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Do you often feel as though a lot of the christian church is based on emotion? I mean.... I know the bible and jesus is all about love and stuff, but I have been in depression for the last year and am very distanced from my emotions. During this time I have only just now realized how the vast majority of what we talk about collectively and how we are "supposed" to interact with god individually is largely emotion. Prayer is based on real things, but it is very emotion driven. The messages (atleast at my church) appeal to emotions (though are grounded in scripture). And the overall tone speaks to our emotional response.

But then again, at the same time, I suppose relationships are largely based on emotion and in the christian realm it is largely defined as a "relationship". But even so, I have no emotional desire to be in the word or pray or be in communion with god. Nor does it particularly interest me outside of the emotional realm... so I just don't pursue it. When we pray together I have no idea what to say anymore. I could recite some facts... but I just have little emotional response. Corporate worship is of little significance anymore. I am not entirely devoid of emotion, but it is definitely lessened. I find myself wondering how much of our idea of who god is, what he is speaking and how he is moving is an outward manifestation of our own emotional state. Of course, emotions are real and valid and good and necessary. But I am just left confused.

Does anyone have any opinions on this or have any similar experience?
 

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I don't think emotions should be forced. Emotions are no substitute, also, for experiencing the love of God. And I think that's what being a Christian is about. It sounds weird, but I don't think love is an emotion. You don't need to be gushy. But I recommend spending more time reading the word and praying, but don't do it so you can experience that emotional rush. Do it so you can get to know God more.
 

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I know what you mean, I'm a young INTP who's still trying to understand my own faith life, and I've come to the conclusion that intellectuals just don't worship the same way everyone else does. We're logical and questioning of things, personally I'm not swayed by emotional appeals.
I've attended several spiritual retreats either because one, friends were going, or two, it was mandatory for me to graduate. I hated the way the retreats were set up, they'd try and break kids down emotionally by encouraging them to talk about their problems and then point to God as the one who'd fix everything for them. Me, I was the one sitting awkwardly in the corner while everyone else cried about how terrible their lives were. I thought the whole thing was selfish and refused to participate.

Religion is especially difficult for INTPs, though I promise you it's entirely possible. I have an unusually strong relationship with God for my age, but I had to learn to worship him my own way. I will say that there's definitely an emotional aspect of it, if you like, I'm willing to share some of the things that kept me connected. I know how difficult it is to meet other religious INTPs.
 

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Get stuck into some deep theological writings - books by authors such as A.W.Pink, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, John Calvin, Martyn-Lloyd-Jones, A.W.Tozer, J.I.Packer, William Gurnal, etc. etc. Then you will come alive again - sounds like you're starved from the lack of depth in the teaching you are receiving.
 

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Disclaimer: Unless you are a Christian or have an open mind and can accept that the entirety of this post is based on a Christian worldview, it’s probably best you skip over this post. Throughout the post, I often reference and paraphrase the Bible and I would hate for you to have a brain aneurysm from what must seem to you to be complete and utter non-sense. Also, this post is on the longer side. I go off on a not so little tangent, but I’m an INTP in an INTP thread. I can’t possibly be judged for that right? Right!?

Like Sweeter mentioned, I wouldn't try to force emotional responses. We're INTPs, sure we have emotions, like everyone else, but that is not our primary way of processing things. And I think you're right, Churches for the most part especially during worship focus on the emotional aspect. For a long time, I would try to focus on the emotional aspect like everyone else because I thought that's what I was supposed to be doing. I thought what's wrong with me? Why I am not getting excited about this? Why do I not feel what they feel? The answer is because I’m not a feeler, I shouldn't expect to process things primarily in that way.

When it comes to things like worship, how do we define worship? If worship can be defined as giving respect, admiration, reverence, or glory then who says it has to be based on emotion? One can easily worship with their thoughts or actions as well as emotion. What do I do when it comes to things like corporate worship? I don't sing or clap or try to have an emotional response. I stay still and quiet. I focus on the words, the message, and the ideas behind them and the powerful truths they hold. I use my thoughts and my mind to give reverence to God because that is the best way I know how. God made me just the way I am so who am I to question that? And yet, still there are times I will feel emotion strongly, often as a direct result of my thoughts and ideas toward the things of God.

