Fehmi Kaya, a sociologist and head of Adana’s Health and Education Association for Autistic Children in Turkey, stirred up controversy when he claimed, “All autistic children are atheists due to a lack of a section of faith in their brains,” and declared that atheism was a form of autism.
“Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” Kaya said, according to daily Milliyet.
He stated that there are sections of faith in the brain, which are underdeveloped in children with autism and suggested that children with autism needed therapy to develop these areas in their brain. He also stated that treatment would create areas of faith in their brains.
“That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is needed to create awareness in these children through methods of therapy.”
“They need to develop feelings and learn to form empathy with others. They need to understand why normal people do what they do. As a result of that, they would need to understand that there is a creator, to whom the people pray to and believe in; and they need to understand and internalize that. That way a section of faith can be formed in their brains,” Kaya was quoted as saying.
Adding to this, Kaya stated that research shows that atheism and autism are linked and children with autism are atheists from birth due to these underdeveloped areas in their brains. He added that the research in Canada and the United States show that atheism is a different form of autism. He also believes, through therapy, therapists can turn children with autism into believers.
“We cannot expect a child who cannot recognize a picture to recognize God. We need to help the autistic child recognize objects through therapy by targeting areas of senses in the brain,” Kaya said.
Kaya also said that they will turn autistic children into believers through therapy sessions that will be offered freely in therapy centers in the future.(Agencies)
The study Kaya could be referring to is also referred to in a UK September 2011 article, which also stated that not all atheists have autism. In which the researchers surveyed 61 individuals with high-functioning autism. The results showed that 26 percent were atheists and 16 percent were “neuro-typical” individuals, but this does not mean that all atheists have high-functioning autism.
The paper, 'investigates the proposal that individual differences in belief will reflect cognitive processing styles, with high functioning autism being an extreme style that will predispose towards nonbelief.'
Caroline Hattersley, Head of Information, Advice and Advocacy at The National Autistic Society said: 'Autism affects people from every sector of society and people with autism represent the full range of religious and non-religious beliefs.
'It is important that people with autism have the freedom to make their own choices about their beliefs and receive the support they need,' says Hattersley.
Rajib Khan, writing on Discover Magazine's 'Gene Expression' blog wrote, 'I doubt this is going to surprise too many people. Additionally, we need to be careful about generalizing here.
'This doesn’t mean that a huge proportion of atheists are high functioning autistics (though there may be a larger proportion than the general population).'