Posts Tagged ‘Asperger’s’

Richard Dawkins: A Gift From God.

August 22, 2014

Are all human lives valuable for what they are? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Richard Dawkins is well-known today as a leading contemporary spokesman for atheism. If you asked most people today to name a famous living atheist, Dawkins would likely be on top of the list. In fact, according to this site, he’s the #1 leading atheist in the world. Perhaps in some ways we could describe Richard Dawkins as the Pope of atheism.

PopeDawkins

This is actually more fitting than most realize. The idea is that in the so-called Dark Ages, you went to the priests who were the bearers of all knowledge. The correct view on that is that the religious leaders likely were some of the most knowledgeable people around. The false view is that it’s because the only knowledge they had was knowledge of the Bible. No. Active learning was going on in many areas. Not all would have a specific interest in “natural philosophy” as science was called, but all would know something about it.

Today, science has become the new priesthood with a scientism that says science is the only way you know anything and that all knowledge must be scientific and if you can’t establish something scientifically, it can’t be true. Never mind that this criteria has never once met its own standards. It is an undercurrent in our society. Whenever an opinion comes on an issue, if it is said that “a scientist says” that is automatically the most valid opinion, never mind that it could be something the scientist has never really studied. His opinion matters because he is a scientist.

None of this is to knock science. No one should want to. Science is our friend. Scientism is our enemy. The putting of science in the supreme place as the supreme guide to knowledge is also our enemy. It is no desire to belittle scientific knowledge, or any knowledge for that matter. It is a desire instead to deal with the practical worship of science.

Many of us know about Dawkins’s recent outrage that has been sparked due to twitter remarks. It would be bad enough if that was the only embarrassing story of the week, but it is not. Consider this story from just last Saturday. In it, Dawkins is compared to an evangelist who develops a following if you donate to his circle. Reality is Dawkins is even more expensive than the evangelists that he would criticize. Let’s look at some highlights. A lengthy quote will suffice.

the Richard Dawkins website offers followers the chance to join the ‘Reason Circle’, which, like Dante’s Hell, is arranged in concentric circles. For $85 a month, you get discounts on his merchandise, and the chance to meet ‘Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science personalities’. Obviously that’s not enough to meet the man himself. For that you pay $210 a month — or $5,000 a year — for the chance to attend an event where he will speak.

When you compare this to the going rate for other charismatic preachers, it does seem on the high side. The Pentecostal evangelist Morris Cerullo, for example, charges only $30 a month to become a member of ‘God’s Victorious Army’, which is bringing ‘healing and deliverance to the world’. And from Cerullo you get free DVDs, not just discounts.

But the $85 a month just touches the hem of rationality. After the neophyte passes through the successively more expensive ‘Darwin Circle’ and then the ‘Evolution Circle’, he attains the innermost circle, where for $100,000 a year or more he gets to have a private breakfast or lunch with Richard Dawkins, and a reserved table at an invitation-only circle event with ‘Richard’ as well as ‘all the benefits listed above’, so he still gets a discount on his Richard Dawkins T-shirt saying ‘Religion — together we can find a cure.’

The website suggests that donations of up to $500,000 a year will be accepted for the privilege of eating with him once a year: at this level of contribution you become a member of something called ‘The Magic of Reality Circle’. I don’t think any irony is intended.

I can suspect that this will be met with zealous opposition where this is shared by internet atheists and their followers, which will really demonstrate the case. Those who are followers of Dawkins really study the issues just as little as he does, if not less, which might be surprising seeing as it’s hard to imagine studying religious issues less than Dawkins. Thankfully, there are some atheists who are thoughtful and seek to understand the issues that realize Dawkins is an embarrassment to their cause and want him to just go away. The more atheists keep upholding Dawkins however and referring to works like “The God Delusion” as if it was a philosophical masterpiece, the more Christians who know what they’re talking about will see no reason to take them seriously. In fact, if I meet anyone who considers “The God Delusion” to be recommended reading to show why Christianity or theism should not be taken seriously, I know that this is a person uninformed on the issues. Actually, that applies to anyone who recommends any of the new atheists.

Many of you might not have noticed that story about Dawkins because frankly, he’s done something even more embarrassing than that. In fact, this is something I would even say is downright wicked. What Dawkins has done is sparked a controversy based on what he said in his twitter feed. You see, Dawkins heard from someone that they don’t know what they would do if they were pregnant with a child with Down’s Syndrome. It was described as an ethical dilemma.

Before we focus on what Dawkins had to say in response, isn’t it a shame we live in a world where even knowing your baby will have Down’s Syndrome leaves you with a dilemma of if you should kill it or not? You see, the reality is that as soon as that child is conceived and they have Down’s Syndrome, you are already the parent of a child with Down’s. The question you have to ask is if you’re going to be the parent of a dead one or a living one. Not only that, are you going to be the parent of a living child that you and your spouse brought into the world together, or are you going to be the parent of a dead child that died at your own hands.

In fact, I know and have known a number of people with Down’s Syndrome children. Are the children hard to care for? Yes. Can it be frustrating? Yes. Does it cost a lot of money? Yes.

You know, like all children do.

Of course, Down’s children come with extra hurdles, but you know what? They also come with extra joys. They tend to be far more honest and genuine in their love and the parents who take the time to love them see them as the gift that they are and how much they should be appreciated. One friend of ours in fact when she found out the child she was carrying had Down’s was told “There are other options” to which she immediately responded that there were not. That was her baby and she was going to love her baby and Down’s was not going to be an obstacle.

Well done.

So right at the start, we have a problem. We are being told that we really need to consider if people with Down’s Syndrome have lives that are really worth living. Exactly how far will this go? Are we not participating in a eugenics program at this point where we decide only those with desirable traits will live?

Well hopefully Pope Richard was able to give some advice to point out to this person that lives are valuable by the nature of what they are and that yes, things could be difficult, but you know, with the wonders of science we can do so much to ease the burdens that really are there and maybe even find a cure for Down’s someday! Surely this was said!

Or maybe not.

What was said?

“Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Dawkins is in an even worse position than the questioner. He sees no ethical dilemma. It is said so easily. Abort it and try again. In fact, it would be immoral. Why?  Well Dawkins later said in his response to the outrage that:

“If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down’s baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare.”

Now none of us would object to increasing happiness and reducing suffering, but what we ask is if the ends justify the means. Is it ever justifiable to do an evil act because you think there is a good result? That is in fact something that I wish to keep pressing when it comes to the abortion debate. The question we need to ask is “Is the act of willfully terminating your own pregnancy wrong?”

