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'Mr. Spock goes to church': How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome
Brant Hansen, a host on Christian radio, says his Asperger's syndrome once made him feel like an alien at church.
October 19th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

'Mr. Spock goes to church': How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome

Opinion by Brant Hansen, special to CNN

(CNN) - In the book “Jim and Caspar Go to Church,” an atheist turns to a Christian minister as they're watching a Sunday morning church service and earnestly asks, "Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?"

I've grown up in churches and I'm a Christian, and I'm right there with the atheist.

I honestly don't get the connection. (To be fair, I've grown up on Earth, too, and there are times that I don't understand any part of this place.)

You see, years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome - and like a lot of "Aspies," sometimes I'm convinced that I've landed on the wrong planet.

For those of you who don't know the medical lingo, Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, but not as severe as what most people think of as autism.

It basically comes down to this: those "normal human" rules for things like eye contact, when to smile, personal distance - we just don't get them.

What's more, Aspies like me don't like those rules. They make no sense to us. So usually, we just say stuff - bluntly - and stare uncomfortably at the ground. That's how we roll.

But it gets even trickier for people of faith like me.

Feeling out of place at work is one thing. Feeling like an alien at church is a whole other matter.

Imagine Mr. Spock at an evangelical Christian tent revival, and you’ll get the idea.

And my father is a pastor, so I was in church a lot.

Multiple times, each week, every week, I found myself wishing I'd be moved by the worship music, or that I could shut off my skeptical mind during the sermons.

I'd see people in church services, Christian concerts and Bible camps overcome by emotion and enraptured with charismatic speakers, and I wondered why I didn't feel that way.

Why did I always feel like a cold observer?

After going to college, I was convinced my lack of feeling meant I was missing something, spiritually, so I joined charismatic Christian groups in which emotional manifestations of the Holy Spirit are common.

I desperately wanted to have what they had - an emotional experience of God's presence - and asked them to pray over me.

It didn't work.

When I didn’t move with the Holy Spirit or speak in tongues, they told me it was because I had rejected God.

I worried that it was the other way around: God had rejected me.

Maybe I felt like an alien because I deserved it. I deserved to be alienated, irretrievably and forever far from God.

I tried to pray, read the Bible, and do all the "right stuff." But I still felt out-of-touch.

I wondered if I was so broken, such a misfit that God simply took a look at me and decided to move on.

I wish I’d known then that I was an Aspie. And that God loves Aspies.

I still feel alienated from many parts of Christian culture, but Jesus himself finally reached me.

And man, did I feel that.

To people who are beaten down or befuddled by religious rules, Jesus offers something that no one else does: rest. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," he says.

And he sums up the entirety of complex and confusing religious laws with this: “Love God, and love your neighbor.”

Beautiful. Even children can understand that.

The Bible tells a story about a man who approaches Jesus and admits that he has faith, but also strong doubts.

"Help me in my unbelief," he asks Jesus.

Jesus doesn't blast him. He loves him. To me, Jesus is the only one who really makes any sense.

Oddly enough, considering my medical condition, I'm now a radio personality on a network that plays Christian music.

It’s a beautiful fit, in many ways, because I get to talk to many people who also don’t fit in, and wonder if God loves them.

It’s true, though, others won’t understand me. I know that. I’m still an alien in the American Christian subculture.

Each evening I retreat from it, and I go straight to the Gospels.

It's not out of duty that I read about Jesus; it's a respite.

I long for it, because I'm awash in two strange and baffling cultures, both the irreligious and religious.

And I long for someone I can finally understand, and someone who might finally understand me.

Brant Hansen is a radio host on the Air1 network, where his show airs from 3-7 p.m. CT. He also writes a popular blog at air1.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Hansen. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Faith • Health • Jesus • Opinion • Spirituality

soundoff (3,030 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    I find it very reassuring that Santa is out there and brings me presents every year. The way he says "ho, ho, ho" is timeless and fills me with joy. The way he gave Rudolph a chance to shine fills me with hope. I have read many books that talk about Santa being a happy, jolly fellow and it all has to be true because it's in a book.

    October 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • bostontola

      Can you believe there are people out there that claim there are no miracles?

