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Asperger’s = Atheist?

Back in the fall of 2008, I spoke at the MIT Brain Science Center in Boston. One of the people at that talk was Catherine Caldwell Harris, a psychology professor at BU. She asked an interesting question:

Why do you think Asperger people tend to be atheists?
First of all, I had no idea whether or not her premise was even true. Did Asperger people tend to be atheists? I turned the question back to her, and she told me about studies she’d done; exploring the religious views of a large number of people on the spectrum. Within the sample, she had interviewed the majority tended to have what she saw as atheist views.
Since that time, I have conducted a sort of informal poll in the course of my travels, and I have to say my numbers look similar to hers. But I don’t claim to understand the why of it. . .

After discussing that peculiar observation some more, we both wondered if the people’s views were truly atheist, or really “anti-organized-church.” The more I listened to Catherine, the more I felt it was the latter case. I thought Asperger people might shy away from organized churches because their dogma ran against our logical grain.

But I recently saw another study postulating the same thing – that people on the autism spectrum are less religious than the general population – but for a totally different reason – a diminished theory of mind.
Here’s a story from the Scientific American blogs that ponders the same question.
Are you on the spectrum and religious? Are you an atheist? Are you spiritual, but not part of a church? Or are you a solid church going believer?
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78 thoughts on “Asperger’s = Atheist?

  • @aspergers2mom – I am an Aspie and an atheist. The reason for my atheism has noting to do with the congregation’s acceptance of me. In fact I am continually invited and welcomed to churches of various faiths.

    I am an atheist because I find the concept of a god or gods to be non sensical. It does not, never has and nor will it ever compute with me. It is, in the words of Leonard Nemoy as Spock “highly illogical”.

    I played along until the age of 14 with the god thing, mainly to keep my devout grandmother happy.

    I suspect the majority of Aspies are atheists, even those who claim otherwise, as I did. We are not prone to Faith nor it’s bankrupt cousin, Hope. Neither one holds up to logical scrutiny and therefore must be trashed as they can serve no purpose for the greater good. It’s a restless sleep one finds in a bed of lies and Faith and Hope are both lies at worst and blind wagering at best

  • @MagisterTom@xanga – my aspie god is so different than the one most people believe in that when i am told i have to believe in the real god or else.i will be a blasphemer or a bad catholic or bad luthern…etc…..i would rather be a functional atheist in the real world  and a private deist in my own little world.

    most  aspies exist in 2 worlds anyway…. the NT world and our own.

  • @keystspf@xanga – Hi I have been praying for my Aspie boyfriend’s salvation for almost 7 yrs now, I have hope the Holy Spirit will touch him and he will accept Jesus as his lord and Savior. I know once that happens he will feel so difference with God living in his heart, it’s the best feeling ever. Its been hard being that I don’t have Aspergers, very challenging at times but I love him so much and my Love comes from deep down inside of me also as a Christian Woman. Reading your post helped me Thank you as I was just praying for him asking God to give me a Glimpse of re assurance of hope to strengthen me to continue to pray for him. I can’t wait for that day to come! I will be elastically over whelmed with JOY. Thank you! 

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  • My grandson has asbergers.  God has always been a very important part of his life.  He goes to church with me on weekends that he says all night, and he talks often about trying to get his mother and others in our family who aren’t Christians to believe.  He talks about it in an urgent manner and in a way that sounds like he thinks we should be able to just tell them the truth and they will have to believe.  Lately though, we are having some problems and I fear that his Faith is going to suffer.  He has found out that one of his uncles is gay.  He has heard and read things in the bible about sexual sins and because he loves his uncle he has decided that God couldn’t think that was sin.  His understanding of sin and forgiveness is different from most.  I’ve been very stressed over this new topic.  Praying for the words to say and how to deal with his confusion over this.

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  • Brian

    I don’t state what I believe just for sake of avoiding arguement. The only way I’ll talk to people about my beliefs is if the person agrees with me and if there’s no other person present. When a person gets mad at me it scares me. I’ve spam emails that appeared to come from the FBI scare me to the point where I would’ve done what they said. I now know how to tell the difference between a spam and legitimate email. As a result I can’t be fooled now.

  • I am a born-again, charismatic Christian and an Aspie. In the past I have gravitated toward Vineyard churches, but when they weren’t available, I have attended Assemblies of God or non-denominationals that were very similar. Because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, these churches have tended to be very receptive to me as an Aspie, even if they don’t always understand me. Because of this, they were able to minister to my heart and spirit, which is necessary to do business with God no matter who you are; Aspie, NT or anyone else. In churches that I have attended that do not acknowledge the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the usual social barriers get in the way of any comparable fellowship, even if the people are generally friendly.

    A better question: What percentage of NTs are functional atheists? Since NTs tell other people what they want to hear (more than Aspies do), this may be harder to pin down.

  • Jason S.

    @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga –  I’ve read the Bible, and the only reason why Christians don’t do the same things as Muslims is because they’re not in a position to. There also happens to be an ideology which is very similar to Islamism. It’s called alternately, Christian Reconstructionism, and Dominionism.  I’m both an Aspie, though not formally diagnosed, and an implicit atheist. I don’t hate Christians, especially since I actually think that’s what many would want to to do. I just do not concur with there perspective on things. I’ve studied Christianity, as well as other religions, throughedly. And I just can not figure out what makes them all so sure that they have absolute truth.

  • I am an adult with Aspergers.  Prior to knowing what Aspergers was, I believed in God, but never felt comfortable in church due to the whole group atmoshpere, where I always felt a little uncomfortable.  However, I believed and often prayed and begged that God would somehow give me some guidance, or help me with the social problems that I experienced through an awful childhood, terrible teenage experiences, and two failed marriages, completely failed relationships with my two children, and ntohing ever happened.

