Autism Awareness: God

How do I relate to God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a Christian, sometimes, it is difficult to understand how one is to respond to God. I was tempted to say relate, but how do you relate to God? God is so vastly different from us. Of course, we do have the incarnation to help with this, a great blessing of the Christian belief system.

Unfortunately, I have a great distrust of a lot of Christianese. I have heard this said in Protestant and Orthodox Churches and I am sure it is said in Catholic Churches, and that’s where you hear talk about how “This is what God has done for us” and it’s not what happened in Scripture, but what took place in goals like fundraising or building plans or something of that sort. I always want to ask “How do we know God did that?” It could be we’re going along with our plans and when we see something happen, we interpret that to mean God is giving us a green light, but maybe He isn’t.

I am also highly skeptical when I read a Christian book that is more about something like marriage build-up or dealing with anxiety and depression and not apologetics related and I hear the author talk about what God told them. I am usually very skeptical at that point. Just yesterday I was listening to a book on my Tap where the author talked about sending a message to his wife that he said God gave him, but it was clear, and the author even realized this later on as well, that it was not from God.

A great danger also is if I am right with this and it is not God speaking so much, then we are setting up newer Christians and people on the spectrum for a fall. They have a number of options. Someone can make something up because they think that is what they are supposed to do. Someone can have a strong feeling and think God is speaking to them then. (How many of us really think all our strong feelings are from God?) Some of us on the spectrum who do not have strong emotions or relational skills could think something is wrong with us.

Those of us on the spectrum have a hard enough time relating to other people not sure what all the social rules of a relationship are. It’s far harder for us when it comes to relating to God. Here, we have someone we can’t see and few if any will rarely directly hear.

For me with prayer, it is something I always wonder about. How long do you do it? What do you really say? How do you treat God properly in prayer? I have read books on prayer, but there is still something about it that is hard to understand.

Now keep in mind this is from someone on the spectrum who is also highly well trained in Christian theology. If I have this hard a time with the matter while it is my life’s work, how much harder could it be for the person on the spectrum who is exploring Christianity? When we talk to them about the faith, are we talking about Christianity as it was taught by the apostles, or are we talking about the Western individualist notions we have added in?

The walk with God can be difficult for everyone and in some ways, should be, but it can be harder I suspect for those of us on the spectrum. Be understanding. Apologetics will be a great help here since many of us are logically minded and prefer rules and order. Talking about your personal emotions and experiences will probably not be helpful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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