The point of this post is not to discover truth or unravel mystery or prove my point; it's simply my way of exploring the mystery of the human need to believe. I am not trying to explain my beliefs or to understand your beliefs. I want to explore why do we, or don't we, believe in God(s) or religion.
Maybe, as pointed out in some scientific articles I've read, it boils down to what kind of 'thinker' you are. An interesting idea, but it falls short of explaining why I have come to where I am in my thinking and my beliefs. I want to sum up one article I read this morning on cognitive thinking and how the type of thinker you are leads to a belief, or disbelief, in God.
A reflective thinker is someone who analyzes and is logical by nature; while an intuitive thinker is less reflective. The level of cognitive thinking can be partially determined by answering these three questions:
THE COGNITIVE REFLECTION TEST
- A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
- If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long does it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
- In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?
Here are the answers: Five cents, five minutes, and forty-seven days.
I also want to introduce Helen Fisher. Helen Fisher is a sociologist who through her studies has come up with four personality types. Her work is focused on 'who we love and why' but I think it applies to belief or non-belief in God as well. I love her work and I am fascinated by it's accuracy. I also know you can't put everyone into little boxes and know 100 percent every outcome.
Here are the four types:
Explorer: Explorers are looking for adventure and change. That adventure is likely risky or thrilling but can also be more intellectual or cultural like taking classes or attending plays and symphonies.
An explorer is likely to be well liked and charming. Someone who has a lot of friends.
An explorer is less likely to be tied down by commitment. They work so they can play, they enjoy going out and being with people.
An explorer can be a good person to have on your team if you need new ideas and the fire of creativity and excitement.
When it comes to rules an explorer is likely to say "this doesn't really apply to me." or "oh yeah right…"
Builder: Builders are looking for stability and are very responsible individuals. They are willing to settle down and take care of business.
A builder is someone who will put work or religious responsibility first; sometimes before family and friends.
A builder is often times involved with a religious or political group. Someone who is a change maker.
As a leader a builder will get things done with no nonsense. It is important to get things done correctly and with honesty.
Builders have a commitment to moral standards. And for a builder morals can be very black and white.
When it comes to rules a builder will follow it because he/she knows there is a good reason for the rule or it wouldn't be there.
Director: Directors are very logical and analytical minded people who can make sense out of any situation in short order.
Directors are decisive and make up their minds quickly based on facts and logic.
Directors are straight-line thinkers and can cut through the 'nonsense' quickly.
Directors have a commitment to things that make good common sense and to things they can understand in their logical minds.
When it comes to rules a director will want to understand why the rule is put in place and will follow the rule if it makes sense and works for them.
Negotiator: Negotiators are web thinkers they explore ideas and love to engage in discussion or contemplation.
A Negotiator will take a long time to make a decision and prefers to have time to think about a situation and doesn't enjoy pressure to decide
Negotiators think outside the box constantly. They are multi-taskers and have a difficult time compartmentalizing.
A Negotiator is a good person to have on a team because they see the big picture, they can see the consequences and they make plotted decisions that have been thought out.
Negotiators are committed to finding the best situation in every area of their life.
When it comes to rules a negotiator wants to know the 'higher' reason. And they will commit to the principal but not the rules. Rules only apply if they work for the greater good.
Over the years I have put these personality types to the test and I continue to be impressed by their accuracy. You can take the personality test here. I am a negotiator/explorer. Let's interpret the four types as they relate to religiosity I presume that Explorers and Directors are less likely to believe in God and Builders and Negotiators are more likely to believe in God. Simply broken down this is how I draw my conclusions; Explorers don't like rules. Builders love rules and see things black and white. Directors are highly analytical. Negotiators are emotional and intuitive thinking.
Both the type of thinker we are and the personality type we lean towards are indicators of our inclinations towards God. However; life happens and many of us go beyond our inclinations to come to other conclusions. I'm an intuitive thinker and I test strongly as a negotiator. But through my life and my experiences I have come to a place in my life where I don't believe in God. Or at least I don't think it's important if there is a God or not. Even though I don't believe in God my intuitive nature still leans towards spiritual phenomena. I believe strongly in my intuitive nature which leads me towards all manner of woo woo. This could be my 'negotiator/explorer' as well. I think the factor leading me away from church/God/religion is that I score VERY low on builder qualities. I despise rules and see the world in technicolor not black and white.
My theory is far from scientific and it is not going to prove correct in every instance; however, I am pretty confident in my conclusions. It would be fun to do a facebook experiment and test all of my facebook friends, put them into four different lists for the personality types and two different lists for the type of thinker they are; then watch the status lines and the things people tend to post.
What do you think...