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Christianity and the Enneagram: Is the Enneagram Demonic?

Picture of the bible

Anxiety is not a good or a bad emotion, but rather, it is either healthy or unhealthy. This is something I say in therapy many times and have to remind myself of it many more times. I also teach my clients that anxiety has 4 roles (3 healthy, 1 unhealthy):

  1. To challenge us to do better.
    For example, if I feel anxious for a test, that may motivate me to study and as a result do better on the test.

 

  1. To remind us to connect with others.
    For example, if I’m going into a new situation with new people, I will feel a little nervous because I want to make a good impression.

 

  1. To alert us to potential danger.
    For example, a house fire-I will get out of the danger as quickly as possible.

 

  1. To make us think we’re in danger when we’re not.
    For example, you start feeling anxious but can’t pinpoint what caused it. This is the anxiety that has no known cause. I call this the “junk mail” type of anxiety.

Now, obviously most of us have experience with anxiety and in all of its healthy and unhealthy forms. But that is a topic for another blog or therapy itself. When a new tool, like the enneagram makes its way into the mainstream, it can cause people, especially Christians to feel apprehension or suspicion. Which is not necessarily a bad thing since we are called to be discerning as Christians (Philippians 1:9-11).

Since the 90’s, the enneagram has been growing in popularity, and with its growing popularity, there is growing skepticism as to whether it can be trusted. This blog post will attempt to answer some important questions such as: Is it just an unhealthy trend that people are seeking to put in place of God? Or worse, is it demonic or from Satan??

The Enneagram’s Symbol

Enneagram's Sylbol

One of the first things that can throw people for a loop is the shape and pattern of the enneagram symbol. When people see the pattern, it reminds them of a pentagram or other occult symbols. However, there is a clear reason for the pattern being the way it is that is not connected to the occult.

The enneagram holds that there are nine different types of people who, while not exactly the same in each type, tend towards similar struggles and sin patterns as other people in their same type. Those who teach the enneagram also point out that people tend to drift to other numbers on the enneagram in times of integration or health and other numbers in times of disintegration

or unhealth. Starting at one o’clock on the symbol is the number one point and then the numbers work clockwise at each point until it ends at the nine point at the twelve o’clock position. The enneagram is made up of two shapes overlapping each other and showing the typical patterns of individuals in their healing or hurting through life (a triangle at 3, 6, and 9 for example). Therefore, the pattern of the symbol has a clear purpose in helping people have a visual of human tendencies rather than to refer to any demonic forces.

Additionally, symbolism has been used throughout Christian history. While the enneagram does remind me of a pentagram distantly, it also reminds me just as much of the star of David. Symbols in and of themselves are not dangerous or sinful and do not need to be feared. The reason behind the symbol is the important part to explore further. This is where I believe the uses of the enneagram make it worth studying as it can deepen our understanding of our personal shortcomings and how we can pursue redemption at a deeper level.

As I said in the last blog post which you can find here, the enneagram unlike other personality tests because its goal is to uncover the “why’s” behind what we do, rather than simply box people into caricatures. I think a great analogy for the enneagram is this: rather than study the waves, the enneagram desires to look at the current beneath the waves.

 

In the next blog post, we’ll look at the origins of the Enneagram and its sacred truths.

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