You see, in reality, we can agree with many of the reasons that someone would want an abortion. We can agree they should be financially stable. We can agree many are not ready to raise a child yet. We can agree that many need emotional security. We can agree that it is fine for a woman to have a career. No one is saying any of these things are evil in and of themselves.

What we are saying is that none of those justifies the murder of an innocent child.

Dawkins has decided in advance that these children cannot be happy and that they can only be suffering and they cannot bring happiness to their parents but only bring suffering.

Interestingly, this same person who wondered about a child with Down’s also admitted to being on the autism spectrum (like my wife and I) and asked about that. Dawkins’s response?

People on that spectrum have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. DS not enhanced.

Well thank you Dawkins for saying I have a great deal to contribute. Apparently, the reason you think I’m valuable to the human race is that I can contribute something worthwhile. In other words, I am valuable for what I do. Too bad those babies with Down’s Syndrome don’t have enough value in being, you know, human beings.

The response to all of this was as expected and even included this satirical piece. (Warning: It does have language, but it was the greatest laugh I had all day yesterday.) The sad part is too many internet atheists were defending Dawkins as if his point was obvious. Sure. Why not abort a baby with Down’s Syndrome?

Now Dawkins did apparently issue an apology, though it was quite a backhanded one. It would be like a man saying to his wife “I’m sorry I had an affair, but you have just been so frigid lately, and this woman was just so hot, and I have these needs that I have to have met, and it was meant to be a private thing between her and I and you were never meant to find out.” We could go on and on with it. 

Dawkins has no apologies for the comment. In fact, his clarifying comment said he would still recommend abortion for the same reason. What he is sorry for is that it started a twitter war. In the above analogy, it would be like the husband issuing an apology not because he cheated on his wife, but rather because he got caught doing so. From this point on Dawkins, went to make statements about the people who were complaining about what he had to say.

It never occurs to Dawkins that what he said was utterly reprehensible. Dawkins has before said

It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).

Let it be said in response that if you meet someone who seeks to justify the murder of an innocent child in the womb, wicked should in fact be one of the first things in your mind. It looks like in the world of Dawkins, denying evolution would be a worse crime against humanity than aborting a baby with Down’s Syndrome.

It will be a wonder to see what happens if Dawkins or those like him were truly ever in charge. He has already made a statement about what children he thinks bring suffering into the world. Perhaps he’d also team up with his friend Peter Boghossian. This is the same Peter Boghossian who has a chapter in his Manual for Creating Atheists (A book that I reviewed here and keep in mind that Tim McGrew massacred Boghossian’s chickens here) that lists containment protocols.

That’s right. What can we do to “contain” people of faith? This included such steps as treating faith (A term Boghossian does not know the meaning of) as a public health crisis and to remove the religious exemption for delusion from the DSM, which is the diagnostic rule book for psychological disorders.

Dawkins might say he would not want to impose his beliefs on others, but would his followers have that same belief? Boghossian seems fine with treating those of us who are Christians or believers in any deity as if we have a disease. 

The sad part is technically, Dawkins is not contradicting his atheism in any way. For a Christian, to think it okay to abort a baby with Down’s Syndrome would be a contradiction of their view of life, but for Dawkins, it does not have to be. Of course, there are many individual atheists who are pro-life and thank God for them, but the only requirement for being an atheist is “Don’t believe in God.” You can not believe in God and be a psychopath or be a philanthropist and both of them are consistent with the statement “God does not exist.” You cannot be living a life of sin in Christianity and have that be consistent with “I am a follower of Christ.”

Well Professor Dawkins, the sad reality is that you don’t see children with Down’s Syndrome as a gift to the world, which indeed they are as many parents with Down’s Syndrome children would tell you, but we can certainly say that you, Professor Dawkins, are a gift to the church. You are a great example of what will happen the more and more we move away from God and let people like you have the most say in what goes on in our culture.

Let’s just hope most people have enough moral sense to know not to like it.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 4

July 29, 2014

How do we handle the issue of childbirth? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Once again, I return us to my wife Allie who has written part four in her own series. As always, her opinion is not necessarily the same as my own, but I do want to take the chance to share her work.

4. Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil. (http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C1)
The first thing the article says in this section is a quote from Martin Luther, “If a woman dies in [child]bearing, let her die; she is there to do it.” There is no source of where they found this quote, it’s just labeled as one Martin Luther says. I did some research on this quote and I found that while a lot of pro-choice people quote this, there’s actually no real evidence that Martin Luther actually said this (http://www.tektonics.org/af/bogusq.php). That’s probably why there was no source to this quote in the article, because there was no source to begin with. The rest of the article mainly complains about how Christians aren’t for family planning. This is not completely true for all Christians. Some Christians believe in “natural family planning.” This is basically abstaining from intercourse when a woman is most fertile during her menstrual cycle if they wish to avoid conception (http://www.natural-family-planning.info/). This is well accepted among Catholics for example. Other Christians are fine with other uses of birth control, but won’t accept certain kinds (IUD’s for example) because they can cause early abortions (https://www.spuc.org.uk/education/contraceptives). Christians are against any form of abortions. If there is an unplanned pregnancy, there are other ways to deal with the issue than abortion. There are many couples for example who would love to have children but for some reason they naturally can’t. If you don’t want the baby, put it up for adoption and let another couple who are seeking to have a child love and take care of it. The author of the article complains, saying “If evidence-based compassion— the intersection of truth and love—was at the top of Christian priorities, hunger and destitution would be vastly diminished because millions of mothers would be able to plan and prepare for their babies.” Look, there’s a simpler way to solve some of this than the writer realizes. Teens, young adults, I’ve said this before in another section, and I’ll say it again, wait until you’re married before you have sex. It’s more fulfilling and you don’t have to risk an unplanned pregnancy. No birth control is 100% pregnancy-proof (other than not having any sex at all). When you do get married, don’t have kids until you are ready to have kids and can take care of them. Do your research. You can try natural family planning, or use a safe birth control that is not abortive. If you do happen to get pregnant and you’re not ready, don’t be afraid. There are organizations who can help you with taking care of the baby if you decide to keep it. If you choose to not keep the baby, put it up for adoption and allow another couple to love and care for it as their own child. There are many couples who can take care of the baby and would love to care for the baby if you don’t want to or can’t.
I beg of you, with all my heart and soul, please, do not abort the baby. You may be pregnant and have been told your child will be physically or mentally disabled. You may be thinking, “How can this child live? This child will live such a horrible life! No one would ever fall in love with this child, they’ll always be alone! I can’t allow this child to suffer!” If you are in that position, listen to me closely, my husband and I have Aspergers Syndrome (a form of Autism). Is it easy? No. I got bullied terribly growing up. There are a lot of people who think because of the disability my husband and I have, we should’ve been aborted. But my husband and I are glad to be alive! We love each other, and even if we never found each other, we know we are still loved by our families, friends, and even more so, our Heavenly Father! Don’t take away the life your child could have! Let them live! Our next section will be: 5. Undermining science is evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/5/2014: Aspergers and Apologetics

April 3, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

RTB_Hugh Ross

As I hope you know, April is Autism Awareness Month. Back in January then, I set to work booking a guest to come here and talk about Aspergers for our audience. Who is that?

