Friday, October 31, 2014

Is This An Autistic Thing?

The following remarks were all contributed by one person to an online discussion about Jesus' historicity, over the course of the past day and a half:

"[...]you have no hope of answering that question with anything but gross speculation[...]With so little evidence you cant make a case for or against his historicity. You can only speculate and give your opinions[...]these were books that were being edited and put together to express a message being fashioned in real time by a panel of church elders. They chose the message they wanted to send and made sure it was reflected in the writings that made it into the bible. In one of those cases the mention of Jesus was out of context with the rest of the text, as if it was added later, or at least, that was the conclusion of the folks who study such nonsense. I stick to science[...]I think speculating is worth less of my time then doing things for which there can be answers. Not that I dont do it, but I don't squander it - i save it for speculation that I care about[...]the point is what does it matter? you will solve nothing, you will accomplish nothing, the conversation has been ongoing for hundreds of years. Do something useful instead. Go feed a hungry dog[...]this is what I mean by a waste of time[...]"

The last remark was made just a few minutes ago, and I have no idea whether or not the end is in sight yet. I fear we're not nearly there yet.

Jumping into the discussion so many times just to say that he doesn't think the discussion is worth having.

I don't understand this guy. And it's not just him. I run into this sort of thing a lot: People interrupting discussions about whether or not Jesus existed to inform the discutants that they don't care whether or not Jesus existed. And when I told him that his behavior mystified me, he got very mad.

What is he mad about? Why is he wasting so much of his time to insist that he won't be wasting any of his time on this? I don't think it ever occurred to him to apologize for wasting MY time, or the time of other people trying to discuss the topic at hand. And implying that discussing whether or not Jesus existed makes dogs starve? Is that any less irrational than insisting that cuss words make Baby Jesus cry?

I don't think people barge into discussions on other topics very often just to express their disinterest in those topics. Clearly, the topic of Jesus makes people go a little nuts.

Still. Behavior like this baffles me. I'm just about at the point where I think that trying to understand this may be a waste of my time. I'm past the point where I've concluded that responding directly to this guy is a waste, or worse. (Seems to fire him up and egg him on.) So this blog post, besides being motivated by the fact that it's been 4 days since I posted anything here, is also me sort of winding the issue up and tying a bow around it.

But besides that, I'm wondering whether this is an instance where someone's behavior baffles me because I'm autistic and the other person is (I'm assuming in this case) neurologically-typical. I also assume that the majority of you, my readers, are neurologically-typical. And so, before I do my utmost to put the subject behind me and return to topics which I find more interesting -- such as, for example, whether or not Jesus existed -- I'm asking whether any of you might possibly find this person's behavior not so bizarre, not so mystifying. If you'd like to comment, if you could possibly explain some of this to me, explain why a person would interrupt a conversation with so many assertions that he doesn't care about the topic of discussion, that would be very helpful. I've got to live among you, the neurologically-typical, and greater understanding eases the co-existence.

Is he motivated by kindness? It doesn't feel at all kind to me, but hey, I misunderstand people very drastically on a routine basis. Is he trying to be helpful by warning me that I'm wasting my life? Is he actually obsessed with Jesus, but in denial about it? Those are just wild guesses on my part, I really don't understand this.

Do you also find his behavior bizarre?


  1. I find His behavior bizarre, personally. Since I don't know the players, this next bit may be way off, but it also seems rather self-centered to me. Is he used to being the deferred to, or at least, celebrated, or acknowledged, expert in the discussions that go on in this community-- on other topics? Could it be that he's feeling put out by not being the center of attention or not receiving the adulation to which he is accustomed, and thus feels the need (like an ignored three-year-old) to traipse through the middle of the party loudly declaring he's not really interested in the tea party anyway and trying to knock over a few tea cups in his pique at not being cooed over as is his normal due

    1. The quotes above are from an exchange between him and I, just the two of us. Actually, he and I have usually gotten along pretty well. We just had this conflict on this one issue. He's not an admin in the group and as far as I can see he doesn't think of himself as a big shot who deserves deference. It seems to be this one topic, the historicity of Jesus, which pushes his buttons a little. Apparently he's discussed it with others in the past and found the discussions frustrating in one way or another.

      Also, it occurs to me, after I've had a few days to cool off -- I wrote the above in a state of great agitation -- that he might come off better, and I might come off worse, if the entire exchange were considered. In the blog post above his remarks edited in an unflattering way. It might sound like I'm being hard on myself, but the thing is, I get into conflicts which puzzle me rather often, with a variety of different people, which means that the common factor in all the conflicts is -- me.