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Annoyed by religious advice?

Old 11-01-2008, 09:32 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Here is a quote I put in another thread about the same question, I too "believe" in Science, but, for me, AA is a spiritual, not a religious program, I went for years not reciting "The Lord's Prayer"

Today it's just not an issue, "in" AA I can have conversations with the most "right wing" christians and actually realize quite often we are basically saying "the exact same thing" except for "their" God has a willy etc. and I "have no "God" as such, but I use the word "God" frequently as there is no other word to explain the "concept" and I don't like the words "higher power".

I just don't happen to believe in ANY Christian Dogma, heaven, or hell, saints...etc...but I do believe in enlightenment, and I do believe in a "power greater then myself" I just don't like calling it God because that has connotations of an "otherness" which I don't believe in, but I have no other word to use really.

After reading "The naked Ape" about how prayer is exactly like primate juvenile begging gestures, I just can't "pray" on my hands and knees etc,

OT: The Naked Ape is one of the best reads ever on religion and sexuality for that matter, hilarious book with tons of ah-HA moments

anyhow, "take what you like and leave the rest" for me applies to the religious aspects of the program although I embrace the spiritual aspects and basically am on the same page as Ananda from earlier in this thread.

Originally Posted by Ago View Post
interesting thread....

so what follows is my opinion, and strictly my opinion, I'm probably wrong, I am frequently wrong and that's OK with me.

Where I got sober, and am now, we absolutely don't argue about God, it's a non issue, and I'm very sorry to see the difficulty people have with it.

We have Buddhists, Taoists, Christians etc, but we take very seriously "why don't you choose your own concept of God"

I'm a pagan...of the worst sort...I take stuff from pre-Christianity ie; druids, Taoism, Buddhism....and as Christianity sees it, "I don't believe in God", I don't believe in an otherness, or an all powerful guiding intelligence, and I share at group level "My God doesn't have a willy!!!!"

Yet I'm well respected by everyone in the program, even to people who don't always agree with me or even like me very much. It's considered a "god given" right to have my "own god" hahahaha hohohoh ...ooooh, sorry

I talk to Christians, Buddhists, and for lack of a better word I have to use the word "God" on occasion. The program was based on a Christian group, so that's the language they use...no worries, for me.

it's a non issue.

I have been to meetings all over California, England, London, Liverpool, Scotland, Mexico, New York, in airports...

it's never been an issue with me, anywhere.

two stories, one, a guy goes to a monastery to get "peaceful" he tries to meditate but is unable to, one day he's talking to his teacher, teach asks him how he's doing, he says " I can't concentrate with all this noise, the cars driving by, the chanting going on outside, that school down the street with all the kids playing, it all bothers me, I don't see how any of you people can be peaceful with all this racket.

The teacher says, "are they really coming in here and bothering you, or are you going out and "fighting" with them?"

second, The Buddha says his teachings are like a raft, and after you cross the stream it's best to set the raft down, ie why are you carrying the raft on your head after it no longer serves it's purpose. He also said "people with strong opinions just run around and bother other people.

So, yeah, just like anywhere, in AA there are "emotional cripples" that try to get you to see things "their way" or will use AA to "sell" their particular brand of religion, they get shut down pretty fast.

As I see it, My Primary purpose is "to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety" and if that means shutting down someone who is trying to peddle his particular brand of religion, I got NO problem with that.

The "chair" at the meeting the other night had as his topic, "what is your concept of God"

My share was "My concept of God is none of your business, just like your concept of God is none of mine, If someone would have tried to push all this "God" crap down my throat at my first meeting, I would have bolted. What I was told was, don't worry about the word God there on the steps, take what you need and leave the rest. Time enough to cross the third step when you come to it.

The steps produce a "spiritual awakening" the definition in the book being "the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism"

The steps work mathematically, they work, they really do, and for the steps to work, they need a "power greater then yourself" it doesn't matter what that power is, I usually suggest to my sponsees if they want instant access to a power greater then themselves they stick their tongue in an electrical outlet.