Get set for a good show. My guest this Saturday is Dr. Hugh Ross. Why Dr. Ross? Because Ross himself has Aspergers.

As readers of this blog know, my father-in-law is Mike Licona. Someone had told my wife and I that there were a lot of astronomers who had Aspergers. One year at an apologetics conference, Mike agreed to ask Hugh Ross for us if he knew anyone in the field who had Aspergers. The response Mike got to the question was “I have Aspergers.”

I have found some people to be surprised by this but frankly, it makes sense to me. Whether you agree or disagree with Ross, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the areas that he talks about and definitely has an obsessive interest in them. This is something that is common in the Aspie community.

Here in fact are some of Ross’s credentials in this field.

Director of observations for Vancouver’s Royal Astronomical Society (age 17)
Recipient of a National Research Council of Canada fellowship
BSc in physics (University of British Columbia)
MSc and PhD in astronomy (University of Toronto)
Postdoctoral studies researching distant galaxies and quasars (Caltech)

Of course, Hugh Ross is also the founder and president of Reasons To Believe, a science and apologetics think tank that has a ministry dedicated to showing skeptics that science and Christianity are not incompatible and aimed at giving people reasons to believe.

Readers of the blog also know that I do not talk about science as science so I will be leaving much of that to Dr. Ross. We will for the first part of the show be talking about two of his books. These will be “Why The Universe Is The Way It Is” and “Hidden Treasures In The Book of Job.”

The second part is the part that I hope will connect with the most people and that will be when we talk about life with Aspergers and raising awareness of what it is like. I after all am one who is diagnosed with the condition as is my wife. I am not surprised when I meet other Aspies in the field of apologetics and often times, we latch onto it strongly and make it a life’s work.

If you know someone who is on the Autism spectrum or suspect you know someone, such as you are a parent of a child who you think might have autism of some sort, then please be listening to this show. I would hope the existence of this show alone would show the contributions someone can make even if they have Aspergers. In fact, I would say my Aspergers is a benefit to the work that I do, although it does have difficulties. Dr. Ross however, has achieved international prominence in his work and he has had to learn to watch himself in some ways and overcome some quirks of Aspergers. These will be talked about in the course of the show.

The show will air from 3-5 PM EST on 4/5/2014. I will open the lines for calls when we talk about autism. The call in number will be 714-242-5180. Please be listening and encourage others to listen and please remember this month to be mindful of those of us in the autism community.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Miss Shining Star Beauty Pageant

January 6, 2014

What about the least of these? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Okay. Today, I’m going to try to do something new on the blog and that is to add a picture. If it works well, I hope to do so whenever I do a book review. At any rate, I’m taking a little break from Book Plunges to write about what happened this weekend.

Saturday, my wife Allie was invited to participate in a beauty pageant for women with disabilities. It was the Miss Shining Star Pageant put on in large part with the help of Joni and Friends of Knoxville. Around 25 disabled girls participated in this pageant with ages from 4 to 34.

As readers of this blog know, Allie and I both have Asperger’s and that was how Allie entered. There were four categories. There was Tiny Shining Star with ages 4-7, Little Miss Shining Star with ages 8-12, Teen Shining Star with ages 13-17, and then Shining Star for 18+ and one overall Miss Shining Star. There was also a talent competition and a photogenic and personality contest.

As I watched the event I remember being marveled and thinking from an apologetics perspective about the least of these. It is because of the coming of Christ that we do have such compassion largely. Leaving the young to die in the time of the Roman Empire was something common, and that could be just for being female. It would be all the more likely if a female was clearly disabled.

We might say we’re better, but are we? I know a couple at our church who when they were told their child would be born with Down’s Syndrome was told that they had “other options” they could consider. No way. Not one bit! This life was a valuable life. Why? Because of their Christian worldview. They knew that this life was someone in the image of God and today, they delight in their Down’s Syndrome baby.

I watched this whole show go on thinking about how each of these people would in some way be someone who would normally be rejected by the world. There is instead a contrast to a position such as 1 Cor. 1 where the weak are the ones who are said to shame the strong. God has taken the lowly and despised by the world in order to showcase his glory.

Christianity tells us each of us has value as we are not because of what we do, but because in some way, all of us bear the image of God and all of us who submit to God will be conformed to the likeness of the Son, the ultimate image of God. God can take us and transform us, disabilities and all. The very aspects about us we consider shameful are those that He could plan to use to bring about His glory the most.

As for how the competition ended in case you’re wondering, I think it was wonderful. Allie was actually the only contestant in the competition who was married and got to give a talk about finding her one true love in the interview portion.

Apparently the judges really liked it.

After all, I was the man who got to go home with Miss Shining Star 2014! Congratulations to my wife Allie for being crowned Miss Shining Star and may she be an inspiration to other women who might have given up on themselves. You might be tempted to, but don’t think God has given up on you. You can still shine!

MissShiningStar2014Miss Shining Star 2014 Allie Peters!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Number Three

July 24, 2013

Do wonders ever cease? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Today, I’m moving away from the usual debate I’ve had on the blog recently to mark a milestone down. I certainly hope there will be no debate on today’s entry. When I say for the title “Number Three” is that, as readers of this blog hopefully remember, today my wife Allie and celebrate three years together.

I’ve often said I was one of those guys who thought I’d never ever get married, not because I didn’t desire to, but because what kind of girl loves a nerdy guy like this? Apparently, Allie is the kind who does. It was on this day three years ago that she said that yes, she wants to invest the rest of her life into me. I said the same to her naturally.

It’s been an interesting three years. Our finances have been terrible. We’ve had numerous events happen such as job losses, having to move, deaths, and surgeries. With both of us being Aspies, we undergo a number of difficulties a lot of couples do not, but at the same time it has been an adventure.

I’ve always seen apologetics as an adventure. It is protecting the world from false teachings that seek to destroy the flock and lead people astray. It is a battle where souls are on the line and with Allie by my side, I can wake up each day more inspired and know that when my work is done for the day, I’ve got someone by my side who expects me to give it my all and is cheering on her husband, who she thinks is absolutely the best!