    I’m 42 now, and I feel just as alone as I did when i was 7 years old.  I gave up praying for help, since it was a massive waste of my time.  I don’t belong to a church anymore.  If there is a god, he is obviously too busy for me, so I don’t worry about it anymore.  Sometimes I catch myself blaming god for my Aspergers and I literally tell myself to stop it, since it is like blaming the Easter Bunny.

    So I guess I am an aethiest, but I seem to have some natural tendencies to want to believe in something.  I wish there really was some sort of diety out there who had some sort of influence here.

  • I have Asperger’s, and I have friends with that same disorder and are very liberal. I was once liberal…but changed my political views when I asked Jesus Christ to come back into my life as my Lord and Savior (I was involved in church in 1997 but my faith faded in 2005). I am now a Conservative Baptist and Love God.

    I now believe that even though I am on the Spectrum, God is still glorified within that.

    So if I’m asked “Are all Asperger’s Liberal?” I would Say “No, Not all of them are…there are some that are conservative, and I am one of them.”

    I am in the process of starting an Evangelistic Group for people with Asperger’s.

    Wish me Luck, and God Bless!

  • This post was taken with a very interesting approach. Well put.

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – If you believe Christians are the least
    understanding and empathetic with those who don’t fit the mold, then you
    seriously need to read up on the Muslim faith.  The “Religion of Peace”
    teaches that women are inferior and must cover themselves up in public
    at all times or else be violently beaten, stoned, and killed in public.
     It also teaches that any non-muslim or homosexual among their ilk are
    stoned to death or have their gentiles cut off or clitorises removed.
     Oh, I would also like to ask when was the last time you saw Christians
    behead someone who “didn’t fit the mold” in the name of God on live
    television?  The handful of bad Christians don’t follow the teachings of
    Jesus properly.  However, the many violent and extreme Muslims are
    simply following what the Koran tells them.”

    Be careful not to do to others what they are doing to you.  The islamic fanatics are a minority just as the super-hard core ‘your burning in hell for wearing black’ Christian’s are a minority.  Just saying, you can never judge a book by it’s cover. (I’m Christian too by the way but I have looked into Islam enough to know it’s an interpretation thing.. same happens with the Bible).

  • I used to be an atheist and now am Christian, an active part of church and a Sunday School teacher for special needs kids. I don’t really discuss religion much at autism groups, as I’ve found it gets to be a “hot” topic. I’d rather not argue over it, plus I don’t have a theology degree to do so!

    I’m about living it, if people want to know about my religion, watch how I live and treat people. I sound like a hippie, but “God is love”.

  • After reading many comments by atheists on Xanga (and elsewhere), I can now conclude that you really can’t tie atheism in with aspergers, because that would imply that people with aspergers are rude, derogatory, hostile, delusional, and dishonest.  

  • @lepton@xanga – I’m really sorry you feel that way about Christians.. Most should.. not should, be open minded and listen to others points of view and understand.. Some don’t and aren’t accepting.  I’m a Christian but I have friends who are atheist and I listen to them alot..

    Actually one of my friends who is a atheist is an Aspie as well.

  • Don’t have time to read everything but it seems that the discussion is avoiding a simple fact, that individuals cannot be statistically relativised. I myself am without-religion but I don’t think of myself as an atheist except in drawing a strand of thought from it, that deity and the demagogue are the epic fail of theology. As far as objecting to religion, The aspergers individual may be more likely to look at percieved reality instead of to people for their ideas about existence, and religion is an inherited derivative of this action. As with many Autism spectrum disorders, the nonmathematic order of operations may be slightly different, and that be all there is to it.

  • I’m into a “non-diagnosed” Asperger trend, and I’m agnostic. I started being that in High school, when I attended pure biology lessons as well as molecular biology; physics also helped. In my point of view, life was way too complicated and too improbable / uncertain to be planned and created by a high intelligence. However, I completely respect religion and people who believe…

  • Interesting. The only person I know with Asperger’s is my brother and he’s definitely atheist. I wasn’t aware that atheism was a tendency among people with Asperger’s either.

  • @YourOuterCritic@xanga – i completely agree to this.

  • My father has Asperger’s and he is an ordained elder in the church (he was a pastor for most of my life, but currently only preaches at small churches in need of a temp pastor).  His faith is extremely important to him.  While most people worship in the way through music and more contemporary ways, my father tends to worship through liturgy.  He likes the structure and it feeds his knowledge for church doctrine and history.   When my dad preaches, a lot of people comment that they enjoy when he talks about history throughout the sermon.

  • I’m a youth pastor and I have interracted with a couple of Aspergers kids.  While they are more difficult to deal with based on the way they interract with others (the big thing for me was that the parents wouldn’t openly tell the leaders that their kids were on the spectrum because they wanted them to feel normal, but it would have helped a ton because my patience level would have been better with them) I found that they were stronger in their faith than other “normal” kids.  One kid was way into history and so talking about the history of the Bible was a great way for him to look at his faith.  The other kid who is currently in my group is way into science and loves talking about the intricacies of creation and how amazing it is that people don’t believe that a creative God made everything.  He’s wicked smart and loves sharing with people about God because he knows that God created so many complex things and is amazed. 

    I think that many people in general (and probably any kid who isn’t “normal”) walk away from faith based on how others treat them.  Both of these kids were treated like social pariah’s by their peers because they were a little odd.  Plus, the patience of my current student is pretty low and he often flies off the handle when people make fun of him (which he has every right to be mad).  If I were treated the way that these kids are treated by people in the church (mainly kids, the adults are great around them) then I would walk away from the faith too.

  • I’m friends with two people with Asperger’s Syndrome, and both of them are atheist. I sometimes feel a little bit Aspie and I also am atheist.

