Beliefnet
If I weren't a Mormon, I would probably be Catholic. This has nothing to do with any imagined similarity in the faith's respective theologies, but rather their personalities. And mine.

I like big autocratic churches. The bigger and grumpier they are, the more I feel at home. I feel more spiritual under the constant risk of excommunication/exorcism. It suits my iconoclastic nature.

I see little point in going to a church so tolerant that even people like me are acceptable. Where's the growth potential in an environment that considers me fine just the way I am?

More to the point, people in those wimpy churches don't get as bothered when I point out some fatheaded thing they do. Church just isn't fun if someone's bustle isn't in a twist.

You aren't all that different. If you weren't whatever it is that you are right now, you would probably be a similar version of it in some other church/place. I have this theory that the manifestation of human faith is based far more on defending our egos than any real desire to change for the better.

Proof is what happens when we go looking for God. Whenever we find him, it's simply amazing how often he ends up looking just like us. Voltaire said it even better: "If God created us in His image, we certainly have returned the compliment."

Suppose yours is linear-type personality. You feel more comfortable thinking out of the left side of your head than the right. You prefer order, manners, regulations and, above all, someone going to hell. You probably lean more toward a bean-counting kind of God, an omnipotent accountant with a ledger crammed full of payables and receivables. You might not go for a God that occasionally shrugs his shoulders.

Conversely, say you have a particular behavior you want legitimized. Nothing really bad, just something that doesn't fit the scheme of normal human behavior. You probably gravitate toward a God that shrugs at a lot of things. Watch kids in church. Notice the difference between the "reverent" ones and kids, well, like I was. Are the ones with their arms folded and wearing little general-authority starter kits really being reverent or simply conformist? Such discriminating behavior is also true when it comes to interpreting scripture. Is that true inspiration coming out of your Bible or simply your own take on things?

Like any other book, the Bible is often just a mirror. If a donkey looks into it, you can't really expect an apostle to look back out. It was this kind of behavior that once enabled some Christians to find scriptural basis for slavery.

It is OK to have a personal take on things, provided that you know you are doing it. Not so if you don't realize it and blithely assume that your personal filter is the same one God uses.

How our personality affects our beliefs is important in religion because it speaks to the way we treat each other, despite what we claim to be taught. The nice thing about losing yourself in your faith is that it makes more room for others.

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