Autism Awareness Small Talk

What makes conversation so difficult? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the rules you notice of social etiquette is everyone is supposed to engage in conversation about nothing in particular, such as talking about weather or things of that sort. In essence, you are supposed to talk about things you don’t care about just to make conversation. For someone on the spectrum, this is something that I can’t stand.

Remember Joe Friday? One of the statements he was famous for was “Just the facts.” That’s the way I find I think on the spectrum. I just want to discuss the subject data. Time is valuable and I want to use it the best I can in conversation. Having small talk is just often seen as entirely fake.

If anything, on the spectrum, it will leave me suspicious of you. Why are you asking all these personal questions? What are you trying to find out? You really become much more of a threat to me when you engage in small talk as I don’t know where you’re going. If you engage in real conversation about real matters, I know what we’re talking about and that’s fine.

Small talk is something that to someone like myself serves no real purpose. It’s really a show. Now there could be some exception if I meet someone who I already know well and we can just chit-chat, but if I don’t know you, it’s something that does produce anxiety.

This also applies to Facebook and I know others not on the spectrum who have the same kind of rule. If I accept your friend request and you immediately message me with a lot of small talk, do not expect me to engage with you. I need to know who you are and what you are messaging me about before I will respond to you.

The best way to talk to someone on the spectrum usually is to find out what they’re interested in and talk about that. It might take talking to someone outside of them to find out, like a friend or family member, but if you find out that person will likely be more open to talking to you. If you come up to us engaging in small talk, it’s like you’re prying us for information and we don’t know where you’re going with it.

Along those lines, I do have plans to write something about how we approach our interests as well. That’s another important aspect to keep in mind when talking to someone on the spectrum. Keep in mind also, we don’t care for fake people. If you’re not really interested, don’t act like you are.

So the tip for today? Avoid small talk. Just get to the point of the conversation. I don’t even like to have small talk with my own family. It’s even worse with a stranger.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Autism Awareness: Nonverbal

How do we communicate? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There’s an old joke where you tell someone that a deaf and dumb man goes into a hardware store. He makes a fist and pounds the counter. The guy in charge brings him a hammer. The man shakes his head and then takes his fist and hits the top with his other fist. He gets brought some nails. He nods in thanks and leaves. Next, a blind man comes in wanting a pair of scissors. How does he ask for them?

At this point, some people do a motion with their fingers to indicate scissors.

The answer is, “No. He uses his voice and asks for it.”

The question might be different if the blind man was on the spectrum.

There are some people on the spectrum that are incredibly non-verbal. They literally never speak. Some exceptions can occur such as if they are alone with animals or they can type if they are on a computer, but generally, they don’t speak.

I am not one of those, but often I would prefer to not speak if that is possible. This isn’t just around strangers. I can do this around my own family as well. Now there are times when actions do speak louder than words, but there are times when they don’t and you need words to communicate.

This can lead to problems for me sometimes. Let’s suppose I am in the checkout line at the grocery store. I want to indicate to the person in front of me to please get a divider so I can start putting up my groceries or at least move their stuff forward to give me room. This can be a problem as they usually have their back turned to me watching what’s going on in front of them.

Somehow, a mental block comes up in front of me that practically renders me unable to speak. It is exceptionally frustrating. I really don’t know how else to explain it. Picture a time in your life when you are paralyzed with fear and might have known you needed to do something mentally and yet you couldn’t will yourself to move. That is a similar situation.

When I get up there to check out, I will normally prefer not speaking. It is not that I desire to be rude at all. It’s just I prefer to not have to speak if I don’t want to. This will also get us into something in another post that I can’t stand on the spectrum, small talk. I’ve already stated that I hate the question “How are you?” which usually starts such conversations.

Do I know a solution to this? No. I am also not justifying it. I am just saying it is what it is. If you meet someone who seems to be unusually quiet, please consider they may be on the spectrum.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Autism Awareness Greetings

How do I respond when you approach? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last time, I wrote about not knowing people so when they come up to talk to me, I don’t really know what to expect. Immediately, my mind starts racing with all kinds of social rules as I try to figure out what I should or shouldn’t do. I can relate to Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory as he tries to follow rules of social protocol. “I ask you how you are every morning even though I don’t really care.”