    I think the reason why is partially because people with Asperger’s Syndrome are more likely to report atheism than someone else who is functionally atheist but won’t admit it to other people or think it through because it has a bit of a social stigma. Having Asperger’s Syndrome seems to isolate people a little bit, which helps foster individuality. This makes it easier for a more independent person to declare atheism (in a world that is mostly not atheist) than it is for someone with a huge network of like-minded friends. I feel like being independent and quirky certainly accelerated my being able to admit I’m an atheist.

    @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – I apologize on behalf of the atheists you’ve spoken to and heard. I like to make rude, derogatory comments sometimes aimed towards theists, it’s true, but only because many theists are totally unable to defend their faith to any sort of coherent degree. I feel like mockery, by virtue of being unpleasant, is a strong means of making someone scrutinize their worldview and makeing it defensible. I hope that end at least is not offensive. As soon as I come across someone from a religious background who appears to have half a functional brain, I immediately check the spiteful jokes at the door. It’s true atheists could work on improving their image a little bit.

  • @helvetebrann@xanga – Just because it has been created through a means of science doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “true”.  Just take global warming for example.  Many people debate and refute evolution from a scientific perspective all the time, but I’m sure if I provide you a source on that, you’re probably just going to say it’s “biased creationist propaganda”.  

    While some theists believe in some form of evolution, your claim that evolution and atheism not being mutual is false.  Any atheist, even your self, will be quick to defend pure evolution without a second thought.  Richard Dawkins is a prophet among atheists.

    So I should not believe what the Bible or any theologian says, but I should believe what atheists on Xanga say because it could be true?

    You are confusing the belief in God with mythology, which of course is common among proud atheists because they are convinced that God is just a figment of their imagination because everything in the universe has to be proven from an empirical standpoint with only priori reasoning and no posteriori reasoning.

    I didn’t say you were angry; all I did was confirm what you said in the last post in that atheists become atheists in protest against the churches they grew up going to.  You claim you’re just against religious establishments, yet you’re quick to make rude and derogatory comments like comparing believing in God to believing in unicorns.  

    I base 1 and 2 on simple experience.  Just browse some of the blogs on Xanga if you don’t believe me.  That’s a good place to start.  I was just reading some comments on LoBornlytesThoughtPalace’s blog today and it was absolutely appalling how rude and derogatory atheists are when posting comments on there, especially wannabe intellectual atheists who feel they’re smarter than everyone just because they have math/science degrees and thus brag about it. 

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – Scientific theory: ” theory is an
    explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and
    verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a
    theory; he can only create a hypothesis.”  Gravity, much like evolution, is a theory.  It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or isn’t proven.

    Theories are generally never completely dis-proven, but rather modified as more information becomes available.  The theory of evolution has evolved, no pun intended, as our understanding and scientific abilities grow.  Evolution is as true as gravity.

    There are plenty of theists who accept in evolution, plenty of Christians who accept in evolution, and even plenty of Catholics that accept evolution.  Evolution and atheism are not exclusively mutual.

    It’s sad that you don’t believe in the anecdotal experience of atheists, but that doesn’t make it any less true. 

    No.  I am not angry at something that I don’t believe exists, just like I’m sure you are not angry at unicorns for not existing.  However, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be disgusted at the flaws and inherent psychological coercion that happens in organized religion.  Again, you are making a causal relationship between two ideas that doesn’t exist.

    1 and 2 are both based on your sample size, not on all atheists and is therefore inherently biased.  Unless you can find through examination of a unbiased study that 1 and 2 are true, the only thing you can state is your opinion.  I am not intolerant of other peoples’ religions nor do I hate Christians and Jews in particular, or rather, hate them at all.  I dislike the organized religion I grew up in and ALL organized religions because they are all inherently flawed.  I show no personal bias in my distaste for organized religion, however, I do not take it upon myself to bother people who are religious.  The large majority of my friends and family are religious and I love them.

  • @helvetebrann@xanga – Evolution is a theory that, like all scientific theories, can be disproven.  The fact is evolution hardly has any empirical evidence to support it, yet atheists make it their religion because it’s like “OMG WE FOUND SOMETHING THAT CAN DISPROVE GOD!!!!”  

    And I’m not convinced that atheists become atheists through their ‘own’ education and research. In fact, much of it is through nutball college professors indoctrinating them.  Otherwise, they may have taken the liberty to research the works of John Locke, Johnathan Edwards, and St. Thomas Aquinas.  

    Your last sentence proves my point.  Atheists aren’t really atheists because they are convinced that God doesn’t exist; it’s just a rebellious movement in protest against Christianity dominated by the liberal movement.  The hypocrisy among atheists is:

    1)  Atheists protest that Christians are intolerant of others with different beliefs, yet just comments by committed atheists on Xanga alone proves that atheists rival Muslims in being the most intolerant followers of a “religion” in the world.

    2)  Most atheists are overwhelmingly and unusually friendly with Muslims, probably because both of them share a hatred for Christians and Jews.

  • Then do 90 percent of scientists have Aspergers?

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – Evolution is not unproven.  You might want a refresher course on biology.

    Atheists aren’t “taught” to be hypercritical of organized religion; that’s a myth.  First of all, atheists aren’t taught to be atheists; the large majority of atheists are adults who became atheists through their own education and research.  And the contempt you see from atheists about organized religion often comes from the frustration associated with growing up in organized religion and seeing the problems once on the outside.

  • I am 25 and I have Asperger’s, as a child I was interested in religion. I learned what I could about many different religions. What I found was that religion must be stories written to teach the fundamental morals that exist in society. These days I consider myself to be agnostic. I can’t say there is no god or there is. I have no proof and I don’t think it matters. I follow a strict set of morals and I feel upset when I have to make any compromises to those morals. There’s no reason that evolution must contradict the idea of a higher power, but it is obvious to me that Genesis is incorrect. I don’t hold that against the Christians or Jews though. The bible is very old and at the time it was written it’s likely that a lot of information was being misinterpreted.
    The mechanisms I have formed over the years focus on trends in growth and development during several overlapping time periods. I read a lot about anthropology. I have taught myself my own methods to understand Theory of Mind. It’s my belief that religions are important to the moral development of most neurotypicals. My morals may be the same as the guidelines of many religions, but I do not need religion to behave or to feel purpose in life.
    So, I think that people with Asperger’s are only religious if they find a need to be.

