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Old 08-26-2008, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Western Cary, NC
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Default Are we genetically programmed to be religious or non-religious?



I have looked at personality test and characteristics of the different personalities and see several personality types listed where the individual is more likely to reject organized religion and others more likely to accept on blind faith (Jung, Briggs Myers). With the (Most likely to reject religion) traits being listed in my personality type (INTJ), I was wondering if it is common among other non-religious who have taken this group of test?

The short free version of the test can be taken on line at www.humanmetrics.com/cig-win/jtypes2.asp (broken link).

It raises the question are we genetically programmed to be religious or non religious?
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
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That link didn't work when I clicked on it but I have wondered the same thing myself. We've talked a little bit about that possibility on a couple of threads but I didn't know that someone has come up with a test that might reveal certain tendencies. Why don't you see if you can put in that link again, I'd like to see what it says. Thanks.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cncracer View Post



I have looked at personality test and characteristics of the different personalities and see several personality types listed where the individual is more likely to reject organized religion and others more likely to accept on blind faith (Jung, Briggs Myers).



Incorrect.

The MMPI does not test for religious personality types.

The Thematic Apperception Test does not test for religious personality.

The Myers Brigges Type Indicator (MBTI) does not test for relgious personality. (Even though it was influenced by Carl Jung.)

The Rorschach does not test for religious personality.

All of the above mentioned are standardized personality tests. They do not possess an index for "religious personality." Nor, when administered correctly, can they prove that person(alities) possess more of a tendency to reject organized religion. They do not test for that.

Sorry.


Non-standardized, online "personality tests" (which possess no standard of validity) may appear to "test" for "religious personality types."


--At least that is what this psychotherapist has learned.

From experience.

Last edited by june 7th; 08-26-2008 at 04:10 PM..
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:14 PM
 
Location: In the North Idaho woods, still surrounded by terriers
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June is correct.

That being said, I think some people may have some genetic predisposition to being "followers" and some to being "thinkers". I have an older sister who is Uber-religious, Christian through and through and a wonderful person...but she is literally the ONLY member of our family who is that way. The rest of us are either Atheists, Agnostics or Diests. My sister is content and happy and feels very safe in her beliefs and would never consider studying any other beliefs other than what she has been taught and believes to be Truth. On the other hand, the rest of the family has "tried" religion and Christianity but has not travelled into that same belief system. I have always wondered why, not that it really matters, but there must be something genetically in my sister somewhere...maybe?

Rats...I do not know. But I love her!
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Boise
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I think that when people realize their place in the universe it leaves them uncomfortable.

Here's an excerpt from an essay I wrote a while back I think it might fit here, bear in mind it is out of context (I didn't think anyone would read the whole thing in a thread).

I learned that a hundred generations can think they own the soil, but it is only borrowed from the people who will reside there next. Someday it will come to a halt and in the end, a few thousand years of supposed ownership is only a passing moment to this land. Here I learned how important agriculture is, how priceless unspoiled scenery can be, and how no matter how many homes will rise and collapse, everything we accomplish is temporary when you look time in the eye.
This, on top of all I had learned, was a reorganization of what was significant and what wasn’t. It really made it hard to take it seriously when the local library has a book removed because it had immoral content. Or when members of the community were proverbially dissected under the public’s moral microscope for what they do behind closed doors.


From the time those people lived there until the time I stood there, was not even a moment to that hill. My few hours were nothing in contrast. In some way I felt the hill gaze at me. It didn’t gaze in awe like we humans tend to believe; it gazed awaiting an answer. What makes me think I am such hot ****? What even makes humanity as a whole so damn special? So many of us think that the whole planet was made just for us like a gift that we can do with what we please, but at that moment I realized otherwise.
It wasn’t a warm and accepting moment. It wasn’t a religious moment, I didn’t find God or some answer to life. All I found was something cold and uninviting; something that commanded respect; a truth. We can pump all the oil, pollute all the rivers, extinguish every species and cut down every tree; we can go to the moon, spy with satellites, and destroy the entire world with the push of a button. We may rule the world or think as much but there’s a 99 percent chance that earth gets the last laugh.


Long story short, I don't think we can handle life as is. We look at the stars and see where we are, then fight traffic to work our lives away; without religion we are trivial and I simply don't think most people could live the way we do without the hope that religion offers.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Well, I keep thinking about memes here and what it is that makes certain ideas more appealing to some rather than others. Like with esselcue's sister, there was a memetic selection of the religion meme whereas it was not carried on with the rest of the family. In the same fashion that her sister may only have blue eyes because of genetics, her sister may be the only religious person due to memetics.

Of course, memetics can be heavily influenced by genetics although that which comprises a personality seems to me to be more largely influenced by life experiences and is not necessarily a general reflection of the biological makeup of the brain. When looking at something like religion or even non-religion in the midst of a number of the opposite "brand" it makes me wonder what drives the attachment to a certain meme.

On a very basic and trivial level like that which Dawkins proposes - Thousands of years ago when early man was living in a much more dangerous environment, it was very important for people to listen to one another without questioning things. "Don't go down to the river because the crocodile will eat you" and even if there were no crocodile the people fared better by listening to hearsay. It's as if in the earliest of days, the natural selective fate of the human lineage depended on an almost wreckless abandon of skepticism because at that point it aided in survival. And hence, out of the ashes grew the memetics of religion and the irrational beliefs of gods and the like.

Overall, it's hard to say exactly why a meme can be selected by the host and carrier and stick just as much as it is to wonder why some people are immune and not immune to different viruses. It seems that most, if not all of us, are immune to religious ideas and in that sense you can wonder why it is that we disbelieve.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Default Oooops!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cncracer View Post


It raises the question are we genetically programmed to be religious or non religious?

--Which is precisely what some other guy was wondering...

Looks like this behavioral geneticst from Harvard concluded that there is a link between our genetics and our propensity for religious experience.

His research came up with the VMATZ gene sequence, along with A33050C polymorphism gene sequence.

Here's a link to the book, cncracer:

Review - The God Gene - Religion

As such, it's looking this way:

Religion (propensity towards vs. away from) as being a personalilty index trait? --Nope

Religion as being a possible biogenetic trait? --According to Harvard guy, quite possibly...

P.S. June can just feel it coming on: a segue into another Academy Award Winning post by Troop on memes!
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:49 PM
 
7,458 posts, read 6,867,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCSTroop View Post


Well, I keep thinking about memes here....


What did I tell ya? It took June a full five minutes to get the link, type out the post, and there you have it, folks!

He beat her to it.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by june 7th View Post

P.S. June can just feel it coming on: a segue into another Academy Award Winning post by Troop on memes!
The predictive powers of June are getting better and better.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,572 posts, read 8,420,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by june 7th View Post
--Which is precisely what some other guy was wondering...

Looks like this behavioral geneticst from Harvard concluded that there is a link between our genetics and our propensity for religious experience.

His research came up with the VMATZ gene sequence, along with A33050C polymorphism gene sequence.

Here's a link to the book, cncracer:

Review - The God Gene - Religion

As such, it's looking this way:

Religion (propensity towards vs. away from) as being a personalilty index trait? --Nope

Religion as being a possible biogenetic trait? --According to Harvard guy, quite possibly...

P.S. June can just feel it coming on: a segue into another Academy Award Winning post by Troop on memes!
OK June here we go. You're very close. The genetic pre-dispostion of the VMATZ gene sequence would give the propensity for certain ideas to "stick" for some people while others it would not. And hence you have memetics. Variation (changing ideas), Selection (certain ideas - why are they selected?), Heredity (spread of ideas) = Evolutionary Change of memes just as much as genes.
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