      October 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • I wonder

        Sarcasm? Or the impersonator?

        October 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dripping.

          October 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • I wonder

          k

          I haven't seen the little twerp around here (yet), but just checking...

          October 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • bostontola

          Mimicry works as great disguise for some animals and is in fact great evidence of evolution. Ironic that disbelievers in evolution would use it.

          October 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Steel On Target

      I have a friend who saw and "experienced a relationship" with Santa. He was "touched" by the "spirit" of Santa. He's still in therapy for it today.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • bostontola

        Maybe it was only a Red Ryder BB gun.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Steel On Target

          You'll shoot your eye out!!!

          October 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • bostontola

          Gotta love it.

          October 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • Rett

          Oh, fudge!

          October 20, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  2. andy

    Open, honest piece. Love it. Even though the people in chuch get things wrong...a lot...Jesus never does. Jesus will reach out to everyone, no matter what goes on inside your head. More pieces like this can help other Christians better understand how others around them feel. Keep them coming Brant and CNN.

    October 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mentality

      October 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  3. Petruchio

    How refreshing to find such a thought provoking article followed by intelligent and well spoken responses.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  4. Brittany

    Here's my very honest question...If this is a "Belief" page then why do we fell the need to jab at one another? I don't understand why people have such a hard time hearing other peoples' opinions. Personally I am a christian and I frequently listen to Brant's show on Air1 because he's HONEST! He speaks from personal experiences and is never trying to push beliefs on anyone much like this article that he was more brave than anything to put out there for more than just the christian community to read. I very much like to have conversations with people about their beliefs and what we both think about eachothers...I just don't understand why I feel like christians or people that believe in JESUS are the ones struck down more than those that believe in Muhammed or Allah or any other God or religious leader(I'm not picking those for any reason they're just the only ones I can think of off of the top of my head). I've always wondered if people who don't believe in God are so busy trying to prove that he doesn't exist because deep down they KNOW God is the ONLY TRUTH! Like Brant says Jesus is the only one that makes any sense! I'm sorry if I offended anybody, but I'm at a point where I am so tired of people of other beliefs try to strike everyone down because it really isn't fair! Nobody is trying to change your mind...even if we; you and I having a conversation although I am called to speak about Jesus to witness I still don't push it on anybody. I would simply leave you with an idea and whether you want to admit it or not you would think about it later and you may one day believe it doesn't just happen in an instant. Stay positive and LOVE people don't knock this man down because he believes!

    October 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • tony

      I don't have to drive by a slew of mosque billborads every day on my way to work. But there are dozens (of different) "christian" ones I often have to look in the direction of, and cringe at.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • Christina

        Yet you probably expect others to tolerate the sight of rainbow flags all over the place.
        Want freedom of expression for yourself, but not for others.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • Rett

        A billboard makes you cringe? a little sensitive aren't you? But who am I too judge, the sight of Clemson orange makes me sick

        October 20, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      I think that you "believers" keep insisting so loudly that God exists because you know it doesn't.

      Turnabout is fair play, see what I did there?

      October 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Chuckie

      Funny, but one could also conclude that the religious who trumpet their faith are afraid that God doesn't exist which is why they can't accept other faiths; they are uncomfortable with those don't don't think exactly as they do. The existence of contrary faiths disturbs the zealots as that sows in them the seed of doubt. Tolerance among Christians for other's beliefs often doesn't include accepting that other belief systems are OK; rather, they view non-Christian (to include those of other Christian denominations) faith as being heterodox and those who subscribe to these faiths are in desperate need of conversion. While mainly tolerant, many liberal Christians still think those not accepting the faith are lost souls; they don't see that continually pushing their faith in the face of those who don't believe as they do is intolerance. Regardless of how sweet they interact with those of other faiths, continually questioning the belief of others is rude. Eastern religions, in general, have much less need for others to believe as they do. A goodly number of Hindus and Buddhists have no interest in converting non-believers. Ironically the two recent religions of the book (Christianity and Islam) that see their way as the only way and diligently seek converts both sprang from Judaism, a non-proselytizing (they make little effort to seek converts) religion.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • JWT

      "I've always wondered if people who don't believe in God are so busy trying to prove that he doesn't exist because deep down they KNOW God is the ONLY TRUTH!"