I could have the giant flying spaghetti monster as "my god" and it wouldn't matter "in my experience"

Alkie number 100 that fought tooth and nail to have "god as we understood him" put in the steps saved my life, he went up against all 99 of those other alcoholics to put that in, and If on occasion I need to be that 1 in 100 I just hope I have the same courage and conviction as he did to fight for what I believe in like he did.

Anyhow, to sum up, I don't believe in God, as Christians know "God", yet have no problem with the word God, nor with anyone in the program about their concept of Godand No One, NO ONE has EVER told me I needed to get "their" God in the program except once, and truthfully I offered to give him a black eye (it was a long time ago and I had stated I was angry at God for letting my sobriety brother Die, I was crying and sharing at a meeting and I was on my way to his funeral and some old dumb F**K countered shared me and said I needed to get AA's God, "God as WE understood him so after the meeting I might have mentioned if he was young I would have popped him in the eye, but that was ONE guy in ONE meeting in 16 years.

anyway, if anyone did try to push their God on me I'd laugh in their face, or convince them with a straight face that the flying spaghetti monster is my God and work on converting them but I'm evil that way, I'm just sorry to see it causes so many issues for so many.

bb quotes 1st edition
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Thanks2HP
I'm not trying to persuade you to change your mind about being an atheist. That is your choice.
Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
I don't believe it's really a choice, I just don't believe.
We are all entitled to our beliefs. I also believe that "not choosing" is still making a choice. Since you know that there are many many people that do believe then it seems to me you are aware that there is something "to believe in" or something "that others believe in" and choose to "just don't believe".

I do not mean this as an insult and don't wish to offend. I really like this site because it offers so many different viewpoints about life and recovery. I'd like to think that we all come here for help and to help one another in our journey, hopefully without conflict. I readily admit that I may not be right on just about anything & I'm making my way as best I can as we all are.

I wish you well.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:47 AM
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I can understand where doorknob is coming from. For some people, to call their belief system a choice is to trivialize what they believe in. It's like telling someone who's gay that they have merely 'chosen' a gay lifestyle over a heterosexual one.
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:24 AM
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ClimbingUP;
Allow me to relate my story.
I am not 'secular' by the definition. I practice Wicca, an Earth-based natural religion. I attended AA for a long time, the longest of which was 18 months, and held service positions, was GSR of my home group, went to detox meetings, etc.
In Wicca, we ascribe to a higher force that is both male and female. That we are part of it, not apart from it. That through prayer and ritual, our thoughts and desires can be manifested. The idea that a god be only male is not something that I can accept. And the idea that diety would take a personal interest in my drinking was absolutley absurd.
I've heard in AA meetings that god was doing for someone something that they could not do for themselves. I simply didn't believe it. And when my feelings on the matter became known, I was pretty much shunned at meetings.
I have my own beliefs, and when they began to contradict AA orthodoxy, I knew it was time to leave.
I never liked the idea of closing a meeting with the Lord's Prayer (religious, not spiritual).
There was a lady who insisted god was female, and would say "God as we undestood God" instead of "God as we undestand Him". She too got many dirty looks, and some unflattering comments when she would drive into the parking lot. I felt bad for her, as she had some long term sobriety, but wasn't accpeted into the God's a Guy fold.
Looking into LifeRing- I have their workbook "Recovery by Choice", as well as read "Beyond the Influence" and "Above the Influence". All three are wonderful.
You do not have to change your beliefs to quit drinking. You are more powerful than you think, my friend!

Blessings.
BHJ
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:37 PM
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bhj...hehe...I just remembered I called one of my best friends tall bald john or tbj for years until he changed his name to something else.

Anyhow, ....about 15 years ago my father called me and said, "son, I'm a taoist"

I was like great, the old coot has finally slipped his leash.

He said, "Son, you're a taoist too, although you don't know it"

that's when I knew the old bastid had truly gone around the bend.

Truthfully, within a year or so, I realized I was a taoist strictly of the old "lao tzu" variety, as in "**** happens" that's it, that's the basic tenet of taoism, along with "the way things are" can't be explained, any more then I can explain the steps, I had to do them in order to get the effects produced by them.

anyhooow, I also suscribe to many tenets of "Wiccan Spirituality" however, my first Grandsponsor explained to me again and again, rigorous honesty is essential but I don't "lead with my chin" in that, just like I wrote earlier, my concept of God is no one else's business, just like their concept is none of mine.

