[ISFJ] ISFJ's and Christianity

ISFJ's and Christianity

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This is a discussion on ISFJ's and Christianity within the ISFJ Forum - The Nurturers forums, part of the SJ's Temperament Forum- The Overseers category; I know, I know....religion and type is a topic that has already been done to death and talked about time ...

  1. #1
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    ISFJ's and Christianity

    I know, I know....religion and type is a topic that has already been done to death and talked about time and time again.

    I also know that there's no clear, direct connection between type and religion. Religion is a personal choice, type is inborn. There are Christian NT's and atheist ISFJ's. Anyone of any type can choose any religion, and people even change religions throughout the course of their lives. There are so many other factors that affect someone's religion other than type, and so much depends on culture, environment and background.

    All of that being said, however, I disagree with the notion that there is absolutely no correlation between someone's type and what religion they choose. I haven't seen any formal study, but I'm honestly willing to bet that a greater percentage of ISFJ's are Christian than at least some other types, particularly NT's, or even just N's or P's in general (at least in Western cultures). I have noticed a number of the ISFJ's on PerC are Christians, though we often don't bring it up or speak about it much.

    And I think that's because a lot of the teachings of Christianity fit in line with the natural preferences of ISFJ's. I'm not saying that ISFJ's aren't any less prone to sin than any other type, or that ISFJ's don't have desires of the flesh, or that ISFJ's are in any way special. But what I am saying is that the idea of Christianity is probably appealing to ISFJ's in a number of ways.

    The first is that in general ISFJ's enjoy pleasing others, particularly those in authority. We in general don't like to stray too much from the path. The idea of serving a God, particularly one who loves us and appreciates everything we do, is an idea that is very fulfilling to us.

    The second is the idea of service in general. Christianity is a religion that has a large focus on not only serving God, but also serving others. Many teachings of Jesus support this idea, as do many of Paul. Even if this is hard for us to do a lot of times, it's something we honestly feel obligated to do, and we get a natural fulfillment out of it.

    Finally, I think the structure of religion in general, particularly Christianity, gives us comfort. It's very nice to be able to go to a book like the Bible and be able to use it for guidance in our lives. It's nice to have one place to look to

    I'm not trying to use type as an excuse for any kind of behavior. But I think that many other people, often of other types, detest this kind of behavior in us. They have a problem with us relying on a source other than ourselves. They view it as mindless, sheeplike and weak.

    Of course, as ISFJ's (and Christians) need to learn not to care too much about what others think. It's a balance that we have to strive to find...to listen to others to get input from them, but not to let them control our decisions and choices. The other thing that I think is really nice about Christianity is that really, most of the time when people outside of it have a problem with it, they have a problem with God much more than they do us. There are a few Bible verses that point to this but I don't have the time to look them up now. Sometimes I think we take others' criticisms of God personally, and we forget that God has already said that some people will hate Him.

    At the same time, I've also felt that it's important for us to be confident in our own abilities and thoughts...I don't think there's anything in Christianity that teaches against that. There is a big difference between pride and confidence. I think one can still be dependent upon God and still use their own mind to think and solve problems.

    Anyway....I'm not meaning to say all ISFJ's are the same and I'm not trying to single out any ISFJ's that are not Christians...for all I know, maybe Christian ISFJ's are in the minority of the ISFJ's on PerC. As I've said, type doesn't dictate anything and is no excuse for anyone to be one way or another about anything.

    But I honestly don't think it's purely coincidence. So I just felt like getting these thoughts out, particularly because since religion and type has already been done to death, it's almost felt like an "elephant in the room" that no one on our forum has brought up yet.
    Tucken, Miriamisfj, Tanigi and 7 others thanked this post.

  2. #2
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    I was raised as a Christian, now an atheist. The whole church going thing never really appealed to me. It always felt forced and the people always seemed fake. Even when my faith was at its strongest I never felt the energy others claimed.

    --sorry if anyone is offended here but why should religion be exempt from criticism?--
    this has nothing to do with hating your god but disagreeing with what's presented in your holy book. (and with a little rationalism on the side..)

