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Aimee529
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22 May 2017, 9:53 am

I grew up in a very conservative (as in everyone who doesn't believe and do exactly what they believe and do is going to hell) and completely auditory church tradition. As I have gotten older, I have begun to realize that I prefer a more sensory expression of faith. I know some churches at least have created programs geared for people with special needs, but I don't think that would fit either as I can accommodate for myself....I just don't find much meaning in a judgemental and auditory expression of faith. Did you also have trouble with religion growing up? What have you found that fits? No religion? A different religion? A different denomenation? Help me think this through!



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23 May 2017, 10:18 pm

My upbringing with with militant anti-theism. Anyone who believes anything but secular, material, nihilistic atheism was a simpleton who could not attain the rigours of logical thought or was too weak to admit the truth, preferring instead of tell themselves comforting lies.
But I got over it. I am an actively practicing Buddhist. My tradition ironically taught me not to be so narrow minded, so hard line about everything, but gave me some room to enquire, find a gentler approach and explore what is and is not true about life. It also let me see what was really behind the anti-theist aggressive superiority.
As for religious expression - my tradition is very auditory as well but I like this - puja with a full sangha is wonderful for me, as I am very sensitive to sound and the bells and the voices of the others actually enhances spiritual experience for me. I also find that expression helpful as an autistic as it is very route - I know the stages, and I can participate without anxiety as I know what to do.
I appreciate that Buddhism makes sense, and does not contradict what we know in the modern age to be true.
But what I like about Buddhism could take all day to type. :wink:
I don't know much about Christian traditions, having only attended church with a school acquaintance when I was a teenager, but were you looking to stay within the Christian tradition, or move out to other faiths? Is it just the auditory style that bothers you with the judgemental approach, or is it the religion itself? I know there are forms of Christianity which do not rely on an auditory expression, though I'm unsure how much you can avoid judgement there. What do you seek to find in your spiritual or religious life?
Asking some questions may help you narrow down what you're after and where you could be looking.


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Aimee529
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23 May 2017, 11:00 pm

Thank you for your reply and your questions!! ! I am not really sure yet what I am looking for... The Christian tradition I grew up in basically thought everyone was going to hel l unless they thought and did just like them. There is actually a branch (that they try to disown) that has been kicked off college campuses because it is recognized as a cult... So I do have a lot of baggage from the hardline rigidity of their beliefs...and also from spending my entire life trying to fit my square off into their round hole (I went to the church school too so it was pretty much my entire world growing up...minimal exposure to other beliefs and others perceptions of me....I grew up feeling guilty and messed up.) It took decades to figure all of this out...It has shown up as physical health problems for the last 7+ years. Counseling led to yoga which led to meditation...which seems to be leading to am exploration of who I really am and who I want to be, believe, etc. I think what I am trying to sort out at this point in time is how much of this is ASD and how much of this is being in a controlling religion... I know there are aspects that are definitely complicated by the ASD. Learning and just being different definitely enhanced the feelings of guilt and lack of value. I also prefer things like yoga, meditation, holidays centered around rememberance (we weren't allowed to celebrate holidays as an expression of faith), etc where there is some movement, experience, and freedom...as opposed to "every week we sing 2 hymns, read a scripture, hear how everyone but us is going to hell, and finally someone will say a prayer." I have always been more of a visual/ experiential/holistic learner....I do "big pictures" more than linear details. It caused problems in my church school....no accommodations and teaching like it was the 1950s. I just can't figure out how much of this is ASD and how much of this of this is the particular controlling environment.... and for some reason I feel the need to know....maybe I am wondering if it is me or if it is them? I know their beliefs are not for me....they just don't fit me. (What does fit me I still haven't figured out!) Thanks for the reply!



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25 May 2017, 3:16 am

My own religious upbringing was nada, so I came to spiritual exploration with an open mind. Open, that is, so long as the religion does not claim things to be true which are objectively, perceievably and demonstratively false. So.... that eliminated most organized religions!

I am also a very sensory seeker person as well. For a spiritual experience to mean anything to me it must have components for the body as well as the mind.

I found satisfaction in the neo-pagan religions. Their worship is all experiential based. Dancing, drumming, singing, chanting, acting out passion plays, drinking, eating, sex, tracing labyrinths, body painting, and the use of evocative physical objects all can be included, in any combination, in pagan worship and celebrations.

