Big 5 personality traits reflect positive effects for religiosity

Just start the video and give him twenty or thirty minutes. By then you’ll probably know whether you would be interested in anything else he has to say on that topic. There are probably other Rohr videos not tied to that particular topic which might give you an even better intro to him as a person. But he pretty much shines through in whatever he talks about - including on this.

He’s a Franciscan and a mystic. So I suspect you would enjoy a lot of what he promotes. He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, though. One of my Catholic colleagues laughed when I asked her about him, and replied … “Oh yeah - he’s a heretic.” And I know exactly why many people would think that way. Let’s just say he would be all at home here with us while we were discussing Penner and apologetics whereas a lot of others wouldn’t even stay in the room once they heard some fundamentalist tenet or other not taken as seriously as they think it should be.

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Wow now that is the kind of openness I always think faith ought to facilitate.

That makes sense to me, @Christy. I think its being wed to Christianity needn’t be a stopper for someone outside that tradition. I feel like I can take it in, let it affect me and see where it goes. Like you, I like to explore and I’m pretty open (though not in your league).


Somehow I expect that not to draw Kendel into his tent. But of course his approach is very appealing to me. I like a go ahead and try this at home kind of approach.


Merv, I’ve gotten most of an hour into it and there is much with a truthy feel to it. I wonder if you have gotten into the enneagrams too and if so whether Rohr’s take on them informs your own. Same question for @jpm who, if I recall correctly from looking over that older thread, was a proponent and @Christy who I think must be too? Does Rohr speak to what informs your understanding of this system? Also, do you find it goes on adding interest of was it part of a phase that has passed?

What I got seems plausible:
Openness 58, Conscientiousness 83, Extraversion 29, Agreeableness 75, Neuroticism 12.5

What I can read of the report sounds accurate.

“I stay in the background”

Well, being as tall as I am, it’s a bit hard to do when physically present…


Rohr (in the videos beginning with the one I linked) was and is my only introduction to Enneagrams - so what I understand of them was entirely through his eyes. And I can totally see how they are and have been all new agey - even through Rohr’s Christianized understanding of it, the new ageiness of some of the language still shows through. I suppose they (like most things) thrive on over-simplification of lots of complicated stuff - enough to bring it to popular digestible level. Mostly - I’ll admit this - I just like to hear Rohr talk.


It was a year or two ago when I first listened to these - and I’m enjoying a bit of a recap now since I’ve forgotten the details. But I still do have that overview in my mind, and hear other people refer to it - so I’m glad I have a sense of what they’re talking about.

I like how Rohr speaks of the two sides of any gift (the blessing, but also the curse) - that our strengths have a shadow side, and we are prey to that for a large season of our lives. It rings true to me too - and it is saturated with biblical insights and tie-ins.

So - yeah - I continue to find it interesting.


I’ve been a bit skeptical Enneagram stuff too… not just because of the woo-woo aspect of it (though I’m not into that), but just by how vague the idea of assigning everyone one number is. I’m sure it has its uses, and a lot of people like it, but I tend to prefer things like Myers-Briggs because it’s a lot more concrete, and I’m also an ISTJ as you are, so maybe there are just certain MB types that don’t care for Enneagram. :wink:


I don’t know that I’d call myself a proponent, so much as Enneagram-aware. What I found useful compared to other personality tests was the idea that it can be used to direct spiritual growth. Other tests are more to help you understand your preferred “style” of approaching tasks, or people, or emotions, or ideas. Ennegram helped me understand and be more aware of some unhealthy things I tend to do in terms of trying unsuccessfully to fill a void or avoid a fear, which is something I have continued to think about and benefit from years after reading about it. It focuses more on areas of moral weakness and potential to grow in virtue, which is a little different than other inventories. I think if you use it as a diagnostic for spiritual or self-reflective growth more than just “insight into what you are like,” it can be beneficial. I don’t think it explains everything and I don’t put as much stock in “childhood wounds” as some people, maybe because I had a very functional childhood and don’t blame any of my issues on the way I was or wasn’t parented. But it has been helpful to me to think of some things in terms of a struggle with moderation or distraction from internal pain.


I think you’re probably onto something, Laura. I was thinking the same thing.


Yeah, @Mervin_Bitikofer, Mark and I have talked about this kind of thing before. I don’t have a mystical bone in my body. Things mystical actually make me very uncomfortable.
How a deep affinity for art/the arts fits in with my personality, I can’t explain. Well, beyond, for me those are not mystical experiences, although they are beautifully subjective.

When I can manage, I can try to spare Rohr a bit of time. I’ll see where he’s going. If he’s too scary, I can turn him off.


That is sure true. Our broader culture, the one suffused with scientism, tends to dumb things down and package them for easy, upbeat consumption.

I also enjoy hearing Rohr talk as I do Iain McGilchrist and, weirdly enough, as I did William F. Buckley Jr when I was in high school. With the latter it was just like learning another language, nothing charged with values so never with the hope of getting a glimpse of something more profound. With Rohr and McGilchrist I do think I get a little insight into, not just a way of speaking, but a way of being in the world.

