Have you ever noticed Calvinists think in black and white? And I’m not just talking about their theology, I mean they think in black and white about everything? And have you noticed that people who obsess about the second coming also like science fiction books? Of course those are general statements, and the most offensive thing you can say to a twenty-something is that people might have common characteristics (they hear “nobody is original”) but, honestly, and I mean really, really, honestly, is this something you’ve noticed?
So I’ve been wondering how much our personality goes into our understanding of God? And I’ve been concluding that, well, it goes into our view of God quite a bit.
For the past several years, I’ve studied the Enneagram, a personality assessment not unlike Myers-Briggs. The theory divides people into nine personalities, each with a wing, so with nine subtypes. And I’ve noticed some of the personalities are predisposed to certain theologies. Personality eight, which struggles with controlling people, leans toward a rules based, black and white theology that allows them to easily decide who is right and wrong, and who to fight, who is with them or against them. If you disagree with them, you are their enemy. But are you their enemy because you are wrong about theology, or because they have subscribed to a theology that helps them feel comfortable within the way they view the world? In other words, is this God’s fight, or their own? If they weren’t Christians, wouldn’t they just manifest their personalities in some other fight, some other black-and-white way of viewing the world?
Then there is the scholarly type, who tends to understand everything from different angles, but has trouble landing or stating they believe in much of anything. They are on a search, looking for truth, and don’t like the idea of having arrived. These people make great Bible Scholars because they try to understand an idea from various angles, and yet they have a very hard time landing, mainly because they feel like when they land, they stop learning.
I’ve noticed those who are perfectionists are drawn to rules oriented faith structures, where they can check religous actions off of to-do lists.
So I’m wondering a couple of things, and I know this may border on controversial…But I am wondering what kinds of personalities are, in general, drawn toward what kinds of theologies. Has anybody ever thought about this?
The temptation will be to “act” like we’ve never thought such things, but haven’t we. I have. I’ve wondered about this quite a bit, actually. Right or wrong, I have.