And, here's the kicker, you're not required to even believe in the pagan gods. Most pagans say; hey, the gods exist whether I believe in them or not, it makes no difference to them so long as a party in their honor is going on!

Oh, and our only cardinal rule is be nice and don't f**k s**t up.



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25 May 2017, 8:58 am

You might Google your local Unitarian Universalist congregation (UU); they are Christian-derived but extremely inclusive, and often have yoga and meditation classes at their churches as well as communal seasonal celebrations.



Aimee529
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25 May 2017, 9:03 am

Hmmm....one of the things your comments made me think about... Perhaps my religious experiences as a kid are more related to the church itself than my ASD, but perhaps my recovery will be more influenced by ASD because I know I am a sensory seeker, etc and now y'all have mentioned several sensory infused options to explore.



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26 May 2017, 9:01 am

Silvermantle wrote:

I found satisfaction in the neo-pagan religions. Their worship is all experiential based. Dancing, drumming, singing, chanting, acting out passion plays, drinking, eating, sex, tracing labyrinths, body painting, and the use of evocative physical objects all can be included, in any combination, in pagan worship and celebrations.

And, here's the kicker, you're not required to even believe in the pagan gods. Most pagans say; hey, the gods exist whether I believe in them or not, it makes no difference to them so long as a party in their honor is going on!


I'm a Buddhist (a non-believing in gods variety) but I've always been drawn to neo-pagan religions. Their celebrations are full of colour, incense, sound, dance and food - it's a great sensory experience. I like to think of their gods as personified aspects of Nature, not independent entities, and neo-pagans don't really care anyway if you believe in gods or not, it's true. Those are really welcoming and varied communities, they bring their kids and pets to festivals, share food and drink. I'm looking forward to Pagan Pride this year in my city! :)



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26 May 2017, 9:53 am

I also grew up in a very conservative (Anabaptist) setting, but I am not certain as to what you might mean by "completely auditory church tradition" unless you are speaking of something that could even seem cult-like as far as overall expression and practice are concerned and while primarily focused within the congregational dynamic. Then, "Pentecostal" or "Spirit-filled" (emotionalism) comes to mind for me when you mention "a more sensory expression of faith", but that might not be what you mean.

Aimee529 wrote:
Did you also have trouble with religion growing up? What have you found that fits? No religion? A different religion? A different denomination? Help me think this through!

The religion of my childhood seemed fine until I found myself dying of alcoholism and it had no answers, and now I have ultimately landed at non-sectarian Torah observance. For many years I had missed the beauty of the forest (right fellowship and worship in relation to our Maker) while either being discouraged or distracted by various clusters of trees (denominations, etc.), but then the original A.A. -- today's AA is something entirely different -- showed me the path that today I believe truly goes somewhere.


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Aimee529
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26 May 2017, 11:23 am

There is a branch of the red group I grew up in that is recognized as a cult....so I guess you could say that the one I grew up in was cult-like. Do you all see your ASD affect your religious experiences/choices?



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07 Jun 2017, 8:02 pm

Aimee529 wrote:
Hmmm....one of the things your comments made me think about... Perhaps my religious experiences as a kid are more related to the church itself than my ASD, but perhaps my recovery will be more influenced by ASD because I know I am a sensory seeker, etc and now y'all have mentioned several sensory infused options to explore.


THIS. I'm not religious at all whatsoever, but I grew up being very involved in a church which was an incredibly fun, loving and positive experience. It was warm and welcoming and such an important part of my childhood and teen years. If I drive past it now, I go "Awww! Church!!"
Again, this is coming from someone who is 0% religious lol. So it absolutely depends on the church you go to, and probably what denomination it is too.


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07 Jun 2017, 8:12 pm

I grew up Catholic, when I would question contradictions in the scriptures for clarification I was met with scorn and harassment, when I was 16 and had the choice of getting confirmed or not going to church anymore it was an easy choice to leave. I've never looked back and have no faith, except perhaps faith in math and logic.



