Speaking generally, do you believe personality is a factor influencing our belief choices within evangelicalism/fundamentalism?

Yes, it usually is a major factor
12% (2 votes)
Yes, it can be and sometimes is a factor
53% (9 votes)
No, not much of a factor
35% (6 votes)
Other
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 17
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There are 18 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Since back in the late 70's, I have been able to somewhat predict what theological viewpoints an open Christian might meander to.  Those with a consistency fetish will often gravitate toward the reformed, those with a passion fetish toward the charismatic (or revivalistic) churches.  Those who enjoy the visual arts too much might be tempted toward the Anglican (or other Romish/Orthodox groups).  Rock music lovers (or people who can't watch enough movies) are drawn to seeker-sensitive churches.  Lutherans seem to draw a more fun-loving crowd, etc., etc..

 

While is this not always true, and while our personalities are complex mixtures of qualities, I have been amazed how OFTEN this is true.  And family loyalty, etc., etc., means many people are not open to meander, so the draw of personality is held in check.

 

Anyone else observe the phenomenon?

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ed,

You either have way too much time on your hands or else one of the most fertile minds out there, because you come up with some really unique topics for discussion. Reminds me of being back in college (at least in my  undergrad days).

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ed Vasicek's picture

I'll take that as a compliment!   But I am one of those guys with a cheerful, balance fetish -- so I gravitate toward Bible churches or Free churches, etc.

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

What's a consistency fetish?

 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

What's a consistency fetish?

 

 

An obsession with order and the idea that everything is (or should be) systematic.  It makes logic supreme.

"The Midrash Detective"

Rob Fall's picture

. . .  everything can be logically systematized.  It has little toleration for the idea of grey areas.

Ed Vasicek wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

What's a consistency fetish?

 

 

An obsession with order and the idea that everything is (or should be) systematic.  It makes logic supreme.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

O-o-o-o-o - that's me. Guess that must be why I'm so Calvanistic in my soteriology. Of course, I'm also a Baptist, which can be very messy at times.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jim's picture

Re:

 

Lutherans seem to draw a more fun-loving crowd

Oh those fun-loving Lutherans! Top 10 Ole and Lena Jokes Sampling:

  • Ole: Lars, I heard that you saved a man’s life in a restaurant last week. Lars: Ya, I sure did. I advised him not to eat the Lutefisk.
  • When Ole and Lena got married and went on their honeymoon. Lena was a bit bashful. As they walked up to the hotel, Lena said, Vhat can ve do so dey von’t know ve’re newlyveds? Answered Ole: YOU carry the luggage.”
Ed Vasicek's picture

Perhaps the people that fit the mold most vote "no?"

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Now, my family is Swedish (great gandma came to America as a child) and I was born in the Twin Cities (lived in Still water till I was 9 Jim), but I have to wonder how many SI readers know what Lutefisk is, when it's traditionally served, or have ever tried the nasty stuff before (my Swedish ancestors disavowed me long ago).

 

My dad still insists on making it every year at Christmas, even though none of his 7 kids or 14 grandkids will touch it - can't even stand the smell. If only I'd know I could call CPS to report child abuse when my dad used to make us eat it as kids.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Rob Fall's picture

I'd also say there are good Christian folk (i.e. not Modernists or Liberals) who just want peace.  And some are willing to make peace at any price.  These are the folk who voted down the Fundamentalists' propositions in the Northern Baptist Convention and who kicked Machen out of the Presbyterians.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

JD Miller's picture

I'm a half Swede from MN.  For the Swedish fundamentalists who want to dance this one should be okay.  It is called "Da Swedish Disco."  You just start walking and as you look at your feet, you point to the ground and say, dis go here, dis go there and then step where you had pointed.  For those who have never ate fish soaked in lye or heard an old Minnesota Swede talk, just disregard this post.

Joel Shaffer's picture

I grew up having Lutefisk every Christmas as one of our Christmas traditions.  My grandfather came from Sweden and married a swede from the U.P.  

I actually got used to the taste.  When our family celebrates Christmas with my parents, I am the only one that eats it.  My wife and kids won't get near the stuff........    

Alex Guggenheim's picture

If what Ed says be true in large part, it might not be a favorable commentary on the average Christian if he or she is led about by ego-centric considerations in ecclesiastical choices. And I do believe there is some truth to Ed's observation.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Alex,

I agree with you to a point. However, I think some of the issue might be that who we are helps shape our beliefs. So these types of people might be drawn to these types of positions out of  sincerely held beliefs molded in part by who they are and how they see and interpret the world around them. Unfortunately, this should not trump God's truth, which is universal, over the long term.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ed Vasicek's picture

You guys are right.  We are not talking about what should be.  My personality and upbringing are such that I SHOULD be a liberal (or at least modestly liberal).  I am not conservative by personality, but by conviction.  And things like this are true of many others.  However, particularly for secondary (but important) doctrines, atmospheres, and approaches, I think the majority of times it is the other way around.  We have grossly underestimated the import of personality to theological alignment with evangelicalism/fundamentalism.

 

Dr. Joel Robertson, (a Christian brain chemistry expert), in his book Natural Prozac, suggests that satiation-type personalities are drawn to peaceful churches (soothing) while arousal-types are drawn to exciting congregations.  I think he is right.  But I think it can be even more finely parsed.

 

If there are 4 personality types (thinker, relater, achiever, influencer [aka, "feeler"]), thinkers would be drawn to order and consistency; relaters would be drawn to family atmosphere churches, achiever to churches that do a lot numerically (outreach, missions giving, social concerns, etc), and influencer to churches that emphasize deep feelings.  

 

Christians who are not "free" to wander (they are committed to a church, have a family in a church, or were brought up in a denomination) will be spread all over. But, when church shopping, these personality factors will be important. There will be other ones as well (for example, parents who are surprised when their junior high kid wants to go to a church where he/she has friends, etc., in which case the oldest child of the family picks the church; by the time the other kids become junior high age, most parents learn by then that peer satisfaction will lead them from church to church).  Still, if free to choose, most people will find a church that exalts their type of personality, but it snobs or sobs.

 

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Alex Guggenheim's picture

While the Doctor's observations I believe should not be dismissed I would hesitate giving them as much weight as it appears he has. I am more earnest that among mature or maturing believers these human properties and propensities are anecdotal and higher considerations are the driving force.

Still, in general, there seems to be something to consider in his postulates.