      Your time for wondering is over. We KNOW that your god is only true for you and not true at all for us.

      October 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Brittany,

      People should be given respect, beliefs shoul have to EARN respect. Giving automatic respect for belief can actually be dangerous....and I am willing to bet you wouldn't advocate that when it comes to cults, racial supremicists, ect. Belief should be discussed and where ones belief is based on faulty premises and logic it should be called out. It does not mean one shouldn't be allowed to hold faulty beliefs...but they should be openly questioned.

      October 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • Sara

        Exactly. Brittany, I, too, would like to hear whether you really take this atti tude and behavior in the face of all beliefs or only those you find harmless?

        October 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  5. tony

    Going to church is group therapy to reinforce belief. Whe you see yuour bank manager, the local senator, and various community businessmen and leaders there singing away like kids in the school choir, you think. . . .

    They can't all be stupid or feeling nothing, like me. So you go along with flow.

    Remember . . . It took a child to say "Look! The Emperor has no clothes!"

    October 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Dennis Lurvey

      skepticism is healthy, I dont know why he needs religion when everything inside him is screaming the truth, there is no god. he's doing what most christians do, trying to be xn from the outside in. jesus didnt teach as much about behavior as much as "becoming" from the inside out. much much harder. If jesus were alive (and i dont believe he lived) he would turn over in his grave at what xms have become.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • Chuckie

        If by chance the story of Jesus is mainly true, he turned over in His grave a long time ago as He left for Paradise, with a brief sojourn in H)ll before getting there, breaking down the gates of H)ll in the process.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  6. JoAnne

    Brant's show on Air1 has us rolling in our car seats daily! He is real and hysterical and loves Jesus. I'm so thankful for this perspective. It encourages me to help everyone feel loved and accepted, because Jesus does.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mind

      October 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      why do you feel you have any authority to speak for jesus?

      October 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Sue

    I listen to him all the time, he has a great sense of humor, but what I really like is his honesty and willingness to discuss a lot of subjects that people are afraid to talk about. He has a heart for God.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  8. Julie

    I listen to Brant on Air1 all the time. He is an awesome guy who encourages and gives hope to a lot of people everyday. He lets you know that God loves you no matter what. He is the real deal Christian.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Doris

      So sort of a wind-up doll that tells you what you like to hear? Maybe I'm not following. Or maybe I am just looking for more substance in your post.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        don't hold your breath. no substance to be found.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • sam stone

      julie: i think you are confusing knowledge with belief

      October 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  9. WhenCowsAttack

    I could have written this. In fact, many of the phrases he uses are phrases I've used on this very forum, from praying for that emotional experience to wondering whether I was so broken that God just didn't want me.

    The difference? I took the step to that next logical conclusion, between the evils and inconsistencies in the bible and lack of feeling ANYTHING in church, I determined that it was all false, and I've felt much freer since.

    I wonder why he continues? He seems like an intelligent enough guy.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • tony

      Spot on.

      October 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • Merrie B.

        Why do you read the belief blog and bag on those who do believe? How does that make you more evolved? It's just rude. You have the freedom to believe what you believe & Brant has the freedom to believe in what he believes.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • WhenCowsAttack

          What are you talking about? Nonbelievers have every bit as much right to post here as anyone else. You have a problem with debate or wish to squelch the voices of those who don't believe?

          Religion is damaging in my opinion, and I find it interesting, which is why I post here.

          October 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • tony

          Because the pushy conservative types amongst us, threaten the mental health of my and everyone elses children.

          October 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bandmomma

      He found the real thing in Jesus and as he said it was that and not "the church" that got through. Don't leave Jesus because his church is full of humans.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Beck

      I am only 16, but I know what you are talking about. At one point, I almost went the same way you did. But then I realized the problem wasn't me or God. It was that I was taught to have a religion. I was taught to be a fan. And I went with that for a bit. But then Jesus found me, and told me he doesn't want my religion, because that is as good as crap. He wants my heart. He wants to have a relationship. He doesn't want a fan who just goes "Yeah! You rock!" And for me to treat him the same way I treat my favorite band. He wants be to be a part of the band. He is the led singer and guitarist. We have to watch him and follow his directions. To the crowd, he is just looking cool, and they don't see his directions. But to those on stage, that is what keeps us together, and from terrible sounding discord. You wonder why he continues. He continues because Jesus has the relationship with him. He continues because his has focused completely on Jesus, and he doesn't want to leave, because watching Jesus has become his life, and it is the one thing that makes sense in his life.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • Jim Ricker

        My name is Jim and I am not a fan.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • sam stone

        beck: how is belief in jesus any different than a religion?