    As an atheist, I'd encourage people to be more Christlike. Christ seemed to represent humanitarianism. God on the other hand killed people, destroyed civilizations (and flooded the Earth, only for all of humanity to be replenished by probable incest), ordered the genocide of the Midianites, the plundering of their wealth and the taking of their virgin women. Didn't include 'Thou shalt not enslave another human" as a commandment, didn't include "Thou shalt not rape" as a commandment. Spent more time telling people how to properly perform an animal sacrifice in the old testament than he did on giving them any kind of actual insight / thought stoning people for working on the sabbath made sense / thought stoning disobedient children made sense / thought rape victims should marry their rapists. Didn't make sure his book didn't have contradictions so that people like me wouldn't be lead away. God doesn't seem to realize that the religion people choose to follow is more dependent on where the person is born and less to do with who they are and yet I'm sure is willing to send all nonbelievers to be tormented for all eternity anyway. We can get into the existence of dinosaur bones, the extremely in-depth fossil record of life that's no longer here, distant galaxies that are only to be seen with extremely high tech machinery, and the reality that all life seems to have come about naturally...

    I've always been a 'why?' person myself and perhaps that's why I have a problem with religion, such as 'why would an all loving god allow babies to be born deformed?' or, 'what is the point of circumcision/genital mutilation?' (In fact there's a story here about a jewish rabbi in new york whom was conducting the circumcisions the old orthodox way by using his mouth to suck the blood from the infant's penis after the cut had been made and he ended up giving herpes to 5 or so of them, 2 of whom later died.) It's stuff like this that the religious should answer for and most never seem to. I can respect the ones who do and yet keep their faith but it's always as if I automatically become the enemy for bringing up questions, which again leads me to make another point against religion in that it invokes conformity and group think rather than freedom of thought.

    i could go on.. didn't really start writing with the purpose of ranting in mind but there it is.. not sure if i got off topic or not but yeah, it's not about hate at all, quite the contrary.

  3. #3
    Unknown Personality

    "Type is inborn"??? No. It's not. Absolutely, totally, comprehensively, not.
    Type is what you are "like". Many people become a type and never change. Many, not all.

    My wife is ISFJ and I, myself have occasionally tested as that. I have almost always been concerned with the spiritual.
    But my wife had absolutely no leaning in that direction. Now she has, by associating with me.
    She adapts. I adapt. We adapt. That means what we are "like" changes.
    That means that sometimes we are like ISFJs, if we decide to be that way, at that time.
    Adaptability is the key to survival and quality of life.
    Be one way: one way is all you know, and all you get.
    Be everything: everything is what you get.
    Longdove and Up and Away thanked this post.

  4. #4
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    I'll address floryshe's post when I have more time and energy.

    Quote Originally Posted by the crow View Post
    "Type is inborn"??? No. It's not. Absolutely, totally, comprehensively, not.
    Type is what you are "like". Many people become a type and never change. Many, not all.
    From every MBTI book that I've read, type is inborn. However, type does not dictate who you are as a person, nor your choices or decisions. However, it does dictate your natural preferences, just like being right handed or left handed. Different people are going to have different levels of comfort with either hand, but most have one natural preference.

    This does not mean one cannot strengthen the other preference, just like one could strengthen their less dominant hand. However, the actual natural preferences are in born.

    I'm not an MBTI expert, I'm just going by what I've read and heard. It also fits in with my own personal experience. My mom told me that even as a toddler, she could see my introversion play out compared to the extroversion of my brothers. She could also see some of my J-ness in my terms of organization. This was not something that she or anyone else taught me, and she didn't do anything explicitly different with me compared to my brothers.

    The whole entire thing is very complicated, and no one knows for sure. The psychology of development concerning nature vs. nurture is very cloudy. However, before learning about the MBTI, I used to believe personality was all nurture. Now I have many more doubts about that.
    Introvertigo thanked this post.

  5. #5
    Unknown Personality

    Fair enough. It is wise to cite one's own experience, with authority, as opposed to assuming one's own experience holds true for all.
    What I know about myself, above all, is that I am very, very unusual.
    Probably it's a good thing that I know this.
    Life was hell when I didn't know it.
    teddy564339 thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFJ - The Protectors

    teddy and floryshe, I think you're both on to something here (though you may disagree in some regards). I do think type is a factor in adherence to religion, though it is just that: a factor, not the factor. I've read somewhere that ENTPs are the least likely type to believe in God, while NTs are the least likely temperament to do so. This is probably because their emphasis on logic makes it hard for them to retain faith when confronted with perceived contradictions/errors in religious scripture, or in realization of the existence of other factors pivotal to deciding which religion one follows (time period, culture, family, peers, educators, etc.) They look at all these factors and - if they don't see a logical reason to choose one religion over all the others - likely will not choose one at all (and oftentimes become stupefied by those who do). NFs meanwhile, are probably more likely to consider the various traditions before dismissing them all, or at least will salvage those parts of their own that are most ethical/idealistic and make a very personalized faith of it.