In the larger sense of faith and an INTP’s often lackluster emotional state, there are times when I don’t feel my faith. But you know what? Our faith, our salvation does not depend on our emotional state. How do we know this? Like it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, by grace are we saved through faith and not of ourselves it is a gift of God not by works least anyone should boast. A damn good thing too, because we INTPs tend to suck at doing things haha.

When I am worried, depressed or have lackluster feelings toward my faith, I find that it is because my perspective and focus are in the wrong place. As an INTP, the mundaneness of this world, all the obligations, worries, responsibilities, and expectations of life drag me down. I would rather be free to pursue all the possibilities, ideas, and intellectual whims of my mind in peace! But when I turn my thoughts toward the things of God, my perspective changes completely. It is a paradigm shift.

Over the years, I have developed a mental exercise to get myself out of these states when they become overwhelming. As a fellow INTP you may find it helpful. First, I think about why I am worried or depressed. I mentally list each thing and think about the worst possible outcomes well beyond all the realms of probability. I’ll continue this line of thinking and make projections 5, 10, 20, 30 years out. Sometimes, I don’t even live that long haha. I'll live out that whole life in my mind. A lot of times, I'll end up with no bird, no bush, not even a van down by the river!

Next, I will ask myself, what does this all mean? What significance does this horrible life that I could live have? The answer is nothing! As it says in James 4:14, what is our life? It is but a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes. What is a vapor compared to eternity? Everything dragging us down in this life is nothing compared to an eternity with God.

After that, I will continue to dwell on the promises and truths of God found in scripture because even if the horrible life I have imagined ultimately means nothing when compared to eternity with God, I still have to live in the here and now. So how do I deal with it? As INTPs, we seek truth, we seek understanding. For the Christian who believes in God and believes in the Bible as the Word of God, the scripture is filled with powerful truths we can know with 100% certainty. I will think about verses like 1 Peter 5:7 where it tells us to cast our burdens on God because He cares for us. John 14:27 where God tells us that He will give us peace and that we should not fear or let our hearts be troubled. Matthew 6:26 where it tells us to look at the birds that don't sow or reap or gather food to store and yet God provides for them and how much greater are we than those birds. Matthew 6:34 where it tells us not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. What a great verse for me an INTP! Jeremiah 29:11 where it says that God knows the thoughts that He thinks toward us, thoughts to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future. What better comfort to an INTP than the idea that God thinks of us and has plans for us!

Finally, I will focus my mind on experiencing eternity in Heaven because this life is a vapor, it is nothing. This life isn't even .00000000000001% of our existence so I will devote my thoughts to what really matters. Again, I will use what I know of what scripture to mentally explore all the possibilities of eternity in Heaven. I will think of verses like John 14:3 that tells us Jesus has prepared a place for us. Not for everyone in general, but for us in particular. God has prepared a place for crazy INTPs like us in Heaven. I will think about 1 Corinthians 2:9 where it tells us that no one has seen, or heard, or even imagined what God has prepared for us. When I get here mentally, I'll change it up a bit and think about Star Wars. Yes, Star Wars haha. In A New Hope, where Luke is trying to convince Han Solo to help rescue the princess and he says, "Well the reward would be . . . well more wealth than you can imagine! And Solo replies, "I don't know I can imagine quite a bit!" When I think about 1 Cor. 2:9 that is my reaction. I think to myself, hmmm Heaven will be beyond what I can possibly imagine? I'm an INTP after all I can imagine quite a bit!

I take that verse as a personal INTP challenge, I proceed to imagine every amazing thing and possibility about Heaven. And it goes something like the following in my mind. Always wanted to take a spin around the universe and see it up close and personal? Now's your chance. Spend a few billion years of eternity and see it all, every planet, every star, every nebula, every wonder in every galaxy. Go boldly where no one has gone before and cue the Star Trek soundtrack! After that how about we gather all the Tolkien fans and reenact the Battle of the Black Gate for the most epic LARP ever. And while we are on the subject of Tolkien, dragons are awesome. Why wouldn't there be legendary dragons in Heaven that put Smaug to shame? And you know what, what if we can train and ride those dragons? Sure, Chris Pratt you can pretend to ride raptors in Jurassic Park 4, but God can do you one better in Heaven! Always wanted to learn a martial art? Do it in Heaven and do it with lightsabers! Did you get that mind? Real—Lightsabers —in—Heaven! Can’t change the laws of physics you say? Well God can, he made them. You think George Lucas' creativity or lack thereof has anything on God? While we are at it, let's remake the prequels so that they actually don't suck! Like it says in Matthew 19:26 with man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible. ALL—THE—THINGS! But eternity is forever you say, even if we get to do every awesome thing a million times over, we will still have eternity. Won't we get bored? Well like it says in Revelation 21:5, God makes all things new. ALL—THE—THINGS! In other words, all the amazing things in Heaven have infinite replay value.