        October 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Beck

          That's it. It isn't a belief. It is a relationship. And you can't just go "If there is a god, you need to come on me and prove so now." God works on his own time frame, not yours. When you are really longing, then he will come to you and form the relationship. It's impossible to describe how it happens, but for me, I had to lose everything I loved and truly valued more than anything else before I was ready.

          October 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jim Ricker

      Oddly enough, Brandt took the next logical step and went to the object and source of the faith and found Him and in the process found healing. Your step was just as logical but you chose to quit whereas Brant chose to go farther before quitting.The test is our decision to either follow Jesus or not follow Jesus – that was what Jesus said (and not dependent on anything or anyone else). Jesus had a great parable about a farmer sowing seeds and the different results of those seeds depending on the soil (heart) of those that had the seed (faith) on them. In the end, the existence of the farmer is not in doubt, it is whether or not you or I are part of God's family. And that is determined by how the seed of faith either grows or dies in the soil of our hearts.

      October 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        No, the existence of the farmer IS in doubt. Extreme doubt since there is precisely ZERO exclusive evidence that he/she/it exists. Why do believers of various faiths disagree on god's nature and will, but have no disagreement on the proper math and chemistry to utilize?

        October 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Mr. McGregor

        Jim Ricker,

        Any decent farmer knows how to plant efficiently and effectively. One who would just throw seed all around helter-skelter would be pretty stupid.

        October 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  10. Doris

    A very interesting article. I feel Mr. Hansen was very clear in explaining in explaining the situations in which he has found himself and how they made him feel. I wonder if he might say it is wildly easier for him to communicate with others at times via the written word or through a microphone than face to face.

    As an agnostic atheist, I have no more complaint about his description of his relationship to Jesus than I would many other Christians; and that complaint is this – the lack of anything more detailed than the generic "found Him", "His love", and "love one another" concepts. I'm not knocking those concepts – it's just we see too often those expressions without a better, believable description of what transpired for a person between not believing in "Him" and believing in "Him".

    October 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Stacy

      Doris – Check out YouTube: Raul Ries' Autobiography. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha_tSzPvcds Here's a great example of life before a relationship with God, and life after a relationship with God. For those that do have a relationship with God it is very real yet hard to explain. I have a very strong faith in the Lord and there are plenty of things that don't make sense to me. I don't think our minds are capable of understanding the ways of God. But think of your earthly parents, we don't always understand why they do what they do, especially as teens, yet as we become adults ourselves we see that in many cases they knew what they were talking about. Our immature minds weren't capable of understanding at the time. I recommend giving a true effort to get to know God. Try praying, be honest – he knows your thoughts anyway. And read the Bible. He has lots to say to us! And do you know how much prophecy is in the Bible??? I pray for those who do not know Him. God's blessings to you all!

      October 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Michael O'Brian

        The placebo effect is a powerful thing. Whatever works you.

        October 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  11. tony

    If god can hear and answert prayers, and was known by direct contact to the early humans, why the need for the burning bush? He could far more easily just spoken out loud.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      ANd why would god center his contact among a supersti.tous desert dwelling people 2000 – 6000 years ago and expect people to believe it now?

      October 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • Rett

        Christianity began at a most opportune time in history. A huge chunk of the world from Europe to India and parts of Africa had been conquered by Alexander the Great and Greek had become a common language for much of the world. This made it easy for the teachings of Jesus to spread over large areas. The Pax Romana had been established by the Romans including marvelous roads that made travel much easier and safer for the early missionaries. Pretty neat coincidence that at that particular time in history Jesus was born.

