Personality Types Theory and Research Articles

Religion and Personality Type

4 years ago 11 comments

“Never discuss politics, religion or sex.” That’s what etiquette enthusiasts have been advising people for decades. We’re about to fearlessly break that rule – at least when it comes to religion.

We’ve received some interesting results from our community when we asked readers to agree or disagree with the statement “You are very religious.” There was not, in any group, a strong majority who declared that they were, with the highest group hovering around 50%. However, there seem to be several major differences between personality types and their role groups, as well as individual traits.

To begin with, here are charts showing the religiosity of different types and type roles. We will not cover type strategies in this article as they seem to have negligible impact on our respondents’ religiosity – the percentage of religious people in each strategy group hovers around 40%.

Agreement with “You are very religious.”

Agreement with “You are very religious.”

Sentinels

Sentinels, defined by their strong Observant and Judging Traits, had the highest percentage (50.31%) of religious people among those who responded. We would expect this because of Sentinels’ love for tradition and their “by-the-book” approach to life. They are conscientious people who prefer guidelines and strong standards. They are also loyal. Loyalty is a type of faith in itself, and it is easy to apply the idea of loyalty to a religious institution or faith.

Sentinels are the group most likely to do things the way they’ve always been done and to hold on to the ways of the past. They are also the most likely to have prescribed, “proven” paths that they follow, whether in work, home or in their belief system. They hold to specific “right” and “wrong” ways of doing things more than other types do. They can be inflexible at times.

Among Sentinels, Assertive ISFJs (“Defenders”) had the highest score, with 58.02% of them stating they were religious, while Assertive ESTJs (“Executives”) had the lowest percentage of religious people, at 40.84%.

Analysts

The Analysts were the group least likely to say they were very religious. Only 30.93% of them agreed with the statement. In this group, Assertive INTPs (“Logicians”) had the lowest proportion of religious people, only 21.61%. On the other side of the spectrum, Turbulent ENTJs (“Commanders”) were a significant exception, with 44.26% reporting as religious.

Interestingly, it seems that the type variant plays a particularly important role when it comes to religiosity in the Analyst role group – the difference between Assertive and Turbulent types reaches 6-7 percentage points in some cases, significantly more than in any other group.

Analysts, with their Intuitive and Thinking traits, need a sensible argument based on a reasonable collection of solid evidence before they make up their minds. They usually want to improve and change systems rather than simply uphold a system as it is. A system whose continued existent depends on its followers steadfastly continuing its traditions may be less attractive to those in the Analyst group.

For Analysts, religious apologetics might prove interesting to them as a philosophical exercise. However, they would probably not embrace beliefs unquestioningly. They also need intellectual room to “play” and a religious setting may not provide enough of that kind of freedom. As a group, they like finding their own way.

Explorers

The Explorers share the Observant trait with the Sentinels, and they have the second highest percentage of those who endorsed the statement. Looking at overall figures, a higher proportion of Observant personality types reported being religious compared to Intuitive ones (47.41% vs. 35.33%). However, it is not yet clear whether this particular trait correlates strongly with religiosity, and this hypothesis warrants more research.

In the Explorer role group, Turbulent ESTPs (“Entrepreneurs”) were the least religious (33.16%) and Turbulent ISFPs (“Adventurers”) had the highest percentage, at 48.65%.

Diplomats

The Diplomats are an Intuitive group like the Analysts. They also are open-minded and need room to imagine and to draw their own conclusions. This probably accounts for their position as the third least likely group to claim they are religious. They, like their Analysts cousins, also like finding their own way.

Among Diplomats, INFJs (“Advocates”) were the most religious, at 44.33%, and INFPs were the least, at 33.50%. Curiously, Diplomat personality types were the least likely to be influenced by the type variant as far as their religiosity was concerned. In most cases, the difference was just over 1%, which may indicate that these personality types tend to have firm views when it comes to religion, and those views are not influenced by their self-confidence and resistance to stress.

The interesting thing about this poll and Diplomats is that the Intuition and Feeling combination generally points to an imaginative person who is often a bit of a visionary. They strive to improve themselves, the world and others. They are also likely to be spiritual in a free-thinking, non-sectarian way. Chances are good they see this quality as different from being religious, and yet some would say these qualities have religious overtones. Would a poll statement, “You are very spiritual” get a more positive response from this group?

Also worth noting is the difference between the Prospecting and Judging traits in these responses. While the type roles as a whole show a general rise and fall of religiosity, when we compare two types with identical traits, but with opposing Judging and Prospecting traits, there is a marked difference. We see this within the Analysts and Diplomats, for example by comparing INTJs (“Architects”) to INTPs (“Logicians”) or ENFJs (“Protagonists”) to ENFPs (“Campaigners”), but also across type groups between the Sentinels and the Explorers, for example between ISFJs (“Defenders”) and ISFPs (“Adventurers”).

This dovetails nicely with our discussion of the Sentinels. Those with the Judging trait tend to appreciate structure, rules and context for their actions and ideas – some more so than others – and religious beliefs provide that framework.

Nevertheless, we should remember that no group is entirely representative of those who do or don’t describe themselves as religious. Even among Sentinels, almost half did not see themselves that way. Among the Analysts, almost a third said they were religious.

It’s easy to stereotype, but on many questions there may be a broad representation of differing views within a single group. The purpose is not to brand one group as this while the other group is that. The value is not so much in labeling at all – it’s in discovering how our personality traits play out in the real world and in giving us a better sense of who we are.

Please also see our study on religion and spirituality, which expands upon some of the points raised in the article.

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, in the Academy. If you have a minute to help us with our research, check out our Member Surveys.

Also, consider subscribing to our newsletter to receive interesting and useful insights tailored for your personality type – we send them every couple of weeks, and you can unsubscribe at any time if you don’t find them useful.

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