I do have to say I think the difference between Rohr’s take on the enneagrams and its popularized version is no greater than that between what psychology means when spoken of by (William) James, Jung or McGIlchrist and what it means for readers of Psychology Today and the sort of psychology based on tests and experiments*. James Hillman, also a Jungian, used to say that anyone’s conception of psychology is first and foremost confessional. It tells you how things seem to the person who expresses it. As such, I think it is on similar ground with wisdom traditions with a longer history of traditions - though they do not function that way and -for better or worse- are no where near as ambitious.

*I leave out Freud because his theory is so infused with scientism as to belong more in a study of abnormal psychology.


I wonder if that is because you have, in your avoidance, built ‘mystical’ up into something grander and much more fearful than it need be? I think of it like the wavelengths of light we cannot see. They’re all part of reality but not all are part of what we are capable of processing in our ordinary state of consciousness. The conscious mind is very limited and selective, but it is screened for by a part of our consciousness which is much wider. Only now and then does a little of that other light show up for us. I don’t think it is essential for anything except for getting a sense of what the world is, who we are and what we are here for. A wisdom tradition can give you a pretty good approximation but no one -not even Meister Eckhart- can break it down for you in an entirely satisfactory manner so long as it must be transferred by way of language. But the arts especially poetry and music (and perhaps sacred rituals?) are able to give a sense of it directly without verbal re-presentation.

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I actually have never gotten into enneagrams much, although one of my daughters and SIL have dabbled in them a fair amount. I think they are probably a good tool to get people to think about their tendencies and motivations, and how to better relate to others, but doubt their accuracy and validity beyond that. Most of these things basically tell you what you already know, but for some who have not been very introspective, it is probably a help.

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What notes are complete without a table? I even put some of my notes on Kierkegaard into tables and charts.

Here’s a table of the thus-stated results of various tests we’ve mentioned:

I’ll add anybody else or any new data, if I can keep up.


Well now I’ll just have to go redo the MB test to help with your research - and mine!

Done, @Kendel .
Type : Moderator ;
Role : Diplomat ;
Strategy : Confident Individualism

Lia came in after I got to the results asking what I was doing, looked over my shoulder and said that is exactly how you are. There you have it. But I swear when I took it after getting my BA there was a T instead of an F and J instead of the P - as best I can remember. I’m about 40 years older so I guess there has been movement.

Mind. Introverted 58%
Energy. Intuitive 66%
Nature. Feeling 61%
Tactics. Prospecting 63%
Identity. Assertive 69%

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I agree. I think the application is purely subjective. That isn’t to say not useful at all but probably not in the way science is useful. Either it helps our understanding or it probably is just being misapplied.

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Hum, I just did the test, and interestingly while sorta like a lot of you, am more neurotic! I do tend to overanalyze, and tend towards depression and seeing the downside of things a lot, so probably it is accurate on that. Maybe a downside of medical practice, where you have to look for what might be wrong, and not rationalize that that lump or pain is probably nothing.
Openness. 81
Conscientiousness 52
Extraversion 31
Agreeableness 69
Neuroticism 73

One thought I has in looking back at McGilchrist’s statement ““The religious or spiritual are markedly better at dealing with adversity [and] enjoy much greater well-being… being religious or spiritual has a protective effect against depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide” is that the problem comes when we then jump to the conclusion that religion and spirituality is causitive rather than just associated. Does religion give greater well being, or do people with greater well being tend to be religious or spiritual? Maybe I am just being neurotic. :wink:


And whether somewhat causative or purely correlative, I strongly doubt that everyone who claims the monicker holds and practices it in the same way. Yet perhaps in some broadly cultural way it has some value that transcends individual understanding or commitment?

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I don’t think that’s it. Primarily (before anything else), it’s utterly foreign to my way of thinking and processing. When I encounter mysticism (at least as I recognize it), it feels like a mental collision. I mentioned to you that when I watched McGilchrist talk with one of the English Buddhist monks, I felt utterly lost in metaphor. My overall feeling toward mysticism a lot like that.

It also, to my sense of feel, feels like giving control for processing and interpretation to someone else who may not deserve my trust. There doesn’t seem to be discussion or chewing it over, just acceptance of, submission to what is given. Just thinking about that feeling makes me bristle.

I don’t necessarily avoid mysticism, but the neighborhood where it would most likely be found isn’t on any of my normal routes, so I rarely encounter it. If that makes sense.

@LM77 and I have shared a bit with each other that we fit right smack dab among the Frozen Chosen (cerebral, Calvinist-leaning types, who during worship, sing heartily to the Lord with our hands firmly holding the hymnal or pew in front of us, and who experience things like Communion silently and internally). From the outside we usually look unmoved, even disinterested. But a bit of bread, a bit of wine or juice, and a few words from the pastor about Jesus, words we know by heart, are the concrete, move us deeply internally.
But I wouldn’t call that mystical.

It’s interesting that many people put a lot of emphasis on this. By tradition, I’m used to a very few: church attendance, singing during the church, prayer (my personal prayer life is a wreck, btw), Bible reading, Communion and Baptism. You could also maybe add in weddings and funerals. That’s it. We keep it simple. But that’s also good in my mind. The rituals don’t become an end in themselves, which I think they sometimes do, when people add a lot on. But I’m also looking and judging that from the outside. The “rituals” I am part of are tied directly to learning and communion both with other believers and with Jesus. So they are very specific in what they target.

So hard to describe what I even mean here.