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Catholic Philosophy and Autism: your thoughts

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Greatshield17, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 Catholic Nerd V.I.P Member

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    I've been meaning to discuss this for sometime now.

    After being on here and observing my fellow-aspies and getting a better understanding of myself and others, I have come to believe the fellowing about Autism as viewed through my own religious philosophy. Catholic philosophy teaches that the human person is made up of three aspects, the intellect, the will, and the body and its senses and appetites. Looking at Autism through my philosophical lens, I feel like one significant aspect of Autism is that there seems to be this kind of distance between the body and the intellect and will, though at the same time, a kind of sensitivity to the body in contrast with psychopathy, where there is a kind of perverse mortification of the body and its senses.

    The reason I suspect this, is in addition sensory issues, the vast majority of human communication is physical in nature, body posture, eye-contact, facial expressions; one of the only forms of socializing that we don't have trouble with (we aspies that is) and in fact are quite sensitive to, is speech, and speech is the least bodily forms of face-to-face communication. So that's how I view of Autism from a Catholic philosophical standpoint, what're your thoughts, are there somethings I'm missing? I obviously don't know that much and there are some areas I haven't explored yet, like the difference between male aspies and female aspies.

    Please do share your thoughts.
     
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  2. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The sensitivity to the body can be a factor that makes it difficult for people with autism to participate in things like group worship if they have a desire to do so.

    For many years I actually found going to church to be a very unpleasant experience. I tried to mitigate the auditory aspect (e.g. volume level, random loud noises) with earplugs, but other aspects were still problematic including:

    > Shaking hands during the service. It's something that was extremely bothersome to me and it was a very big deal. Even having to look friendly in declining to shake people's hands was something I dreaded.
    >Fragrances. If anyone around me wore perfume, cologne or used scented fabric softener, scented laundry detergent or dryer sheets, I could taste it in addition to smell it. Artificial/chemical fragrances cause an intense level of anxiety and even anger in me.
    >Proximity. Being completely surrounded by people in front of me, on both sides and behind me is something I find to be very unsettling.

    Those issues I have are very real and prevented me from having meaningful experiences in a church setting.
     
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  3. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 Catholic Nerd V.I.P Member

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    That's one of the reasons why I want to attend a Latin Mass parish, granted, there may be things that may bother some people like you, like incense and the like. I was originally planning on moving to the only Latin Mass parish in my diocese, but now with my plans to become a homesteader and farmer, that probably won't happen, the town where this parish is located does have a lot of farmland; but the town is too far away, and there may be some other issues involved that would render moving too there complicated and expensive. So I'll have to stick to this region and hope the Mass at whatever parish I'll be attending, won't be too difficult for me.
     
  4. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    When I was young, this bothered me a lot. I read the story of Phineas Gage and was tormented that his body effected his will to such an extend, he went from being mild mannered to crude and obnoxious. I wondered how many want to be "good" but the body makes them "bad". Of course, now we know it is not rare at all. Most people want to be good, so why can't the will overcome a railroad spike to the head?

    After I read "City of God," I calmed down. Is Augustine cannot figure it out, I can't.
     
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  5. Wolfsage

    Wolfsage In training to be Wolf King.

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    I've been thinking on this a bit. Autism as I see it and based on what I read. Sets us a part from the Nt's. I can think and have seen a number of reasons for that. But, from a religious stand point. Would it be fair to say this brings us closer to God? Seeing as those who believe would have trouble connecting with people. Would it be easier then to connect and believe in him?
    Just a thought.
     
  6. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi there @Greatshield17
    I know this is off topic, but I just wanted to draw your attention to this priest who is autistic and blogs. I have not seen anything from him specifically on what your are focussing on here, but you migth want to look further into him.
    Prayer for the Neurodivergent


    Prayer for the Neurodivergent

    February 12, 2021 by Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC

    Prayer for people with mental health is an issue we need to address as a Church. I’ve been covering prayer for autism and related conditions a bit. I did an interview with the Catholic Mental Health Blog on this. (It was a while ago but only published this week.) We covered a bunch of topics, but most would be familiar to regular readers here like my vocational story and helping autistics in Church In this interview questions on prayer and mental health stood out.