  • I have a very close friend who is atheist because the unknown makes him very, very uncomfortable.  Usually, when there is something that he does not know, he can look up information on it, but religion is all beliefs – no hard facts or evidence or anything, and that makes him uncomfortable, so he is atheist because then no religion exists and everything is know and supported by facts and data.

    On the other hand, his twin is a Christian, though leaning more towards agnostic, because he accepts the fact that it is all unknown and it does not bother him like it does his brother.

  • Religious belief tends to be very much an abstraction when you think of someone else’s religion. Most westerners can’t imagine belief in Hindu gods, and autistic westerners find it even harder. If autistic folk are exposed to religious beliefs as part of “reality” when they are very young they often don’t see those beliefs as an abstraction but as part of a very concrete reality.

    Many revered early Christian writers were isolationist hermits who I suspect would today be thought of as autistic.

  • @radicalramblings@xanga – My son has Asperger’s and he definitely has issues with the ‘theory of the mind’ as defined in the article listed above. It’s not even literal and abstract (at least in his case) as much ‘fantasy thinking’ (I don’t mean that in a demeaning way, it includes Santa Claus, etc). He can do abstract thinking (such as in school work or making stories up) but he doesn’t see something (say a rainbow) and make any connection aside from the purely scientific means as to how it is created. I wouldn’t even call him an atheist (as I wouldn’t call the people in the study listed above) because if you can’t even understand the question can you be grouped into any part of the answer?

    I don’t know if this is making any sense. It does to me, but he’s my son so a lot of what he does/says makes sense to me.

  • Don’t people with autism and/or asperger’s tend to be more literal and have a hard time with abstract concepts?  That could have something to do with it…

  • @TheThinkingPerson@xanga – I’m asking this honestly for myself. I believe in the importance of logic and reason myself and what I’ve come to hit a wall on is that it’s impossible to get to the root of anything logically. We make lines of logic without all the facts and it’s impossible to ever have all the facts or any true fact for that matter because they’re all based on one another and we have no way to account for all the information we don’t know. All we can do is work our best with identified tendencies and run with assumptions based on them until they are shown to be incorrect or incomplete such as Newton’s laws by Einstein’s, and now even his are in question. Historically science is continually and progressively redefining what is reasoned to be true and we can say we’re getting closer but logic says that we’re getting closer in a way similar to counting towards infinite. You can make a logical argument for almost anything if you leave out certain “facts”. Where I stumble is who is to say we aren’t doing that today by unknowingly leaving out information we have yet collected? All our reason is incomplete and I can’t forsee that it is ever possible for it to be. That being said I have a hard time demanding hard evidence for anything. I writing you this because I honestly find it frustrating and was wondering if and how you deal with this problem.

  • I’m on the spectrum and a christian, although not very involved atm.. i do how ever know people that are more high functioning and at the same time more ‘religious’ than I.

    I think spectrum people are just like all other people when it comes down to religion.

  • Hi!!
    I read this post and I have aspergers syndrome (a branch of Autism) and I’m 100% Christian, and I have my own on-line Christian group. I think this research about ‘Athiesm’ is really, a choice that everyone in society makes, not just people with aspergers (ie: me).
    I also don’t attend Church because I pray to God for guidance and when I was on my old meds, I put too much emphasis on God, basically everything I’ve done on my old meds, I thought that God would make everything better in the long run. I could be right, but I could’ve been wrong but I still have my Christian faith.
    I’m not offended by your post, Good Luck with your theory, but to help you out a little, there are schizophrenics, manic depressive and depression patients, psychosis, etc. etc. that are athiest, not just autistic people.

    Good Luck On Your Research, God Bless,

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – Try “Finding Darwin’s God” by Kenneth Miller. You might find him more tasteful, considering he’s an American Cell Biologist AND a Roman Catholic. He does go through and debunk the various “creationists” and followers of “intelligent design” which might irk you, but he’s definitely worth a read. At the end he does his best to reconcile evolution with a transcendent God. Personally I don’t think he does a good job (insofar as he’d be making an agnostic buy a transcendental God), but that’s for you to decide on your own. I think it’s important to read it from all angles to understand how you truly feel, even if it doesn’t change. Sometimes reading things you can’t stand can help your viewpoint. While I don’t agree with most of your comments, I’d say that you can better bolster your points if you bothered reading work by those you don’t agree with, like Dawkins.

    I do agree, though, that Dawkins can be quite a prick. Then again, you have to be outrageous to get heard sometimes.

  • People who are outside of the norm probably find it harder to feel a sense of belonging in a Church group- or any organization. Atheism isn’t a religion. It is just the negation of belief in a god. You don’t have to be part of a group to be an atheist.

    I don’t know much about Asperger’s so I looked it up… and “difficulty with social interactions” was one of the characteristics.

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – DO NOT turn this into a Christian V Muslim issue. Christians have done some pretty messed up things too. Google ‘the crusades’ if you don’t believe me. And lest you forget the bible is not the most woman loving book in existence either. Who do you think has been blamed for getting kicked out of Eden for the past 6K years?

    Most muslims are decent people. They just want to live thier lives in peace, and take care of their familes, just like most Christians.

  • Curiously enough, most of the asperger’s that i  know of on xanga or whatever seem to be Christians for the most part, hmmmmmm. (I’m a christian but i haven’t caught the asperger’s yet.) 

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – Evolution stands up to scientific scrutiny, and scientific scrutinizing does not take place in the courtroom –to suggest courtroom battles are responsible for the soundness of evolutionary theory completely dismisses nearly all biological research that has taken place for the past 150 years.

