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Old 10-23-2009, 10:39 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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The groups I have been to all have used the Our Father or the Serenity Prayer (which invokes the "Lord.") These are both definitely religious (and Christian)!

Maybe its time to find some spiritual affirmation or mantra --or rewrite of the Serenity Prayer omitting the work "Lord"--so that meetings can be truly non-denominational?

And if a "god of our understanding" is just a "higher power," why not get rid of the word "god" and replace it with "higher power"? While I think for many people in 12-step programs it IS a spiritual rather than religious program, the actual words used are indeed religious ones.

Why not make them strictly spiritual and strictly non-religous instead?
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:39 AM
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This statement confused me for a long time as well until someone explained it to me

The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" means the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism in the BB

That's it

the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism

I am able to be in and work AA without having a speck of religion, I am now however open minded enough to not have a problem with religion and am quick to see where religious people are right, the funny thing in most cases in my experience, they are also quick to see where we atheists are right too IN AA.

Having a dictionary helped incredibly in working the program although I found it incredibly offensive when it was suggested I try using one.

What I didn't know what I was doing was placing my own values on words rather then what they actually meant, especially when it came to spiritual terms, like

God: The Great Reality

hard to argue with that, to me the word God had always meant the little man that lived in the sky with his ten rules that needed money and had zillions of hyprocritical followers that spent their spare time killing each other in "His" name and the name of love I found so offensive

Now that word means something different to me, something non-religious, with "laws" such as gravity, and natural law etc but also spiritual laws, such as you put love in, you get love out, you put hate and garbage in, you get hate and garbage back.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
Now that word means something different to me, something non-religious, with "laws" such as gravity, and natural law etc but also spiritual laws, such as you put love in, you get love out, you put hate and garbage in, you get hate and garbage back.


And I call gravity 'gravity', natural law 'natural law', and so on.

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Old 10-23-2009, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
And I call gravity 'gravity', natural law 'natural law', and so on.

yeah that's fine, in order for me to work the steps and experience the promises each step had to offer, I had to learn how to come up with a working and workable definition of the word "God", and learn how to differentiate between what was religion and what was spiritual, you don't plan on attending AA or working the steps so you don't have that need, that's OK

I tried doing it your way and always ended up alone, miserable, unhappy, and didn't know what was wrong with me, then I went to some meetings and saw sober people that were happy and laughing and had great lives, I had never had those things without having alcohol in my life, life without drinking was a life not worth living, I wanted what they had so I did what they did, which was work the steps, in order to do that I had to overcome an incredibly large antipathy to the word God, organized religion and a positive loathing of Christianity.

This way works for me and I am now not only able to not drink, but to enjoy life and not suffer from untreated alcoholism, which I kept getting confused with things like clinical depression and an inability to manage my emotions, anger, thoughts etc.

So keep doing what you are doing and if you are happy joyous and free, keep doing it, if you aren't, change what you are doing.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:10 PM
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I'm going to respond to your questions and responses

1. What religion does AA practice?
Taz - None, I have NEVER heard one person in AA state that if you are not of a certain faith you can not get sober.
Me - I've also never heard this. All this implies is that AA does not endorse an outside religion. It does not mean that 12-step is not a religion of its own

2. What religion allows aethiest to openly participate?
Taz - AA not being a religous orginization at all could care less if you are an athiest
Me - Atheists and agnostics (myself included) are openly welcome in the Unitarian Universalist church. There are quite a few of us at my church.

3. What religion does not care if you believe in Buddah, Krishna, Christ....?
Taz - None that I am aware of. (I could be wrong on this) I do know for a fact that AA as a whole could care less what an individuals HP is or is not, in reality the entire program if one reads the BB is strictly SUGGESTED, nothing is mandantory.
Me - again, UU. All this question proves is that one can call they're HP whatever they choose. Now as to what this HP "is," I think its pretty clear that those who practice 12-step have HPs that possess very similar qualities and that the difference between "deities" within is often very nominal. That is, they seem to "do" much the same thing.

