Personality of a True Believer

True believers as defined by Eric Hoffer have personality types that need something or someone to latch onto. About 35% or more of the population craves someone else make decisions and rules for them to live by. We spot religion 35 points before tipoff! Here below is a telling statement about religion, and this quote is not even about religion, but personality types.

True believers are not intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but are those craving to be rid of an unwanted self. They are followers, not because of a desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy their passion for self-true believers “are eternally incomplete and eternally insecure.”(1) Well if that doesn’t just about nail it.

He continues with this-

Before ending this section, I want to talk about the people who are most susceptible to conversion and joining mass movements. I am convinced that at least a third of the population are what Eric Hoffer calls true believers. They are joiners and followers … people who want to give away their power. They look for answers, meaning and enlightenment outside themselves.

This personality type will always be with us. They look for some sort of spiritual leader, whether it’s religion, multilevel marketing groups, or the Jidda. Some place they can shed their burdens or gain acceptance in a group. Even a mythical one.

In my years of conducting seminar trainings, I have constantly run into true believers. All I can do is advise them to seek the True Self within, where meaningful personal answers will be found. I teach that the basics of spirituality are self-responsibility and the attainment of self-actualization (being compassionate, while also accepting others without judgment, expectations, blame or attempting to control.) But most of the true believers just tell me that I’m not spiritual and go looking for someone who will give them the dogma and structure they desire”.

So maybe Atheism should be a belief system. Do we need a mantra and some chants and promised salvation to tap into this untapped resource? Nah.

Believers sq + need x acceptance is congruent to Religion. I love math!


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

14 thoughts on “Personality of a True Believer”

  1. Another great post Jim and Hoffer — from a psychological-neurological standpoint — is pretty much spot on and leads us to other studies and findings about the Placebo-effect and Peer-assimulation/Peer-pressure and our need to belong to some sort of meaning/purpose. If I may, I wrote a Dec. 2016 blog-post on these human conditions called Mind and Matter, if you or anyone is interested Sir. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s a great question Jim. Personality types, especially when discussing Leadership or inspiring MANY others to be more than they thought possible of themselves, do offer us discernable patterns… AND those who are ‘Followers’ also exhibit discernable patterns. I must say though that these studies are not a precise science for many reasons. For example, the 65 percentile and 35 percentile are still (somewhat?) fluid and based upon ONE SLICE of time examined/measured. People do change, in little ways or large ways based upon familial factors, environmental communal factors, and genetic/neural factors too.

        That said, perhaps the 65% consider more influences, more data, more opinions and analysis, and have higher degrees of Impulse-control than others? And then there are those who are just way too damn lazy to do ANY legwork/homework! LOL 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        1. They do it because they do it. And they were born to it and they haven’t really cared to look around. I can see that as a part of it

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it is dangerous to simply follow a crowd and not to think for yourself. Review yourself, your world-views and beliefs. If you do not you can fall into your own confirmation bias or other’s bias. Are there more recent research on the personality traits of believers? I will try to find out. By the way, I do not believe in dispensing blame, rather love. Blame is a way of dispensing pain and discomfort and it is not a loving thing to do. For those of you other than Jim reading this, I am a person of faith;-) Love, Isabella

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jim, I hopped over to Isabelle’s blog and her post “Arguments against faith and creationism” and left this comment. Figured it might go just as well here too for some productive dialogue since Isabelle’s blog seems to have a ‘small’ following of readers/commenters. 🙂 Here’s my comment to her…


    Hello Isabella. I am happy that we stumbled across each other’s paths over on Jim’s blog. 🙂

    I will continue perusing here, getting a better feel for your approach to life, existence, and engaging with others to sharpen our life-skills. To me that is a noble cause worthy of one’s time and energy. I applaud you for yours Isabella! ❤

    Regarding this particular post, I often (not always) come at religion, particularly the Abrahamic religions, from the Revelation standpoint. In other words, HOW do believers or faith-followers come to know and/or communicate with “God/Yahweh”? For the sake of contextual background of my particular approach, I spent about 10-years in American Fundamentalist-Evangelical Christianity, including 3-years at seminary (Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, USA), Single’s Ministry and Deacon in church, and many many years traveling the globe playing my pro soccer… and hence, being exposed to and living within many cultures/belief-systems. This background has greatly contributed to my personal knowledge and experience, especially in the context of religions — more specifically (by geographic birth) Christianity.

    That said, I would approach your invitation here in this way:

    Assuming God/Yahweh does exist, HOW does he or how has he communicated with humanity? From my years and studies in seminary, that answer is found — according to theology — in TWO ways:

    1) General Revelation — what is perceived, measured, explained, theorized externally in Nature and Natural functions.

    2) Special Revelation — which is further divided into two subsets…

    2a) Holy Spirit, miracles, paranormal activity/events.

    2b) Holy Scriptures, both Canonical and non-Canonical as well as “Independent” sources.

    Now, of those two forms of revelation Isabella, which one(s) are most testable, more easily verifiable?

    And that is where I start with regard to faith, or Christianity, or religion, creation, and “Divine(?)” revelations.

    Liked by 2 people

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