Can an Aspie Believe in an Abstract Concept?

The moon over Morocco in Epcot

The moon over Morocco in Epcot

For the first time today, I realized one of the reasons I struggle talking with God: He is so abstract.

“Just get to know Him,” my friends at school said.

Sure, but how do you get to know someone? By talking to that person and asking questions. However, I have a hard time asking questions when I am not sure of a response. Am I making up a response in my head? I did that for years. Now, talking to God terrifies me because I do not know if it is me or Him answering.

God is such an abstract concept. No wonder it is easier to find something tangible to place one’s faith in – a statue, science, a person. Many religions, including Christianity, have symbols so that the faith is less abstract. Still, there is an inability to have a sensory experience that makes having faith hard.

I then wondered, is this an Aspie problem? Am I just weird, or do others with similar brains struggle with this? I know that many people have a hard time with the concept of God, but do people on the Autistic scale have more trouble than average with this abstract concept?

Even more importantly for me, can I come to firmly trust in such an abstract concept? I do want to but have trouble many times. Realizing this today was both a relief and huge burden. Finally, some of my struggles with faith make sense. However, it is hard to know if there is hope. I just feel so lost and confused.

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9 thoughts on “Can an Aspie Believe in an Abstract Concept?

  1. 80smetalman says:

    I see what you’re saying here. My problem was the opposite though. I took the Bible and anything someone of religious authority (ministers, sunday school teachers etc) that I became frustrated when things seem to contradict. This led me to go totally the opposite way in my young adult life. If it helps you, I have several posts on Asperger’s and Religion that may give some insight.

  2. jefairgrieve says:

    From what people with kids on the spectrum have told me, abstract concepts such as God are extremely difficult–if not impossible–for many people with Asperger’s and autism to accept. One friend tried to explain it to her son by telling him that God is in people’s hearts, and he replied that if he cut open a heart, he would NOT find God in it! So how do you argue with that?? She doesn’t. She prays a lot, however.

    The way I see it, having faith is a complex concept and is not easy for anyone if they stress over it. If you don’t stress over it, the matter of faith is so simple. The beauty of the world and the Good I see are proof to me that God exists and that there is a loving force beyond us that guides us through this life if we are but open to it and accept it. The rest, all the denomination-specific practices, etc., are basically human attempts to help us follow our faith and connect to God. This is what I believe, anyway.

    In your posts, you reveal that you know the beauty and the Good in life, so why stress over the matter? As you go through life, your spiritual awareness will grow naturally if you let it happen. Stressing over it and wondering if you measure up to others spiritually will just slow down the process. You were named after a beautiful flower; let that flower be your teacher.

    • Wow, thank you for such a helpful response. Faith is simple. It is hard when people make it so confusing and start to become so mad about very small details in it. That has happened so much in my life and might be part of what makes me think of it as so confusing. I want to tap back into that simplicity.

  3. I am not on the autism spectrum and the seeming intangibility of God is something I have struggled with. I can also resonate with your fear of whether the response you hear in prayer is you or Him. I say that to confirm that the struggle is not just an Aspie (as you so sweetly called it!) thing, it’s a human thing. But I can absolutely see how your unique struggle with abstract concepts can make it even more difficult and for that, my dear, I’m sorry. I can imagine your frustration.

    I’ve had to ground myself in the tangible. From archeological findings and extra-Biblical history that support the claims of the old testament, to Jesus being a real figure in history. I do agree with jefairgrieve that the Good we have experienced and the order and beauty of the world points to a greater Force at work. The Bible even tells us that God can been seen in the very essence of creation.

    One day at a time is key. God wants to reveal Himself to us, and He knows how to do that for each one of us and takes joy in doing so. And maybe when you pray, don’t look for an audible or immediate response. You can allow God to reply in time; maybe someone else speaking to you will resonate with a prayer you prayer. Again, He knows how to make Himself known to you, and He wants to and will.

    Grace to you my friend!

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