Being somewhat in the public eye, it can be concerning if someone knows me and I don’t know them. I have reached the point where I now can manage to ask someone to refresh my memory. If I have to wear a name tag, that makes it even more difficult on me as I am thinking, “Do you know my name because you can read or because you really know me?”

One of the worst parts of a greeting in my world is when someone asks the question that I hate so much and dread getting every time. “How are you?” Let’s suppose I’m not doing good that time. Do I want a question to remind me of that? Perhaps I had been getting in a better mood and someone asks something that I naturally will look internally with and return to a depressive state.

This question is so bad to me that nowadays, I choose to remain absolutely silent to it. I also think it’s really a fake question because I suspect the majority of people who ask it don’t even really care. I remember being at my job one day and bending down to put stuff in my locker when a manager walked by and asked “How are you?” and just kept walking before I could say anything. My mind is immediately thinking, “If you don’t really care, don’t really ask.”

The exception to this is if I know the question is about a specific situation. Some of my friends know I’m going through a rather strange period of my life right now and when one of them calls and asks “How are you doing?” I know exactly what they’re talking about and I tell them.

What greeting would I prefer? A simple “Hi” or “Hello” works just fine. Now keep in mind being on the spectrum, I might not say hi back. I might smile or nod or something nonverbal. I plan on getting into nonverbal communication before too long, but it is one way I do respond to communication, especially if I am nervous to some extent around the person.

If someone doesn’t respond to your greeting as you respect, sure, there’s a chance they’re rude, but maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re on the spectrum and don’t know what to say and could be intimidated to some extent. Please keep this in mind. Also, if you’re a church greeter and you know someone is on the spectrum, it could be good to find out how they would prefer you interact with them in that capacity if at all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

You Don’t Know Me

How do we react around strangers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Often times, those of us on the Autism spectrum are considered to be rude. Of course, we can be rude, but sometimes when we are called rude, we are not at all intending to be rude. It is just a case of how we don’t know for sure how to act.

Have you ever seen a scene from The Good Doctor where the autistic surgeon on there has all these drawings and images going on in his head? For myself personally, I can have the same kind of phenomenon. When a stranger comes up to me and tries to talk to me, my mind immediately goes to the question of what kind of social protocol is it that I am supposed to follow here.

Usually, that means staying quiet as much as possible. I will have more to say on being quiet in another blog post. You can expect that in many cases, I will communicate non-verbally when possible.

This can also happen online. Generally as a rule, if you message me on Facebook and I don’t know you and you’re just asking the general questions like “How are you?” (I hate that question with a passion as a casual greeting and I plan on writing on that later) I will not answer you. If I go somewhere and someone is extraverted around me, it is frightening. If you are the same way online, that is also frightening.

So if that’s the case, how do you get to know someone on the spectrum?

Usually, you have to know what really gets us excited and talk about that. You could come up to me and talk about apologetics, video games, certain TV shows, etc. If you can demonstrate we have a common interest, I am much more likely to communicate.

In a way, picture it like if you were in a situation where someone came up to you who you thought could be a threat. You could have a multiplicity of scenarios going on in your head. It could include a physical response, running, playing casual, grabbing an item nearby to use as a weapon, pressing an emergency alert button on your phone, etc.

For me, this is similar to what I go through every time I meet someone I don’t know. Now in some situations, it could be more controlled. If I have been at a church and just given a talk and people come up to me after with questions, it is an environment where I know what I can expect and it is much easier. The casual conversation setting is the one that I dread.

Keep this in mind when you encounter someone on the spectrum. If someone starts acting in a similar way around you you don’t know, they could be on the spectrum. Again, I also want to stress that this might not be the same with everyone, but it is certainly my experience.

Next week, we will hopefully look at more of the world of Autism.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Autism Awareness Month Introduction

What does this month mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This month is Autism Awareness Month so I would like to contribute much of this month to what it’s like to be a Christian apologist on the spectrum. I could hold off on any other posts, including book plunges, until next month. It all depends on how the month goes.

While I am writing from personal experience, I am not a psychologist or a doctor or something of that sort. My experience is my own. Please do not assume that because this is the way that I am, this is the way that someone else on the spectrum will be.

I do say this is the experience of an apologist on the spectrum, but not everything in my life is apologetics. I will tell how I relate to other areas in my life. How do I relate to the people around me, including friends and family? How do I respond to people I don’t know? What about my personal hobbies apart from doing apologetics?

