I don't even know where to start with how badly flawed the study is. I can't decide what's worse -- the full-scale stereotyping of autistic people as lacking theory of mind, the full-scale stereotyping of religious people as believing in a G-d who thinks like a human being, the absurd idea that people develop their ability to mentalize by going to church, or the fact that anyone spent any money on a research study about this whole subject in the first place.

Perhaps the worst assumption, apart from the tired old autistic-people-lack-empathy-and-aren't-fully-human stereotype, is that anthropomorphizing G-d is a prerequisite to belief. This is a decidedly Christian notion, and the study is shot through with this cultural bias. As a Jew, I have a strong belief in G-d, but my religion teaches, quite clearly, that G-d is not a person. Even though Christianity teaches about an incarnate G-d, many Christians do not take that view of G-d literally at all. In Judaism, G-d is so far outside the ability of human beings to understand or grasp that reducing G-d to a set of human attributes means that we've missed the point entirely. Islam similarly teaches that G-d is not to be thought of as a human being.

Because the study misunderstands both religion and autism, its linkage of the two as a mentalizing issue is completely off the mark.

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