[Paleopsych] flag/religion

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Sat Feb 26 16:32:35 UTC 2005

NOTE: If you receive this as a BCC copy (your address isn't attached, 
and you aren't on the Paleopsycho list), it is because I liked this 
answer to Michael and want to solicit your response.

Michael Christopher wrote:

Lynn says:

>>Ummm??? For example? Flag? I am patriotic and 
religious, and the two are very different

--In what particular ways are they very different? In
what ways are they similar?


I heard the psychologist Alan Bergin characterize two types of 
religiosity - horizontal and vertical. In published reports, Bergin 
called those intrinsic and extrinsic.

The extrinsically religious person experiences little or do difference 
between patriotism and religion - both good things, based on a positive 
emotional commitment. Both can influence behavior. But the influence is 
limited. Patriotic persons can do evil things. Bergin has shown that 
extrinsic religiosity is correlated with behavioral problems and 
anxiety; intrinsic religiosity is correlated with better mental health 
and better long-term health.

Intrinsic religiosity: In the series Lost, two of the characters - Sayid 
and Sawyer - have heard whispering in the forest. Both have taken human 
life, and the implication is that is why they hear the whispers. The 
sounds come from either their own conscience or from the actual spirits 
of those whose lives they have taken. Each of them tries to deny or 
rationalize what they have heard. Sawyer asks Sayid if he heard anything 
when he was in the forest - Sayid almost admits, then recants and asks 
what Sawyer heard. Sawyer almost says, then recants and says he heard 
nothing. The two antagonists share something inexpressible.

For the intrinsically religious person, that is sort of what religion is 
like. There is a very quiet, subtle experience of God tapping on one's 
shoulder, a kind of reminder, "You promised to remember Me." If you have 
read Surprised by Joy you can understand the experience. It feels like 
it clearly comes from outside one's self. The actual trappings of the 
religion - for the intrinsically religious person - seem of little 
importance, and the personal experience is the core. It is not so much, 
"I believe in God" as "God believes in me, and I know He does."

So patriotism swells the heart, inspires great deeds, gives one a 
feeling of belonging to a worthy community, all positive things. It can 
also inspire evil deeds and alienation between us (the good guys) and 
the French . . . well, anyone who seems strange and unworthy. This is a 
limbic system activity.

Intrinsic religiosity gives one a sense of one's relationship with God 
and with others. It is clearly a right temporal lobe mediated function, 
and very different from loyalty and patriotism. I was in San Francisco, 
Ghirdelli Square one night with a friend who looks rather like me, only 
30# lighter. A young black boy was sitting on a railing, watching us. 
"Hey," he said, "you guys brothers?"

"Yes," I replied, "we are brothers, and you are our brother too."

"I ain't your brother," he replied scornfully.

"Yes, you are," I said. "You have just forgotten us."


PS: Abstracts of  three of Bergin's I/E religiosity articles:

PsycINFO: Citation and Abstract 	
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Title 	Religiousness and mental health reconsidered: A study of an 
intrinsically religious sample.
Abstract 	Despite the existence of strong viewpoints, the relation 
between religiousness and mental health is not yet clearly understood. 
The Religious Orientation Scale has provided researchers with a valuable 
tool for differentiating between intrinsic (I) and extrinsic (E) 
religious orientations, thereby clarifying some of the confusion in this 
area. In the present study we assessed correlations between these two 
scales and anxiety, personality traits, self-control, irrational 
beliefs, and depression. Results generally indicated that I is 
negatively correlated with anxiety and positively correlated with 
self-control and "better" personality functioning, whereas the opposite 
is true of E. Correlations were generally not found with irrational 
beliefs or depression. By dividing subjects into a fourfold typology, we 
discovered that 98.6% of the present sample of religious students were 
"intrinsics." When their personality scores were compared with those of 
other normal populations, trends slightly favoring this intrinsic sample 
were observed. Thus, these results indicated that I is related to 
"normality" and that religiousness is not necessarily indicative of 
emotional disturbance. Some implications for counseling are suggested. 
(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)
Authors 	Bergin, Allen E.; Masters, Kevin S.; Richards, P. Scott
Affiliations 	Bergin, Allen E.: Brigham Young U, UT
Source 	Journal of Counseling Psychology. 34(2), Apr 1987, 197-204.

PsycINFO: Citation and Abstract 	
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Title 	Religious life-styles and mental health: An exploratory study.
Abstract 	Conducted an intensive, case-by-case assessment of life-styles 
of a sample of religious students. We identified differing styles of 
religiousness and made comparisons by means of tests and interviews 
between subgroups whose subjects manifested differing religious 
life-styles. Those subjects with continuous religious development and 
mild religious experiences appeared to be healthier than those with 
discontinuous development and intense religious experiences; however, 
intense religious experiences tended to enhance the adjustment of those 
who experienced them. There was no evidence in the group as a whole for 
an overall negative or positive correlation between religiousness and 
mental health, but some modes of religious involvement appeared to be 
related to disturbance, whereas other modes appeared to be related to 
enhanced stability and resilience. Because causality in these relations 
remains uncertain, we generate hypotheses concerning further studies of 
life-styles and adjustment. We also discuss implications for student 
counseling and development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all 
rights reserved)
Authors 	Bergin, Allen E.; Stinchfield, Randy D.; Gaskin, Thomas A.; 
Masters, Kevin S.; et al
Affiliations 	Bergin, Allen E.: Brigham Young U, Provo, UT, US
Source 	Journal of Counseling Psychology. 35(1), Jan 1988, 91-98.

PsycINFO: Citation and Abstract 	
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Title 	Values and religious issues in psychotherapy and mental health.
Abstract 	A decade of work by A. E. Bergin and others is reviewed and 
synthesized concerning 2 broad issues: (a) the role of values in 
psychotherapy and (b) the relation of religion to mental health. Trends 
have changed, and there is now more professional support for addressing 
values issues in treatment. There is also more openness to the healthy 
potentialities of religious involvement, and therapists themselves 
manifest a new level of personal interest in such matters. Cautions and 
guidelines for dealing with such issues are considered in both empirical 
and clinical terms. The multifactorial nature of religion is documented, 
and healthy and unhealthy ways of being religious are described. 
Suggestions are given for including education in values and religious 
issues in the training of clinicians so that the vast population of 
religious clientele may be better served. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 
2004 APA, all rights reserved)
Authors 	Bergin, Allen E.
Affiliations 	Bergin, Allen E.: Brigham Young U, Provo, UT, US
Source 	American Psychologist. 46(4), Apr 1991, 394-403.

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