I also want to stress that I am listed as high-functioning. There are plenty of people on the spectrum that are what we call non-verbal. As someone who has done live debates and talks on the subject of Christianity, I am definitely not one of them.

I also need to point out that we live in a victim culture. People seem to delight in being victims. I do give advice on how people who care can do matters differently, but I am not trying to demand that all of society change to meet my needs. That is not realistic.

Not only that, but I have consistently refused to be a victim. I believe in being an overcomer more than in being a victim of those around me. I do realize that some people need special care and that is something different.

Also, I am considering doing YouTube videos on this this month. Keep in mind that where I am at now, my microphone and webcam are not hooked up yet so it is my plan to just use my phone. I have never done that before, so we will see how it goes. The other option is if someone wanted to do Zoom interviews with me on this, and yes, I am available for podcasts this month.

I look forward to how this month will go. We’ll see what all we can cover. I hope you’ll walk out with a new appreciation of the world of Autism and Aspergers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

On Gambling

Should you roll the dice? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I am browsing Facebook and I see someone ask if gambling is a sin. I see most people jumping in and saying yes, immediately, but I am contrary I suppose and have more questions about the matter. It starts with asking what is really gambling.

We could just say it’s playing a game of chance, but is that simple enough to explain it? After all, while luck is involved, there is some skill and strategy involved in games like Poker and Blackjack. If that is the case, could we say the stock market could be a form of gambling as well? After all, one has no guarantee that a stock will shoot up, like GameStop for example, and one could really lose everything and some people have.

How about this scenario? You’re at home one day and there is a knock at your door and there are some small school children there. They are selling raffle tickets to do a fundraiser for their school. The prize is a big screen TV. Now you have a good TV, but the ticket only costs a dollar and it goes toward a good cause. Do you buy a ticket?

How about also you get together with a few friends for a Poker night? You get together and you have a maximum bet everyone can make and you just play cards. Most of the time, this isn’t done so some person can get rich. It’s something guys mostly do just so they can hang out together and the chance adds an element of fun to it.

We could get even more technical here. Let’s suppose you go to an arcade, which used to be a really popular hangout in the past and I even worked at one for awhile. Now you could put some quarters in a game that will offer you some moments of pleasure but nothing beyond that. On the other hand, you could also put it in the crane game, a game of chance, and see if you could win something that you could keep.

There were times in the past I know I won Allie something in a crane game. Long before that, one time I was at a bowling alley with a friend who was telling me that he wanted to win a stuffed elephant in a crane game there to give to a girl and he had spent $5 and not had any luck. I put in a couple of quarters and managed to win it for him immediately.

In the past as a teenager, I remember my Dad and I would sometimes drive up to Kentucky from Tennessee. The drive took a couple of hours both ways. We would have about $20 with us and we would just play scratch-off games together. It was never about winning. It was just about an excuse to get to travel together and have some bonding time. I still remember one time we actually won $50 doing this and just stopped at a place called Oasis Pizza on the way back.

So as you can see from this, I am not 100% opposed to gambling. So what would I recommend here? Good stewardship. If you have money for entertainment purposes and want to use it here responsibly, I don’t really have a problem with that.

What about Scripture? Well, it says nothing yea or nay. Casting of lots was more about divining the will of God. We also know the soldiers gambled for the clothing of Jesus, but that doesn’t make it evil any more than the soldiers standing guard around condemned criminals would mean police officers shouldn’t stand outside of jail cells.

So the principle is more about how you use what you have. If you are going and betting your life savings or your wedding ring to gamble, then you have a problem and need to stop. On the other hand, we could compare it to drinking. If you can drink responsibly and not get drunk, then I don’t have a problem with social drinking and I see gambling the same way.

So if you want to get together with the guys and play Poker, I don’t have a problem. If you go to Vegas and have a couple of spare bucks and want to even try a slot machine, go ahead. If you think you could get addicted however, you might want to step back from doing that and consider some other hobby. I would say if you want to play a game of chance, it’s better to play one where you have a reasonable chance of winning, aside from buying a ticket to a raffle just to support a good cause more than actually winning anything.

Have fun with what you do and do remember this is side money. Make sure you have done your charitable giving first and provided for your family. Then if the goal is to just have fun mainly, then do that and enjoy the company of your friends.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Finding Quiet

What do I think of J.P. Moreland’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you have had one, you can often remember the first time. Things can seem normal, and then out of the blue, boom, it hits you. For me, I remember I was at home alone in my high school years and watching Touched By An Angel, a show I really don’t care for today now being better informed, and then I felt something coming over me.