This whole mental process turns into a prayer of sorts of my thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears of everything on my mind that I give up to God. I don’t even have to say anything aloud, God knows, He understands even when I don’t fully understand myself. When I think in these terms, how can I possibly feel depressed? How can I possibly let the mundaneness and everything else that is wrong with this world drag me down? As an INTP, how can I not enjoy the shear number of possibilities? Of course for me as a flawed INTP it is always an everyday struggle to keep the right perspective on things, but one that I am fully confident I will be victorious in when the end comes. Ideas, truth have power. And the Bible has the most powerful truths of all.

For some reason a lot of people limit their idea of Heaven to one unending church service complete with singing, dancing, and the waving of hands. Dragons and lightsabers in Heaven you say? Blasphemy! Heaven is about singing songs and our clapping hands for all eternity! Trust me I’ve heard it all before haha. But remember the definition of worship? Why can’t I give reverence to God by exploring the universe He made and giving Him glory for it? Of course, there will be times when we will be singing praises in Heaven, it tells us so in the Bible. But where does it say thou shall not have dragons, be able to explore the galaxy, or be able to do or have other amazing awesome things in heaven for God’s glory? Whatever Heaven ends up being like and whatever awesome things it may contain, the important thing here to understand is that it would all ultimately be for God’s glory.

Like it says in Matthew 7:11 if we being sinful know how to give good gifts to our children how much more will our Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him? If I ask my Heavenly Father for lightsabers and blaster pistols in Heaven. What’s He gonna say? No, you’ll shoot your eye out!?
 

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Do you often feel as though a lot of the christian church is based on emotion? I mean.... I know the bible and jesus is all about love and stuff, but I have been in depression for the last year and am very distanced from my emotions. During this time I have only just now realized how the vast majority of what we talk about collectively and how we are "supposed" to interact with god individually is largely emotion. Prayer is based on real things, but it is very emotion driven. The messages (atleast at my church) appeal to emotions (though are grounded in scripture). And the overall tone speaks to our emotional response.

But then again, at the same time, I suppose relationships are largely based on emotion and in the christian realm it is largely defined as a "relationship". But even so, I have no emotional desire to be in the word or pray or be in communion with god. Nor does it particularly interest me outside of the emotional realm... so I just don't pursue it. When we pray together I have no idea what to say anymore. I could recite some facts... but I just have little emotional response. Corporate worship is of little significance anymore. I am not entirely devoid of emotion, but it is definitely lessened. I find myself wondering how much of our idea of who god is, what he is speaking and how he is moving is an outward manifestation of our own emotional state. Of course, emotions are real and valid and good and necessary. But I am just left confused.

Does anyone have any opinions on this or have any similar experience?
It's not just emotion, it also tends to appeal to tradition, ritual, authority. I noticed Christianity provides something that appeals to nearly every MBTI type except possibly Ti types. Independent thinking is sometimes discouraged. I'm referring to organized Christianity here. I know you can find brands of Christianity more suited to thinking types.
 

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Congregational Christianity has never appealed to me. Obligation to the institution was the primary means of continued membership. As far as a relationship with Jesus, I wasn't finding it there. As I read the Bible, since I was often told to, I began having several questions. When these questions were brought up, I was politely, for the most part, told not to ask and just believe. This type of mentality eventually drove me away as I was miserable and had limited ways to engage others beyond superficial interactions---nothing on an intellectual level.

I began studying the Bible in an attempt to answer my own questions. I researched the timing of the books being written down and put together, the societal implications of why it was worded like it is, what these things meant to those societies, and why those societies, in their times, perceived God as they did. I searched out the original meaning of where concepts like hell came from as well as Gehenna, Sheol, and Hades and what these concepts meant to those societies. I've been researching some of the original Greek and Hebrew also to see what the intent behind a word, since translated into English, was for the original recipients. It was only after knowing these contexts that I was able to apply Biblical meaning to my own life. This resulted in a deeper relationship with God, but a more distant relationship with the institution. Much of what I found, as applicable to myself, was far removed from what popular Western Christianity believes today.