    Evolutionists (by which I mean evolutionary biologists) do not believe “the first whale was a bear that fell in the ocean”.  This is a very simplistic view (as well as a Straw Man) and has nothing to do with evolution.  There is evidence that whales and other cetaceans evolved from a hoofed animal.  This evidence comes from current whales’ vestiges in combination with the fossil record (transitional fossils), those fossils’ chronology and molecular genetics.  Going backwards through the fossil record (looking at, among other things, the transition of cetacean fins and nasal drift) there is a clear transition from the current cetaceans down to something that would appear to be the common ancestor of the hippo.  This was later confirmed by molecular evidence showing that hippos were more closely related to whales than they were to, say, pigs and ruminants.  Again I suggest reading some non-hostile (i.e. pro-evolution) material, the Coyne book describes the evolution of whales in excellent detail.

    Evolution does not make the assumption that everything was “randomly created”, that is creationism!  No, evolutionary theory suggests that all life was selected for through their reproductive success in nature.  The mutations which lead to the variability may have been random, but the selective process is anything but.  And this is not a mere assumption, these are scientific facts.

    Human beings are different from other animals, same as iguanas are different from things that are not iguanas.  The same applies to beetles, worms, whales, etc. but yes, we are in fact animals.  That human beings are capable of killing animals has nothing to do with whether or not they themselves are animals –this is a non sequitur.  Elephants, for example, are just as capable of killing any animal and are not humans.  And personally, even if that was the distinction, if the measure of one’s humanity is their ability to kill every living animal I prefer to remain, as we all are, amongst the other animals.

    “Darwinism” is not politically incorrect –there’s no social offense taken from the word (as far as I know)—it’s just either a contemptuous term or a redundancy; I was just trying to define the terms you claimed to be “unproved”.

    Similar to Newton’s theory, evolution has a lot of hard evidence, evidence (some of  which I’ve already referred to) which can be can be examined by anyone willing to step into a natural history museum, go about digging for fossils, or even try their hand at gardening —and yes, it has been proven in a lab

    Evolution does not suggest that “DNA formed from a magic puddle”, in fact evolution has only a little to say about the formation of DNA, however chemistry says a lot.  In a beautifully crafted experiment by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey, scientists were able to take the inorganic atmospheric conditions of early Earth, supply it with a bit of energy and produce organic materials including but not limited to RNA (a molecule similar to, and which can play a similar role as, DNA).  As far as evolution not explaining the complex workings of DNA, again we turn to chemistry. Something about biochemistry that often surprises people not familiar with the field is that the reactions which occur in living things are chemical reactions that will happen regardless of whether or not they occur in those organisms –seriously.  Chemicals known as enzymes simply make the reaction happen at a much, much faster rate.  Evolutionarily speaking those chemicals which make reactions necessary for reproduction quicker or more efficiently make it to the next generation, and as they change over time become gradually more complex.

    I should have clarified, by non-hostile literature I mean non-hostile to evolution.  There is a plethora of creationist material which claims to deal with the theory of evolution but does so in a hostile way that ranges from, in my experience, factually inaccurate to completely nonsensical.  Say what you want about Dawkins or Coyne but they are evolutionary biologists and they know their field well.  Again, I suggest you give one of those a read and afterward I’d be happy to see where your opinions sit.

  • Maybe its that people with Aspergers are more inclined to question things internally than accept things externally from a world that is essentially not understanding or accepting of them?  Maybe they prefer the truth of existentialism to the unprovable myths and faiths of the organised religions?

  • @Strangebrain@xanga – The only reason why evolution stands is because it has been pushed through activist liberal judges to be the ONLY explanation taught to kids in public school as to how life was created.  What you just listed does not prove, for example, that the first whale was a bear that fell into the ocean.  Evolution makes the assumption that everything was randomly created and that certain animals can randomly grow third or fifth legs or a third eye, or that bears grow fins.  Evolutionists also believe that humans are no different than animals and they place them low on the food chain (without taking into consideration that humans are capable of killing any animal).  What’s funny is the same people who believe this typically also believe that humans are capable of destroying the earth.  I had no idea that “Darwinism” was such a politically incorrect term.

    The difference between Newton’s gravitational theory and Darwin’s evolution theory is that Newton’s theory works with actual hard evidence that was available and, yes, can be proven in any physics lab.  Evolution, on the other hand, cannot be proven and has not been proven.  Evolution explains that DNA formed from a magic puddle and does not account for the complex working and synchronized parts, which are all a development of “design”.

    “The Greatest Show on Earth”, written by Richard Dawkins.  Richard Dawkins is renowned for being a militant atheist activist who holds people of faith in contempt while he crusades to find ways to disprove God’s existence. 

    “Why Religion is True”, written by Jerry Coyne.  According to Wikipedia:

    “Coyne is a critic of creationism[2] including intelligent design, which he calls “the latest pseudoscientific incarnation of religious creationism, cleverly crafted by a new group of enthusiasts to circumvent recent legal restrictions.”[“

    I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t define either of these authors as “non-hostile” when it’s obvious that both of them are nothing more than liberal activists.

  • I’ve been seeing this connection with Asperger’s and Atheism pop up in comments and blogs frequently. I am positive that there is no connection.  Why?
    They also say there is a connection with Asperger’s and Asexuality.
    How is it that Asperger’s have all of these connections all of a sudden? Now, the asexuals have done some unofficial studies (lost in the sands of time in the history of the aven network unfortunately) and found there to be no more connection than random chance. I think the same thing is happening here. I also am being entertained by the idea that whomever is starting these rumored connections wants to try and explain away Atheism by means of mental default.

    And the second reason I don’t believe the connection for an instant, an ancedotal piece of evidence…
    my best friend, whom I have grown up with, who has asperger’s, believes in woo to the extreme. Spiritual woo. Psychics, ghosts, portals, you name it. She claims no ties with a religious group as she has never been exposed to one, but if she was, she would believe in that religion. We can definitely say that not all Asperger’s people are Atheist, and I hold the opinion that those who say there is a connection, is trying to figure out a way to make us all look insane while providing no evidence for the idea.