4. What religion is practiced that in one place they may say no prayer at all, in another place the may say a Christian prayer, in another place an Islamic prayer, etc. ?
Taz - No religion that I know of allows prayers of another faith in thier services, if one is a Christian, no matter where the Christian church is located Christian prayers will be said there.
Me - I've heard the serenity prayer at every meeting I've been to. Again the UU religion encourages the practices of other faiths and I've seen many in our church. I've also only ever heard Christian prayers at AA and NA meetings. I've also walked into meetings and unexpectedly found that they were Bible meetings. I've never heard of a Koran or Torah meetings. Perhaps they exist but they don't to my knowledge.

5. What religion does not promote worship of some type of Diety?
Taz - None that I know of, I do know that AA does not push worsip of any type, they do suggest one maintain a conscience contact with thier HP of thier choosing & understanding
Me - In addition to UU, Buddhists do not worship a deity. Both of these religions do not require or even suggest a "conscious contact" with a HP

6. What religion beleives that one should find a Higher Power of thier own choosing and understanding?
Taz - 6. None that I know of, each religion I know of preachs that the followers should worship the HP of thier particular faith. AA instead encourages each member to find a HP of thier choosing and understanding
Me - UU asks even less of its adherents. They ask for each member to engage in a "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning." Beyond UU, particular religions may worship particular deities, but again, what's in a name? I've often heard of religions promoting "personal relationships with God." This seems to imply that the God of one person's understanding could be quite different from that of another's within a given denomination.

7. If a person of the Jewish faith had written the BB would one not expect them call thier HP Yhwh when writing of thier HP?

8. If a person of the Islamic faith had written the BB would one not expect them call thier HP Allah when writing of thier HP?

9. If a person of the Buddist faith had written the BB would one not expect them call thier HP Buddah when writing of thier HP?
Taz - I would.
Me - I wouldn't expect such a thing if that person(s) were writing a book which didn't promote a particular religious orientation.

10. Would not simple logic lead one to beleive that the primary reason the word God is used in the BB is probably due to the fact that the writers of the BB were Christians?
Taz - It is spelled out in the BB that is the very reason that the word God was used in the BB.
Me - I'm not sure I follow your argument, especially if you wish to prove that AA is not religious

11. Is there any religion that has no rituals they practice?
Taz - None that I am aware of.
Me - I'm not aware of any either. Ritual seems to be part and parcel of religion. However...preamble, collection plate, serenity prayer, the lord's prayer (both while holding hands in a circle btw) the steps themselves, sounds like rituals to me.

12. What Church, Mosque, Temple, etc. do AAs practice this religion in?
Taz - None, because AA as a whole does not pratice ANY religion at all.
Me - Well first of all, the lion's share of AA and NA meetings that I've attended (save for ones inside of reahab and correctional facilities) have taken place inside Christian churches. Despite the message this sends, this doesn't make the 12-steps a religion, Christian or otherwise. When the local mosque burned down, they were given space in a local synagogue to worship. This didn't mean that these Muslims suddenly became Jews. It does mean that a religion does not require a house of worship to be a religion. If AA is a religion, which your questions and answers haven't proven, they can practice it wherever they want.

I'm not POed as you claim. As far as I'm concerned, it matters little to my own situation if AA/NA is a religion or just a spiritual program. I'm not forced to attend meetings and many people that are involved with the program haven't given me any grief for walking my own path. It simply doesn't work for me and I'm happy for those it has worked for.

On the other hand, what does anger me is when people are court-ordered to 12 step treatment facilities and meetings. Despite all the examples that bugsworth cited, it still happens quite often. If its not a court order, many folks are faced with losing they're jobs if they refuse to attend 12 step rehabs. So many insurance policies won't cover alternative facilities so they're left with virtually no choice.