    [​IMG]
    The Interview on Prayer:
    How do you think your approach to spirituality differs from a neurotypical person?

    I think there are a number of factors. I have a book coming out with Pauline Press sometime (hopefully second half 2021) that goes much more in depth so I’ll just summarize here.

    I think two of the biggest factors have to do with theory of the divine mind and the linguistic communication circle. Autistic people tend to struggle at earlier stages of prayer because we find it difficult to imagine God’s mind or put our prayerful thoughts into words. But, as we get deeper in prayer, that lack of theory of mind and linguistic filter can make our prayer go deeper faster. The deepest prayer does not rely on verbal expression, so we can find deeper prayer more easily than non-autistic people.

    A lot of other factors depend on specific aspects, like stimming* in prayer and finding a way to participate in the liturgy without sensory overload. We also often tend to communicate with God more in rational discourse than emotional expression, just as we often tend to communicate to our fellow humans. […]

    What does mental health mean to you? How do you care for your own mental health?

    I think that term can mean all kinds of things. I think that self-care is valuable for autistics like myself as I know we tend toward both depression and anxiety at higher rates than the general population. I try to practice some general self-care like sleep, exercise, etc. to avoid these. I also think sometimes I can hyper-focus for a certain amount of time and work faster than most but then need more down time than average.


    You can read the rest on their blog.

    Conclusion
    I hope things like this help others pray. I really think am looking forward to the book which half has been edited already. Things like this can really help everyone on the spectrum pray better whether Catholic or not.
     
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  7. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 Catholic Nerd V.I.P Member

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    Yes the conflict between the will and the body has always been a challenge to human beings trying to seek union with God, it’s one of the motivations behind the gnostic heresies; the word Cathar can be translated as “Puritan.” Traditionally, it is believed that the refusal of the body and its appetites to be subordinate to the intellect and will, is a punishment for Original Sin, just Adam and Eve refused to be subordinate to God, so too do their bodies and appetites refuse to be subordinate to them. Thus our strive for holiness involves struggling with our bodily appetites.

    And yes, I have heard of the story of Phineas Gage certainly is fascinating, it really does show a lot about our body and how much of role it plays in ourselves and who we are.
     
  8. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 Catholic Nerd V.I.P Member

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    I don’t think it’s that simple, yes there a lot advantages to being an Aspie, but there are also advantages to being an NT too, there are certain things that Christ calls us to do that are easier for an NT than an Aspie.
     
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  9. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 Catholic Nerd V.I.P Member

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    I think I’ve heard of, and even spoke with with priest before, he was a member of the Legionaries of Christ, and I assume “LC” means Legionnaires of Christ. However I don’t have time to read everything here right now, I’ll have to come back later.
     
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  10. John M

    John M Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    God really doesn't ask a lot of us Greatshield, if we are capable of understanding then do what God asks. If we're not then, try to stick to the scriptures that are recommended by the Increate. Understand however that God doesn't ask anything of us. My perception is that God just wants us to do things that focus on the hard physical reality that God exists in. The struggle for me at least is that God asks me to do deal with the reality that people create when they ignore God's will and focus on what they think makes them rich or happy.
     
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  11. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 Catholic Nerd V.I.P Member

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    I’ve read this piece now, this priest does sound familiar; I’ll read the blog later, when I have free-time.
     
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  12. Wolfgangus Faldestolius

    Wolfgangus Faldestolius Little notes from an armchair

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    God * is much more rational than most religious people say He is - in fact He's my kind of guy, and they are misleading me with their sentimental twaddle and kow-towing.