    Beyond this, however, I think the most prominent role temperament plays in religious adherence is that of a 'filter' (each type being a slightly different kind of perception) whereby certain aspects of Scripture are given predominance over others and certain passages are interpreted in various different ways, giving rise (over time) to various sects/denominations within a given religious tradition. For instance, as an INFJ Christian (w/ 'iconoclastic' Ni dominance as opposed to 'traditionalist' Si) I have noticed that I identify most with those parts of Scripture where the prophets/Jesus challenge the religious elite of the time, revealing how the establishment has fallen short of the ideal and calling them to reform (which is to say, repentance). I like to be "as shrewd as a snake (N), and as innocent as a dove (F)."
    floryshe, teddy564339, Out0fAmmo and 1 others thanked this post.

  7. #7
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    not religious. the idea of religion is slightly nauseating to me. not because of any perceived wrongs that churches or places of worship commit, but because of the concept that religion must be mainstreamed. you all must believe the same thing. you all must have a spiritual duty. that duty strips your spiritual wellbeing and places it into a box that punishes you when you do not do as you are told. that is an abuse of the soul. i do not find it to be positive in the slightest. that being said, i could be defined as spiritual.
    the crow, Up and Away and moeron. thanked this post.

  8. #8
    Unknown Personality

    Good post. Excellent, even. You must have done a lot of delving to understand that about your feelings on religion.
    I feel similarly. I tried diligently to be a Christian, but ultimately found I could not be.
    It left me with a soft-spot for Christians, though, which turns out to be very, very counter-productive.
    They are not my allies, no matter how much I try to be theirs.
    I remain spiritual, but quite unlike what is usually thought of as spiritual: that is: the appearance of so being, without being it, at all.

  9. #9
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    I think that the concept of humility is naturally understood by the ISFJ. "He who wants to lead must be the servant of all." "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Paradoxical to many, but exemplified by the incarnation of Jesus. Fully God, yet as the ultimate act of mercy, he humbled himself to be born a human, to live and die a mortal life on this earth, and was exalted though his resurrection.

    The concept of grace is equally confounding for many, but not so hard for the ISFJ to accept. Grace, the unmerited favor of God, can only be received by those who acknowledge their utter helplessness to be holy through their own effort. "My strength is perfected in your weakness." "Grace comes through faith and not by works, so that none should boast." "Christ in me is to live; to die (to self) is to gain." Again paradoxical and, to many, foolishness. Yet such a treasure to the ISFJ so painfully aware of his own imperfection, who seeks the certainty and reassurance of a perfect Creator, who sees all and will judge all.
    Medea, teddy564339, Tanigi and 3 others thanked this post.

  10. #10
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    I tried to join organised religion at several different times in my life, but none of them fit well with me. There was always too much emphasis on the subservience of the female to the male and a strong anti-feminist leaning that sat wrong with me. I didn't like being told that I had to stay home with the children because that was my role and my husband's role was to earn the money. Now, we have come to this in my relationship but it was by choice and after several years in which I was the breadwinner while my husband was the home-maker. Organised religion therefore annoys me. I like the idea of a god or what have you, but I detest the human frailty that denigrates on sex to elevate the other. I hate forced gender roles and I have never found a church that doesn't bind to them in one form or another. For this reason I can't believe in all the religions that I have been exposed to and I am so impatient with the way people get over their religions that I am totally turned off the idea. So I am I guess agnostic by default. That is I think there is more out there than I am aware of but I don't think any human religion has got down correctly what it is out there guiding the world. I don't think it's a being either; I think there is a cosmos and that it all has an effect on everything but it's not an intelligent creature controlling everything. I find this more comforting than every form of religion I have come across.
    Introvertigo, Up and Away and smolio thanked this post.

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