        October 20, 2013 at 12:21 am |
        • Daniel

          Hmm...I wonder if you understand that the largest faith on the planet at that time was in India. I was Buddhism. You DO realize that Christianity is more along the lines with Buddhism in issues of compassion, non-violence, and self-sacrifice....???? Wonder why that is....could it be that Jesus is NOT who he is thought to be....maybe he took a bit of what had made its way along the silk road out to Israel and instead of following what Siddharta Guatama taught and made it his own? Hmmm......very interesting.....

          October 20, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  12. Rachel

    Great article! Such a man of wisdom and funny too!

    October 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  13. Laura

    For those naysayers, just tune in sometime to Air1 when he's on the air just for some good laughs & entertainment. He's a very funny guy who happens to be a Christian & has lots of thought-provoking conversations & hilarious comments to random stuff on the air. 🙂

    October 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  14. FSM

    Everyone feels disenfranchised. Welcome to the human condition.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  15. MMCFE

    I find this article intriguing. I also have Aspergers, and don't really connect with many communal, emotional experiences, like those of faith. This is important because, when I was a kid, I attended a conservative Christian school for many years. We prayed twice every day, and had a class period dedicated to Bible study. Yet, I never truly believed. I just didn't get it. So, a turn toward secular thinking later in my life was not difficult in the slightest. It was a move also aided by the fact that I was becoming a scientist, and simply knew that God (Christian or otherwise) was simply not necessary or sufficient to understand or connect with my world.

    So, I find it strange that Mr. Hansen didn't leave his faith. Because it very much sounds as if he simply committed to the faith without actually having any to begin with.

    But that's just my understanding of the article.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • KC

      When you're raised in an ultra-religious family, walking away from faith isn't an acceptable option.

      October 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Bandmomma

        KC- that's true but he stayed and he found, as he said that it was Jesus, not the church, not emotion that found him.

        October 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  16. Reality # 2

    For those interested in finding the real Jesus:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter

    After reviewing the above, I have come to the following conclusions:

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Please note that all of the above listed scriptural doc-uments are reviewed in detail. When on the website, simply click on the doc-ument of interest to read the review.

      October 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Colin

        Two points. 1. I have looked at the site. It is a great source of information. 2. The conclusions Reality 2 draws are consistent with most serious biblical scholars today. Certainly a lot, lot more likely true than the miracle performing super-hippie many envisage today.

        October 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  17. tony

    his character is an atheist, froma an atheist palnet.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  18. tODD

    WE LOVE AIR1 AND BRANT IS THE MAN, HE SPEAKS TRUTH IN A HILARIOUS MANNER. THANK YOU BRANT!

    October 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  19. JD

    Unfortunately, Brant Hansen, there are many kinds of mental illness in our society - something it is very slow coming to recognize.

    I must deal with two people who have Borderline Personality. One is a church-goer, the other is not, and spits fire when religion is mentioned.

    There are other mental disorders such as being a Psychopath, where by definition one is not always able the humanity in others. But a Christian (or a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist) must see the humanity in others. It's not an occasional requirement. Does God shine through for a Psychopath? Perhaps, occasionally, but so do many other kinds of crazy thoughts, and God's will does not direct their life. Someone who only kills occasionally is not a Christian in the sense that society cares about

    And as for ultimate judgment? Well, none of us know how we will be judged.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • tony

      By other humans before and in absntia, after death.

      October 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Michelle F.

      JD you are right there are many different disorders. I have to appreciate Brant for sticking only to the one he understands and deals with. He in no way left out others. A true psychopath feels nothing (sorry I would be more specific but my DSMV is not right here) God can work miracles but I believe that they have to be sought after so I am not sure where a psychopathic personality would fall in this category. Though that is an extreme example and a rare one. I have met many with autistic spectrum disorders, PTSD, brain trauma, and others that feel similar to Brant. I deal with depression and anxiety and have felt this way often. I feel special though because I know I had to search a little harder to find what he was talking about it shows perseverance.

      October 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  20. shawn l

    Religion isn't logical. Spoke wouldn't be religious because of that.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Daniel

      Who is "Spoke"? Is that like Optimus Prime's brain damaged cousin Larry?

      October 20, 2013 at 9:13 am |
      • Jesus built my hotrod

        I laughed.

        October 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.