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I am an autistic person who has been searching in faith and religion for some kind of positivism in my life surrounded by problems not important now. So, I've debated with the religious leaders in the church, and as I expected none of them could answer me directly about how I can feel the Holy Spirit in me, feel touched by God, or be 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 so, I couldn't find any explanations about it. Please if you know about it, tell me.

Note: I need to ask this question, I was recommended by the other forum to make this type of question here, so I warn the readers: My question doesn't have multiple interpretations, it's very clear on its purpose. Although I know it can make many neurotypicals uncomfortable, it is my right to make it, please respect it.

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Not every individual, neurotypical or not, feels metaphysical elements to any appreciable degree while living out their faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of God, which indwells those who have received Christ Jesus and believe on his name, operates thus:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. - John 3:8

Some are enabled by the Spirit to live out a very practical, 'non-mystical' life of faith wherein the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) is manifest apart from any notable "spiritual experience". Often it is others who are more aware of a special quality within such a one than that one herself.

It is not a matter of lesser or greater Christianity but of faith. If one believes the Gospel to be true then the Holy Spirit is within conforming that one to the image of Christ. If you believe in Jesus then you have every reason, Scripturally speaking, to believe that the Holy Spirit is within you whether you "feel" anything or not:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. - John 14:15-18

Whether the Holy Spirit produces a particular feeling or experience is up to God and is not a matter or religious activity or praying hard enough; that is mysticism. Trust the Lord.

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  • Yes, but it seems very personal this subject and as it seems, not everybody can hear the God's voice to them, and the ourely fact that you may believe or not in God, it's a mere way to divise whom's being always condemned to not believe in Him and who's are marked since the beggining to walk in the way of God by the eschritures. Nov 13, 2023 at 19:03
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    People are not condemned to unbelief. God foreknows everything but people are not pre-programmed robots ... we have choice. Everyone has the ability to believe. The condemnation is for those who choose disbelief (John 3:17-19). Nov 14, 2023 at 13:27
  • Well, so it seems that proves objectifically my point that each own chooses how to comforts itself front the harsh reality. I forced myself to believe it was not so simple. Nov 14, 2023 at 21:37
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Granted that the exact nature of being human is not doctrinally specified, but open to philosophy of mind and sciences (including neuroscience) to investigate, as long as the resulting conception provides room for God

  • to communicate His presence to us,
  • communicating His witness in our conscience, and
  • providing us the capacity to be transformed to be more like His Son Jesus,

unlike the materialist definition of human nature.

Regardless of the conception, this spiritual capacity of a human being (responsible for mental "seeing", i.e. faith, and for the deepest wellspring of our character and will) should be distinguished from psychological emotions and passions that resulted from our bodily capacity which includes the brain. In other words, if we start with a conception that qualifies to be called "Christian", at the bare minimum we should regard the soul as expressing itself through the body (which includes the brain), instead of the soul as the emergent property of the body ("trapped"). Therefore, if the brain is not neurotypical, a Christian conception of soul should STILL allow it to be capable to commune with God, like a blind person who can still enjoy beauty of a non-visual kind.

In that way, God can operate on us in ways that we (through the brain) cannot perceive the effect of it. The mistake is to require the presence of God's action solely through our ability to feel the effect. Faith is not feeling, although can manifest itself through feeling. Faith is trust (justified true belief) because the mind responds positively after understanding the gospel through a kind of mental "seeing" (like an "aha" moment in math geometry problem), that it makes sense to trust God regardless of some lack in bodily "evidence" such as feeling. That is why in Christian spirituality, it's the fruits that count. If our intentions and actions show that we agree to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and as a result we regularly forgive, love, and have compassion for others, then it is legitimate (in Christian theology) that there IS faith in us even though we don't feel it. By inference, we trust that God IS present by grace since faith requires grace.

Yes, it can be a challenge for non-neurotypical Christians, but think of St. John of the Cross's Dark Night of the Soul and the recent discovery that Mother Teresa didn't feel God for most of her later life. I don't know whether Mother Teresa is neurotypical, but I hope knowing that other Christians have also struggled similarly can be a source of comfort to you. By faith we can rely on the hope that after death Christians will be given glorified bodies that have no defects, yet retaining our individualities.