Aimee529
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08 Jun 2017, 7:29 am

Aristophanes wrote:
I grew up Catholic, when I would question contradictions in the scriptures for clarification I was met with scorn and harassment


Perhaps is is the part most influenced by ASD...needing people willing to meet your questions with respect and REAL answers and not just trying to pacify you.



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08 Jun 2017, 8:12 am

Aimee529 wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
I grew up Catholic, when I would question contradictions in the scriptures for clarification I was met with scorn and harassment


Perhaps is is the part most influenced by ASD...needing people willing to meet your questions with respect and REAL answers and not just trying to pacify you.

I don't know, all I know is I had legitimate questions about why things weren't consistent in the bible (perhaps that's my ASD coming out), and the emotion I got in return was like I was trying to attack the people there, which wasn't the intention at all. I may come off as anti-religious now (a misinterpretation really), but in all honesty I have issues with institutions that try to harness and control a person's belief system. I'm all for people as individuals coming to their own conclusions about the great unknown, and completely against an institution trying to manipulate or force those beliefs upon another. I wasn't born with that opinion, my experiences with religious institutions formed that opinion.

That opinion as relates to your conundrum is this: Do you need an institution to practice your faith, or can you practice it on your own? If you're comfortable experiencing your faith without the aid of others I say go for it, you'll probably find much more satisfaction exploring it on your own than being forced to recite the dogmas of others.



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08 Jun 2017, 10:13 am

Aristophanes wrote:
... Do you need an institution to practice your faith, or can you practice it on your own? If you're comfortable experiencing your faith without the aid of others I say go for it, you'll probably find much more satisfaction exploring it on your own than being forced to recite the dogmas of others.

On the understanding that "without the aid of others" does not have to mean "at the exclusion of all others as individuals", I agree completely. When the removal of the institution had left me with nothing, I began realizing I never had anything in the first place.


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Aimee529
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08 Jun 2017, 2:38 pm

Aristophanes wrote:
Aimee529 wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
I grew up Catholic, when I would question contradictions in the scriptures for clarification I was met with scorn and harassment


Perhaps is is the part most influenced by ASD...needing people willing to meet your questions with respect and REAL answers and not just trying to pacify you.

I don't know, all I know is I had legitimate questions about why things weren't consistent in the bible (perhaps that's my ASD coming out), and the emotion I got in return was like I was trying to attack the people there, which wasn't the intention at all. I may come off as anti-religious now (a misinterpretation really), but in all honesty I have issues with institutions that try to harness and control a person's belief system. I'm all for people as individuals coming to their own conclusions about the great unknown, and completely against an institution trying to manipulate or force those beliefs upon another. I wasn't born with that opinion, my experiences with religious institutions formed that opinion.

That opinion as relates to your conundrum is this: Do you need an institution to practice your faith, or can you practice it on your own? If you're comfortable experiencing your faith without the aid of others I say go for it, you'll probably find much more satisfaction exploring it on your own than being forced to recite the dogmas of others.


Yes...I have been coming to that same conclusion! Given my baggage, I think I am better off practicing my faith in my own.



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12 Jun 2017, 5:36 am

I have somewhat similar issue.
I was raised roman catholic, in a quite conservative family. I had a lot of questions, but instead of putting me down, I was encouraged to look for answers in theological works - for quite a lot of smart people had similar questions during the last 2000 years and some of them did come to some answers. As a result, the roman catholic and eastern orthodox theology became my special interest for years ;)
Also, as a teenager, I practised christian meditation and helped with the liturgy, mostly singing.

The problems started when I grew up. I felt like there is no place for me. Spotting all the theological errors in a sermon, noticing wrong pitch in hymns, messed up symbols in faux bysanthine painthings, terrible acustic of the church and lithurgical mess... and nobody to talk about it. People either don't care or overreact like i was attacking them personally.
Having children made it even worse - forget about meditation. No place for theological discussion. I feel like all they expect me to do is to teach the children prayers and cook yummy dinners :/ Oh, and of course give birth to more and more.

As profesionally I do science, I learned to value doubt. To search for the truth you need to ask all the possible uncomfortable questions. I can't un-learn it for religious services. But have nobody to talk it throught. People tend to react the silly "with us or against us" way.

So, after several years of struggling, I gave up. Now I'm officially agnostic. My parents mourn it and I miss spirituality but can't find it anymore. I just don't fit in :(


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