It was something I had never felt before, but it wasn’t anything good. It felt like the whole world was coming to an end. It was a sensation of overwhelming doom and judgment. It was such a defining moment in my life that I spent the next few years living in response to that moment.

It’s what you call a panic attack.

It would be a mistake to castigate someone in some way for this. It doesn’t mean that you’re someone who is stupid and uninformed. Smart people can get panic attacks. It doesn’t mean you lack faith. People who are devout Christians and well-informed in their faith can get panic attacks.

J.P. Moreland did. His was likely brought on just because he was working too hard and getting overwhelmed. When you are in the midst of that fear and that panic, nothing makes sense any more. Moreland wound up going to a therapist and taking medications.

The latter part is quite sad. It’s not because he was taking medication, but because he dared say that when giving a sermon at a church and after that, the pastor said he received a large number of texts from people who were complaining about someone in the pulpit approving psychiatric medications and Moreland was never asked to come back. Sadly, too many in the church have that attitude.

Like many though, Moreland will rightly say that you have to work to change your thinking. You also have to learn to work with your own body. Some of your mental issues at times could be physiologically affected. For instance, if you don’t sleep well, you don’t think well. I understand many Navy Seals go through Hell Week involving deep training. These guys have to go days without sleep and at that point, they often start hallucinating.

In David Seamands’s book Healing For Damaged Emotions, he says that he has been told by doctors and nurses that when a patient comes to a hospital struggling with suicidal thinking, they will often give them protein. There can be a lack of real substance in them. With that, something else needs to be said.

Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. J.P. Moreland’s book is mainly about anxiety, but similar techniques can work for depression. Moreland does say he was never suicide, but he did sometimes ask God to finish him off in some way. He felt like his life was a waste and he just wanted the pain to go away.

Many Christians could be surprised to hear Moreland think his life was a waste. Let’s also add in that no matter who they are, people need to be told that they do make a difference and matter. Moreland doesn’t mention that part, but it needs to be said.

Moreland gives various techniques in the book and I will not share them because if you are one who like me can struggle with anxiety, you need to read the book for yourself and get them. Even someone who is of a secular mindset could get some good out of this, although I am sure they won’t care for the idea of prayer being used. Definitely, as indicated earlier, the church needs to be kinder to those struggling. People who have mental struggles in the church often think lowly enough of themselves already. They don’t need to be shot at further for seeking treatment.

Moreland’s book is also not going to go over your head. This isn’t your standard apologetics work, although there is some of that in there. This is more on helping you to live better in the midst of anxiety and depression, which can come to all of us.

I know for when the times comes that I struggle, I appreciate knowing I am not alone. After all, since that time in my past, I have learned a lot which has helped me get past anxiety and depression more, but there can be times that one encounters difficult events that bring it all back again. I plan to always be learning how to overcome the monster.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: What Is The Gospel?

What do I think of Greg Gilbert’s book published by Crossway? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m in the process of joining a new church and in the membership class, this book is given to us as a requirement to read. As a side note, let me say I think that is awesome. Churches should be encouraging their members to read more books.

So what are my thoughts on the book? Let’s go with a straight list of positives and negatives and with the negatives, I plan to say how I would change them.

First positive, this is a short book. Not only does it have less than 150 pages, but it’s also small in size meaning you can carry it with you easily and a church member will not get intimidated by it. I would love to see church members read something like N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God, but let’s face it. Most people are not going to read a book with 800+ pages sadly.

Second, it is easy to understand. The author does not use high theological terms that a layman would understand. He also uses real life examples that most anyone can relate to.

Third, there is talk, including one chapter, on ideas not normally included in the gospel, such as the Kingdom of God. I wondered if this is the effect of Wright in some way. Too often in gospel presentations, it’s easy to skip the life of Jesus and go straight to the death and resurrection. I was concerned for some time going through that the kingdom would never be mentioned, but thankfully, it was.

That brings me to what I would like to change.

First, when the gospel is being defined, the writer immediately goes to Romans. Romans is a great place to go to, but I’m thinking “Why don’t we start with Jesus?” This can be a problem though because if you think the central theme of the gospel is something like “Justified by faith” then what do you do with Jesus preaching in Mark in the first chapter saying the Kingdom of God has come near and to repent and believe the gospel.

