O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


My Introvert Interview

posted by Jason Boyett

On Monday, author Adam McHugh delivered a guest post about the “snarling 8-headed monster” of the writing process. Today I return the favor — sort of — via an interview at his blog, Introverted Church. We talk about how my introverted personality has impacted my faith and doubt, and how the extroverted nature of the evangelical church can be a challenge for people like me.

From the interview:

How do you think that introverts might process doubt differently from those who are more extroverted?

I think this goes back to your descriptions of introverts as possessing a thoughtful temperament and a slower, deeper interior life….Most of my doubt is intellectual–not the relational doubts of “Can I trust God?” or the experiential doubts of “Where was God when…?” but the even bigger questions of logic, anthropology, literary influences and science. That’s an analytical kind of doubt, and once it takes up residence in your brain, it’s tough to shake. I think extroverts may process doubt more on a relational level — “I don’t feel close to God” — and those are feelings that can resolve and seasons you can grow out of. You get better over time. But when you process God on an analytical level, feelings have nothing to do with it. You don’t grow out of or away from knowledge. Once you know something you can’t just ignore it or let it go, and so many of these intellectual doubts then become a constant challenge to your faith. And, being an introvert, you’re not always likely to want to talk through them, so it becomes a private burden, a daily argument in your intellect. It can lead to an even deeper level of isolation from the rest of the church.

Read the whole thing here.

And thanks, Adam, for turning the spotlight toward us introverts.



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Budster

posted May 25, 2011 at 9:25 pm


Wow, Jason, as a fellow introvert, you just nailed it. Everything you said described me exactly. Thank for putting it into words so well.



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guitarlady

posted May 27, 2011 at 9:39 am


yes, yes, yes. This describes perfectly what’s been going on in my head for the past few years.



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barneyoh

posted May 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm


Since people believe what the want to believe, this makes perfect sense. The churches main appeal is as a social club. So people adjust their ‘faith’ to fit in with the group they want to be in with. If someone thinks the Mormons are a better social group to belong to than the Baptists, they adjust their faith accordingly, it doesn’t matter how wacky are the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

An introvert that doesn’t need social approval is not going to find church all that appeal, thus the need to force one’s self to believe in ancient Jewish folklore is reduced.



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Jason Boyett

posted May 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm


@barneyoh:

First, thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

Second, in addition to this post, you’ve left faith-denigrating comments to several of my blog posts over the last few weeks. That’s fine, but I’m curious. If you think faith is so ridiculous, why do you hang out so much at Beliefnet? Why waste time arguing about something that means so little to you?



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barneyoh

posted May 28, 2011 at 8:37 am


@JB:

I’m someone that likes to understand how things actually work. Also, I feel a need to improve my own life as well as others. Reading the posts of others here and posting my own ideas helps me understand. As a former Christian, this helps me understand why I believed in the first place and move on with a healthy life as an atheist/humanist.

Atheists/humanists have not as yet done an adequate job of providing for the social needs that people still get from church. If there existed an atheist group that met your social, emotional and sexual needs as well as a Christian church, you would become an atheist.

I believe if one considers themselves to be moral, they can not be religious. Religion unties a correlation between one’s actions and their actual consequences in the real world. Faith allows one to believe their actions are moral because their god of convenience approves. Reason and science should be the judge of whether and action is helpful or harmful to humanity/life.

So I think one’s life would be better served trying to turn secular/humanist/atheist groups into organizations that meet needs like a church. Or get churches to dump all the creation, miracles, heaven and hell stuff while still meeting human needs.

If I go on an atheist web site, I’m either preaching to the choir and theist are usually warned against arguing with atheists. Then most all Christian sites need to censor dissenting opinion because they are intellectually bankrupt and need to keep the cult private to maintain indoctrination.

Please, why don’t you tell us why faith is a virtue and not a vice?



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Jason Boyett

posted May 31, 2011 at 9:50 am


@BarneyOh:

Thank you for a well-reasoned and thoughtful response. I can appreciate your need for understanding and self-improvement, both of which resonate much with me.

As to your question about whether faith is a virtue or a vice, first we have to start with how you define faith. Are you defining it as a set of beliefs? As adherence to a set of doctrines? If so, I’m not sure I would assign virtue or vice to that. Because there are certainly some types of belief in certain doctrines that I would find immoral. So that category of faith — in a virtue-or-vice scenario — seems to be neither.

I define faith as having more to do with action. It is acting according to the things I believe to be true, regardless of how I’m feeling or what doubts or questions I may have. It is a steadfast grip on the things I believe to be true even when I don’t feel like it — being honest even if it isn’t in my best interest, or being kind (loving my neighbor) even when it’s hard to do so. I do think this kind of faith is a virtue, and as C.S. Lewis once wrote, it’s a virtue for atheists as well as for believers. Unless you can do what you believe to be right whether your emotions or circumstances tell you otherwise or not, you’ll neither be a good Christian OR a good atheist, but someone whose beliefs are dependent on something fleeting and insubstantial…



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barneyoh

posted May 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm


I would define religious faith a set beliefs without empirical evidence, to believe something because one wants to believe it, because believing so makes one feel better or to be accepted into a religious group.

Every action you do is based on your beliefs. You turn the key in your ignition because you believe this will start your car. So for a theist or atheist, every action is based on our beliefs.

For a atheist with a moral conscience, the morality of an action is to be judged by it’s consequences in the real world. The tools to judge are observation, experience, logic and science.

For a theist however, their faith allows them to untie the morality of their actions from their actual consequences. If you are familiar with the movie ‘Blues Brothers’ you know what I mean. The brothers leave all kinds of devastation in the wake of their actions because they were ‘On a mission from God’. Faith enables believers to behave in destructive ways while still believing they behaving in a moral
way. So it’s moral relativism, your morality is relative to whatever version of God you choose. No two theist can ever agree on the same version of god.

Look at the problems of poverty, overpopulation, war, etc… How can faith possible offer a solution? At best is only an opiate for the pain but it is not a cure. Only science and reason can produce cures for these.

Problems don’t get solved when faith is applied instead of science. The survivors in Joplin can thank God they were spared and use their faith to ease the pain. But science and reason can give us early warning systems and shelters. Which is more moral? Faith is just shooting up heroine in the face of pain and suffering.

This is why faith is a vice. Atheists are no longer going to cede the moral high ground to theists. Your actions must be judged by their effects in the real world and not the opinion of your imaginary friend in the sky.



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Scotty

posted June 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm


Totally unrelated to the conversation you are having with barneyoh, but I just wanted to say that I bought your book after reading the interview you had with Adam McHugh and I devoured it in one sitting – will now have to go back and re-read it in a savouring kind of way. Loved the book – I guess because I could relate so well to your thought processes and I liked the hopefulness that runs through it – holding faith and doubt in tension – its hard work, especially in an evangelical culture – but like you, I doubt but keep hanging on in there. God bless in your new blog venture!



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Will Phillips

posted July 19, 2011 at 4:14 am


Well, a few months late to this interview and unrelated to the atheist evangelizing going on in the comments, but I wanted to just say that Jason’s comments about the different varieties of doubt really struck home with me.

So much so that I really needed to blog a bit about it, myself, to better get a handle on my own experience coming out of Christianity.

Religious Doubt: Intellectual vs. Emotional

Not sure if you’ll get this Jason or if you check here any more, but I really enjoyed the blog while it was going. Best of luck in your new fatherhood one.



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Angiet Marisam

posted July 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm


My boss is as well eager of YouTube funny video clips, he also watch these even in office hehehe..



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