  • Edit: the second book I recommended is titled “Why Evolution is True”.

  • I don’t know whether the premise is true or not, given my experience on the internet (most bloggers with Asperger’s that I do read are not religious) I would be inclined to say it is, however most of the people I converse with on the internet are not religious so there’s a selection bias and I can’t make any conclusion based on my own experience.  The SA article was interesting I’ll have to look into the actual research now.

    @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – Evolution has had its legs tested numerous times (probably more than any other scientific theory that exists today) and time again it stands, it stands, it stands.
    Evidence: fundamental molecular unity, embryological similarity, vestigial organs, chronology of the fossil record; all of these things individually may not prove evolution, but in combination (with each other and other lines of evidence as well) they do. 
    Darwinism is typically defined in one of two ways (depending on where you’re from).  One being another way to refer to evolution, in which case you have a redundancy; the other being a pejorative term used by creationists, which makes the word hostile and unnecessary.
    As for random selection, I believe you mean natural selection.

    Darwin having not known about the inner workings of the cell or DNA does nothing to invalidate evolution –it’s a non sequitur.  Isaac Newton did not know about general relativity and yet we don’t dismiss Newtonian gravitational theory as “being wrong” –in fact you can test it in any physics lab that exists today.  If anything the inner workings of the cell and the discovery of DNA helped to further solidify the case for natural selection and common descent.  The fact that all cells more complex than bacteria carry mitochondria, or that all plants and algae carry chloroplasts (which has its own DNA, which when looked at shows the same relatedness through evolutionary changes in a plant’s morphology), or that all life has the same fundamental genetic code, showed that Darwinian theory was correct.
    I suggest before writing off evolution as “unproved” you look into some literature (from a non-hostile source) on the matter; if I can make a suggestion “The Greatest Show on Earth” and “Evolution is True” are both excellent sources.

  • I don’t have Asperger’s, and I’m a full bore atheist.  The few I’ve known who have been lumped into the “autistic” mold because they’re different are also atheist.  One old coworker, the kind who could count matches as they fell,  described it to me.  He said “I see the world as it it.  I see truths you “normal people” don’t see.  And I don’t see any god in anything.”  It made perfect sense.  

  • Ok heres my experience in this area. My son is only 6 (medical diagnosis aspie), but every night he askes me to say prayers with him. Sometimes just “Now I lay me”, but others we say that + Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and the Guardian Angel prayer- always in that order too, lol. He got mad at church one time because they said the Hail Mary first He may not know all the details of his faith, but he has the simple childlike belief in something out there for sure.

    My husband is more than likely an aspie as well (no formal testing, but multiple online checklist confirm this) He also has a strong belief in God, reads his bible daily (4 times through that we remember over all) and professes to be Catholic. However he does not attend mass regularly and seems to have more of a general belief and faith.

    I am borderline Aspie myself (again, not diagnosed but through reading and checklist I am positive) and I am a faithful Catholic. I actually converted to Catholisim because it has a more logical stance in my opinion. Everything is structured and organized in what seems to me to be a logical plan. Do this at this time, do that at another. Very comforting for me with a whole lot less guessing than the evangelical background I came out of .

    My brother is definately an Aspie – Mr Robison, you practically wrote his life story, lol. He is a VERY strong evangelical Christian. He is very judgemental and follows his rule book (Bible) very rigidly. He can be a real bible thumper.

    I hear a lot about “athiest” aspies. I dont’ know if they are all really athiests as much as agnostic (believe in higher power or God, but not in formal organized religion)

  • My girlfriend has Asperger’s and lots of anxiety issues and is a Christian. That said, she does have a lot of trouble with the idea of metaphorical vs. literal things in the Bible. She also refuses to go to Church unless she’s with me because she hates large groups and feels very out of place.

    @lepton@xanga – Your comment makes me want to cry. It’s so sad because it’s true. On behalf of Christians, will you please accept my apology for our douchebaggery?

    @FatherJenova@revelife – I don’t think there’s anyone who actually believes in Pastafarianism. It’s a parody.

  • The person I knew with PDD-NS was in my classroom at a Christian Daycare.  He has all the typical stuff that goes with the territory, but he also knew that my lap was safe when he got upset and out of control – He would come to my lap and sit.  His variety of therapists would come to my room and work with him and teach us what to do with him.  

    He is older now and still attends this church with his family.  This church has helped each SS teacher or other adult working with him what to expect and what to do.  His parents have helped educate those around him. 

    I don’t know if he is  a Christian or will continue, he is in upper elementary right now.  But the church he is attending with his family are doing wonders with him. 

  • I have been accused of being autistic, because my mind is nowhere near normal. I have taken tests to confirm autism, and they have all been negative, to the great dismay and frustration of those who think I am autistic.

    I teach sunday school at my church, I never would have signed up for the job, but I was asked by the pastor of my church one day, if I would please  at least be in the room, because one of the children, is autistic(since diagnosed as having asberger’s after an original diagnoses of ODD) jumped onto the back of the sunday school teacher who was 8 months pregnant at the time and bit her. The teacher did not want to return, unless someone else was with her. So I agreed to provide security, particulary after he was suspended from public school, for stabbing a kid through the hand with a pencil.

    I started teaching, after the regular teacher went into labor. I taught that class for the next 6 years. He is now in the youth group, he is saved, he has been baptized. He is having issues with youth group, as his biggest problem, is not being able to control his tongue. He says the first thing that pops into his head, which on several occasions, has gotten him into trouble, particulary with the teenage girls in the class.

    After teaching him in Sunday School and the weekly children’s class, I am going to agree with those who are saying, that people with asbergers may not be into church, simply because of how the things they do or say are received by “normal” people.

