Over at this site, a lovely discussion about the Myers-Briggs personality type of Christian scholar and author C.S. Lewis. Most people say INTJ. The author of the blog says INFP.
For Myers-Briggs newbies, go here.
I find a lot of variation in laypeople who discuss Myers-Briggs. Some of it I agree with, and some of I find just plain strange. Like typing Barack Obama as an extrovert, for example.
Image of C.S. Lewis from here.
As to C.S. Lewis: I am an INFP, and by virtue of my personality, I know a lot about myself. INFPs are constantly evaluating themselves, constantly trying to find meaning for this day, this hour, this moment. We are probably the most nitpicky people about ourselves as ever anyone can be.
So I think I know something about being an INFP. So if C.S. Lewis was an INFP, I think I'd be able to see it.
C.S. Lewis was not an INFP. Not purely, anyway.
Let's look at the examples from Greek mythology, shall we?
Hephaestus, in Greek mythology, is the representative of INFPs. He is very gifted, very creative, makes beautiful things, has wonderful ideas. He creates ingenious metal artifacts. He invented robot helpers. He is very interested in harmony: in the Iliad, when Zeus and Hera quarrel, Hephaestus attempts to lighten the mood by soothing feelings and taking on the role of cupbearer, which is below his station:
So he spoke, and the goddess, white-armed Hera, smiled, and smiling took in her hand the cup from her son. Then he poured wine for all the other gods from left to right, drawing forth sweet nectar from the bowl. And unquenchable laughter arose among the blessed gods, as they saw Hephaestus puffing through the palace.
translation from here.
Hephaestus is not interested in power, and his lame leg and physical unattractiveness prevent him from attaining it. Though he is married to Aphrodite, the most beautiful goddess in the world, she does not love him, and regularly has affairs. Hephaestus the super-gifted is also Hephaestus the hamstrung.
INFPs are dreamers and artists. They are quiet teachers and healers. But despite their gifts, they are also cursed with indecision and self-doubt.
The author of the blog post quoted above cites a bunch of different reasons why C.S. Lewis may have been an INFP, including his inability to do math. But I think all his arguments miss the boat.
To be so sure of yourself as to become the mid-20th century's most celebrated Christian apologist-- as C.S. Lewis became and was for over a decade-- you must be able to break free of an INFP's self-doubt. NFPs would break under the strain of trying to justify Christianity because we can never be sure of anything. That type of systematic thinking just evades us. And we would want to see the other's point of view, even if we were (and many of us are) deeply committed Christians.
So I do agree with the majority that C.S. Lewis was probably an INTJ. Just because someone is mainly a thinker and systematizer does not mean they don't feel deeply, and don't, later on, consider the errors of their overly logical ways, as Lewis did. But that type of iron-clad know-it-allness that comes out in works like "Mere Christianity" is NTJ stuff.
Who is the INTJ Greek divinity? Athena, of course. Highly intellectual, highly sure of herself, she concerns herself with the practical side of thinking-- politics, warfare, warrior-coaching, textile fabrication. Where the rubber hits the road. C.S. Lewis was an intellectual Christian who wanted everyone to see the practicality of the faith.
So, you judge. C.S. Lewis, Hephaestus or Athena? Well, maybe it's not so cut and dried. These two divinities complement each other well. The city of Athens celebrated Athena as their patroness, but they held Hephaestus in ultra-high esteem as well. That is because they saw the worth of systems and practices that kept their city running well, but they also prized the arts and creativity. Athena and Hephaestus are two reasons Athens had a great golden age. So maybe we can say, in some ways, C.S. Lewis, being as gifted as he was both in argumentation and in creativity ("The Chronicles of Narnia," e.g.), could have had the gifts of both of Athens' favorites.