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Well, I'll sum up. I'm an autistic person and I've tried to see in faith, religion some kind of positivism in my life surrounded by problems not important now. So, I've debated with the religious leaders in the churches and as I expected none of them could answer me directly how can I feel the Holy Spirit in me, feel touched by God or moved by it. Since childhood I questioned it many times, prayed during the hardest times and I always felt the same as before, for me nothing changed and I can't feel the metaphysical elements that neurotypicals usually have and so, I couldn't find any explanations about it. Please if you know about it, tell me.

Edit: I need to clarify somethings, It's not for some chance that I simply posted this question here, I know the misinterpretation that neurotypicals often make when I do questions that confronts their own beliefs, althrough it's my right to make this question, wether you like it or not, at least respect my right to make it please.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange Philosophy. SE Philosophy cannot, and will not, give justification for the validity of any one religion. I suggest you ask this in SE Christianity instead. Also note that faith — by its very nature — cannot be debated into truth. If it could, it would not be faith, but an argument for the validity of Christianity.
    – MichaelK
    Nov 12, 2023 at 18:20
  • Hm, guess I was right, I'll surely will check this forum, thank you, I was suffering with this question so much, thank you! Nov 12, 2023 at 18:26
  • I have a feeling that many philosophers might have had these same feelings regarding religion! Nov 12, 2023 at 20:15
  • Yes, there have been plenty of theists who questioned what it feels like to feel the holy spirit, or to be moved by it or by God, and whether that's even a real thing. Many of them are atheists now. As for autism, that's at least somewhat linked to being more grounded and not seeing the sense in fantastical thinking. (I agree that this question doesn't really belong here in its current form, but note that if you ask theists, like those on Christianity SE, you'll only be getting perspectives from one side - I expect they'll say things like your doubts are tests, or come from Satan).
    – NotThatGuy
    Nov 12, 2023 at 21:59
  • When I was religious, I saw my lack of feeling God's presence as my weakness, my test. But now, I see it merely as a confirmation that my reasons for believing were never good to begin with. If you were looking to religion for emotional support, there are other (arguably more effective and healthier) places to find that. Friends, communities, romantic relationships, hobbies, therapy, charity, general self-care and reflecting on your place in the world can all help. Although, some of that (at least the social parts) may be a bit more difficult for someone on the autism spectrum to access.
    – NotThatGuy
    Nov 13, 2023 at 5:10

4 Answers 4

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You are asking a very good question, and I salute your courage in bringing it. I believe you are asking about a sense of things and not about religious doctrine or belief. The sense you are looking for is accessible and there are various ways of getting to it.

It is sometimes defined as 'eudaimonia', or wellbeing so it is in the realm of Philosophy. But, as a sense of things, it can't be reached directly through study and reasoning. It has been explored extensively for over 2000 years in Buddhism, more recently Zen and Advaita Vedanta. In general, the tool people use to approach it is meditation, which allows changing our habitual thoughts and responses, and being better able to observe oneself. This leads to Nonduality.

A current source of research results and practices is The Center for the Study of Non-symbolic Consciousness. There are many people who curate readings and video interviews and blogs about Nonduality, so a wide range of perspectives is available. I hope you find much that is helpful to you.

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    Wow 😲 thank you so much sir, I really loved your response, sorry my audacity but it seems a answer that I would give, it's because I'm the only ruler to measure how close I can get to an objective response 😅. Thank you so much! Nov 13, 2023 at 2:42
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I suppose that I am neurotypical, and I am happy to summarise my personal experience for you. I was raised as a Catholic, and taught about Catholic doctrine as if it were an absolute truth and never to be doubted. I did pray, but never felt any special relationship with God. By the time I was 8 or 9, I had bracketed God with Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, and other characters that struck me as being imaginary, so I lost whatever faith I might have had and became an agnostic bordering on atheist. However, I have repeatedly experienced what I suppose is my conscience, or better self, as a kind of voice in my head confronting me with what I ought to do when I am inclined not to, and I wonder whether people of faith have a similar experience but interpret it as communing with the Holy Spirit. I certainly remember discussing that possibility with close friends when I was at school. I hope that might be of some help. Best of luck with your investigations.

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In my view, any sincere attempt to discover the truth is philosophy. So you ask a valid, philosophical question. I am also autistic. I have always been an atheist although I went to a Catholic school. I do not favour metaphysical explanations generally. To me, to say that something exists because something else made it or stand behind it, is not an answer. Recently, I have become interested in panpsychism. This is an old philosophy that now seems to have some real plausibility in the context of quantum physics. In this view, the fundamental stuff of the universe is matter-consciousness. This seems to be based on monism, which Bertrand Russell described. Current authors are David Chalmers and Philip Goff. I think that it has the potential to explain existence, meaning and value in the universe. But I might be wrong. Welcome to philosophy!

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Your question refers to "the metaphysical elements that neurotypicals usually have." Even for neurotypical people of faith, however, there's a wide range of experiences of God. Some people report a direct connection with God that's both physical and spiritual, others have conversations with God, and others connect with God at more of an intellectual level. There are other people who are believers without ever having had a personal spiritual experience of the kind you're describing, and people who sit in the pews who aren't believers at all, but who value the community and social experience. There are faith communities--for instance, the Pentecostal church movement--that place direct and primary importance on a direct spiritual experience of God. But that's not the case for all faith communities. (Even in such communities, some members do fake their experiences, either cynically and exploitatively, or from a fear of being left out.)

Assuming you're talking about the Christian faith tradition, 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that there are many different legitimate ways of experiencing faith. Faith is very personal, and it often isn't possible to experience it exactly the way someone else does. You shouldn't feel that your way of experiencing God has to match anyone else's regardless of their neurology. Most people of faith would agree that when metaphysical experiences do occur, they come as a gift from God. You can make yourself as open to them as you can, and you can participate in situations and rituals designed to welcome them, but it's not something you can force to happen, regardless of your personal traits.

It's worth noting that there are a number of people with autism represented in the clergy, and probably always have been. Here's an article written by one of them, you might find it relevant to your search. https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/may-web-exclusives/how-i-leverage-my-autism-for-pastoral-ministry.html I can't prove it, but I personally suspect many of the prophets and mystics throughout the ages have been neuroatypical in one way or another. (Anecdotally, I have a child on the spectrum, and was interested to perceive echoes of their approach and outlook in the rules and prohibitions in the Bible's Leviticus.)

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  • Thank you for your response, you might be interested in studying psychology and neurologists studies that show the social part and subjetive part of the brain is compromissed in the autistic brain. Althrough, neurotypicals like to run from patterns and daily tasks and compromisses, they in one way or another will get into another pattern as to fell into a group, part of something. Nov 16, 2023 at 22:49
  • @GhoupherSaer I have edited my response to perhaps better meet the needs of the question. Nov 17, 2023 at 15:36

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