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  1. #1
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Default NTs why did you embrace religion?

    When I was 18 years old I have read Sogyal Rinpoche's Tibetan Book of Living and Dying where he has evinced that we tend not to be able to come to terms with our death peacefully.

    As a panacea, he recommended a path to spirituality proffered by the Buddhist religious tradition he subscribed to.

    I have attempted the pursuit, however, was reluctant to embrace any particular orthodoxy and moreover was dissatisfied with the metaphysical ambiguity of the Buddhistic creed.

    Later on I have come across some very well argued propositions in favor of Christianity--were sound enough to convince me to give that a try...


    My intellectual honesty was compromised because the pursuit of spirituality insisted on primacy of faith over reason. Therefore philosophy was only as good as it affirmed the religious prejudices. Ideas that agree with the accepted dogma are to be promoted, those that disagree rejected. This I could not accept.

    At this point I was well on my way to losing faith until I have come across Kierkegaard whose doctrines seemed to have made the furtherance of such a spiritual path possible. He insisted on fideism, or treating faith as simply a desire of the heart and one that has nothing to do with our intellectual ambitions. So, Christianity for us is not any particular metaphysical or epistemic doctrine, but simply a feeling that reinforces our focus on the spiritual path.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This I could not tolerate either as such an approach insisted on making decisions based on Feelings and moreover, I did not think I could hold on to my faith by those merits. If my faith was contingent upon feelings, intuitions, impulses, etc...and I was not at all clear on what those were, as I paid little attention to my hunches without the due reasoning, and to feelings even less, there is nothing substantial for my faith to stand on. Moreover, due to my intense Thinking oriented approach to life, my sentiments and hunches massively countervailed the feelings in favor of faith. Fideism was unacceptable to me, so I had to go back and suffer more with my previously embraced approach to religion.

    Typical route of epistemic justification, one embraced by St.Aquinas and Maimonides.

    I was resolute on maintaining faith because to me it represented the path to spirituality, the highest possible good, and moreover was convinced that in the future I may be able to preclude the religious dogma from stultifying my quest for truth. I still was unsure if I wished to abandon fideism, as I was hoping it would give me an opportunity to pursue my philosophy unperturbed by religious dogma and still continue on the 'spiritual path', if I simply had the idea of Christianity in mind. I was hardly aware that this same fideism has left the idea of Christianity hardly devoid of content..as it has become no more than a vague, amorphous notion of blind hope founded on wishful thinking. I knew I believed in some higher essence, no idea why, or what it even was--though still hopeful I would discover that sooner or later, as my confidence in my abstract problem solving remained stellar, despite the recent setbacks.

    Many times have I thought of abandoning the quest as it consistently struck me as no other than barren. It is either the hollow Fideism where Christianity becomes no more than cant, or dogmatic theology at the risk of endangering my inner life. I could not cease vacillating between the two. I have not made up my mind till the very end. Soon enough, in the common INTP fashion I have undertaken to synthesize the two disparate theories and found myself at an intermediate point between the two. I embraced the certain bits of fideism to ensure that the Christian dogma doesnt strangle my inner life, but the sheer poverty of the doctrine compelled me to look for something more substantial.

    Not surprisingly, I've turned to the epistemic support of my Christian prejudices, and found myself contriving many intricate epistemic and metaphysical schemes to render my faith tenable. As I thought, in the end it had to be no more than a leap of faith, from a philosophical perspective, Christianity need not be cogent, it only needs to be tenable to a degree, however small. This, I barely managed to accomplish..

    Yet in the end I realized I suffered from the many defects common in the epistemic justification tradition of Christianity (Aquinas), philosophy has become subordinate to Christian dogma. I was examining most closely not the ideas that I thought were most likely to conduce to the acquisition of truth, but those that were most likely to allow for me to remain on the 'spiritual path'. This was too heavy of a toll for my inner life to pay and I've finally turned my back on it all...

    With the due assistance of Spinoza and Schopenhauer, I've managed to concoct a religion-free approach to spirituality. One of my most noteworthy discoveries yet...


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NTs tend to be dismissive of spirituality because this notion is often amorphous and vague, and therefore is unacceptable to our clarity minded attitudes...

    Before having read the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, I would not have minded calmly dismissing it all as the kind of superstitious non-sense that I need not pay another second of my time..yet his argument for the need of spirituality and our inability to face death were compelling. How do you recondite this problem?

    Moreover, if you have embraced religion, how did you deal with the problems I have struggled with? And what were your reasons for embracing religion?

    If you have chosen the path of non-spirituality, do you intend to find a non-religious spirituality, and if not, how do you deal with Rinpoche's problem? (More clearly emphasized in Ernest Becker's Denial of Death).

