autism

Faith on the Spectrum

I’ve written numerous times about the literal nature of the autistic/aspie mind. Living on the spectrum gives you a true appreciation for the concrete, the tangible, the straightforward. It creates a world where ambiguity of double-meanings are anathema. You say what you mean, and you mean what you say. Where, then, in this world of solid things does a fuzzy concept like faith enter in?

The Difficulty of Faith

Many other individuals on the spectrum I know and with whom I associate usually fall into one of two categories when it comes to faith:

  • It’s just something they never bring up because it never seems to cross their minds.
  • They are actively agnostic or atheistic.

Think about it. A deity of any kind can neither be touched nor seen. You cannot reproduce the divine through the scientific method. You cannot discover deity empirically or quantitatively. Faith belies literal thinking. Therefore, it is only understandable that such literal minds reject faith. It is contrary to our nature.

Faith Without Blindness

Like Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes, I feel the need to perpetually explore the world around me. I’m insatiably curious. I like answering questions with more questions. Does it bother me that some things in the Bible cannot be concretely answered? No more than I am bothered by the further questions brought on by one scientific theory or the next.

I tried agnosticism for a while, but it could not fill a simple emptiness in my life. I found myself returning to the Bible time and again for the simple truths contained therein and the beautiful way its writers compliment and fulfill each other. I also study Taoism and Zen Buddhism, and I can’t help but think the world would be a better place if we took those teachings of peace and contentment more to heart as a species.

Am I convinced by the young Earth theory? Do I think the first few chapters of Genesis necessarily have to be interpreted literally? Do I believe faith has to exclude room for doubt or skepticism? No. In fact, I think God’s interactions with Job describe a divinity that appreciates inquisitiveness and pursuit of understanding. Sometimes my inquiries shake my faith. Other times, they strengthen it.

In the end, though, I think I’m a better person for my faith. Despite the irrationality surrounding such a concept, I look forward to another existence where disabilities are gone, where judgmental attitudes are a thing of the past, and where peace and simple contentment fill our lives.

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