I'm of the opinion that the 12 steps are a religion in themselves. They certainly seem to fit more criteria for a religion than even confirmed religions like UU do. If you choose to practice that religion, I think that is great quite honestly. Many people, addicts and those who have never touched a substance alike, float through life without any sense of direction and morality. For a lot of people, this can be found through religious practice. I wish more people that do believe in God would practice their faith.

At the same time, I think it would be far better if AA/NA would just be up front with people about its nature and help those that aren't a "good fit" for their program to find some other form of help. Yes I know AA makes no claims on monopoly and all that but we all know that that isn't quite how it is always presented.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:08 PM
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From Merrriam-Webster's Dictionary

Main Entry: god Pronunciation: \ˈgäd also ˈgȯd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German got god
Date: before 12th century
1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind 2 : a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
3 : a person or thing of supreme value
4 : a powerful ruler

Main Entry: re·li·gion Pronunciation: \ri-ˈli-jən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely
Date: 13th century
1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

Main Entry: spir·i·tu·al·i·ty Pronunciation: \ˌspir-i-chə-ˈwa-lə-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural spir·i·tu·al·i·ties
Date: 15th century
1 : something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such
2 : clergy
3 : sensitivity or attachment to religious values
4 : the quality or state of being spiritual
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:13 PM
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More food for thought:

"In Australia there is no AA (or other 12th step) meeting that I know of that would have the audacity to include the so called Christian "Lord's Prayer". Not only is it against the tradition of non-affiliation but it forces those members who are Catholic or Protestants to choose between the prayer's wording ('Who/Which, are/art...for thine is etc). It is divisive, discriminatory and is itself contrary to the rest of the AA program which stresses non-religious but rather "spiritual" nature of our program." Spiritual or Religious? (Part III) - Alcoholism
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:29 PM
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I believe this has been mentioned before, but I feel it is worth repeating. The recital of the Lord's Prayer is not the real issue: it is the clandestine approach to religious affiliations. There is no question in my mind that AA is based and operates under a pro-Judaeo-Christian monotheistic preference. The founders of the program obviously incorporated it into the structure and it has remained there since. Anyone denying that is either within that particular mindset or is unconcerned with its ramifications. Let it be completely honest with its directions and people will be honest with their decisions to be part of that program. It is obvious that there are a lot of people attending AA that feel in this manner. It can't be whisked away with confusing explanatory rhetoric.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:42 PM
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There is no question in my mind that AA is based and operates under a pro-Judaeo-Christian monotheistic preference.
Absolutely

They wrote it in the language they knew

my point is "so what?"

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-three-aa.html

It's my experience the Twelve Steps work to bring about recovery from Alcoholism, and I believe you needn't have a deity for this to work, and it's my experience that I was able to do this without changing one word in The Big Book, I just changed my own definition of a few words. I have brought maybe thirty Agnostic/Atheists men (sponsees) through the steps using what I learned.

First, I believe the twelve steps are a mathematical equation that when worked bring about a personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism.

There is only one hang up, The word "God" in those steps. This post is how to get around that without needing a deity.
You could "label" me an Atheist and an Agnostic, because technically I am, but I feel I am "Gnostic" which comes from the Greek word "Gnosis' which means "knowledge" a Gnostic, or my version thereof believes I can "evolve" as it were and that any "bit" of "God" I ever will be found will be in my own heart, When I see the word "God" I use the dictionary definition "The Great Reality"

If you don't believe in Reality get a staple gun, put about fifteen staples in your body, maybe one or two in your eyeball, then get back to me. That's what I mean by "reality". "The Great Reality" to me just means everything and everything in it, so I can "see" the word "God" and not be bothered by it, I don't believe in a deity, I don't believe in an "Otherness". More on this later, sorry to use that word so early.

The First Chapter in The Tao Te Ching says, That which can be explained is not the way things are, and the way things are can't be explained.

