For my latest One Faith Many Paths post, I’ve interviewed a fellow Christian aspie named Amanda Thames. Here’s what she had to say.
1. When were you diagnosed with autism/Aspergers?
Only just recently. For the longest time, my parents suspected I have it. They even brought it up a few times in my school days to teachers and counselors. However, they were always dismissed with being overly worried parents. My current therapist ran me through a few tests for it, and has changed my past diagnosis of schizophrenia to Autism. I fit the symptoms of Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome much more than any Schizophrenia types.
2. How long have you been a Christian?
My parents and extended family have always strived to give me, my brothers, and cousins a safe and Christian environment. They would never insist I had to be Christian and they always wanted my happiness. Without the idea that they had to make us Christian, they instead gave us a choice to choose God of our own accord. We all always chose God relatively quick compared to the rest of our friends. I myself had a falling out from God but have since come to serve him again.
3. What “evidence” would you give for God’s existence?
It’s kinda hard to give just one example in this question, but I’ll try to keep it simple. We as human beings are given free will but within that are designed to follow him. This is where faith comes from. Without faith in the most basic things, life could not be possible. To ask for ‘proof’ of God is like asking for proof of gravity or oxygen. You cannot see gravity or but it keeps your feet on the ground. You cannot see oxygen, but you know if it goes missing. Same with God. We can neither see him, hear him or any of that sort of sensing him. But in situations where you might be asked to say rob a bank, there is a discerning force inside you telling you it wouldn’t be a good plan. Not because you might be caught or it’ll come back to get you eventually, but because you simply know you can’t bring yourself to knowingly do another harm. That force is the Holy Spirit putting us on the right track again.
4. Who is your favorite Biblical character besides Jesus?
I would likely go with Elijah or Elisha. While they performed their roles admirably and in the face of a hopeless situation, they had the courage to do what needed done to tend to God’s sheep in the face of false gods such as Baal. They were often depressed and the situation hopeless, but they proved it’s always possible with God on your side.
5. What was your childhood like?
My family is largely Christian and a great deal conservative. So while we had an average upbringing despite our close knit family, my brothers and I were often singled out in school or in the neighborhood because everyone knew we were conservative, even more everyone knew we were Christians. We’d defend our cousins in school and they defended us. I myself often wouldn’t care about popular trends or things and was thus immediately labeled a nerd. On top of that label, I had a near impossible time making friends because of that image or because of my own inability to converse with other kids on a ‘normal’ level. As a result of not knowing how to socialize I had almost no friends and was left to entertain myself or with my brothers or cousins.
6. Favorite Biblical passage and why?
I really can’t hone in on any one story or passage. But the books 1 Samuel through 2 Kings is some of my all time favorite lessons from David’s challenge of Goliath to when Elijah stood alone against Jezebel. To prove God is real. I also am partial to the books of 1 and 2 Timothy especially when I am feeling broken and unable to be saved by anything or anyone. There are also a few great verses in Ephesians I love.
7. What is your current profession?
I’m a pencil and Copic artist which I often do whether by commission or amusement. I also have a few story ideas not only itching to be written but drawn in manga form. I would ultimately love to come out with my own hot-selling manga.
8. Is there anyone in your life who inspires you to be a better person? Why?
I can without a doubt say my parents and the rest of my family are for various reasons. My brothers inspire me that no matter what I want in life, it’s not out of my reach as they both are achieving their dreams as a bible philosopher and a nurse. Both have won awards for their efforts which tells me my own dreams aren’t so out of reach to be won. My parents have shown me a good nature backed by hard work are rewarded in some very unexpected ways. True, we are by no means a ‘rich family’ but we get by with what we earn ourselves and always take a portion to give back to God wether through church donations or simply buying a sandwich for the homeless on the streets. My family also has a long lineage of military service which a few of my cousins still actively serve. This kind of upbringing has lead me to stand up for myself and my rights as well as fight for the security of others. As a result, I am well rounded in self-defense and a strong resolve to always help those in need.