Is Christianity Bad For Aspergers?

Do Aspies get a major disadvantage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I came across this post recently. I will grant it is an older post and one that a lot of people probably didn’t see, but it is raising concerns that I think need to be addressed. That’s on whether Christianity is bad for Aspergers.

The author, Corbin Croy, says that he is not formally diagnosed, but the diagnosis would make sense, and he is by no means an expert. From here, he goes on to list some problems with Christianity and Aspergers. It is clear he has some education in historical matters, but seems too caught up in modern phenomena of Christianity.

The first is that Christianity is too gesture oriented and not critically grounded. Croy points to events like altar calls and being slain in the Spirit. Part of the problem with the argument is that Croy never defines a gesture. Is a gesture any act on God’s part? If so, well it’s obvious God has to act at a certain point for Christianity to be true and it would be bizarre to think God has to keep doing that same event over and over again.

I have never found a problem with what Croy calls indirect communication with this. I can read the Gospels like most any other history and I can gather such information from the epistles as well. Croy makes much of how God speaks today, but I think this is largely a western problem that we have. We think we are so great that surely God must communicate with us directly today or God must speak in a clear way that modern 21st century Westerners can understand.

So on this first point, I am puzzled by what Croy means.

The second is a lack of freedom and again, I find it puzzling. Croy says Aspie memories are unreliable, but I find this odd. I consider my memory more reliable than that of many other people. Croy also says that Aspies can struggle to express themselves and that there is a lot of bickering and power plays going on in the church.

That’s not really an Aspie problem. That’s a human problem.

I hate to say it, but if any of us on the spectrum or off feel like we can’t speak or anything of that sort, that is a problem within us. We are responsible for our own feelings. No one else is. Despite what you think, no one can make you feel anything. If you have certain difficulties whether it be from Aspergers or anything else, it is up to you to deal with them. You can get help from others, naturally, but you own the responsibility.

At the same time, freedom is still not defined. Freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything you want. I can’t say, “I have Christian freedom, so I am going to sleep with every girl I can in my apartment complex.” Freedom means I am no longer under a penalty and I can behave the way that I ought without owing any debt.

Finally, Croy says Christianity has no fail-safe. Again, he doesn’t define this. If he means what to do if Christianity is false, of course we don’t have that because we do not think it is false. The only option we have is let us eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

He also says Christianity has this idea called faith. He never defines it and it looks like he could mean more what Richard Dawkins means by it as just belief, and blind belief at that, instead of trust in what has been shown to be reliable. Croy’s whole argument here is confusing. He never really explains what he means by terms and acts like his experience is universal.

Christianity is hard for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone. The most worthwhile and good things we will ever do are hard. Being on the spectrum can be hard, but life itself can also be hard. Sadly, Croy has some challenges for himself, but I don’t think they’re because of Christianity per se. It could be more because of Western thinking instead of Christianity.

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

Do You Want To Get Well?

Do you really want healing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When we read John 5, we read the story about a man at the pool of Bethesda wanting to be healed by being put in the water. Jesus asks him if he wants to get well. The man says he wants to, but every time the water starts up, someone gets in before him. Jesus heals him at that point.

Now I know skeptical readers of my blog will think that event never happened, but that doesn’t matter right now. I want to focus on something else. That question Jesus asks can seem surprising. Do you want to get well? Of course, he wants to get well! Right?

Maybe not.

Sometimes, we talk about the problem of evil and personal suffering with sickness of some kind, be it mental or physical. Now most of us would say we want to get better if we have something, but do we really want to get better? The reality is that sometimes we do not want to get better. Some people base an identity around their sickness.

“Whoa, Nick. Hold on a second. I have an email from you and in your email you say you’re an Aspie. Aren’t you identifying with your condition?”

Yes. I am. I also would not take a cure if I were offered one because I think the condition has a lot of strengths to it that I don’t want to risk losing. However, I don’t speak about Aspergers saying “Woe is me!” Instead, I speak about it saying, “Yes. I have this condition, but I choose to overcome the deficiencies and live a successful life.”

Not all people do that.

Sometimes it has been said that happiness is a choice, but do we really want to be happy? If we do, we need to realize that means letting our guard down many times and not having control of our lives given to others who don’t deserve that control. Some people don’t really want that.

In some ways, when we do that, we are holding the universe hostage, or at least trying to. “I won’t be happy unless XYZ is going on in my life.” Make it whatever you want. It could be a great marriage, a great career, great kids, your sex life, the health of yourself or others, or any combination thereof.

Perhaps we should really ask what does it take to make us happy? If we are Christians, do we truly need anything besides Jesus Christ for our joy? Now when I say that, this isn’t to say that other aspects of life shouldn’t bring us joy or can’t. Many of the items mentioned above are great for bringing joy. However, picture any of them and ask “If you lost that and you still had Jesus, could you have joy?”

This isn’t to say you wouldn’t mourn what you lost. There is a place for sadness and mourning. We are told to weep and mourn with those who weep and mourn. We’re not told to just say “Cheer up and get over it.” There are real realities to mourn. Jesus Himself wept at the graveside of Lazarus, even knowing what He was going to do.

But if we say that we refuse happiness unless we have anything else in our lives, then we are putting ourselves in our own prison. If Jesus asked us “Do you want to be well?” our answer could very well be, “No.” It might seem like a simple question, but sometimes those are the best ones to start with. If you are not having joy in your life right now, well why not?

Whatever it is that you’re lacking in your mind, do you have to have it? I am not saying it wouldn’t be nice if you did, but is it essential for your joy? If it isn’t, then what is? If it is, then you are making your joy dependent on that and do you really want to do that?

This doesn’t mean also you try this path alone. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out a good therapist and good friends. Recovery from some matters is not easy. If it is physical health, you can still have joy. My friend, Ed Komoszewski, has a virus that has been rampaging his body for years and causes great pain, but talking to him you’d never know it. He’s got a lot of joy. It’s not easy, but he has it.

If we complain about evil, let’s make sure it’s not of our own making. Suffering has very little to do with what actually happens to you. How you respond to it personally makes up most of the suffering that you go through. What happens to you is usually not in your control. What you do in response usually is.

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