It would seem that institutional Christianity has alienated many of the more thinking types. Conversation tends to be shut down with out-of-context cliches and scriptures. Just believe what I'm telling you, how I interpret it, because I say so---is the type of impression I've been given when I attempt to have a conversation with many Christians inside of the institution. This isn't to say that I've never been wrong, but I was never showed why I may have been wrong. Instead, I had to research the answers on my own and develop a relationship based off of God's promptings. This did, however, end up being a better relationship of discovering Him then the one I was being sold by religion.

If you're not getting anything out of the congregational settings, you're not alone. I've talked with many who are in the same boat. Research some of the things mentioned. To me, the Bible had to have some underlying context that tied it all together to make any sense. Otherwise, it was just a list of often conflicting circumstances to pick and choose our stances according to how we wanted to justify ourselves.

God created us to be who we are, not to stuff ourselves in a man-made mold. For me, developing a relationship with God started in my head, then, as I found answers, worked its way into my heart.
 

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It's not just emotion, it also tends to appeal to tradition, ritual, authority. I noticed Christianity provides something that appeals to nearly every MBTI type except possibly Ti types. Independent thinking is sometimes discouraged. I'm referring to organized Christianity here. I know you can find brands of Christianity more suited to thinking types.
Atheist here and not an INTP, but I think you are somewhat wrong.

From what I noticed of religion and Christianity specifically is that analysis and questioning is either unheard of or just not accepted in religious faith. I don't really understand why, but that seems to be the case often. That might be what keeps a lot of Ti types away from it.

Religion has been shown to exist for various human nature reasons and probably has always existed in some shape or form as long as humans have existed. Wouldn't be surprised if even something like Elephants had some sort of spiritual concept in their minds.

I don't really know if I would call faith emotion or logic, but the lack of either.
 

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Do you often feel as though a lot of the christian church is based on emotion? I mean.... I know the bible and jesus is all about love and stuff, but I have been in depression for the last year and am very distanced from my emotions. During this time I have only just now realized how the vast majority of what we talk about collectively and how we are "supposed" to interact with god individually is largely emotion. Prayer is based on real things, but it is very emotion driven. The messages (atleast at my church) appeal to emotions (though are grounded in scripture). And the overall tone speaks to our emotional response.

But then again, at the same time, I suppose relationships are largely based on emotion and in the christian realm it is largely defined as a "relationship". But even so, I have no emotional desire to be in the word or pray or be in communion with god. Nor does it particularly interest me outside of the emotional realm... so I just don't pursue it. When we pray together I have no idea what to say anymore. I could recite some facts... but I just have little emotional response. Corporate worship is of little significance anymore. I am not entirely devoid of emotion, but it is definitely lessened. I find myself wondering how much of our idea of who god is, what he is speaking and how he is moving is an outward manifestation of our own emotional state. Of course, emotions are real and valid and good and necessary. But I am just left confused.

Does anyone have any opinions on this or have any similar experience?
I'm not sure whether or not I agree that it tends to focus on emotion, but I will say that it has definitely been my experience that it does not take an approach that is particularly inviting to those of the NT persuasion. I've often felt like an outsider or "fringe Christian" for that reason.

That being said, Christianity can be very intellectually engaging if you, like me, tend to ponder things of a metaphysical nature.
 

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Religion has not always worked well for me. I had gone 6 years without religion and I was fine. I have decided to again work on my spirituality side once again recently. I go to church and sit on the front row so others will not distract me (I also do not want to socialize) and I focus on the sermons and try to learn and ponder the principles behind the different Christen laws that are given or being taught that day. While looking for the deeper meanings of the message I try to relate the principles that Christ taught to my life and apply them.

Do others approach learning about any type of religion by looking through the laws and finding the reasons why you want to turn your actions and thoughts toward an acceptance of them?

I am by default rebellious of others telling me what to do and living my life according to others words. This is one of my biggest beefs with the entire idea of religion. I need reasons why I should be doing this or that. I have a deep desire to be a good person and treat others in the most respectful manner I can learn how to, the ideas that I learn at church do help me to work towards achieving that. This is my main "why" at this time I am re-integrating myself into religious circles.
 
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