Column: An autistic man helped save my faith
Commentary by Mike Colaw
I think everyone who is naturally a critical thinker comes to a place where it’s easy to be cynical. Critical thinkers are always looking for truth. Cynics take that desire and turn deeply pessimistic. They find themselves turning more and more from the pursuit of knowledge to parsing people’s words in endless debates. At some point the motive changes. It’s no longer about a deeper understanding or love of knowledge; it’s about proving others wrong.
How do I know this? I was on my way to becoming one, especially about religion.
I really struggled with a few things, many of which others struggle with. Age of the earth. The problem of evil. As an overthinking high school student I had a laundry list of issues with modern religion that had been presented to me. My pursuit of knowledge was quickly turning into cynicism. I started slowing in my pursuit of answers and just started dropping doubt bombs everywhere I went, most notably on the age of the earth. This was my “Achilles heel” with religion.
Then I stumbled across a man named Dr. Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist and well-known author out of Toronto who happens to be on the autism spectrum. He had very interesting responses to some of my hardest questions. Here is what amazed me most though. No matter how often people pushed back against his work, he didn’t bat an eye. I am exaggerating a bit, but sometimes it almost seemed like he didn’t know there were cynics out there. Yes, once in an awhile he would grab an idea or respond to a thought, but only if it truly advanced his pursuit of knowledge. His ability to hyper focus in his work was extraordinary.
I realized there are great answers to some of the hardest questions and most of my objections to the faith were objections to our MODERN implementation of religion and not actual Biblical instruction, which continues to amaze me. Dr. Ross, along with Dr. Keller, Dr. William Lane Craig and numerous others have truly helped me fall in love with the pursuit of knowledge again. We can learn a lot from our “abnormal” brothers. They are brilliant if you can see it! I am so grateful for critical thinkers who haven’t become cynics, who continue to pursue truth. I may not always agree with them, but I love their work!