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    At this point I have completed my first work on philosophy of religion where I intend to solve the problems that have befallen my lot. I believe that religious orthodoxy is not only harmful to one's inner life, but also stultifies the pursuit of spirituality. The latter could well be acquired with unaided reason, and in the worst case scenario can indeed give us all that we'd need from life. The true autonomy of mind and inner calm that organized religion proves to be no more than a vapid hologram for.
    Last edited by SolitaryWalker; 12-30-2007 at 05:24 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member FallsPioneer's Avatar
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    I went to a Catholic school for elementary school, and was largely brought up in a lot of the traditional Catholic stuff...I never really gave things like the Beatitudes, original sin, and going to hell much thought as a kid. I had always feared going to hell, though. More than anything it just scared the shit out of me; as I grew older (after leaving the school), I perceived a lot of things within Catholicism as obligations that were empty, that didn't particularly resonate with me--the essence of my own spirituality. There were just things that I didn't agree with.

    In seventh and eighth grade I went to a "Protestant school" where I began to
    accept a lot of what was preached. Both schools had mandatory religion classes...I don't know whether or not my blind acceptance of things came as a result of a weakness of will, insecurity or just not questioning, but I listened enough to what I was told and made it resonate with me...subconsciously. The one defining principle was the idea of gay marriage--as far as I know, before coming to that school, I was totally ambivalent to gay marriage (I don't remember if I knew what homosexuality was). Our very personable George W. Bush loving pastor/teacher of religion and American history (fucking deadly combination, bad news) had me convinced that homosexuality was immoral. Now I don't know how much of a spiritual thing this is, but I accepted it as a truth. Perhaps it can be a rational principle and a spiritual principle. But the point was I changed my mind.

    I went to a different school for my freshman and sophomore year of high school, with no religious affiliation or mandatory religion class of any sort. Removed from any sort of influence, I was able to really figure things out for myself, and finally rejected homosexuality as immoral because being gay doesn't hurt anybody, and it just doesn't make any fucking sense for homosexuality to be immoral. Why would it be? Because God said? Why would God say so? Because it's immoral? Bullshit. Look, I don't even think God thinks homosexuality is immoral, and I also think it's a handful of colossal assholes who don't get into heaven. Homosexuality doesn't equate to going to hell.

    I too had always just thought there was some higher power. I don't know how much room for rationalization there is for spirituality outside of looking within yourself and figuring out whether or not "X" is you. Spirituality is ultimately beyond my brain, and probably rightfully so. One could say I have a very arrogant sense of spirituality.

    Honestly I consider myself a Christian if I'm going to classify myself as something, and I consider myself a Christian by virtue of the fact that I believe in God, Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and the works. I don't go to church, but that's not important, I don't believe that faith is actually "practiced," or at the very least, I'm not a "practicing" Christian. There is no way to strengthen faith or get closer to something (entity, etc.) other than for you to get closer to whatever you are seeking.

    To answer the topic question I "embraced" religion mostly because it was taught to me, or I was born into it. Family members, though not sticklers for religion, had a hand in it because they often discussed God (and other things) and I loved to listen to these conversations as a young'n even though I didn't entirely comprehend the meaning. I'm not sure that I would have gone on a spiritual quest or have been a Christian had I not learned it to a certain extent as a kid. However, it makes sense to me, it resonates, so it can stay.

    --I'm going to edit this later.--
    Still using a needle to break apart a grain of sand.

  3. #3
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    A person can ask me about one of these four things and depending on what they ask I will give a different answer: religion, faith, spirituality, theology. These are four different but related things. However I think the best way to (start to) answer your post is to describe my views on faith and reason. My essential view on faith and reason, not just in a spiritual context but in any context, is this:

    "Reason without faith is useless." Or another way I would say it is, "Reason without faith is unreasonable."

    This is because in order to draw any reasonable conclusion you first have to make some assumptions. These assumptions have different names depending on the context: axioms, postulates, a priori statements, etc.... In a spiritual context it is called faith. When I was seeking for some type of spiritual meaning, what I was really trying to do was figure out which axioms to base my life upon. All other conclusions would reasonably follow.

    Unlike most people I try to boil down my foundational beliefs to as few statements as possible. I believe that I can condense my faith down to these two statements:
    "Jesus rose from the dead on the Sunday morning following his crucifiction."
    "The writers of the New Testament believed the same."

    I cannot prove these two statements. Instead I accept them on faith and my other views on spirituality, religion, etc... are conclusions which are based on these two statements. This doesn't answer the question though of why I would believe in Jesus in the first place. That answer can be summed up by this statement from Jesus, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." Jn. 7:17

    In my case I had repented and had decided to follow God before I knew what it meant to repent, be forgiven, receive the Holy Spirit, or any basic Christian teaching. It was only after reading the Bible that I discovered that it was describing what I had already experienced. However I hold that the scripture John 7:17 is still true. Anyone who decides to follow the will of God will know whether the teachings of Jesus are true. In my case I followed this scripture before I knew that I was supposed to.

