The Prodigal Daughter

Autistic people tend to be extremely moral people. I once had a camper, who, although being non-verbal, would refuse to begin the day if his room was not clean. You may call it obsessive or stubborn or whatever you want, I call it morals. To the dismay of some spectrum parents, we tend to form our own ideas and beliefs about the world. Morals, like social skills, are something that we build by ourselves.

A difficult period in my family was when I told my devout Catholic father that I do not believe in a god. I was in eighth grade at the time and preparing to make Confirmation when I announced this to him, but I had experienced atheistic feelings as far back as in the first grade, when I wondered first why my CCD class did not allow Jewish children, and then what the difference was between the two religions. I was extremely uncomfortable praying because I did not know who I was talking to. I questioned various weak points I found in the Bible: If the earth began with Adam and Eve, didn’t that mean that brothers and sisters had babies together? Who created the planets? How could anybody possibly part the seas?

I attended CCD obligingly for 8 years and later realized that the reason I did so was because I did not know that there was any other option. Like so many autistic people, I suffered from tunnel vision: it never occurred to me that not everybody lives like I do. Once I began studying church made less and less sense to me until it really did not make much sense at all. I became a passionate atheist and joined online forums, finding solace among others who shared my beliefs and rallying with them against all the atheist-bashers in Myspace-land (not one of my prouder times).

It was not until I reached high school, though, that I realized that I am not the rebellious mad-at-the-world teenager that my father had hoped I was, for if I were a rebel there may be a chance I would return to the Catholic faith. Instead it became clear to me that I do not deny a god because I am angry at the gods but because I cannot believe in a god. My Asperger’s makes me an extremely logical person and I have a hard time grasping abstract concepts such as all-powerful beings whom I cannot see or hear. At one point in time it was enough for me to be told that there definitely is a god in order to believe, but after being exposed to options it became quite impossible for me to understand.

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