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Hello all,


Ever since discovering the MBTI three years ago, I have been able to sort out the majority of demons, insecurities, and general problems associated with the INFP type. It feels quite amazing to get out of bed in the morning, feeling content and at ease with who I am, and the folks here at PersonalityCafe have been a major part of that. However, there is now the other thing I must learn to accept: the outer world. And nothing, and I mean nothing, gets me angrier and more aggressive than the subject of religion. Please hear me out.


I guess I am an atheist. I respect and try my hardest to adhere to the Buddhist principles of mindfulness and compassion, but I don't believe in anything that can't be explained by logic and rationality. I don't have an issue with people believing in a divine being(s). Not the point, and frankly not my business. The biggest issue to me is organized religion, which symbolizes everything I hate: ignorance, power assertion, subjugation, hypocrisy, opposition to rational thought, etc. I hate how prominent a role religion still plays in the United States, and how so many groups - women, racial minorities, homosexuals to name a few - have suffered and continue to suffer because of it. I hate that "atheist" is used as a derogatory label in many places in the US. I hate that many believers think a person can't live a fulfilling, moral life without fearing eternal punishment. I hate that abortion is anybody's business but the woman's. I hate that people think there is a direct link between a person's religion and how moral/happy they are (I have found those factors are more often determined by socioeconomic standing, a loving family/community, and sound education). But most of all, I hate when a person preaches one thing, but does another. Basically, I hate the stereotypical hypocritical Christian. But I don't want to hate anymore.


I want to understand and accept. I want to stop feeling angry and focus on the good parts of my life, which are too numerous. It's not like religion is such an issue where I am from; I'm from Massachusetts where religious influence is pretty minimal. But oftentimes it seems as though ignorance is bliss, and I am happiest when the subject doesn't come up. As soon as it comes up, I become very riled up, and can't stop thinking about it for days after. I don't hate individual people. I have Christian friends. My family and best friends are all secular and couldn't care less. I recognize it to be mainly my problem. It is a subject on which my opinions are too strong for my own sanity, and I wish for that to change. I know it's a comfort issue with many. I couldn't care less what a person believes so long as that person does his own thing and keeps it to himself. I just hate when it is rammed down anybody's throat.




I am not here to argue religion, and I recognize that many of you will disagree with me. I am not inviting an argument; I am simply asking how other INFPs deal with similar issues. How do you cope with what you perceive is a social injustice? How do you accept that which keeps you up at night? I have been scouring PersonalityCafe for answers for years now, and it has proven to be an excellent source of guidance in time of personal crisis, so I hope you guys can help me.
 

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Hello all,


Ever since discovering the MBTI three years ago, I have been able to sort out the majority of demons, insecurities, and general problems associated with the INFP type. It feels quite amazing to get out of bed in the morning, feeling content and at ease with who I am, and the folks here at PersonalityCafe have been a major part of that. However, there is now the other thing I must learn to accept: the outer world. And nothing, and I mean nothing, gets me angrier and more aggressive than the subject of religion. Please hear me out.


I guess I am an atheist. I respect and try my hardest to adhere to the Buddhist principles of mindfulness and compassion, but I don't believe in anything that can't be explained by logic and rationality. I don't have an issue with people believing in a divine being(s). Not the point, and frankly not my business. The biggest issue to me is organized religion, which symbolizes everything I hate: ignorance, power assertion, subjugation, hypocrisy, opposition to rational thought, etc. I hate how prominent a role religion still plays in the United States, and how so many groups - women, racial minorities, homosexuals to name a few - have suffered and continue to suffer because of it. I hate that "atheist" is used as a derogatory label in many places in the US. I hate that many believers think a person can't live a fulfilling, moral life without fearing eternal punishment. I hate that abortion is anybody's business but the woman's. I hate that people think there is a direct link between a person's religion and how moral/happy they are (I have found those factors are more often determined by socioeconomic standing, a loving family/community, and sound education). But most of all, I hate when a person preaches one thing, but does another. Basically, I hate the stereotypical hypocritical Christian. But I don't want to hate anymore.


I want to understand and accept. I want to stop feeling angry and focus on the good parts of my life, which are too numerous. It's not like religion is such an issue where I am from; I'm from Massachusetts where religious influence is pretty minimal. But oftentimes it seems as though ignorance is bliss, and I am happiest when the subject doesn't come up. As soon as it comes up, I become very riled up, and can't stop thinking about it for days after. I don't hate individual people. I have Christian friends. My family and best friends are all secular and couldn't care less. I recognize it to be mainly my problem. It is a subject on which my opinions are too strong for my own sanity, and I wish for that to change. I know it's a comfort issue with many. I couldn't care less what a person believes so long as that person does his own thing and keeps it to himself. I just hate when it is rammed down anybody's throat.




I am not here to argue religion, and I recognize that many of you will disagree with me. I am not inviting an argument; I am simply asking how other INFPs deal with similar issues. How do you cope with what you perceive is a social injustice? How do you accept that which keeps you up at night? I have been scouring PersonalityCafe for answers for years now, and it has proven to be an excellent source of guidance in time of personal crisis, so I hope you guys can help me.
Er, welcome? I think? I mean, if you've been here, then, well, y'know. Hiya and welcome back.

Anyway.

Sounds like you've got a lot of pent up energy in the form of hate. That's really got to be pretty destructive to the self.

In any case-- It sounds like you should channel all of this energy productively. I mean, you've got all of these thoughts and opinions about injustice, and that's awesome. I recognize these things too. Instead of worrying about how you can change the minds of the people who's minds are made up already, maybe you should join a cause that supports your views.

You don't have to lead it or anything if that's not your game-- But I think that you might find that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing except stewing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your input Word Dispenser, and I agree that directing that energy elsewhere helps alleviate the frustration. But I am not interested in changing anyone's mind; that would be hypocritical of me. Whatever gets people out of bed in the morning is fine by me. It's more the coercive, forceful side of it that bothers me so much.
 

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Whatever gets people out of bed in the morning is fine by me. It's more the coercive, forceful side of it that bothers me so much.
Oh, yes. Those people that try to persuade to you join their religion. I'm not really sure anyone really likes them, certainly not me.
 

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I'm an atheist too, but a learned a long time ago to be tolerant toward other people. It's their life not yours and you don't have to be a "missionary of rationalization." If there was no religion there would still be just as much war and famine. That's life.
 

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You're lucky you have a mostly secular life. I don't, and I'm kind of an anti-thiest too. My advice is don't feel guilty about these feelings. There's no rule saying you have to see things a certain way just because that view is mainstream. I'm not a cultural relativist and I believe some religions are more and less harmful than others, and even though I know must people don't share this view I don't let it get me upset. I'd tell you more about my views, but it would probably just cause a lot of flame wars.

The point is, these feelings aren't gonna go away by you ignoring them. You're gonna have to conclude these things one way or another. Another word of advice, don't feel startled if your conclusions aren't "acceptable." Just because most people share a particular notion doesn't always mean it's right. Racism and sexism would have been acceptable standards 300 years ago, but now this is not the case. Who is to say we have all our evaluations straight just now? If your views are truly different, don't let that make you feel afraid. Views are so dramatically different that it's unlikely we're all gonna get along in the end anyway, and even cultural relativism is a just another view with its own antithesis that does not allow any compromises (ie: moral absolutism).

Just feel lucky that you don't live in Texas with a hardcore protestant family. I think if you're truly honest about your opinions you're gonna make enemies. Whether or not you're gonna stand up for your opinions is your own decision. You're not gonna get along with someone unless you share some kind of critical view, and while it's true that people of different religious upbringings can cooperate on some occasions, that's only when there's some other kind of idea conjoining them, things like liberalism, mutual respect for all major, widely practiced religions, the promotion of spiritualism, whatever. You're not gonna be very happy if you expect to get along with everyone.

Luckily for you the INFP subforum is a very good place to vent. People over there usually sympathize with your plights. There's no shame in having a view that isn't mainstream, so don't feel so guilty about all of this.
 

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The biggest issue to me is organized religion, which symbolizes everything I hate: ignorance, power assertion, subjugation, hypocrisy, opposition to rational thought, etc. I hate how prominent a role religion still plays in the United States, and how so many groups - women, racial minorities, homosexuals to name a few - have suffered and continue to suffer because of it. I hate that "atheist" is used as a derogatory label in many places in the US. I hate that many believers think a person can't live a fulfilling, moral life without fearing eternal punishment. I hate that abortion is anybody's business but the woman's. I hate that people think there is a direct link between a person's religion and how moral/happy they are (I have found those factors are more often determined by socioeconomic standing, a loving family/community, and sound education). But most of all, I hate when a person preaches one thing, but does another. Basically, I hate the stereotypical hypocritical Christian. But I don't want to hate anymore.
@BuddhaBear

Welcome to the forum!!!

Never be afraid to stand up for what is right, whether your adversary be your parent, your peer, your teacher, your politician, your preacher or even God.
- Pope John Paul I, 'the smiling pope'

Pope for only 33 days before his mysterious death in 29 September 1978. Had he lived he may very well have been the best Pope the world would have ever seen, exposing corruption within the Vatican, changing Vatican policy on contraception and views towards homosexuality.

Enlightened Catholicism: Oh, What Might Have Been Had John Paul I Lived
Moral theology of John Paul I - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I hate all those things you mentioned about organised religion as well.

However I think there are still many educated religious people of many various faiths, who strongly disagree with sectors within there faith, which try to force religious rules on people and tell people what to do in order to live a good life. Many religious people have embraced secular society and I see no reason why a Christian for example can not follow there faith believe in God, Christ the teachings of the bible but still be a well informed 'modern Christian' and realise that some views have changed over time and no longer work in modern society. I believe religions can be peaceful and I think that can only improve in a world where people are becoming increasingly more educated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your responses. I definitely feel lucky to come from a place where most people tend to share my view of live-and-let-live, and I greatly sympathize with those living in a place where their opinion and individuality clashes with their surroundings. I have had my share of run-ins with religion, but it isn't much of a problem now that I have learned to select my friends better. At this point it bothers me on a global scale more so than as a result of negative personal experiences.


I am not ashamed of my views, and I certainly don't keep my feelings pent up inside. The problem is dealing with these feelings and accepting what is instead of constantly wishing for things to be the way I think is right. Back when I used to be depressed and angry towards myself, I suffered greatly, because I couldn't accept myself for what I was. But one day I finally accepted myself, and the anger and depression turned into inner peace. I wish the same thing to happen with this. Does anyone have any strategies for curbing their sense of idealism and accepting "it" for what it is? Has anyone overcome a great inner obstacle that once caused them anger, or any form of suffering? Thanks again, everyone.
 

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Heya BuddhaBear welcome to Perc!

I'm not an Atheist but I'm rather passionately opposed to the road organized relegion goes down.

As to things here in America, I think the reason Atheist get such a bad rap is because of Anti-Theists. These people hate seeing any form of relgion and have resticted people from practicing their faith in various public places. Some of the most reviered founders of the US were agnostic at best. but still very in favor of people practicing their faith.

Anyway welcome to PerC, I'm sure you'll enjoy it around here.
 

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I agree..we live where it is free to believe whatever you want. Amen to that I say. I like to keep an open mind. Whether religious or non religious I just worry about keeping the religion of being a good person and leave everyone else to their own vices.
 

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Welcome!

You shouldn't feel too bad about your anger. We all get angry at people and things from time to time, and indeed, some things may even be deserving of our scorn - the bigotry of organized religion being one of them. Everyone ought to be free to believe what they want and have equal rights, but things like institutionalized discrimination against women, LGBTs, and people with alternate beliefs, or the quasi-theocratic tax breaks received by churches are not "rights" at all. In a fair and equal society, systematic bigotry is nobody's right. You shouldn't feel compelled to compromise your principles for the sake of popular opinion, especially since your principles are just.
 

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Welcome! I just wanted to say that I understand you. I am also an atheist, although I have no problems with people believing in higher beings and such. In fact, I think it's wonderful how some people's faith really helps them through life. It can really be a positive force in some people's life, and although I don't share that faith, I admire and respect it. (I don't like it when people try to impose it on me, though)

Now, as for organized religion, and people who think religion is a good reason to hate and discriminate...I also hate it, and it frustrates me to no end as well. But what can I do?

I'm a quiet person and do not enjoy conflict, although sometimes, when I feel the need to speak up, I do. I might not change anyone's mind, but I can give them another perspective. The rest is all up to them.

I really do wish there was more love, peace, tolerance, and respect in the world. Sometimes, I feel really down because of that.

I'm horrible at advice, but all I can say is stay true to yourself and your values and morals. We might not be able to change the world, but we might better a few people's lives if we try, and that there is already a life fulfilled. If we spread positivity, it will spread around slowly, very slowly, painfully slowly...but surely. They're tiny steps to a better future. :)
 

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@BuddhaBear

Hi! Welcome to the forum; I hope you'll enjoy your stay here.

I can relate to what you are saying about discussing religion. I get into those debates here at PerC all the time. I also have hard time recovering from those talks. Sometimes, I reckon I'd be better off were I to stay away from talking about religion. But then I sometimes read back Christopher Hitchens (prophetic) words and find new energy to try and discuss religion some more:

“Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Now that I am on Hitchens, there is another quote by him I'd like to share with you, since you mentioned that some argue that religion at least makes us more moral:

“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Finally, how do I accept that what's keeping me up at night. I do not have a final answer yet. Sometimes I think of what Hitchens says about this: "The clear awareness of having been born into a losing struggle need not lead one into despair." At other times, I reflect on how small and insignificant I really am, so that I feel a little less responsible for all the (social) injustices that are out there. Most of the time I follow up by reflecting on what difference I can still make, no matter how small or insignificant I am. My thought process is something like this: as long as I don't find myself in a position to change the world overnight, what can I still do with my own life, and in the lives of people that I meet.
 

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Welcome to PerC :happy:
 

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Hey Bear, how ya going mate?

Is it really religion that gets your goat or is it injustice?

I am pretty religious in my own way, and I do attend a church, and I get mighty aggro that there are individuals within our church that seek to dominate others and force them to conform to their faith system, even within the church which is kinda odd given that within our church, we pretty much share a common basis of faith.


In any group there will always be people who look for separation and division to validate themselves. I have a mate who is heavily involved in a soccer club, and there are constant issues with people wanting it all their own way.

Of course there are those out there who use conformance as a tool to manipulate and bully others, whether it be sports, religion or politics.

Justice is about equity for all, even if your don't agree with their position.

Let me demonstrate. I have a belief system which works for me. You would find aspects of it distasteful I suspect, but it is what I truly believe are Gods rules. I keep those rules to myself however. What works for me is distasteful to you. I don't seek to impose them on you, you don't share my faith. So long as I don't impose my rules on you, then we have no problem. I am free to follow my own rules in most modern western societies, and you are free to live your way.

But, on both sides of the fence there are people who choose to try and impose their beliefs on the other. In America, it appears that the religious lobby is quite powerful and wrongly so. It has no mandate to impose Christianity on others. It's only mandate in my view is to lobby for equity for Christians. I think we should have equal opportunity and the right to live in accordance with our faith, just as anyone else does. Even to have access to the common wealth, equitably and in proportion with its share of the population. Like any other minority or majority.

In Australia, the Christian lobby is quite strong too, but maybe not as strong as in America.

So, by my lights, I am happy for anyone to be angry about injustice, whether religious injustice, political injustice or whatever other injustice there is. But to tar all religious people the same way is a tad unfair. Oh, and on the other side of the fence, for religious nutters to target "atheists" is stupid and unfair.

Sorry for the novel mate, but I hope it assists you in your thought process.

What I have written is probably a bit simplistic, because it doesn't deal with some of the shades of gray in the debate. For example, I believe that abortion is wrong - with all due respect to those who have been faced with this awful situation. I believe in the foetus' right to life. Please understand that I am not imposing this on others, I am merely supplying an example. Generally, I would not discuss this with anyone who doesn't share my faith. But what if my neighbours daughter comes to me for advice... Our families are close and she often asks my wife and I what we think about all sorts of issues. My neighbour does not share my belief... I am certainly not going to provide advice that I do not believe in.

As I said, many many shades of gray in this debate and it is all about your personal integrity and hate of injustice.

Dang there I go again with the novel....
 

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No one likes organized religion. Except the ones that go to church. It used to piss me off a lot to, but I have no control over it so I leave it alone. Anything you have no control over you should leave alone, otherwise you'll become very mad and stressed over many things because lots of things make no sense and lots of people suffer because of others' stupidity. Just learn to let go... it's not your responsibility to deal with it or worry about it.
 

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Welcome Buddha Bear! I hope that you find much to learn, experience, and enjoy here at the ole' cafe...

I can relate to frustration and anger with organized religion. I am walking my own journey away from religion of any kind (which I see as a purely human construct to deal with fear and the unknown).

I don't know if this would help you to better tolerate religiousness in others, but it helped me to be more accepting and patient. Scott Peck (author of "The Road less Traveled") broke down spirituality into stages, wherein organized religion was a stage along a series of steps in growth (see link below). I find it a bit easier to be tolerant/open minded toward those who cling, sometimes blindly, to their religion if I can see that as where they are at this moment, but that they could grow past this someday.

Anyway, keep or toss. if it helps, great, if not no harm intended, just trash it.

peace,
Z

The Stages Of Spiritual Growth: M. Scott Peck. Abridged by Richard Schwartz | Factnet NewsSite and Discussion Forum
 

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Organized religion gets way too bad a rep. There are hypocrites in every institution. That doesn't make the goals or ideas of that particular institution bad. Anyway, welcome to the forum, I'm glad you have decided to not let hate get the best of you.
 
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