These years have been shaping for me. Before we got married, my then pastor met me at the church and ten minutes prior to walking down the aisle, we were praying, and he asked me what I was praying for. I told him that what I prayed for most was that I wanted to be holy. I understand that the next day, a Sunday, that was even talked about in the sermon. (We would have been there, but Allie and I were on our way to the beach for our honeymoon. I think it was an absence the church understood.)

Today, that is still my prayer. I can look at things I do or say and think “Dang it, I really made a mistake there.” If anything can help make you more aware of the sinful nature in your life, it’s marriage. I had lived with a roommate prior to marriage, and that certainly brings some things out of you, but somehow marriage does it totally different.

In marriage, you share your entire being with someone. I love Allie heart, body, and soul. I seek to give her all that I have and I ask that she does the same for me. Marriage becomes a way of saying “I want nothing to hold me back in my love for you.” Many people today in debates talk about how they want freedom so much. A married couple does not want freedom. They want to be bound to one another.

It takes awhile to get used to the changes. Some are more immediate, such as learning to share a bed with someone. Some of them take time, such as, well, time. After awhile, you start to realize your time is not yours. I can find that I can plan out how I want the day to go some, only to find out later Allie wants to do something and before too long, those plans aren’t going as I thought. I do the same to her sometimes. That’s part of sharing your life. Nothing is really “yours” any more. It becomes more “ours.”

In all of this, a person is shaped more in sanctification and holiness. Now in saying this, I am not saying everyone should get married. Not everyone wants to. I’m biased, but I think marriage is awesome. I like thinking that I’m the guy that gets to be sharing my life with someone special. I like looking and realizing that we have in fact formed our own family unit together. I like thinking as well that while we’re going through a hard time now, there is work to be done in the future and we’re going to do it together. There are some events ahead on the horizon and I hope that matters will pick up.

So today, as I celebrate three years, I am aware I am a far better man for it. I often tell Allie that aside from the gift of Jesus Christ, nothing empowers me like she does. Nothing shapes and encourages me like she does. It is a role no parent, family member, teacher, or friend could fill. It is something special only the love of a spouse could do, and Allie has indeed done it, even though I suspect she is highly unaware of how strong the change is she has wrought, despite my constantly telling her.

Happy Anniversary to my Princess! I love you dearly!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Something Beautiful

April 18, 2013

What are some thoughts to keep in mind for Autism Awareness Month? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

This month, I haven’t written really on Autism Awareness Month yet, although it has shown up in the Deeper Waters Podcast, particularly on the episode of April 6th when I interviewed Jacob Alexander. He wrote the book “In the Belly of the Whale” about his son Joseph who has Asperger’s.

Last year, I did a lot of writing on the topic of Asperger’s this time of year so I figured I’ve covered most of it. Yet as I write this, I think about how a friend recently wrote somewhere about us having a ministry by Aspies for Aspies here and that it’s beautiful.

Now those who know us know that I’m the intellectual in the family. My wife is the artist in the family. I prefer to make a beautiful argument. She prefers to make beautiful art. We both prefer to be beautiful together. Both of us know the way the world can be and both of us know what rejection is like.

It’s something that makes our marriage unique. Both of us are surprised that they are not rejected by the other. Such thinking is a tendency that still has to be overcome. Old ways of thinking die hard. It’s with that kind of thinking that one can have a difficult time learning to trust someone else.

Fortunately, the way we are, we can better understand each others oddities. For instance, recently, I had to take Allie to a community center where she’s going to be taking a free sewing class. I’m the one carrying all her stuff and as we start to leave, she notices I have my eyes squinting. She and the teacher ask if I’m okay. I motion Allie to look a certain direction, seeing as when I get particularly nervous I don’t want to speak, and she sees that there is a dirty dish standing where I’m pointing, and she knows I can’t stand to look at a dirty dish. It’s like putting kryptonite next to Clark Kent.

Is that weird? You bet it is. Rational? Not a bit. But Allie understands it. In the same way, I understand the way she panics any time a bug comes on the scene. I can stand outside on our front porch with bumblebees out there and not worry a bit about being stung and she’ll be scared to step outside. It’s okay. I understand it.

For us, it can be difficult to do many things. We can be aloof in numerous ways. Each of us gets so caught up in our interests that basic housekeeping can be problematic. With each of us having obsessions, we have to work to balance those two together.

Yet there is a great benefit too in that we help each other where they are weak. For instance, if I am speaking too much in small group at church, Allie can put her hand on me gently and I know I need to start wrapping things up. When I think she is not catching on to something, I can explain it to her. After all, on the spectrum, it’s hard to know how things are experienced by outsiders.

Also, I find with her, I am more in touch with an emotional side. I can have far greater empathy with someone than I ever could before. For her, I find she is becoming much more in touch with a logical side. She’s seen me comment on a number of commercials as having bad arguments and has started seeing the way they work. On Easter Sunday, I heard her debating a small point with my own Dad and thinking that she did just stellar on her own.

We hope that what we have together is also a ministry in itself to other people on the spectrum and others that are disabled in other ways out there. It is possible to be loved and accepted on the spectrum and it is possible for Aspies to lead happy lives like other people. It’s possible for us to get married and have our own family. It does not have to be a life of rejection. The biggest limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves when we say we can’t do something.

We are God’s workmanship just like anyone else, Aspie and all. If anything, it makes our ministry all the more effective as we are the ones the world would look at and say that we can’t do anything and we need to let the “normal” (Whatever that means) people handle it. Why should we? We are just as much in the image of God as anyone else is and we are made to reflect Him too.

For us then, any success we have is not just ours. It’s a success for the entire community of people on the spectrum. It’s a slam as well to all the people in the past who told us to give up. As an example, I had in preparing for Bible College a piece of advice from the “experts” that I should not go into ministry because I could not handle public speaking.

I wish they had been there when I spoke to my college student body and professors which was around 1,000 people. Somehow, I handled it just fine. (If anything, speaking to that many people is easier than speaking to one stranger)

Also, when you support financially and prayerfully the ministry of Deeper Waters, you are agreeing that you are seeing something beautiful and you want to keep it going. While we do have an emphasis for people on the spectrum and those who are disabled, keep in mind apologetics, discipleship, and good marriages are for everyone! We want our neurotypcial (non-spectrum) friends to be blessed as well.

