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Aspies and Taking Things Literally

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Aspies and Taking Things Literally

Postby phoenixryders » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:08 am

I'm making this topic in the context of faith and religion. Please correct me if I've made any mistakes in my arguments, or in fact my arguments made little or no sense at all. I am merely seeking knowledge and understanding.

As far as my understanding Aspies are known (or have the tendencies) to:

a) Be logical and analytical
b) Having to take things literally

When we look at (a), it is understandable that many Aspies tend to be more liberal thinking in regards to faith and religion, in which every detail is questioned as scrutinized. This leads to more Aspies to be a free-thinker rather than to practice religion (although there are no actual data to support that).

Although each religion has it's own views and interpretation the creation of life, do's and don'ts, good vs evil, heaven and hell (and etc.), all religion have somewhat similar concept and structure of it.

Looking at ancient Roman and Greeks for example, it is to my understanding that the 'creation' of mythical gods and goddes back then is a way for them to relate and understand the things that is happening around them, so that they are able to relate it in having a more structured and less paranoid society. Which I think make sense because if I were a Greek or a Roman back then, living in a world that I do not fully understand, I would want to know why things are happening around me. When things cannot be explained, the only way for me to comfort myself is to have something that I could make sense of. This is where Zeus, Posseidon, Athena, Hades (and I believe Jesus was mentioned a bit in greek mythology) comes in place.

In the holy book of each major religion now, you could also find stories on the creation of life, death, events, but the center of it is God and his words and commands.

Now, pointing back to (a), it is understandable why Aspies are more inclined to become free-thinkers. On the other hand, when it comes to (b) you can either say that:

i) because of Aspies are taking things too literally is the reason why most Aspies have difficulties believing in religion or;

ii) whatever is mentioned in the holly books are not to be taken literally, it should not be scrutinized and analyzed but instead should be looked as having a deeper meaning and to focus on the moral values.

While both (i) and (ii) have its own validity, problem is apparently that whatever's mentioned in the holly books are to be taken literally. This brings me to the questions:

- if taking things to literally is part of an Aspie's trait, what about the big majority of NT's that takes the word of the holy book literally? does that mean everyone who believes in what is written in the holy books have Aspies trait? Or perhaps taking things literally should've not been part of Aspies 'symptoms' or traits in the first place? Or perhaps, Asperger's Syndrome should've not even be classified as a 'disorder' in the first place? Or perhaps I shouldn't have taken words and its meanings too literally?

- when is it right to take things literally (in the context of religion)?

- should the holy books (regardless of the religion) be taken literally, or only parts of it or none?

I appologize if you find this post offensive, it was never my intention. I'm merely trying to get more knowledge and understanding regarding this issue. Although I do not practice religion myself. I strongly believe that every individual should have the right to believe on any faith or religion that they feel is right for them. In fact, I believe that if you think that by practicing religion makes you a better person, then I strongly condone you on practicing the religion that you feel is right for you. Even if you're a free-thinker/atheist/agnostic, you should find the thing inside you that makes you a better person and make this world a more liveable place for everyone, with little or no hostilities and more tolerance and understanding towards each other.
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Re: Aspies and Taking Things Literally

Postby TDT » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:52 pm

if taking things to literally is part of an Aspie's trait, what about the big majority of NT's that takes the word of the holy book literally?


The vast majority of people *do not* take any holy book literally. If they did, then there wouldn't be so many little exceptions that people make in terms of religion. A good, common example, is in relation to gays. According to many Christians, being gay is a problem in God's eyes, but eating shellfish (which is also in the bible as being an abomination as well. Yet...you don't see an outcry against shellfish. Same goes for mixed fibers.

I haven't been diagnosed as aspie, but I do tend to take many things literally (e.g. sarcasm is especially difficult for me to detect)...but being Buddhist, I don't even take stories in Buddhist texts as being literal.

In terms of taking things literally, I really feel strongly that this trait only really applies to more social rules and sarcasm...and not to stuff found in books, religion, or whatever. If aspies took things totally literally, then any media that depicted any kind of violence would likely be done...since if it's OK in a movie, then perhaps it's OK in real life. The opposite is also true, where if the rule is that violence isn't OK, then these movies could never be enjoyed.
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Re: Aspies and Taking Things Literally

Postby slugger » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:03 pm

TDT makes a good point, while aspies do TEND to take things literally, we are not necessarily stuck in that mode. Yes my initial reaction when listening to someone talk is to take everything literally, but then I go back and consciously translate what was said into what was actually meant. I do have a full ability to understand things in a metaphorical sense, it's just sometimes I need to be informed that I should do so.

In terms of religion, when I was talking to the catholic priest that married me to my first husband, he said point-blank that the stories in the bible are NOT to be taken literally, that they were made up (as you referred to regarding Greek mythology) with the purpose of conveying a concept to the "masses" in a way that could be easily understood and accepted. So OK, that is how I take them.

As far as the majority of NT's taking holy books literally, I agree with TDT, that I'm not so sure that's the case. I know a lot of people do, and I really scratch my head at that, I don't know how they can make sense of it if it's all taken literally. I guess you can say that, as an aspie, for me logic trumps "taking things literally", if you know what I mean.


TDT wrote: - when is it right to take things literally (in the context of religion)?

- should the holy books (regardless of the religion) be taken literally, or only parts of it or none?



I don't think literal things really apply in religion. It's all concepts. Even what God actually is is up for individual interpretation, even within the same religion. The books (of all religions) were all written by humans, in whatever language they spoke at the time they wrote it, and therefore they were limited by what that particular language could describe. And in many cases they've been translated, and translated again. So how could one possibly hope that a translation of a translation of a description of a human being's concept, be really accurate to what the original concept was supposed to be?

Very interesting post, pheonix, I don't think it'll offend anyone, at least not on this forum!
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ~Ghandi
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Re: Aspies and Taking Things Literally

Postby phoenixryders » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:05 pm

Good point indeed TDT.

While I acknowledge that there are such exeptions and as time goes by, apparently there are some conflict within the religion itself regarding what is to be exepted and what is not. This is one of the things that kinda make me confuse a little.


You've also some good points slugger.

When something that is old being re-written in common tongue, it is kinda difficult to really know if it is the intended words or phrase or concept that were made in the first place.

I have to learn to ask myself to understand and make logic when people told/instruct/tells me something. For example, if people says 'pull your socks off' I would ask myself why do I need to pull my socks off? Is there a basis to that or that person is just playing on me or etc. I do admit that I find it difficult to do something if there are no basis, logical reason or at least an ounce of common sense to it.

It's just that when I would ask religious people regarding the logic, common sense and the intended meaning of their holy books, most of the time they got agitated and uncomfortable with my questions and the most common answer i get is that "it is what it is and learn to accept it". But I couldn't really blame them for being that way. I know that I do ask a lot of questions sometimes when trying to understand things. Maybe I ask too much (and possibly the wrong way) to the point that they just wanna get rid of me! :P
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