Autism Awareness Month: Logic

What do we stick to? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my discussion with Erin Burnett, something we talked about was how autism affects faith. For her end, she said it was harder because her autism made her more logical and empirical. For me, I said it was easier because my autism made me more logical and empirical.

So we have differing opinions on the matter of God. Burnett came with an approach that logic makes it harder. I came with the approach that logic makes it easier. For her, it would seem to mean then that emotion is the main help in finding God. I find it’s just the opposite. Emotion is the main hindrance for reaching God.

One reason I state that is I think the problem of evil is largely an emotional argument when it’s raised. I find plenty of emotion when I am dialoguing with internet atheists. Why is it that issues come down to what one feels about something, say sexual matters, instead of whether we should discuss if it is really right or wrong?

However, what we agreed on was logic. Those of us on the spectrum due tend to be more logical. I did bring up a distinction with this that Western Christianity could be more difficult since we are so individualistic and go by experiences. If we went to another culture, it could actually be easier on that end to be a Christian. It could be harder on others, such as persecution in a Muslim or Communist culture.

If anything, I find the experience of Christianity difficult at times, seeing as so much of the language we have is emotionally based. What do you feel like God is leading you to do? What do you think God is telling you at this time? Most of these are supposed to be determined by our emotions. I find no Biblical precedent for any of this whatsoever which makes me an outsider to many of my fellow Christians. When they start talking this way, I just tend to tune out.

This is also the kind of thing I turn to other people in my life for. How do I make sense of my own personal experiences? It is also why I have mentors in my own life that I turn to when I need to make an important decision.

I also find it amusing then when atheists tell me that my emotions are clouding my judgment on Christianity. If anything, it’s the opposite. When I get in a state of high emotion, that’s when I can have some periods of doubt. When I return to a normal emotional level and look at the facts, it gets much easier.

This is also something to keep in mind when you’re wanting to share Christ with someone on the spectrum. If you go and try to get them to an emotional experience, it probably won’t work, which also includes using guilt as a technique, something sadly many Christians do. Apologetics is something much more likely to be effective on someone on the spectrum.

If you’re discipling, keep in mind their experience won’t be like yours. Actually, no one else’s will be, but theirs will be much more difficult. If they don’t “feel” their faith, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them. For me, my greatest times of joy in Christianity and reveling in who God is come with some new intellectual insight in theology, history, or philosophy.

Keep this in mind. It’s worth it to reach those on the spectrum.

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

Autism Awareness Month: How Autism Affects Faith

How did a conversation on this go? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

What happens if you take two people on the spectrum with differing opinions on faith as it relates to autism? I found out when I got to have a delightful conversation with Erin Burnett from the UK, who calls herself a Christian agnostic. It was a delightful conversation with some slight pushback, but I wouldn’t call it a debate.

Erin herself has autism as well which led to some different perspectives. What was interesting was our reasons for being in the faith and struggling with the faith were the exact same. When Erin talked about it being difficult because she is more logic-oriented and empirical, I replied that I find believing Christianity easier for me because I am so logic-oriented and empirical. If anything, it’s when I am highly emotional that I enter a state of doubt.

On practical terms, we also talked about what life is like on the spectrum and how the church can relate to us and for this, we had nearly 100% agreement on issues. This was definitely one area where we could easily combine forces and agree on how the church should handle Autism. If you wanted a fierce debate at this point, or at any point in the show, you would be disappointed. If you wanted a good discussion, you got one.

But enough about that. The best way to find out what was said is to watch it yourself. The discussion can be viewed here. If you want to see Erin’s work on your own, her site can be found here.

Feedback appreciated!

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