This not to deny the doctrine of justification, but saying we need to see what Jesus meant by the gospel first instead of jumping to what Paul means by the gospel. This is also not to deny Paul. Christians should be reading Paul, but we need to go to Paul to understand Jesus and not Jesus to understand Paul.

For those wondering what I say on this matter, Jesus is saying that God is going to be king over the world again through Jesus and is reconciling the world to Himself. All are called to show allegiance to the true king revealed in Christ. Those who do so are going to be justified by their faith (Loyalty) to the one true God.

Second, there was a part where the author got into the definition of faith and saying that it is not blind belief or anything like that. He is certainly right. However, nowhere in this was anything about apologetics even mentioned, which is a great need in the church. I understand this isn’t a book about that, but would it have been difficult to add in a paragraph like this?

“For those interested in why we believe, there is a branch of Christianity called apologetics that is dedicated to answering hard questions about Christianity. This book is not about that field, but for those interested, I have included an appendix in the back of the book. This appendix lists a few books on specific topics that can get you started.”

Third, I understand at the end what Gilbert was saying about how the cross is central, yet as I went through this section, I kept thinking that it’s great to speak about the cross, but what about the resurrection? Shouldn’t we include that? If all we have is the cross and no resurrection, we have nothing. We can say we are justified by the cross, but only if that cross is followed by a resurrection.

Finally, I would have liked to have seen something more on the nation of Israel. When we tell the story of the Old Testament, we start at the fall and then tend to jump straight to Jesus. We need to know the purpose of Israel and the purpose of the Law, especially in a day and age where many atheists also misunderstand the Law and like to pelt Christians with questions on it.

Overall though, this is a good introduction to the topic. The criticisms I have could be easily fixed after all and most readers won’t notice something like that. This is a great book for a layman to learn how to address this topic.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

The Latest Good Doctor

What can not be thought of on television still? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am giving this an ambiguous title due to the necessity of spoilers. If you watch the series regularly like I do and you have not yet seen last Monday’s episode, then do not read this yet. There are spoilers. You have been warned. Any knowledge of what happens at this point is on your head and not mine.

So in this latest episode, it is dealing with the revelation from the prior one that Shaun, the autistic good doctor, was given by his girlfriend Lea. She’s pregnant. Obviously, the baby is his as she hasn’t been being intimate with anyone else.

Then there came the question of what to do. Were they really ready to have children? Were they ready for that kind of commitment? Could the child be on the spectrum like Shaun is? What about their careers?

Absent from this was the question of “Is this a human life?” I suspect there’s a reason that wasn’t debated on a show about medical medicine. It’s because the evidence is clear. This is a human life. Once that is said, the cat is out of the bag.

  • “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” — Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
  • “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” –Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.
  • “Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.” –William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.
  •  “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” — E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant (3rd Edition). Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.
  • “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of life of a new individual.” –Bradley M. Patton, Human Embryology, 3rd Ed., (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), p. 43.
  • “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” –Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 85-86.
  • “Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” –David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) 20.

“A human fetus is not a nonhuman animal; it is a stage of a human being.” –Wayne L. Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 10.

(Special thanks to Clinton Wilcox for his help in this information.)

Now in an earlier episode in this situation, one doctor did refuse to do an abortion for her beliefs on life, but it is all too different when it involves the main characters. Much of the episode dealt with this question. Are they going to have an abortion or not?

I found it interesting hearing Lea say she wasn’t sure she was ready for that kind of commitment. Reality is, if you are having sex, you are already saying you are ready. One of the natural consequences of sex is human life coming into being. If you are not ready, then hold off, but if you think you can be committed enough to a human being that you can be naked before them and completely vulnerable, you are ready for the commitment to be a parent then. If you are not, then don’t engage.

Naturally, those of us on the Christian side don’t really support sex before marriage, but our society is at the point where marriage is no longer sacred really and sex is no big deal. This is why Christians need to be taking their thoughts on marriage and sex seriously. We have to be a contrast to the world.

In the end, the couple decide even at the clinic after Lea’s name has been called to not go through with it. I really wasn’t surprised at this. Why is that?

Because in our day and age, we can practically show a rape on TV. (Game of Thrones anyone?) We can show conception. We can show full male and female nudity. We can show the birth process.

