Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Your personality chooses your religion

The "New Atheists" (Dawkins et al) have a down on religion because -- it isn't true.

Duh! of course no religion can survive the laws of physics .. which explain everything. But religion does more for us than that.

  • It provides a moral framework for our lives as social beings
  • It provides some reassurance in the face of our own mortality
  • Adherence advertises to ourselves and others a commitment to moral behaviour.

These are all things worth having. Yet it's hard to commit to the difficult path of self-discipline and self-denial except under supernatural duress. A candidate religion would be preferable to the extent it was at least somewhat believable.

And then there is the style of the religion. Can one approach it in an intellectually austere way - as an introvert? Or does one have to sway, dance, sing and play the guitar?

Finally  there's not much chance of impressing others with your own commitment to virtue if you advertise your adherence to a faith that no-one has ever heard of, or which is a laughing stock. Church of Scientology, anyone?

So faced with these constraints, I turned to AI and cranked up my Prolog theorem-prover again (last used in car selection).

/* Choosing your religion by the four psychological temperaments (SP, SJ, NF, NT)

Classify religions (faiths) on the following dimensions:
- intensity [ascetic, calm, emotional, shrill]
- plausibility [low, medium]
- recognition amongst the UK public [low, medium]

candidates: catholicism, evangelical, anglican, wahhabism, sufism, hinduism, buddhism, philosophical_taoism, sjw.

religion(R) :- member(R, [catholicism, evangelical, anglican, wahhabism, sufism, hinduism, buddhism, philosophical_taoism, sjw]).

intensity(catholicism, calm).
intensity(evangelical, emotional).
intensity(anglican, calm).
intensity(wahhabism, emotional).
intensity(sufism, ascetic).
intensity(hinduism, emotional).
intensity(buddhism, calm).
intensity(philosophical_taoism, ascetic).
intensity(sjw, shrill).

plausibility(R, low) :- member(R, [catholicism, evangelical, anglican, wahhabism, sufism, hinduism]).
plausibility(R, medium) :- member(R, [buddhism, philosophical_taoism, sjw]).

recognition(R, low)     :- member(R, [buddhism, philosophical_taoism, wahhabism, sufism]).
recognition(R, medium)  :- member(R, [catholicism, evangelical, anglican,  hinduism, sjw]).

choose(Religion, sp) :- intensity(Religion, emotional).
choose(Religion, sj) :- intensity(Religion, calm), recognition(Religion, medium).
choose(Religion, nf) :- intensity(Religion, X), X \= ascetic.
choose(Religion, nt) :- intensity(Religion, ascetic), plausibility(Religion, medium).

?- choose(Religion, sp).
Religion = evangelical ;
Religion = wahhabism ;
Religion = hinduism.
?- choose(Religion, sj).
Religion = catholicism ;
Religion = anglican ;
?- choose(Religion, nf).
Religion = catholicism ;
Religion = evangelical ;
Religion = anglican ;
Religion = wahhabism ;
Religion = hinduism ;
Religion = buddhism ;
Religion = sjw.
?- choose(Religion, nt).
Religion = philosophical_taoism ;

Notice that I've used the Myers-Briggs/Keirsey temperament classifications: SP-Artisan, SJ-Guardian, NF-Idealist, NT-Rational.

I speak to you as an NT, a Rational. I must say that Taoism is no surprise, but despite my admiration for Lao Tzu and Ursula le Guin, I won't be following the Way any time soon. Too passive, too airy-fairy and how can you take seriously people who call themselves 'cultivators'???


Disclaimer: this post is satirical and lays no claim to empirical verisimilitude. It is based on no research and no conclusions should be drawn. If anyone's feelings are hurt, I can only plead for forgiveness. That shouldn't be too difficult.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Keep it polite and no gratuitous links to your business website - we're not a billboard here.