If I start sharing about Taoism, Druids, Wiccan, Buddhism, I am doing the very same thing I am being intolerant of in others if they share about "christian based" beliefs.

Here I am being self rightous and indignant about them being non accepting of my beliefs while I try to push my beliefs on the group, and being angry if they come at me "with all this God nonsense"

If someone else shares something I don't like, if I have a problem with it, it's my problem, I can't control them, the only thing I have control over is me and my reactions.

If someone's faith in "God" gives them relief, and helps them be a better person, who am I to challenge that?

By the way, this only seems to apply to me in AA, outside of AA i seem to have the same intolerance of bigotry, stupidity, religious narrow mindedness, evangelicals etc trying for example to get evolution knocked out of schools, praying to cardboard cut outs of Dubya etc., now here's where it gets tricky for me.

I always display the character defect I'm professing to "look down" on in some form.

I'm bigoted against bigots, intolerant of intolerance, the bad news for me was finding out the spiritual axiom applies to me as well, If I'm upset, there's something wrong with me.

Anyhow, I don't "parade" my beliefs at meetings, and try not to let others beliefs bother me as well, and I "respect the house I am in" and that way it has been a "non-issue" for me for many years.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:47 PM
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I don't have a conception of god, and have no desire to make one up or pretend that I do. Neither do I have spiritual beliefs. I need a secular program and a secular support group, and this is the secular forum.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:01 PM
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I sometimes have problems with certain members in some AA meetings who are very religious, to the point of disrespecting my own religious beliefs or telling me bluntly I'm wrong or I'm not 'saved'. I just try to keep in mind that these people are members of AA and not AA itself. My belief in God has come and gone and come back again. But my religious views have a portion of other religions and beliefs - especially Buddhism. I find a lot of comfort in the Eastern religions/spiritual practices, or whatever you call them.

That said, if you need AA's social support network, by all means go. You don't have to say any prayers at all and if anyone "gets religious" on you you can just say that you have your own faith and don't need theirs. I know what you mean tho, to some members AA is an extension of their church. I just take what I need and leave the rest - and I never apologize for my beliefs.

I hope this helped a little.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:55 PM
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I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this thread.

To legally Barb, I would like to offer a standing ovation!!!!!

To Doorknob's earlier post, about it not being a choice...he said it much better...Doorknob, I understand completely and want to validate what you said. It makes perfect sense to me.

To the Buddhists, I watched some broadcasts of His Holiness not long ago and when his religion was brought up he answered with "That's confidential." with a simple smile and simply went on.

It was so effective...that from now on ......my answer is...awwww. ..you guessed it

I do not attend any meetings so I am applying this here at SR.
I try to avoid the subject at all if possible.

And I loved Ago's last share! ROFLMAO!

I, too, have learned how to finesse the issue here for the most part and be very tolerant, or deaf.

But out in the real world.......I hear you, except I cannot agree with what you said about being bigoted about bigots. My social and ethical conscience cannot allow me to "give silent agreement to" bigotry.
I WILL confront it. My usual tactic is to say, excuse me, you are talking about one of my best friends. This is an unexpected statement and often gives me a gentle platform to speak from.

I am grateful to be a part of this thread.

Thank you,
live/Tena
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by liveweyerd View Post

But out in the real world.......I hear you, except I cannot agree with what you said about being bigoted about bigots. My social and ethical conscience cannot allow me to "give silent agreement to" bigotry.
I WILL confront it. My usual tactic is to say, excuse me, you are talking about one of my best friends. This is an unexpected statement and often gives me a gentle platform to speak from.
Thank you for your reply and the kudos,

I actually said
I'm bigoted against bigots, intolerant of intolerance, the bad news for me was finding out the spiritual axiom applies to me as well, If I'm upset, there's something wrong with me.
and I am, I am intolerant of sexism, homophobia, racism etc. and I don't know if you gleaned from my last two replies here I don't have too big a problem with "confrontation" although I try and be gentle, I will confront, usually along the same lines as how you deal with it, and whenever possible won't "allow" bigotry, sexism etc to go by unchallenged, HOWEVER I do notice and find amusing I am having the very same character defect as the one I am confronting in a very real sense every single time as I'm being intolerant of another's beliefs because I think they are wrong.