We thank the many people who have supported us throughout the years. To our critics, we ask you to wait and see what’s coming. We ask for those who read us to continue at least supporting us prayerfully and with your encouragement. It is a great blessing to us as we hope to bring you something beautiful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/6/2013

April 5, 2013

What are we going to the talking about on the podcast on 4/6/2013? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Some of you might have noticed that the time of posting for the blog has changed recently. I find it’s much easier to do the blog in the morning so that I have the rest of the day to myself and spend less time online that way. I have also since doing the Deeper Waters podcast every Saturday, decided to do the blog just Monday-Friday. Sunday, I just decide to take a rest to recharge.

I figured today that since I want people to know what’s going on on the podcast and have a reminder that they ought to listen in, then I’d start posting some on Fridays about what we’re going to be talking about on the podcast on the following day, especially since I’m booking a lot of great guests to come on and talk about relevant issues.

For those who don’t know, April is Autism Awareness Month, a topic I blogged on profusely last April. Most people who read this blog know that my wife and I both have Asperger’s and so this is a time of the year that we take extremely seriously and we want to show that on the podcast.

Recently, I was made aware of a book by Jacob Alexander about his son Joseph called “In The Belly of the Whale.” Joseph has Asperger’s and Jacob wrote it about the challenges that his son faced as he was growing up and why the condition of Asperger’s has not been something that Joseph has used as an excuse to give up, instead quite the opposite.

As you can imagine, that’s the kind of story that I like to hear seeing as I have the same mindset. I view my condition as a unique way I have of looking at the world and getting to relate to people. In fact, I agree with the opinion I’ve heard Temple Grandin has given before. If there was given to me an opportunity to have a cure for this, I would not want it. It’s become part of who I am and affects my mind in such a way that gives me a good edge on my thinking.

On tomorrow’s program, we’ll spend two hours with Jacob talking about his son. I had hoped to get Joseph himself on the program, but he’s busy preparing for something in his schooling and now is not a good time. Still, I have read Jacob’s book and I have a lot of questions I want to ask about his son growing up. I also plan on sharing experiences of Allie and I with Asperger’s that I think relate to what Joseph has gone through.

I hope you all tune in and listen tomorrow. While the Alexander family is a Christian family so this is a Christian story, I think learning about Asperger’s would be beneficial for everyone and not just the Christian community, although we are certainly a community that needs to learn how to love those who are different from us. Please tune in tomorrow then to the Deeper Waters podcast to hear about a success story of someone with Asperger’s.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Jacob Alexander’s book can be bought here

The link to the show can be found here.

How I Met My Princess

February 14, 2013

What is the story of the love the Princess and I share? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For today’s entry, I’d really like to go personal and share the story of how my Princess and I came together, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day as I write this. The story starts in the year 2009. I believe it was August.

That day, I had got off of work at the Christian Research Institute and was heading back to the apartment where I lived with my roommate. Gary Habermas I had heard was teaching a week long module at SES where I was a student. Gary and I had talked a number of times since he’d spoken at the church there. I had always had a problem of being my own worst critic which I considered a symptom of emotional doubt. I wanted to know if he could help me with that. My friends who knew me before Allie can tell you that, yes, this was a HUGE problem for me.

So I stop by to see him and get there early. We meet in the lobby and he asks me if I know about Mike Licona’s daughter. I say no, but I’m intrigued already. He tells me about a hard time she’s going through and how he was talking to some fellow apologists about it and the topic came up of her having Asperger’s to which someone at the table said “Nick Peters has Asperger’s.”

Gary gave me her email and suggested I talk to her. At the start, neither one of us was looking for romance. She especially was not. In fact, she was hoping she could win back another guy at the time. Knowing what she was going through, I had decided to get her in touch with some older female friends of mine and Allie and I just kept chatting.

Except she started really developing a liking to me. Today, she’d say it was because I was like Christ to her. I was showing her great love and not getting upset with her about matters. It was something really unusual to her and she was thinking more and more about me.

I was starting to do the same.

And on Labor Day, we started going out.

It was a month later when I finally got the chance to drive down for the first meeting. We also had the first kiss, which was my first one as well. Our first date was to go to the Georgia Aquarium together. We even had a homeless person on the street ask us how long we’d been married on our first date!

There are pictures of me there touching some of the fish in the water which led one of our friends to say “That’s how I knew you two were going to work out. If she got you to touch something, it was good.” On the way back, we listened to music in the car together and I found she even liked my Final Fantasy music. It was just incredible.

That evening, we watched together at her parents’ house “Beauty and the Beast”. It was my first time to see that as well. Normally, Allie’s parents would have been nervous about her dating a much older guy, as I’m nearly ten years her senior, but her parents already knew about me. Mike had seen me at SES a number of times and liked me.

There is a funny story about Allie and I watching the movie together downstairs. Seeing as we were trusted, her parents gave us a wide range of freedom. That first night when we were watching the movie, her brother wanted to go downstairs by us to the kitchen to get something and her Mom said “Nick and Allie are downstairs on the couch right now and they’re cuddling. You might not want to go down there.” (By the way, for all concerned, Allie can assure anyone I was a gentleman the whole time. Cuddling was not anything inappropriate.)

We never saw her brother the whole night.

I honestly don’t remember much more of what happened that weekend, but I know she was depressed when I had to get back and get to work, and I was sad about it too. I’m sure I called her almost as soon as I got out of the driveway. I don’t remember if that’s when we first told each other we love each other or not.

I have been told that when I got back, my roommate told a mutual friend of ours that he might have to start looking for another place to live.

At the end of the month, Allie and I got together again. When we weren’t together, we were bombarding each other with IMs and emails. In fact, we would often have LOOOOOONG phone conversations at the end of the day, staying up past midnight. Could I tell you what we talked about in these conversations? Nope. Not a bit. Neither can she.

When we got together again, we were visiting my parents this time so Allie got to meet them and she got to meet my grandmother, who passed away about a year later. I have been told that when the time came for us to leave, that my mother wanted her good-bye hug. I told her I had to get Allie in the car first. She later called one of her friends just so sad about it to which she was told “Nick’s found someone special and you’re going to have to accept you’re no longer the #1 woman in his life.” Of course she did, but I understand it was hard.

Just so everyone knows, my parents are great parents. Both of them have done all that they can to help us out and we try to get together regularly. For instance, on Saturday nights, they like it if we come up and watch Huckabee with them. Some Saturday nights, I forget. Often times, my mother will help us with cooking and some household things, seeing as we’re not the best in that area. I say this because I want everyone to know that I greatly value my parents.

The next time we met was at the Apologetics Conference in November. Allie was there before I as she had to work that day. She tells me how she liked how then president of SES Alex McFarland had introduced her (Seeing as she was with her Dad) as “Nick Peters’s girlfriend.” She thought it was such a joy to for once not be introduced as Mike Licona’s daughter. My friends there were surprised that I only bought two books that year. Hey. I had more important money investments to make.