    Personally I am more easy going than a lot of people. I also think my church, may be more easy going than most. even though our asberger child is 3 years older than the oldest kid in the choir, we have allowed him to continue to be in the children’s choir. he enjoys singing, he learns his lines, and he has fun, so it was decided to allow him to sing, as long as he was not a danger to the other kids, no biting, no pushing, no stabbing the younger kids, if he behaves, he can stay, and so he has behaved, and has been allowed to stay.

    I think some christians, need to realize, that some kids and adults may have issues, but they are just as human as the rest of us. At one point, because we had a low functioning autistic girl (she could not talk, her only method of communication was grunts and sign language) the church was wondering, about using the low attendence second service, as sort of a service for families with children who would not otherwise be accepted. I have no issue with mainstreaming the kids and letting them attend service with everyone else, but some parents were embarrased and thought of thier kids as distracting the other adults, and so a second service, full of “distractions” was viewed as a possible solution. It did not happen, as the parents, that were reached out too, still did not feel comfortable.

    So, I think that for the most part it is two fold, the children are not made to feel welcome, and the second is the parents may not be willing to take them to church to hear about God, because the kids are either an embarrassment, or the parents think the kids will not be accepted.

  • the next step would be to look at the subjects and their view towards others thoughts, intentions, and beliefs. not their own. key issue here. NOT their own. oh the fun we have when we watch your brains under fMRI while watching H&S tasks.

  • I have Asperger’s, and i’m an atheist. I need logical and evidence-backed answers, so you can imagine how I came to abandon Christianity.

  • I think Vox Day makes the same argument in his book. I haven’t seen impressive evidence for this myself, yet it’s an interesting hypothesis that does intuitively make sense. a diminished theory of mind means one is less likely to ascribe agency to other things. so if one did have a diminished theory of mind, it would certainly in his case lead to less animism/pantheism/theism in general.

    and yet, this is not necessarily something religious believers ought to be excited for. doesn’t this mean that some people lack a religious predisposition that other people do have?

  • My boyfriend has Asperger’s and he’s Jewish. To me, he seems to take more culture than religion from Judaism, however. He doesn’t even eat Kosher, haha. But we will drink Passover wine together. <3

    But my brother who has Asperger’s as well is an atheist without a doubt.


  • I have Asperger’s, and I’ve been a born-again Christian for five years now; I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior in 2005. Before then, I was a very depressed and antisocial person. I thought God was this angry old man who wanted to take your free will away. But that all changed after I said the saving prayer.

    I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “religious” person (even though my mom, also a born-again Christian, grew up in a Baptist church). I don’t attend a church (though I live real close to one), but I do watch Creflo Dollar every morning on TV, do some Bible study on-line (right now, I’m studying baptism), study some questions my mom finds, read Revelife as well as the Bible, and I pray every night for the small things and the big things.

    Over the past few years since becoming born-again, I’ve felt that I’ve really grown as a person and became more at ease with who and what I am as a person with Asperger’s. I have family and friends who love me and care about me, and I have been blessed with a successful school career and a talent for writing, organizing and reading. I thank God Almighty for all those things.

    I think what people with Asperger’s need to understand is that God loves them unconditionally. They are all unique creations of the Lord, no matter what others might say or think. To paraphrase something Taffi Dollar once said, Aspergians (and everyone else) are not perfect; they are forgiven.

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – Actually, the stuff they have found out in terms of DNA proves just how simple the evolutionary process is… and that it is still occurring. While I do not necessarily believe that humans evolved from monkeys or monkey-like creatures…  there is a lot of current scientific evidence that supports at least “micro-evolution”. An experiment was done (and has been repeated many times by many others) where a lactose intolerant strain of E.Coli bacteria was put into a dish with lactose as its only source of food. One would think that all of it would die off, but it did not… within a few generations, it had mutated enough to process the lactose efficently and it multiplied. If single-celled organisms can change that rapidly, there is no reason to believe that multi-celled organisms cannot do the same in a bit more time. Another example: There were speckled moths that lived in an area full of beech trees. Most of the moths were mostly white with black speckles and blended in well with the white trees. Mining operations were started in the area that covered the trees with black soot. Again, within just a few generations the new majority of moths were black with white speckles.

    While I am a firm believer that God created the earth… I do not see that as being in opposition with the evolutionary process at all. Even the story of creation in Genesis very closely parallels the path that scientists believe evolution followed. It is not so hard to believe that God had a hand in it. Personally, I can’t see one apart from the other and don’t understand how either side can.

  • I am a “self-confirmed” Aspie. (Long story to it, though there has been professional suggestion of it, it isn’t confirmed by any of them for a whole lot of reasons…) I can’t ever remember a time NOT believing in God… However, I did spend a whole lot of time seriously despising “Christians” because they were anything but “Christ-like”. My own faith these days has elements of science and “religion” somewhat mixed together because a lot of it appears to me to be simply different expressions of a lot of the same ideas. I like how Fritjov Capra puts it in “The Tao of Physics”, something to the effect of, “Science attempts to understand the universe from the outside in while religion/mysticism tries to understand it from the inside out.” They’re both coming at the same thing and looking for the same answers, just from two different directions… which, if you’re capable of multidimensional thought, is not so far fetched. It is like seeing both sides of the coin at the same time by spinning it… or actually to be more realistic, it is like seeing all the sides of a multi-faceted object all at the same time by spinning it on multiple axes… but that’s getting beyond what most people seem capable of grasping. (Try it sometime… picture spinning something one way, then spinning the axis that it is spinning on… LOL)

    Time and motion are two things that trip people up in thinking about stuff. God is something like that… I’ve written a few blogs about the whole idea… feel free to look them up if you’re interested.

