Anyone characterized by an extrinsic religiosity tends to see in religion an element through which to obtain something. It is not necessarily a malevolent action, nor a conscious one; rather try to solve some problems or aspects of one’s life through religion. The benefits that we hope to achieve are individual and social, both tangible and intangible.
Religion as a fundamental human need gives meaning to one’s existence. There are many ways to feel the relationship with the Absolute and an interesting distinction is that proposed by Gordon Allport, the top personality expert.
The religious sentiment according to Allport arises from the limits that the individual feels in his own life, even of a temporal type, and in the necessity of unifying the events of his own existence around a nucleus of higher meaning. This can lead man to feel religion as a fundamental and very personal element, but others also feel a utilitarian side, these have an extrinsic orientation.
Gordon Allport is considered one of the leading experts in the field of personality. His studies also led him to consider religious sentiment. And how these connect to the personal sphere. In this context, he defined two main orientations: the intrinsic and the extrinsic Religiosity. In the scale developed by Gordon Allport to evaluate the degree of religious orientation, there are some statements that can be a clear example of this orientation:
I attend church because it helps me to meet other people;
I attend the church especially to spend time with other people;
I attend church mainly because I like meeting people I know there;
I mainly pray for help and understanding;
What religion mainly offers me is the comparison in times of difficulty and pain.
Religious orientation and personality
How do so different guidelines emerge? According to Allport the way in which the person chooses to live religiosity is embodied in his way of being, and specifically in the way he addresses and gives meaning to the world. The search for meaning of existence consists of different processes, some of nature emotional, others more related to temperament. Gordon Allport states in a 1972 work.
The religion of the individual has been derived:
a) from his bodily needs,
b) from his temperament and mental capacity,
c) from his psychogenic interests and values,
d) from his search for natural explanation and his response to culture-environment.
We can therefore generally state that: Religion emerges with greater ease and clarity when the basic needs of the body (nourishment, housing, health, etc.) are in crisis. The turning point depends on the individual, The temperament affects giving a more optimistic or pessimistic nuance to the religious sense and to what is expected from religion. Religion has among its objectives to support and spread the values that satisfy the individual.