yes, I've seen NFs being entirely immersed in the system while at the same time being real catalysts for the change or reinterpretation of the system. They can have faith without any real evidence except their own personal beliefs that it is all indeed true -- and yet they truly become offended by religion that eradicates the identity of its adherents or does not allow people to be themselves.

    Joan of Arc got herself killed and sainted (which, I suspect, is the deep-seeded goal of many NF's. C'mon, admit it!)
    It is called "The Gift of Martyrdom."

    NT: As I stated before, I have observed that many INTP's drift toward Agnosticism. I think this is a result of their P aspect not feeling comfortable with absolutes. But, NT's in general have tended to be somewhere between Atheist (The Religion of Science), and Uninterested. With a dash of conspiracy-theorist, science-fiction credulism popping up at certain times in certain people.
    I disagree with the "uninterested" part; I think there is a healthy minority that is very interested in religion, but they explore it like they would any other field of interest, like a scientific or experiential theory that needs to be examined in all of its facets. They try to collect data about it and form theories, because spirituality is just another exploration of truth and, if it is real, is part of the world we badly want to understand.

    Those who are more psychologically minded also tend to have some sort of interface with religion, because both deal with why people do what they do, how they mature, what is (un)healthy for people, etc.

    Ultimately, NT's are the disbelievers true. It seems foolish to believe, and mindless to agree.
    Well, it also seems foolish to NOT believe, without evidence. Some of the most heated battles I see are between NTs in the middle and NTs at the fringes (either end of the faith/unfaith spectrum). I think your key word here was "unsure." There is no grounds by which to prove anything, so how can one hold an extreme stance of any type?

    SP: Hedonism is the religion of SP's. Not sex, not lasciviousness, but happiness and pleasure. Fun, excitement, joy, and sensory fulfillment are the ideals to be upheld. Many religions offer this, or at least aspects of those religions help us to achieve it. Beyond that, SP's are inclined to believe. Where N's miss the mark with their deconstructions, the SP's accept that we don't know everything. Faith leads to fulfillment in a real sense, and real happiness is more important than nitpicky analysis and 'endless possibilities'. What brings us happiness and helps in a real way? That's the SP's religion.
    Generally, that is true. I do see SP's brought up in conservative environments buy into belief systems hook, line, and sinker ... because they are just accept the beliefs/arguments at face value, and if they create a happy/satisfied/workable life, then they must be true. But in general, SPs are more pragmatic with their beliefs; they find things that work and contribute to well-being and fullness of life. The theology does not have to be understood.

    SJ: Social order keeps us all together. Religion is a community, a family. Above all that, like many SP's, a great number of SJ's are inclined to be believers. Why? Science has it's uses, but it doesn't always 'pay the bills' or keep us together, nor does it always help us and our lives. Far-fetched beliefs and ideas can be hurtful as often as helpful, and many of the conventions and beliefs that have brought us to where we are, safe and whole, will take us into the future just as well... constantly questioning just for questionings sake can often only serve to shake up the foundations that we have built upon. That being said, it is just as likely that the beliefs that our civilization is based on are more 'true' and more 'expedient' than the long-winded theories of people whose personal lives and practical contributions have been less impressive. For the SJ's traditional belief is what brought us here, it is what keeps us going, and has lasted much longer and been more successful than the hippie movement!
    Yes, "stability" is big for SJ. Basically, whereas NTs start from scratch (usually) and build something from the material around them, the SJs start with an ideal of society or of the faith, then fit all evidence in underneath it, trying to live the ideal. Having a clearly defined ideal lends itself to stability. The negative is that any wavering from the ideal is seen necessarily as wrong or leading from the truth (and honestly, that's a logical conclusion, isn't it? If you start with an ideal?)

    I empathize much with SJ thinking because that is the environment in which I have lived most of my life, and I am very sensitive to that way of thinking. (I tried to share it for years... but the incongruence with my natural thought process finally made me pull away.)
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    Oy..I don't have much personal desire or need anymore to share the why's of what I believe in, because I spent so many years working through all of that and solidifying my personal views....so that I feel I've kinda 'been there done that', and also don't believe there's necessarily any 'point' in my sharing all of my beliefs when it comes to religion/spirituality/metaphysics, because each and every one of us has our own unique views of things, and really...most everyone isn't going to change a deep-seated belief that's at their foundation, at the drop of a hat. It's a combo of how we're raised, who we're with, our brain wiring, disposition, personality....etc etc etc....so based on all of those things, we all have different beliefs. And I have no need or drive to try to change anyone elses' beliefs (as long as their beliefs don't harm others or aren't forced on ME. :-)

    Anyway, I am Agnostic, and pretty firmly so. [I went through a serious Ti phase in developing my beliefs. :-)] I understand intellectually and emotionally and psychologically why people are religious, as there have been periods in my past where I HAVE been religious, but I'm no longer there. I haven't practiced any sort of religion for...7 years? Every now and then, because I was raised Lutheran and was forced to go to church every week (literally - although we may have missed 3 times a year) and the lifestyle and routines were pretty integrated in me....I get a bit sentimental in the sense that I 'wish' I could believe all of it...but I simply don't, and there's no way around it.

    I do however consider myself really ethical/moral, but I guess for me right/wrong good/bad fall outside of a religious view of it....I have those 'codes' lodged deeply within. And I think it's the ethical/moral stuff that might be my spirituality at this point, if you also tie in the natural world and caring for it.
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    Senior Member helen's Avatar
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    Greetings, INTP. I too am obsessed with the Philosophy of Religion and Types, but in a more INFJ-ish kind of way, probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by RealityDeviantPride View Post

    NF:

    My basic observation is that NF's are almost always angstful toward religion - gripped on one side by romantic credulism, and on the other by an abstract intellect that allows them to be quite skeptical about anything that can't tie it's loose ends together. More than that, they often have a distaste for the 'box' that religion can put us in, and also for the repression and close-mindedness of those who are convinced that their truth is the only truth.

    Therefore, it seems natural that NF's would lean toward the spiritual, not supernatural... the principles, not the beliefs. But, if they do believe, watch out. Joan of Arc got herself killed and sainted (which, I suspect, is the deep-seeded goal of many NF's. C'mon, admit it!)

    On the first reading of this, I thought, "nah, that doesn't fit" because I am a believer, a serious Christian. Upon a second and third reading, I saw that you were just describing tendencies and attitudes rather than saying what an NF would be likely to believe or not believe, and then I thought, "yeah, this is a pretty apt description." For instance, in many cases I do tend to lean more towards the principles than the beliefs, but that doesn't mean I don't hold to the beliefs as well.

    I can definitely relate to "being gripped by romantic credulism," in fact parts of my faith appeal to me so strongly simply because they are so poetic and beautiful. Of course, I realize that it would be irresponsible of me to believe something ONLY on those grounds, but there is no denying that it is a factor in the way I approach religion. And I don't really see that as a problem. Shouldn't the things that are the most true also be the most beautiful?

    As for "the abstract intellect that allows them to be quite skeptical about anything that can't tie it's loose ends together." I do prefer embracing a mystery than accepting what seems to me an inadequate answer. This is mostly why I don't think of myself as a fundamentalist, even though many my beliefs might be considered typical of fundamentalism. . . I think I approach them with a different attitude.

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    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Well, by your definition, I'm not an NT, and not religious either.

    So when did ducks stop swimming?

    For me, people who think they have 'certainty' because of their religion, or that their religion is certain, seem to be missing the point. For me, the uncertainty and embracing it, that's what it's all about. My religious approach, that is. But as I've said many times before, religion in Europe is very different to in the US.
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