  • @MasqueradeOfDreams@xanga – It may seem like there’s more support because it’s given in a scientific perspective, but when you closely analyze Darwin’s theory and other supporting theories, they fail to explain a number of key things.  Not to mention that back when the Origin of Species was written, no one knew what the inside structure of a cell comprised of, nor did they understand the complex design structures of DNA.  Darwinism/Evolution is more of a social movement than anything today for radical leftists to try and prove that God doesn’t exist and that young children in public schools should agree.

  • @Chibi_Son_Gokou@xanga – unproved, but there’s more support on those theories than on God. But I don’t know much about it, I just thought I’d offer what I thought could be a possibility.

  • @MasqueradeOfDreams@xanga – Evolution, Darwinism, and random selection are unproved, yet atheists still believe that’s how life was created on Earth.  Also, if you read the writings of John Locke, Thomas Aquinas, and other theologians, you’ll find what they write is very logical.  

  • Maybe because Autistic people are very logical and religion is based on a lot of unproved things. I’m not Autistic so I can’t be sure, but maybe it’s because of that?

  • @lepton@xanga – If you believe Christians are the least understanding and empathetic with those who don’t fit the mold, then you seriously need to read up on the Muslim faith.  The “Religion of Peace” teaches that women are inferior and must cover themselves up in public at all times or else be violently beaten, stoned, and killed in public.  It also teaches that any non-muslim or homosexual among their ilk are stoned to death or have their gentiles cut off or clitorises removed.  Oh, I would also like to ask when was the last time you saw Christians behead someone who “didn’t fit the mold” in the name of God on live television?  The handful of bad Christians don’t follow the teachings of Jesus properly.  However, the many violent and extreme Muslims are simply following what the Koran tells them.

    I don’t think atheists are much better at being more understanding and empathetic either.  Atheists (not agnostics mind you) are taught to hold people of faith in contempt and regard them as backwards and ignorant bigots who believe in a mythological God.  At the same time, evolution hasn’t been scientifically proven, yet atheists treat it as gospel and the only way they’re able to win that argument is through the judicial system regulating what kids in public schools are taught.   

  • I have asperger’s syndrome, yet I’m a strong devout Catholic.  I don’t think having asperger’s has much to do with it.  Many renowned people in history, such as Thomas Jefferson and Isaac Newton, had aspergers but were very devoted to faith.  I have an aspie friend who is the same way.  I think it has to do more with how liberal beliefs have plagued society and our educational institutions.  People with aspergers tend to study more scientific topics, but sadly get duped in the process by hack professors who teach junk science and atheist indoctrination, and many students take it as gospel.  I think the problem is many of these students are never given a chance to learn about God and who he really is, which may stem from the failure of Christian schools.        

  • Yeah I’m an aspie and I’m the only one on my family who doesn’t believe in God.  To me it usually seems to be the Christians who are the least understanding and empathetic with those who don’t fit the mold.

  • You make it sound bad…………..

    Atheists are people too its just they have different opinions about God or a lack there of him……

    there are stranger things then Atheists out there………………

    take the mob for example or people who believe in the invisible pink unicorn or the fly spaghetti monster…………

    Atheists are the least of your worries……………..

    Why are they Atheists? because there isnt always safety in God for them or maybe they dont agree with some of Gods laws and some of them dont believe he is even there or some of them believe in other faiths………….  

    thats pretty much it……………

    I wouldnt count to much on polls; after-all G.W. Bush was elected; just saying……………….

  • Funny, I had brought this very thing up with my wife just this week-end. I was thinking about it, and the logical “literal” mind of an Autistic or Asperger’s person, especially a child, must have a very hard time with religion.
    I mean, a lot of religion is “just trust me” and “have faith”… a lot of it, when you boil it down, is quite contradictory on a very literal sense and the rest is well, intangible.. you just have to have faith, just believe it for the sake of believing it.

    I am not Autistic so I can’t really say, but in thinking about it, I would imagine it being very hard to be that logic minded and to be religious at the same time. I mean, isn’t that what separates religion and science in the first place?

    I don’t know, I can see how they’d find comfort and safety in God, in religion but I can also see how it would make very little sense to them.

  • I have a son who is an Aspie, and although raised in the church, he vacillates between unbelief and mild, but not committed to a church, belief.  I’m not sure if it’s because the way his mind works, or because of how he has always felt an outsider at most churches.  Churches don’t generally do a real good job of embracing and accepting those with psychiatric/neurological differences.  My other two, neurotypical children are strong believers and are very attached to their churches and church families.  All three raised in the same house, same environment…and the Aspie is different as far as church believe/attendance goes, as well as different with many other things, so we kind of accept it as part of who he is.

  • I have two aspie boys. One is an avowed atheist, and one believes in God but not adamently religious.I don’t think it has anything to do with Theory of Mind or mindblindness. Maybe the reason so many aspies are atheist is because they were so unwelcome in their churchs and synagogues as young children with issues. That would turn anyone off of religion, especially when the so-called religious are anything but Godly.

  • Very interesting post. I can’t say as I know many who have apserger’s. However, the two I do know both attend church regularly. At a fairly large, though conservative, United Methodist church.

    The older of the two, who is now in his Sophomore year in college, didn’t believe in God for awhile if I remember right.

    However, from what he has told me Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are common with people who have asperger’s. In his later junior high years he developed an OCD regarding germs and cleanliness. He would shower more than a dozen times a day and was completely paranoid that he might come across germs. His mother had to quit her job to take care of him, and had to remove all sharp objects that he had access to as he was considering suicide.

    However, she found a place that helped him. In there he read Job repeatedly on his own, as well as the counseling he got while in the recovery center, and he became a very strong and committed Christian.

    While I don’t know if that is the case with many, or anyone else, it is his story and it is inspiring to see how faith in Christ has changed his life.

    Thanks for the post, I’m going to recommend it and I’d like to see what others have to say.

  • I have friends with it and they are Christians but don’t like to attend church much because people in the church are not always receptive to them or their ways of thinking.

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