This topic has been heavy on my heart for a few weeks, even though I address some of this in my novel Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid. If I have to answer the question (especially since I’m so involved in the faith communities), it’s pure ignorance. Many people are so narrow-minded to the point that they think that autism is a disease. The truth is that autism is not a disease; it’s a different way of learning. Sure, for many people who are autistic or are on the spectrum, anxiety and a mental illness will come with it (and there’s a cure for that). I find that the older I get, the more ignorance I see when it comes to people who have challenges. In fact, many will bash others who are autistic, but heaven forbid they have a child living with autism. They would want others to be sympathetic to them and their children. According to Autism Speaks, autism is a complex disorder of the brain. And when I minister to faith communities about autism (as I educate people about it), I say that just like body parts get sick, brains get sick. Autism is a little different because although it’s associated with intellectual disability, and there are difficulties in motor coordination and attention to include physical health issues, many are gifted in visual skills, music, math and art.
I encourage you to visit www.autismspeaks.org to find out more information about it.
Continuing on with the topic at hand. Faith communities bash people with autism because of pride within themselves (believing they’re better than others because they don’t have it). As I said in my blog last month entitled “My Healing Journey (Part 1),” the better neurotypicals (non-autistics) understand our journey, the more acceptance and support we will receive from them. And it’s recorded in Scripture that people perish for a lack of knowledge. Because of that lack of knowledge, it’s very easy to judge and discriminate against those living with autism. There is no cure of autism, but some of the symptoms do have a cure.
I find it very interesting that faith communities frown on people who are struggling with something (a life crisis, a health crisis, etc.), pointing fingers at them saying it’s because of a lack of faith. But when the table is turned, they want all the sympathy they can get, and will stand in any prayer line for prayer. In my book, I call it hypocritical. Everybody needs mercy and not everybody is perfect like YOU! I also find it interesting that we tend to bash the spouse when they have challenges, as if they had nothing tragic happen to them. Faith communities need to be able to support each other, just like married couples challenge each other (and not ridicule each other).
Think about it. Faith communities have become so callous to the point, when someone says they’re going through something, one of two things will happen: either they’re say you’re healed (and you don’t need to see a doctor), or it’s because of a sin that you caused or your parents. That’s not very loving if you really think about it. What I love about God is that He created everyone unique. I believe everyone has a thorn of some sort (according to 2 Corinthians 12:9), but watch this: His grace is sufficient. We don’t glorify God FOR it, but IN it.
Near the end of my novel DDBS, I make this statement: There are so many people who are plagued with ADD, AD/HD, PTSD, BPD, or Bipolar, and we steadily punish them for their mental differences and chemical imbalances. Galatians 6:7 says ‘don’t be deceived because God is not mocked. Whatever we sow, we will reap.’ I ask you a question: Why are we only sympathetic if OUR child has a mental disorder? On the contrary, if you know someone whose child has a mental disorder, they need a beating. This is unfair, and reflects the worse part of human nature.
Faith communities have challenges, and we need to stop acting like we’re immune to them. Faith is acting on what we believe, but denying it is faith. In fact, denial is foolish. And denial has been the trend for generations. We need to grow up, deal with what we’re struggling with, so that we can overcome. Everybody deserves love and compassion, not judgments because they are different!
This blogpost post is not intended to bash the faith communities, as I am a part of the Christian faith communities. And because I deal heavily with it, I see a lot of attitudes that are not godly causing church dropouts or causing other brothers and sisters to be infected with that attitude and they become extremely callous. That’s not healthy, and we must be healed from our pride. The easy way to heal from pride is to deny yourself and humble yourself.
The Mayne Man