Mar 7, 2007

Religions and Teachings through a Socionics Prism

Religion is a fascinating topic and far too broad for one article, and I expect to write more on the subject in the future. This article will be a somewhat disorganized introduction to the subject.

"Typing" a religion or teaching involves making a subjective assessment of the most important characteristics of the teaching. It's not enough to study the written works of the teaching; you have to have some experience interacting with adherents of the teaching to see where the real emphasis is placed. For instance, there are hundreds of churches that claim to be based on the Bible, but you would have little idea of what modern Christianity is like if you only read the Bible. Each church places emphasis on slightly different things and has unique traditions that are at least as important to defining the overall atmosphere and message of the faith than the actual holy writ. Thus, an analysis of a religion or teaching from a socionic or other standpoint requires looking at lifestyle, interaction, and cultural traditions as well as the written teachings themselves.

Many different Christian churches can be grouped together because of their basic similarities, but you will still find very fundamental differences between Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and a number of other subgroups. Religious groups that are geographically separated, take root in different countries, and coexist with different political regimes always evolve differently, even if they were originally based on the same writings. As I have already said, only a small part of the lifestyle and practice of any religious group is derived directly from its scripture. This is why one holy book can give rise to hundreds or thousands of religious groups, each with their slightly different interpretation of scripture. Even religious movements that began as an attempt to correct errors and return to the "pure" religion eventually splinter into dozens of denominations themselves. For example, look at this "family tree" of Baptist denominations in the United States.

To illustrate the importance of tradition over scripture, let's look at the use of the cross in Christianity. The practice of using crosses in Christian architecture, wearing them on one's body, and using the cross as a symbol of one's faith is outlined nowhere in the Bible. These traditions evolved over the centuries in complex ways. Yet these practices are an integral part of modern Christianity, and one's acceptance in a Christian community may well depend in part on whether one accepts traditions having to do with the use of the cross and other things that aren't derived from the Bible. But I digress...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

he is right,
perhaps i believe the major gain of this time in Ricks writing,
is not merely that he will type Religions broadly and topologically, which is new in itself,
but that perhaps a path can be delineated to digress on later,
..the soul
it's journeying,
and different mechanisms added to it in religion
--i beleive greatly that contempary socionics contributes to the releiving of pressure that has built up in normal society
..but for the advanced user,
as in so-many things
structures and possibilities as they build from structure also have to be 'delineated'
..cause truelly, this is still a product of religion
..gibberish for the new - fred