Monday, November 15, 2010

Religion and Asperger's Syndrome

 I grew up in an averagely religious household, one which would usually attend church but didn't have a problem with skipping a service if something came up.  My parents seem to consider themselves liberal evangelicals, with my mother being a bit more religious than my father.  They began to attend a local church shortly after I turned five and a portion of my childhood memories are dominated by uncomfortable buckled shoes, Pioneer Girls (their version of Girl Scouts) and church camps.

With my parent's views on personal choice, I was given the option to stop attending church when I turned 13, which I did.  I never liked or understood going to church.  To me, it was school on the weekend - I was just as ostracized by the kids there as I was at school and the book was boring and never updated.  Instead of just drifting from religion altogether, I began to learn about religion at the library and became fascinated by the ideas of Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism.

However, the more I studied religion the more I realized it wasn't for me and I began to question the very existence of a higher power.  This led into an existential crisis at 15 when I began to believe that the world didn't exist and engaged in heavy solipsistic thought.  I went through a period of agnosticism before making the decision that I am an atheist at 16.

A forum post on Wrong Planet indicates that I'm not alone as a non-religious Aspie - the overwhelming majority of the over 150 respondents to the poll indicated that they were atheist or agnostic.  Interestingly, even the theists responding to the discussion indicated that they arrived at a conclusion in their religion based on logic and reasoning.

There are many possible reasons as to why people with Asperger's Syndrome tend to be without religious beliefs and many for why they would be.  The argument for religious beliefs is fairly straight forward - it presents a set of rules to live by, a code of conduct which covers just about every possible life scenario and a structure which can be taken into any situation.

The argument for not having religion can be just as straight forward - it isn't logical to follow something that can't be proven with the scientific method, especially a bronze age based code of conduct which needs heavy interpretation to make sense and can be changed by whomever is reading it.

Here is my question to you, the reader: Are you or your Aspie religious and why?  How did you come to your decision on how to view life?


  1. Religion...interesting topic (I'm also an Aspie, BTW, just so ya know). I honestly have no idea whether I'm "religious" or not. I can DEFINITELY understand how it wouldn't be logical to follow something that hasn't been (and probably won't be) scientifically proven. All the same, though, it's just so darn depressing to think that THIS is the only life we have!! :( Why are we here then? Are we just supposed to be an arbitrary collection of atoms and nothing more?!

    Here's my personal take on the whole thing. Life is just one big dream. A dream that is so real that we have fooled ourselves into thinking that there is a "real" and "fake" for everything, when really (in my opinion) there isn't. No black or white, no up or down, no north, south, east, or west, no alive or dead, no day or night, etc. Everything just IS. We humans are such demanding, curious creatures that we HAD to make it so that we created the way we view our world. No other creature does - perhaps some in a similar manner to us, but certainly not the same!

    Sometimes this discrimination between objects works to our advantage, but other times it just creates chaos - which is what life is - chaos. That and boredom. We just create entertainment out of it. Think about it. As babies, we don't want to come out of the womb, and at old age, we're not ready to face what could become of us. It's probably just another "womb" - that is, something that we think will be horrible beyond belief, but which actually provides us with relief once we go through with it. No, I don't believe in a heaven (and CERTAINLY not a hell!) But can easily picture me just realizing all this is just one big long dream when my time comes. Either that, or a belief similar to Nirvana, in which death is basically a void, but a void that we are proud to face because by the time we reach death we'll probably be too tired of all the drama that goes on in peoples' lives. A lack of sound, vision, touch, smell, and taste also means a lack of drama, chaos, and boredom ;)

  2. That's an interesting way to view things Spencer. It's kind of like solipsistic philosophy, that nothing else exists and it's all in our heads. I often wonder what will come next. As a believer in reincarnation, I feel I'll go on, but wonder how or where.