    { * job title, like "Cook" in the great houses; His personality differs according to what your theology is }

    (Figure that one out! ;) )
     
  13. Wolfgangus Faldestolius

    Wolfgangus Faldestolius Little notes from an armchair

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    This is quasi-indexicality, i.e mind reading, which applies to God's mind as well as anyone else's.
    If only everyone would do more of it in non-religious situations! Listen to the 93% of communicating that is the words. People are testifying - why rubbish what they say.
     
  14. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Sorry @Wolfgangus Faldestolius but I am nor getting what you are saying here. Are you saying that we should listening more to what people are saying and not try to mind read?
     
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  15. Wolfgangus Faldestolius

    Wolfgangus Faldestolius Little notes from an armchair

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    No. listening IS the real mind reading.
     
  16. Xerces Blue

    Xerces Blue Evil Overload

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    So an additional perspective - I'm agnostic.
    But I grew up in the LDS faith.
    I stopped believing my church at 14 and left at 18 (this was for family dynamics)
    I went through my years of hate and then indifference and at 34 I came to understand more about religion in general from a philosophical view.

    I can't believe it but I do see great benefit in it.
    It's a path to understanding morality on both a personal and social scale.
    And I think it's a good starting point for anything philosophical.

    So why am I here?
    I'm not going to try to disprove your believe or anything of the sort, that would be counter-productive.
    I do want to explore your experiences with religion - I might learn something.

    The LDS faith believes that the Soul is a combination of the body and spirit - mind and body if you will.
    I equate this to a drone (the body) and a controller(the spirit)
    the Spirit can only perceive the information that the body communicates.
     
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  17. Xerces Blue

    Xerces Blue Evil Overload

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    I've gone unconscious several times.
    Choked out, phycological freak out, a bad fever (105 Degrees F)
    Each time I only retained basic motion feed back - rocking back and forth.

    The phycological freak out was in a class in high school.
    In the LDS faith there are the 13 articles of faith - the second is "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression"

    in a high school class there was a presentation that included a child that had a liver swollen to 5 times the normal size because of the parents bad decisions - alcohol and drug use.
    This could not equate to my world view and so I snapped.
    I'm told I flailed hitting my head on my desk and the desk behind me before falling out of my seat.
    I awoke to the guest speaker standing over me saying this happens most of the time they give the presentation.
    I had a concussion, my first.
     
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  18. Bibliophile715

    Bibliophile715 Armin - system member - any pronouns

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    I wasn't really raised religiously as someone coming from a not-religious part-Christian and part-Jewish background. I personally am fine with Catholics, as anyone can worship how they want to worship. Their philosophy has intrigued me for many years-though that they kept intellect as separate from the will fascinated me the most as before then at school I was mostly taught that intellect and will go together as it's all part of how a mind functions.

    I will say that potentially participating in a Catholic church service would have been impossible at one point in my life, due to a pain condition I have (it's in remission right now) in my right arm, back, and shoulder blade. When it wasn't in remission that area of my skin felt like it was burning, so whenever someone touched my skin on my arm or shook my hand I would feel like screaming or cry out. Since that has improved by now with physical therapy and other treatments, it is theoretically possible for me to withstand participating in a Catholic church service. Perhaps some of the smells (as I have been really sensitive to some smells in the past) may impact on how I might enjoy the service due to my sensory issues, that is also a factor I would have to take into account.

    I also potentially had paranormal experiences (one was in a lds church on a school field trip). Don't want to say too much about those on here as I don't want to seem like I want attention, but that's pretty much what got me from being an atheist to being partly agnostic.
     
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  19. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    I almost became Catholic a few times. I got very discouraged because I wanted to attend Latin mass and the RCIA director became mad. I looked up why he was mad and saw that everyone was ex-communicating everyone else. Pre-Vatican vs Post-Vatican. I was SUPPOSED to only be Post Vatican. I was so floored. I gave up. But I often wish I could have done it. Also things that held me back: Problems with taking that mass, OCD issues, etc and can't eat the wafer because of food allergies. Also being there, shaking hands, music, sitting on those chairs, wrong time of day (rigid schedule). It would take a pure miracle for me to succeed.
     
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