I feel superior to self righteous smug Christians that feel superior to me because they are going to heaven while I am going to fry in the worst depths of Hell....it just goes on and on...and I truly do find it amusing.

@ Doorknob: I hear you and apologize, this is the secular forum, and upon rereading I realized I was trying to "sell my product", which is just religious/spiritual tolerance but that forum is two doors down on the right, my bad

For me, I was unable to put together any real "long term sobriety" where I was actually happy without AA and the steps, when I quit drinking without AA i am miserable, isolating, glum, and I can't get laid for the life of me........whereas with AA, meetings, working the steps, etc. I do get "the promises" and my life gets good, I can "not drink" and actually get mentally healthy and happy, I've just never been able to do so without it, and that hasn't been for lack of trying, I always end so miserable eventually that drinking actually was a viable alternative.

So, for me, it's no big deal to have to hear the word "God" a few times a night if in return I get a life that's so vastly superior to my old one I can't compare the two.

Of course if I could still drink like I used to, it would be a non issue as well, and the only time I would have to hear the word God it would have "oh my" next to it and be in bed, and that's OK too.


seriously though, my mistake.

However.....

the flying spaghetti monster needs converts and money though, and God needs your money, and with just a small donation....oh never mind....
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
@ Doorknob: I hear you and apologize, this is the secular forum, and upon rereading I realized I was trying to "sell my product", which is just religious/spiritual tolerance but that forum is two doors down on the right, my bad
No worries, I almost deleted that post. I didn't want to run anyone off, not that I could, lol.

For me, I was unable to put together any real "long term sobriety" where I was actually happy without AA and the steps, when I quit drinking without AA i am miserable, isolating, glum, and I can't get laid for the life of me........whereas with AA, meetings, working the steps, etc. I do get "the promises" and my life gets good, I can "not drink" and actually get mentally healthy and happy, I've just never been able to do so without it, and that hasn't been for lack of trying, I always end so miserable eventually that drinking actually was a viable alternative.
I don't know about the steps, but I definitely need and crave the group interaction. I wish the Spokane area had just a few of the LifeRing meetings that the Bay Area has. I was born and raised in Oakland, and took many drives to Muir Beach with my dog. At that point I was still enjoying my using and knew nothing about LifeRing. I did have the opportunity several years back to attend a few meetings while I was visiting family.

So, for me, it's no big deal to have to hear the word "God" a few times a night if in return I get a life that's so vastly superior to my old one I can't compare the two.
Hearing the word 'God' is one thing, but I have a really hard time with the proselytizing, patronizing, and condescension that comes from so many members, especially when my sobriety is tenuous at best. They may as well hand me a 40 oz and tell me to kick rocks.

Of course if I could still drink like I used to, it would be a non issue as well, and the only time I would have to hear the word God it would have "oh my" next to it and be in bed, and that's OK too.


seriously though, my mistake.

However.....

the flying spaghetti monster needs converts and money though, and God needs your money, and with just a small donation....oh never mind....
Don't leave out the Invisible Pink Unicorn!
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ClimbingUP View Post
I also had a bad experience a few years ago that made me 'want' to believe in religion. My most beautiful Sammy dog died, and I completely fell apart. I wanted so badly to believe that there was a heaven or some kind of afterlife because I didn't like to think that the beautiful creature that I loved so much just ceased to exist. I still don't know where his energy went, but my lack of understanding doesn't warrant a religious conversion.
When I had to put Blue (blond coat, blue-eyed dog posted in my 'Secular Friends' thread) down it really tore me up. I was a wreck for weeks. That was almost 2 years ago and I still cry about it. If ever there were a time I wanted to believe in something...
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
Don't leave out the Invisible Pink Unicorn!
in bed?

wait...thats fortune cookies

so...wait...an invisible pink Unicorn shouting Oh my God in bed?

you DID drink like me!!!

woot

I thought I was the only one!

no...wait...you want me send MONEY to the invisible Pink Unicorn.....

oh never mind....

(check your PM's)
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:30 PM
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