My Response to a Study that Claims Autistic People Lack the Ability to Believe in God

It is pointless to get angry at an article like this which so inaccurately characterizes my life. My ability to “mentalize” is intact. More than that, my relationship with God is profound and fulfilling. In my life, I talk to God throughout the day. He hears my silent prayers and gives me a place to hope.
I think this study is biased. How many non-verbal autistic people did they interview? My guess is none. I think our answers may be totally different than those of the people they interviewed.
It is my theory that researchers of autism from the University of British Columbia have difficulty “mentalizing” how life is for a non-verbal autistic person, so they make a statement that minimizes our deep and rich inner world and call it a study. The majority of people with non-verbal autism can’t communicate well enough to refute these claims, but their inability to communicate isn’t proof of a lack of “mentalizing”. I know that this is an uphill battle; still we have to keep fighting to tell the truth.
Here is one of my past essays on theological themes.

3 responses to “My Response to a Study that Claims Autistic People Lack the Ability to Believe in God

  1. That is just awful. Don’t take the Daily Mail too seriously, though. That was way over-generalizing a real study that was done and the conclusion was not at all that ASD people couldn’t believe, it was that we often didn’t, but not that we couldn’t. I’m an atheist, and I think that article was stigmatizing, stereotyping, pigeon holing, and just plain upsetting.

  2. Yes, keep fighting to tell the truth IDO. And don’t take this article too seriously. How could they possibly know. These studies are hardly accurate and have no way to determine that which is unspoken.

  3. I had a major meltdown when I read this study, and I don’t even have autism! I had to research this subject for a grad school course, and I flipped my lid over the lack of real evidence that is used in most studies. What IS used is mostly observation and interviews of the parents. I love my son, but even I know he understands more than I realize! One of my classmates also has a daughter with autism, and we often discuss how inane and asinine the studies are. I know people with autism have a sense of God as well as a Theory of Mind. It is ludicrous to think they do not, and it only demonstrates the need for that so-called “professional” to create a hierarchy to elevate their OWN mind.

    I knew my son understood far more than I realized when I was skype phone calling my older daughter. She had just had a baby, was rather buxom and wore a shirt that showed a little too much cleavage. As my son walked past the computer screen, he took one look at my daughter and said, “Got milk?” I have never laughed so hard in my life! It is exactly as you say. People with autism choose their words very carefully because it takes so much work to get it out. My son said so much with those two words!

    Keep dispelling the myths, Ido. I teach a catechism class for Special Needs. Most of my students have autism. Trust me, they teach me far more than I can ever teach them about God!

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