Somehow, we still can’t show abortion.

Could it be we really don’t want to confront this? Could it be we really don’t want to watch something like the Silent Scream? Could it be that we don’t want to see a main character on a show go in a room pregnant and come out not pregnant and without a child? Perhaps we have more conscience as a society than we realize.

Our society if it decides to take this question seriously I think will be put in a binding position. If we take abortion seriously, we have to take sex seriously. If we take sex seriously, we have to take marriage seriously. We also have to take morality seriously. We have to realize there are moral truths and sex really means something and has consequences, including pregnancy. (We could also add in the shocker that men and women are different.)

I predict the couple will never discuss this question again. It is only dealt with once. We can rejoice that the right choice was made and we should always celebrate that no matter how a child is conceived. The child is still, as Greg Koukl would say, a precious unborn human person.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Colorado Shooting And Mental Illness

What is the main culprit? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Another shooting has taken place and I know the media went one way immediately and jumped to race. Well, that didn’t age well. While conservatives like myself disagree with them on that, too many times, conservatives will also say the other culprit that exists in these cases in their minds along with the media and that is mental illness.

I realize that the family is saying that the shooter (Let’s not mention his name) was mentally ill. They could be right, but that is not an assessment to be made lightly. Many of us have a problem, and rightly so, when someone claims to be an internet doctor where they diagnose themselves going on Web M.D. After all, you look up symptoms for a common cold and walk away thinking you have terminal cancer.

The same applies to mental illness. Diagnosing yourself is not recommended. One is supposed to go see a therapist or trained psychiatrist, someone professional, to get a diagnosis. It’s also not wise to diagnose someone from a distance. These are not light claims.

Yet whenever a shooting like this takes place, mental illness is brought up immediately. Why? Well, surely someone who would do a great evil like this is mentally ill. No one in their right mind would do this.

Why not?

People who have no mental illness do things that are wrong everyday. Sure, not to the level of a mass shooting, but they do evil and some do so with a clear conscience. I consider abortion a great evil and people go and get one in their right minds because they buy into the idea that they are not killing a human person.

Not only that, but we speak of mental illness as if it were a clear term all throughout. It’s not. Mental illness is a wide umbrella that contains many conditions under it. Consider if I said hospitals are for people who are sick. Okay. That doesn’t mean you need to go to the ER for the common cold despite that being a sickness. It’s more for people who have serious conditions like cancer or who need to do some serious operation.

The same with mental illness. Many people with mental illnesses would not do a great evil like this just like many regular people wouldn’t. Technically, I can be said to have a mental illness. Sure. I can struggle with anger many times and have my own evil I struggle with, but I am not a mass murderer.

So why do we do this? Because I don’t think we want to face the fact that people really can do great evil and do it in their right minds. That’s hard on all of us. You want to know in reality who does have the potential to be the next mass shooter?

Every single one of us.

None of us is immune to evil. Sure, some are more likely than others, but if we look at who committed the greatest evils in the past, it’s been perfectly ordinary people. Consider the Milgram experiments. Perfectly ordinary people were willing to give someone what they thought was 450 volts.

Perfectly. Ordinary. People.

Think about that. You could say that wouldn’t be you, but isn’t that what most people who did this in the experiments would have said? Now you could say all of those were the ones with mental illness, but that would be begging the question.

I really suspect none of us want to face the evil that is within us. How many people have had to go to therapy suddenly because just one day, they uncovered something in their past and it gave them extremely strong emotions at the time that were difficult to handle? All of us who are ordinary people have been greatly hurt at some time in the past and have to deal with it.

Let’s suppose I meet two men in my work in ministry in the church. Both of them want to avoid getting into sexual sin. One says that he is really strong against pornography and won’t fall into it. The other one is worried sick that he will. I am more concerned about the former one. My thinking is that the moment you think you cannot give in to a sin, you are far closer to giving in to it than you think.

The media will continue to make race an issue, but as one on the spectrum, I want to deal with mental illness here instead. People who are mentally ill are not automatically evil. They, or rather we, need some help at times just like everyone else does. We have our struggles. We are your neighbors. We go to church with you, shop with you, play games with you, marry you, and go out to eat with you.

We’re not all mass shooters just like not all normal people aren’t mass shooters. However, we all of us alike have the capacity of great evil in us. Let’s all confront that together instead of just mentioning one group specifically.

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