    Christianity, or more accurately the Bible, must be tried before it is believed. I actually believe for an NT it is best to follow the Bible at the beginning and if you believe after that then you should seek a religion that is based on your faith. Religion should come second after your faith in Christ. A person should only get their teachings from religion if they are not willing to do serious study on their own.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Rohsiph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Religion should come second after your faith in Christ. A person should only get their teachings from religion if they are not willing to do serious study on their own.
    And if I reach faith in Baldr before Christ? What if I come to understand Buddha instead of Christ?

    I don't see how anyone can truly claim participating in "serious study on their own" unless they study comparative religions . . . but I'm not sure you would really disagree with me. I'm being a bit unfair attacking the particular quoted statement above.

    I nitpick because I've come across many who give gaping, ignorant stares when I introduce the possibility of there being more than one religion (which is fundamentally inarguable--especially when withholding claims about the "truth" of any particular religion) to religious discussion

  5. #5
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    I sometimes lose faith in MBTI. I cannot understand someone of the same type as myself actually believing in Christianity et al. I can understand why some "weak" types succumb but NT's especially INTJ's/INTP, surely not?

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red13 View Post
    I sometimes lose faith in MBTI. I cannot understand someone of the same type as myself actually believing in Christianity et al. I can understand why some "weak" types succumb but NT's especially INTJ's/INTP, surely not?
    It all depends on initial assumptions. The logic process [evaluation of data] can be as rigorous, but if you change your assumptions that you're feeding into it, then you come out with different answers.

    Go to INTJforum or INTPcentral and look at the wide variety of difference in beliefs, based solely on what the initial assumptions are.

    Fun, hmmm?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    It all depends on initial assumptions. The logic process [evaluation of data] can be as rigorous, but if you change your assumptions that you're feeding into it, then you come out with different answers.

    Go to INTJforum or INTPcentral and look at the wide variety of difference in beliefs, based solely on what the initial assumptions are.

    Fun, hmmm?

    Sorry but I really can't believe that anyone who rationally looks at the data would ever become Christian/Jewish/Muslim etc. I can believe that social upbringing and pressure cause people to conform to their local religion, but if they really looked at the data they would surely reject it.

    I will however look at the two forums you suggest to see if I can get any insights.

  8. #8
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    Lucretius has a pretty good argument about death.

    More or less, he says that life after death is simply inconsistent and thus men are mortal. But fear of death always involves imagining death, while alive to imagine it. But that is to imagine life presence after death in order to imagine it at all, when we already agreed that life after death was inconsistent. "Death is therefore nothing to us, concerns us not a jot."

    I think it's both beautiful and compelling.
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    What is life, lives.

  9. #9
    Senior Member FallsPioneer's Avatar
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    For all I know, Allah is God, and every religion is right, and there are infinitely many more religions than the ones that exist/we know of now, ones that have yet to be "realized" or "conceived/perceived" even. I don't see it as important to me logically/rationally/my peace of mind or spiritually whether or not I'm right in what I choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by antireconciler View Post
    More or less, [Lucretius] says that life after death is simply inconsistent and thus men are mortal. But fear of death always involves imagining death, while alive to imagine it. But that is to imagine life presence after death in order to imagine it at all, when we already agreed that life after death was inconsistent. "Death is therefore nothing to us, concerns us not a jot."
    Life after death, strictly in the rational sense, is inconsistent. That's why I figure life after death is moreso a matter of faith. Plus, I've tried to imagine what death is like and what it means to really DIE not because I'm afraid, but just out of curiosity, but it is a bit hopeless. It reminds me of the Rosencrantz's musings on death in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. I'll tack it in.

    Rosencrantz: Did you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in a box with a lid on it?

    Guildenstern: No.

    Rosencrantz: Nor do I, really. It's silly to be depressed by it. I mean, one thinks of it like being alive in a box. One keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one is dead, which should make all the difference, shouldn't it? I mean, you'd never know you were in a box, would you? It would be just like you were asleep in a box. Not that I'd like to sleep in a box, mind you. Not without any air. You'd wake up dead for a start, and then where would you be? In a box. That's the bit I don't like, frankly. That's why I don't think of it. Because you'd be helpless, wouldn't you? Stuffed in a box like that. I mean, you'd be in there forever, even taking into account the fact that you're dead. It isn't a pleasant thought. Especially if you're dead, really. Ask yourself, if I asked you straight off, "I'm going to stuff you in this box. Now, would you rather be alive or dead?" naturally, you'd prefer to be alive. Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well, at least I'm not dead. In a minute somebody is going to bang on the lid, and tell me to come out."

    But that IS a really thought-provoking idea.

    red13, where do you come up with your ideas on NT's probable views on faith and "weak" types? And what "data" is there to look at on religion?
    Still using a needle to break apart a grain of sand.

  10. #10
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    I have always intuited a higher power. Brought up Catholic, I tried to distinguish myself with an inchoate "spirituality," but found the alternative empty. During hard times I found consolation in prayer, and then meaning in the church -- those people who by their works show belief -- and converted to the American Baptist church nearly six years ago.

    The nature of God, the father of Christ, is what convinces me, omnipotence that eschews totalism lying beyond human instinct.

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