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  • Thank you for your response, with all the respect, my vision it's merely based in facts and proves, I'm sorry if you interpreted this as the other way around, I don't know if you studyied the autistic brain but it shows that the part of socialization and purely the part that should be developed sorround subjetifically things and elements are comprometed. This is why I'm searching for an answer if I can objetifically trust in God or if this a way to comfort yourself front the harsh reality , Again, thank you for your response. Nov 14, 2023 at 21:50
  • @GhoupherSaer You're coming from Philosophy.SE, so my answer is very cognizant of the the mind-brain relationship. To me, this is an acceptable answer from the Thomistic Christian theological point of view, which provides a maximally generous space for what can be studied by reason alone using modern science including neuroscience (brain) and the Aristotelian framework (for the natural mind). Thomistic theology then provides further truths supplied by revelation (those pertaining to God and the immaterial soul) WITHOUT invalidating anything that reason finds. Nov 15, 2023 at 4:19
  • @GhoupherSaer Thus Thomistic approach today is also maximally generous by accepting what neurology finds and continues where neurology has reached its limit. If you don't agree, that means you have issue with either the Aristotelian philosophy of mind or the overarching Thomistic method. We can discuss what you call "objective" and "subjective" and what method you think this answer should use. However, the comment space is not for discussion, so let's continue in the main C.SE chatroom, [The Upper Room[(chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/1167/the-upper-room). Nov 15, 2023 at 4:52
  • No, I ain't discussing, this will be my last comment, I can't comment on the chat because I need more time experiecing the forum and yes I have to see and study the nomenclatures you've posted. But as a humildity advise, when you post something don't go into another directions beyond the subjetive and misinterpret as I edited in my question, follow the behaviors of Christ, he was always balanced in his actions and talks. Nov 16, 2023 at 22:41
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I became a Christian in August 1979. Since then, I have rarely 'experienced' anything 'spiritual' in the sense you seem to mean. For example, only this afternoon, visiting a Christian friend, we concluded with a time of open prayer in her house. At the end she said, "Oh, I really felt the presence of the Lord in the room as we prayed. It gave me the shivers" (in a nice way). I said, "Well, I didn't sense anything, but - then - I rarely do! I can walk into a room of people where (they say) you could cut the air with a knife, but I'm oblivious to all of that." She added that God gives people different gifts, and that somewhat explains the difference between us. She is sensitive to things I am not.

However, I have had rare confirmations from God that he is with me, and that to bless, but what's the point in my retelling them? They are unique to me, just as my friend's experience this afternoon was unique to her. Similarly, I've just read a book of a pastor's testimony of how he came to saving faith in his mid-20s (like me). He experienced feelings and awarenesses of God's dealings with him that are almost foreign to me. I gather his personality made him acutely sensitive to things that have rarely bothered me. His account began around 1760, as a young man. Now I would like to quote this bit, when he was a mature pastor, but going through 'a dark night of the soul'.

"I went one night to preach at a good woman's house, who seemed rather distressed; I asked her what was the cause of her looking so sadly. She told me that her husband, though he had long followed the gospel, had never experienced much of the power of it, but that she had been greatly indulged with comfortable communion with Christ.

'But lately,' she said, 'my husband is blessed with great consolation, and my comforts are gone. This is like the Lord's leaving Saul, and going to David: and I can compare myself to none but Saul, for I really envy my husband his happiness.'

Hearing such things from an old mother in Israel was a sweet cordial to me, for being entangled in the same net, I could describe it to her feelingly, and show her from the Scriptures, that others had felt the same. My conversation was blessed to her, and she was delivered out of trouble. But when I found that she was delivered by my conversation, and that I was left behind, it added to my misery: I envied her as well as others, and went groaning home, almost desperate... This increased my misery, and I thought that I had wrestled and prayed day and night for [my wife], had reproved her, watched over her, admonished her etc., and now God had heard my prayers for her, and had cast me off, so that I envied her also." The Kingdom of Heaven Taken by Prayer, William Huntington, pp 169-70, Sovereign Grace, 1966

This shows the problems that can arise when Christians are going by their feelings. Big mistake! What kind of faith is it that (ultimately) depends on our personal feelings about how, as you say, I "can feel the Holy Spirit in me, feel touched by God, or be moved by it"? Faith in God is not based on feelings. "We walk by faith, not by sight" the apostle said (2 Corinthians 5:7). Our faith is in a 'who', not an 'it'. Paul said "I know who I have believed..." Who do you believe in? Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins, raised from the dead the third day, ascended to heaven, sitting at the right hand of God and due to return in glory? Only that brings saving faith to the repentant sinner.

That is the start of faith, saving faith. Make that start, and continue looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2) and don't let faith in him waver due to your feelings - or lack of them!

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    For me it's still on the very subjectivly aspect of the spectrum, as faith, as the religion as a whole, it seems one of two: Or nonenseless as to blindly believe in or to comfort you into a guide to live beyond the harsh reality. Thank you for your response. Nov 16, 2023 at 22:44

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