I can build a house, paint it, furnish it, and describe it to the best of my ability, I can describe the walls, the windows, the floor etc, but what I can NEVER explain is "the space" inside the house and that is what I actually live in. All I can ever convey to you is what color the walls are and what it looks like, I can never give you the experience of being inside my house unless you do the work and come and visit me.

That is the problem in a nutshell with spirituality and the Big Book, all the words, the mention of the word God, the HE, and FATHER, and GUIDING INTELLIGENCE, is just what color the walls are "painted" by the men who "painted" in the only colors they knew, which was the language of Christianity. I will call this language baby poop green. I had to get past the fact I hated baby poop green and actually read what these men were saying while tossing the Christian language out.

OK, on to business, The Big Book, TO ME is a Christian Based Text written by Christians, for Christians, and in order for me to work those steps, I had to remove all the "Christian Dogma" and figure out how to get past the word "God" and what I viewed as all the Christian Blather and "God talk" I saw and heard in the "rooms" of Alcoholics Anonymous.

AA is a "spiritual" program, so it uses "spiritual" language, for me I had to let go of my previous concepts and definitions and make new ones. The Dictionary actually was helpful for this.
If I have a problem with Christianity it's my problem, so the solution best have my name on it if I expect or want to work the steps, and that's exactly what I did.

The steps work, I saw that and learned that through my own experience, so I had to learn how to do them while throwing the Christian dogma out. There are only 2-3 sentences in the whole Big Book I don't agree with, and I am so NOT a Christian it's not even funny.

I needed to be open minded to work the steps, not a Christian
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by yeahgr8 View Post
even if staunt athiests refuse the simple explanation, more time drinking will maybe make them more receptive...or they will go all the way and die...i guess it's a personal choice?!
I know its already been said but I need to reiterate that this is incredibly offensive. Its not to say that I'm surprised or that I haven't heard things like this before. I seem to recall you making a similar offensive remark to me in a thread the other week. I'd ask you to have a more open mind about these kind of things but I feel that that appeal would fall on deaf ears.

In a sense you make AA look pretty bad with statements like these. If AA would only look attractive to an atheist after they've been made desperate through more drinking, that doesn't make much of an argument for its universal applicability. You also know for a fact that if a person rejects AA they need not just go away and die. There's plenty of alternative methods out there and many people are able to get it together on they're own.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:48 PM
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Well said Creekryder, firstly here in England no AA meetings that I have ever attended (and there have been hundreds, in many areas of the country) ends with the lords prayer (and as far as I am aware there are plenty of big book thumping meetings here).

Secondly if it had been honestly explained to me what the whole program was about, instead of numerous people bending over backwards to tell me how it wasn't all about god, I wouldn't have wasted both my own and a lot of other peoples time.

You can spend all day everyday choosing the right bits from the Big Book to show how non religious the programme is and you can argue the meaning of every word and comma, but its flim flam.

It's a christian program, written by christian people for people who either are already christian or can be persuaded to become christian.

I spent more than two years of my life trying to twist the words to fit my beliefs (that is only after I really tried to believe) and yes you can do it, but you know what it left me mentally tortured.

I don't hate aa but I hate the way people sometimes try to make it fit every person, I was there before you, I tried my best and not only didn't it work it actually harmed me.

So I only have a couple of months sober now and it has been a tough couple of months but every day of it has been better than trying to force myself into a space that didn't fit.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:00 PM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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It's a christian program, written by christian people for people who either are already christian or can be persuaded to become christian.
I can't convey how how offensive I find this statement, I am a heretic that would be burned at the stake or stoned just a few short years ago and is still unwelcome in vast areas of the South, and I am in AA, I am NOT a Christian, nor will I ever be a Christian, the funny thing, is I hardly know any christians at all in AA, and the ones I do we don't discuss religion, we discuss spirituality.