I remember waking up so excited the Saturday of the conference that I’d be with Allie again soon and after the conference, I was talking to the mother of some twins who were friends of mine and realized then, I would not find another girl like Allie who was so devoted to me and understood me so well and who I enjoyed being with. My decision was clear.

I also recall being at work and coming through a hall and hearing someone there talking about me. Apparently, someone had asked who I was with and I heard the person answering saying things like “Match made in Heaven.” “Wonderful couple.” “Great how God brings people together.” “Probably going to get married.”

He knew how true that was when I asked if he knew a good jeweler in the area.

In fact, my rooommate at the time messaged me at work one day saying he’d found someone who needed a roommate and he was going to take the chance and said “Besides, if I’m reading the tea leaves right, you won’t want me around much longer.” I told him if he was reading them right, he wouldn’t want to be around much longer.

I think he got a good inkling of where it was going when we went to the mall one day so he could get some jeans and I was checking out jewelry stores.

To which, I saw Allie around Thankgiving that year and her mother knew what I was planning. She gave me a stone to use in the engagement ring. It was a pink sapphire that was a family heirloom. I was quite secretive about this and especially with Allie. In fact, Allie and I went to the mall and went to some jewelry stores. While there, she wanted to try on rings “just because” and told me about the stone saying her Mom said I could use it, totally unaware I already had it. When we got back and her Mom asked how things went, Allie told her about the stores to which I said “Yeah. Allie said something about some sort of….pink sapphire…that I could use. Can I look at it later?”

Allie has definitely learned that I am incredibly sneaky.

The next month was December. I called her parents then as I was as traditional as I could be. I got them both on speaker and they hid themselves from Allie as much as possible. I told them I knew Allie and I hadn’t been dating for long, but I adored their daughter and I wanted to ask her to marry me and I wanted to get their blessing.

Guys. If at all possible, do this before you propose please.

As you can imagine, they happily gave it.

On Christmas Eve, Allie was flying in to the Charlotte airport. I got off work at Noon. I had the plan all worked out. I had been practicing what I would say and everything. Her flight was to arrive at 1:04. I got at the airport at Noon. Her flight actually got there early and I saw her at 12:49. I helped her get her bags and said I wanted to show her something before we left.

Outside of the airport, there’s a statue of Queen Charlotte who the city is named after. It’s a fountain statue with a star-shaped pool around it, and I took my Princess (As I call her) out there. While showing it to her, I was fumbling around in my pocket. I had the ring in the box and I wanted to make sure I didn’t open it the wrong way.

Okay. It’s right.

So I released the line I’d been preparing for.

“So Princess. Have you ever thought about being a queen?”

And she answered “Only if you’re the king.”

So I said “I guess you’ve made this easy for me.”

And her mouth opened in stunned silence as I got on my knee and opened up the box and said “Allie Licona. Will you marry me?”

And she said yes. We were both stunned.

Especially since my cell phone went off during my proposal.

Of course, I had ignored it, but now that she had the ring on, we decided to see who it was. I thought it was my Mom. She ALWAYS calls at the worst times.

Half right. I had the wrong Mom.

Allie’s Mom had wanted me to know Allie’s plane had arrived earlier. It is something we have said we would always be teasing her about.

I suppose with this blog, we can definitely say “Mission Accomplished.”

We drove to Knoxville with her calling everyone. I called my roommate and got a busy signal. I called someone else and then checked back to see my roommmate had left a voicemail. He wanted to congratulate me saying that Allie’s Mom had already put it up on Facebook.

Yeah. There was some excitement.

When we got to our first stop for Christmas Eve celebrations, I told Allie I was going to do things strategically. We walked in with I on the left and her on the right. There had been bad weather and we had to take a longer route so everyone was together when we got there.

Perfect.

Anyway, we walked in that way because I was covering her hand with the ring. This was the first time several of them had seen her and so I said “I want all of you to meet Allie. She and I have been going out for a few months now and as of X hours ago, she’s become somewhat more important.” As I said that last part, I would remove my hand to show the ring.

I then say I dove out of the way to avoid the onslaught of women wanting to see that ring.

I honestly don’t remember too much in the months after that. Everything was in a rush getting set for the wedding. It was also difficult when I lost my job in that, but friends did come through and provide for us to get things like a bed and a honeymoon. (We went to Ocean Isle Beach.)

I remember speaking with my roommate in his new place one time and telling him I wanted him to pick us up at the hotel the day of the wedding as her parents had arranged for us to have a hotel stay on our wedding night. I remember him kind of shrugging about it. Then I said “I figure you can either pick me up there that morning or else just pick up a couple of honeymooners the next day and take us to our car.”

I remember his eyes opening big and opting for the first option instead.

Our wedding really was a dream wedding. Things went off so well. The theme to Superman was playing as we walked down the aisle together. A lot of people thought since I’m the Smallville buff, that I was the one who thought of that. Wrongo! It was Allie! She wanted to surprise me. We had “Wait for Me” by Rebecca St. James, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, and a song that is still “our song.” That one is “Eyes on Me” which is actually from Final Fantasy VIII. My sister sang that and Allie’s Mom played the piano. (My sister got some good teasing in January of 2011 when she put up moments of the past year that made her smile and my wedding was not shown at all!)

My roommate also had the best wedding toast ever. I am posting it here in its entirety.

As we were moving Allie’s things into Nick’s apartment, my foot struck an object embedded near the creek. It turned out that they were a set of golden plates, curiously arranged. On them appeared writing; but it was of an unintelligible nature. I quickly realized that this was Nick’s writing; which, as most here know, required the gift and power of God to translate. I have done so—and here is what I found.

AND IT CAME TO PASS that Nicholas did meet Allie in the last year of the reign of George.

And it came to pass that while Nick did reside in the region of Mecklenberg, Allie didst reside in the far-off city of Atlanta, named after the Roman goddess of traffic jams;

And it came to pass that they didst fall in love with one another, and this love was confessed; nay, confessed and shown morning, noon, and night;

And it came to pass that their courtship did blossom like unto kudzu; nowhere to be seen one day, and is everywhere the next;

And it came to pass that Nick didst begin to contemplate a future of more than just phone calls and AOL Messenger chat; lo, he didst envision the prospect of Marriage, and a Family.

And it came to pass that he set about achieving this goal.

And it came to pass that he did quest within the Queen City for a band of metal wrought like unto the work of the smiths of old; from the City East to the City West to the Park of South didst he look. And lo, he found one.

And it came to pass at the Eve of the Feast of the Nativity that he didst finally pop the question;

And it came to pass that she said yes.

