How do INTJs approach religion? According to the MBTI manual, INTJs ranked highest in rejecting a belief in a higher power, coming in at 23.1%. However, many people have apparently misquoted this particular study, and they suggest that all INTJs are atheists. That’s not true. The majority of INTJs (64.4%) did believe in a higher power, and 12.5% were “not sure” (238).
Interestingly, the MBTI Manual also states that INTJs were “Among highest persisters at church-related colleges” (256), and the INTJs highest rank on coping resources used was “spiritual/philosophical” (76).
INTJs and Religion
It makes sense that if any personality type is going to have a slightly higher percentage of people rejecting religion, it’s going to be the INTJ. After all, INTJs are the most skeptical, independent types who disdain tradition, dislike showing emotions, reject authority, and dislike social interaction. And most churches or religions emphasize social gatherings, emotional experiences, traditions, and subjection to authorities.
However, it also makes sense that most INTJs would believe in a higher power, since nearly every survey reveals that most people in the world are religious. For example, according to a study in 2010 from pewforum.org, 83.7% of the world population followed some religion, with Christianity coming in at number one (31.5%). Unaffiliated religion, which includes atheists and agnostics, came in at 16.3% of the global population.
On my INTJ YouTube channel alone, I’ve had comments from atheists, Buddhists, Christians, agnostics, spiritual people, at least two Muslims. So in short, you’re probably going to find INTJs in every major religion. Personality type may influence percentages among the types, but it certainly doesn’t dictate religious beliefs. However, personality type will likely affect how the INTJ approaches his or her religion, and I’ll get to that in a moment.
Famous INTJs and Their Religious Beliefs:
- Isaac Newton– Newton was a Christian who is also called the “father” of science. Newton revered the Bible, collected biblical manuscripts, learned Greek and other languages, and reportedly wrote more on religion than science.
- Martin Luther– A Christian who started the protestant reformation, rejected the Catholic Church, had a very mocking and skeptical attitude. He translated Bibles into different languages and more.
- C.S. Lewis-atheist-turned-Christian apologist who wrote Mere Christianity, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Thom Rainer (Current CEO and President LifeWay Christian Resources). He has served as a pastor, has worked in consulting, has written a number of books, and so forth.
- Stephen Hawking-atheist and famous scientist who wrote A Brief History of Time.
- Christopher Hitchens– an famous atheist who was a journalist, author, and debater.
- Ayn Rand-A female INTJ who was an atheist. She wrote some popular books such as Atlas Shrugged. She also despised communism and socialism, and she spent a great deal of time and effort trying to warn Americans to turn from such a system.
- Bill Gates-Creator of Microsoft and atheist (sometimes referred to as agnostic). He is usually listed among (or at the top of) the wealthiest men in the world.
How INTJs Approach Religion
Since every INTJ will have a different religious belief, it may be more helpful to determine how INTJ types approach religion. This is where you’ll likely see some similarities.
Some INTJs have no interest in religion. In this case, the INTJ will do nothing (or at most, perhaps read the occasional book or engage in a random conversation or debate). However, some INTJs are religious (or interested in religion), and the following will apply for them.
Here are some observations:
- Most INTJs will take their faith seriously. In other words, INTJs won’t be the “fakes” or charlatans you see on TV. Most INTJs are turned off by fake or excessive emotional displays, and it sickens most INTJs to manipulate people.
- INTJs will be quick to point out false doctrine or logical inconsistencies in a religion.
- INTJs are drawn to areas such as theology, apologetics, studying religious texts, watching sermons and documentaries, reading books, writing, and engaging in discussion or debate. Here are a couple of examples:
- If you’re a Christian, you’ll spend time reading the Bible, defending it, studying and pondering theology, watching sermons, and so forth.
- If you’re an atheist, you may engage in debate, read skeptic authors (Richard Dawkins), watch atheist shows (The Atheist Experience), follow atheist blogs, and so forth.
- INTJs tend to be very direct when teaching, and he or she will present information in black and white: (example: This is what the Bible says, end of discussion). INTJs may be drawn to teaching or writing about religion.
- INTJs like to build a mental model of their faith and apply that to everyday life. He or she will see the entire world through that lens.
- INTJs may serve in executive positions, pastoral positions, church growth strategies, or teaching. According to the book Personality Type and Religious Leadership, INTJs ranked highest as having the pastoral skills of “spiritual depth” and “effective leader” (55).
- INTJs approach things with a very skeptical and inquisitive mindset. An INTJ may refer to commentaries or original languages to “fact check” something that seems odd in a religious text.
- In the New Testament of the Bible, Thomas was likely an INTJ. It was Thomas who doubted the most and said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
- INTJs may struggle with the excessive social demands of religion. The numerous “get-togethers,” hand-shaking, and other things may prove exhausting for the INTJ personality type.
- INTJs may feel closer to God in private study and prayer than in a group or church settings.
- INTJs may become disgruntled if they feel as if a religious institution is putting too much emphasis on irrelevant things.
- INTJs don’t value human or add-on traditions. For example, I’m a Christian, and I have no problem with communion. However, I dislike other silly traditions that have no biblical basis.
- INTJs will leave a religious institution without reservation if they feel it doesn’t meet a standard or have an appropriate plan of action.
INTJs and Religion: Conclusion
In conclusion, INTJs approach religion with a skeptical, logical, and investigative mindset. INTJs are going to be more scholarly than the average personality type. INTJs will also be strong debaters, and they will likely provide the most compelling arguments or reasoning behind their faith, while also pointing out the flaws in other beliefs. For example, the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis is still quoted today by many pastors or writers.
And in case anyone is curious, the INTJ author of this page is a Bible-believing Christian. I wasn’t really raised that way, but I accept the Bible as truth. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation from my sins.
- Isabel Briggs Myers, et al. MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 3rd ed. Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. 1998.
- “The Global Religious Landscape.” Pewforum.org. Dec. 18, 2012, on the web.
- Roy M. Oswald and Otto Kroeger. Personality Type and Religious Leadership. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers (June 1, 1988).