It's amusing, one of the biggest so called problems I had with christians when I got to AA was their supposed intolerance, bigotry, and close mindedness, I have to say that it was nothing compared to those qualities I find in a certain sector of people here at SR.

This amuses me greatly, but it's why I don't hang out in that section of SR that I should call home, as that section appears to me to be more about intolerance then open-mindedness and loving thy brother.

When I have to go hang out with the Christians rather then the atheists because they are more open-minded and tolerant of others is a day I never thought I'd see.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:09 PM
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Seems a lot of offence is being caused...

Regardless of our respective point of views we should all remember...

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:21 PM
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I am not offended, I posted what was true for me, and what I genuinely believe to be true,

Are you really offended Ago or just making a point?

Before you reply, actually think about it rather than just leaping to the defence of aa and trying to explain why, as an atheist you promote it at every opportunity?

As far as I am aware no one ever died from having their point of view opposed.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:25 PM
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By the way, trying to explain why,after several years as an active member, aa turned out not to be good for me was pretty painful.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tazman53 View Post
3. What religion does not care if you believe in Buddah, Krishna, Christ, Agdistis or Angdistis, Ah Puch, Ahura Mazda, Alberich, Allah, Amaterasu, Anansi, Anat, Andvari, Anshar, Anu, Aphrodite, Apollo, Apsu, Ares, Artemis, Asclepius, Athena, Athirat, Athtart, Atlas, Baal, Ba Xian, Bacchus, Balder, Bast, Bellona, Bergelmir, Bes, Bixia Yuanjin, Brahma, Brigit, Camaxtli, Ceres, Ceridwen, Cernunnos, Chac, Chalchiuhtlicue, Charun, Chemosh, Cheng-huang, Cybele, Dagon, Damkina (Dumkina), Davlin, Dawn, Demeter, Diana, Di Cang, Dionysus, Ea, El, Enki, Enlil, Eos, Epona, Ereskigal, Farbauti, Fenrir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, Gaia, Ganesha, Ganga, Garuda, Gauri, Geb, Geong Si, Hades, Hanuman, Hathor, Hecate (Hekate), Helios, Heng-o (Chang-o), Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hod, etc. ?
None. So therefore, A.A. is NOT a religion.

But good luck convincing so much as one A.A. basher of this fact.

A.A. doesn't care if you have a relationship with God or not... but would like you to only become willing to have a relationship with some concept of one of your own choosing.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:42 PM
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Sterling flim flam dog, obscure that issue all you like, anyone who has been to aa knows the truth.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:42 PM
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mcgowdog - responded to this on the 2nd page, not sure if you checked it. Anyway, the Unitarian Universalist religion encourages its members to believe in any and all deities they want or to not believe in any deity. My point is that this not caring about which deity a person worships does not imply that such an organization is not a religion. BTW I don't consider myself an AA basher.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:45 PM
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I find intolerance, bigotry, and sweeping uninformed (and wrong) statements about others offensive (admittedly probably more so when that segment includes me, especially when quite frankly it couldn't be further from the truth)

I work on being tolerant, and am very open to AA not being the only path to sobriety, I "promote" AA because it works, and don't denigrate others beliefs and find it offensive that my beliefs are frequently denigrated here, called "flim flam" called Christian propaganda etc evidently somehow this slips between the cracks of

4. No Flaming: Posting of any content with the intention of disrupting the forum or inflaming members-be it on someone's person, religious beliefs, race, national background, sexual orientation, or recovery program.
and it's OK to call AA Christian propaganda and flim flam and a million other jabs

I get upset and frustrated because AA saved my life yet there are a number of posters who's sole contribution seems to be to knock AA, and get away with it on a daily basis...whatevers

good luck convincing so much as one A.A. basher of this fact.
Agreed Dawg, I'm outty

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:46 PM
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Also, why have Christian prayers and talk about god in a non-religious meeting?

This is so striking because it would be so easy to eliminate religion from meetings and the word god from the steps. (Just change "god" to "higher power.")
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