And it came to pass that many quests and trials didst they pass to get to the altar. Verily, the gifts and talents of much family and many friends didst they obtain, and grateful were all at the giving.

And it came to pass that they did get hitched in the second year of the reign of Obama, to the delight of all; lo, though those in charge come and go, Nick and Allie’s love shall not, lo, nor will they let their affection do the same.

And it came to pass that they did endeavor to be an Example, and for the radiance of their love and virtue to remain unsullied even should the years pile up like books; and they did also desire to be a reflection of the splendor of the Trinity to all they did meet.

And it came to pass—or at least, it better come to pass—that all their many friends and family did support them, and did offer counsel, aid, kindness, and wisdom.

Thus ended the text on the plates.

Kidding aside, I do not think that either of you could have found anyone more well-suited. Therefore it is my distinct honor to propose this toast:

First, to your holiness: because all else rightly flows from this. May it remain undimmed through many, many blessed years.

To your marriage, that it fully reflects that greater Marriage between Christ and his Bride. May this marriage be an image of the joy of His return!

To your virtue: that faith, hope, and love grow stronger and deeper from this day forward; that your temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude become an example that none can see without admiration.

To your health: or rather, to your attitude towards it. Good health you will not always have, nor is it guaranteed; yet may you have the perspective to face both blessing and trial with grace.

To your home: may it be Godly, and happy, in that order; and may all who enter it be washed and renewed its resonant blessedness.

And in all, may God receive the praise and glory. It is my desire that your marriage should seem fitting of praise; yet it is also my desire that you do not keep it for yourself.

Nick and Allie, thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding.

Thank you.

We left the wedding in a limo her parents had arranged. That was on July 24th, 2010. There have been bumps and hurdles since then. There have been good times and bad. We still have the financial struggles as before. We still have issues we’re working on. Still, to this day, my Princess is still my valentine and she is still the love of my life.

To my Princess, Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope reading this will make you smile as much as writing it made me smile.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

40 Years

January 22, 2013

Why do we oppose abortion? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Abortion has been the law of the land for forty years today. One of my friends strong in the pro-life movement tells me that as of today, 55 million babies have been killed by abortion.

Let that number sink in for a bit. 55 million.

Here for instance is a list of how many people live in each state: http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/21/pf/Census_2010/index.htm

The amount of babies killed is about a million away from the combined population of California and Florida.

It is about 3-4 million short of the population of New York tripled.

You could kill everyone in Texas twice and not get that number.

I live in Tennessee. The number of people killed by abortion is about 9 times the amount of people living in Tennessee now.

That’s a lot.

And why?

We are told it is in the name of freedom, but there is nothing free about it. It is in fact killing freedom. It is eliminating the freedom of someone else to live so that someone else can have the freedom to have sex or have a career or something of that sort.

Let this be understood. We know people have good reasons to want to have abortions. We are not saying sex is a bad thing. We are not saying a career is bad. We are not saying that financial security is bad. We are only saying one thing. We are saying that abortion itself is wrong.

The same people that will tell us that we ought not to judge will make a judgment about whether a baby gets to live or die. The people that tell us that we ought to be more tolerant refuse to tolerate the idea of bringing a baby into the world. Child sacrifice is still going on as human babies are sacrificed in blood offerings at the altar of political correctness.

I don’t care if that’s offensive. Neither should pro-lifers. It’s even more offensive that babies are dying.

I’d like to give my personal perspective at this point.

Readers of this blog know that I have Asperger’s. I don’t really hide it. I don’t make my blog all about that, but when I think it is relevant, I will bring it out. My wife Allie also has Asperger’s. I am thankful that neither my parents nor her parents ever once had any thought about abortion. True, they did not know we would be this way when we were in the womb, but I do not doubt for a moment that they would have acted any differently. We were their babies to love and cherish.

A lot of people would say a life like mine is not worth living.

Now I know there are people with far worse conditions, and the reality is, a lot of these people also have good lives. On my father-in-law’s Facebook recently, someone put up a video about someone who was born without arms and legs and is now a motivational speaker basing it all on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s also married and has a baby on the way.

Somehow, he thinks his life is worth living.

I get to live my life in ways I never would have dreamed had I just given up early on, because schooling was not always easy. For me, the possibility of getting married seemed like a distant dream. Now it’s an every day reality. I get to go to bed each night and wake up each morning with the woman I love and who actually loves me back and accepts me as I am, something I never would have thought possible. I honestly many times have a hard time believing just how much this woman loves me, and I really don’t think I grasp all of it.

I get to do a work that I love. I love apologetics. My Christian faith has always been important and finding out about apologetics got me to where I could use my mind in a way I never would have dreamed possible. I have a number of bookshelves here and with a new Kindle from a friend of the ministry, I have many more books to read. I get such a great joy out of learning.

When you leave comments here on the blog that are encouraging, I smile. When you want to debate, I enjoy it. When I see myself being quoted or shared, I just marvel at the thought. I can keep thinking that a lot of people would say that I was one that the world should have just forgotten, but it seems that God does indeed use the despised of the world.

My wife and I have an excellent small group at our church and we are thankful for their blessing. It is amazing how much love they have showered on us and yet, they all delight in hearing us. They are a group that we can truly be ourselves around. They now understand how we are different with having Asperger’s and it’s made us all the more delightful to them. We still remember well our leader saying “I would love to hear the conversation between you two on your way home.”

We have a cat. He is a Turkish-Angora mix that we named “Shiro” which is the Japanese word for white, and he is the whitest cat I have ever seen. When we found him, he was abandoned and had we not took him, he would have gone to the pound. We decided to make our home his and he is a joy to our lives. This cat whines more than any cat I have ever seen. It is a laugh for us every night when we announce that it’s time for “DINNER!” to see what one of my friends calls the “white missile” come running through.

I know not everyone likes cats, but that’s their loss. This little guy enriches our lives and when I look at him, I think of the wonder of the creator who makes all varieties of life and how that life is good.

Just now, I finished having lunch before this blog and that is something satisfying as well. I had fixed myself some grilled cheese sandwiches in a device we bought just for that. I have my Brita water bottle here for a nice beverage and even before lunch had had a nice shower in our own house that we live in thanks to the generosity of my parents. It used to be my grandmother’s house. After she died and we needed a place to stay, they readied it for us. We live in our own house with our own furniture and everything ultimately that we need.

We are blessed.

I don’t deny there are tough times. Allie and I still have struggles. Right now, our financial situation is atrocious. (If you want to know how to support what we’re doing here at Deeper Waters, please let me know) Because of Asperger’s, we do have issues that we are working on. I know I can be too obsessive and worrying at times for instance. There are many times I can do something to hurt Allie without realizing it because I’m largely rationality and don’t see the emotional side of my words. She’d tell you I’m like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. (And that is another great joy of our lives. We try to watch that every night. I keep telling Allie it’s a series about four just perfectly ordinary guys and she never seems to agree with that.)

You know what abortion is saying? It’s saying that all of those goods that I have experienced should not be given to someone else a priori. Because they were conceived at the wrong place and the wrong time, we are to not let them live.

It amazes me that those who complain about the problem of evil often and how God will let innocents suffer seem to have no problem with the act of abortion where those who are the most innocent amongst us suffer the most.

Each human life is special and shows us something about humanity if we will let it. Yes. You might kill the next Beethoven or Jonas Salk or Martin Luther King. I’ve heard that before. That would be tragedy. You know what the real tragedy is?

You’d definitely kill a human and cheat them out of knowing the world and cheat the world out of knowing them.

That life is valuable because it is a human life and it is treasured because of that. It is a unique combination of the DNA of two different people that will never be again. Even identical twins are different in some ways.

The onslaught on innocent children has been going on for forty years.

Do your part. Let’s do what we can to make it not be forty-one years.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Society and Mental Illness

December 17, 2012

What are we to do with those who are different? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, we all know that some nutcase went berserk in Connecticut and decided the way to approach reality was to kill his mother, several elementary schoolers, and some teachers. Most of you know his name. I’m not going to bother to repeat it here. I personally think we shouldn’t even show his picture even and should instead spend more time thinking about the victims of a tragedy like this and their families.

Unfortunately, I’m not the one in charge of the media so it doesn’t go that way, alas.

Still, immediately after the news came out that this person could have Asperger’s, like my wife and I do, there were some isolated cases where people started making statements about people with mental illness. What concerns me most is that some of those are the same people who take the name of Christ on their lips and call Him their Lord. I do not doubt they do, but Jesus is Lord of the mentally healthy and the mentally unhealthy.

If we were being accurate at the start, we’d admit that we all have neuroses of some kind, even those of us who have never been diagnosed. There are some ways we are all unrealistic in our thinking. Blaise Pascal once said that if you take a person who is normally rational and suspend him on a plank of sufficient size over a huge chasm, his emotion of fear will start overriding his reason quite quickly.

One of my favorite shows is Monk about the obsessive-compulsive homicide detective. In one extra they have on the DVD sets, they started asking about neuroses of the actors on the series. One I remember is that one of them had a strong hatred of public restrooms. Many of us can relate to that. We can feel much dirtier after being in a public restroom. Some people might have a strong fear of bugs. That’s my Mrs. Some people really can’t stand blood. If I even start hearing a story that is bloody in any way I have to immediately put my hands to my ears and not listen. I can’t even stand seeing a paper cut.

Yeah. I know it’s not rational. Reality is you probably know some areas of your life where your thinking isn’t exactly rational either.

For some, this is a more permanent state. Now it doesn’t mean they’re without reason entirely. I would consider myself a very reasonable person for instance. I love rationality and I love thinking through an issue. Still, I know I have areas of my life where something is overpowering that reason.

In fact, just as I finished that paragraph, I had a call come from the living room that my wife thought there was a spider in there, which she has a huge phobia of to which I try to say “eight-legged things” instead of the word itself. Meanwhile, I go in and find out it’s a ladybug, which I happen to like and refuse to kill or flush. (Could be because I know they help kill other bugs. Could be because when we had a Colecovision, Ladybug was my favorite game on there.)

One show we like to watch together is The Big Bang Theory, which I tell my wife is about four perfectly ordinary guys, which for some reason she never believes. Everyone who watches it knows that Sheldon Cooper is a highly intelligent person with a brilliant mind.

They also know he’s bat crazy. (Despite his claims to the contrary since his mother had him tested.)

Why do I say this? Because mental illness affects everyone. Many of us have one and if we don’t, we know someone who does. I technically have one with Asperger’s, but at the same time, I doubt people would describe me as “mentally ill” in the way we think of illness. Some might say my thinking is off on areas, but they would not use that term.

Some people might take medications for this. My wife is one who does. Some might not. I am one who does not. Let this also be stated. People of the church have sometimes thought that medication for emotional or psychological problems is wrong. Stop it. There can be a problem with the brain just like any other part of the body. Yes. There are dangers with psychiatric drugs just like with most any other drugs, but there are often greater dangers without.

For those of us who are on this spectrum of having a condition, we must be judged on a case by case basis. We’re not all alike, just like people without mental problems are not all alike. I had considered calling this blog “The Church and Mental Illness” but the church is not the only one with a problem. Some people are looking at the mental illness as the cause of what happened.

If I was to point to a cause, as a Christian, I would simply say “Sin.” That might be too vague for some, and indeed in a sense it is vague. I do not know what was going on in this creep’s life, but I know there was something wrong for him to consider that this was what should be done. Unfortunately, the response the church can also have to people with mental illness qualifies as sin, and sin can often lead to more sin.

Of course, this is a factor, but it does not mean that everyone around you who has a condition is set to go off at any minute. Chances are, many people you see around you every day have some sort of mental condition and you don’t even realize it. I suspect most people watching me going through life who are strangers and don’t know me, don’t realize I have Asperger’s. They might see me as a bit quirky in some ways, but they just don’t make a diagnosis. I also don’t fault them for that. They’re not professional counselors. They shouldn’t have to. Now there are times that I am watching someone and I think “I wonder if they’re an Aspie.” My wife and I both do this especially since we have a keen interest in helping people in the field and want to do all we can.

It is odd that we live in a world that preaches tolerance as the greatest virtue, a virtue they get wrong by the way, and yet does not really begin to understand people who are different from them. Unfortunately, one creep like the one in Newtown will get the attention. It won’t be people out there, and I’d dare include my wife and I in it, who are actively seeking to make the world a better place and do whatever we can.

Keep this in mind. The person around you did not pull a trigger. They are not guilty of a crime. They cannot help that they were born with this condition. Yes. There are some behaviors we have to control because of the way we are born, just like most anyone does. Because I am born a man for instance, I can have desire for other women, but I have to control that desire because I’ve promised myself to one. What my wife and I often say about our Asperger’s and how we behave is “It’s an explanation, not a justification.” If we do something wrong because of it, there is a reason why we have likely acted that way, but that does not justify it.

If you are hostile towards people right now on the spectrum of mental illness, you also might have an explanation right now. You’ve heard about this idiot. The same applies to you. That might explain your animosity towards the rest of us, but it sure doesn’t justify it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters