Friday, December 16, 2011

Spirituality vs. Religion

Went to a meeting today and the chair person made step two the topic, but more specifically, he was trying to inform a lot of the newcomers in the group/meeting to understand that with all the God talk lately, that they do not have to buy into some organized religion form of God.

I think it's a good point in the fact that I need to come to terms as to whether I'm an alcoholic or not and if I need divine help to get and stay sober... or at very least to stay sober.

I see nothing wrong with organized religion... if used properly.  A lot of folks in A.A. seem to have had a hellfire and brimstone God shoved down their throat.  I did not.  But regardless of how wonderful a person's religious upbringing, if they're alcoholic now, how good could that religion be doing with regards to the booze?

Can a person who is accustomed to some religious path do A.A. and come later to incorporate that discipline into their life as well?  Can someone who was never too strong in religion come to incorporating some religion of their choice whilst also staying plugged into A.A.?

Can a person who walked away from religion long ago but found sobriety in A.A. find a way to just keep their trap shut as to suggesting others to do likewise so as to solicit some form of approval or whatever it is they do?

It just seems to me that many bleeding deacons who go to meetings feel the need to paint a rosy path for the newcomer so as to not let any mention of God scare the new man off.

Back in the days of our cofounders, did the folks who were agnostic/atheist generally stay that way?  Or did many come to believe in some form of God that may be associated with some religion?  I know many will argue that A.A. was generally based on Christianity.  I don't buy it.  I also hear the same garbage about the forming of the US of A.  To me, our great nation was formed on Spiritual Principles, not religious dogma.  But, this is something we can argue till the cows come home.  I argue that our nation is spiritual rather than religious because we generally have the freedom to worship how and if... without giving up our rights and freedoms.  Not so in many parts of the world during the forming of this new nation.  Same goes with A.A. in my experience.  I am not forced into believing and practicing the dogma of any particular religion.

The books itself tells us in very specific detail what we are called to do... be quick to point out where religious people are right... make use of what they offer.  I am called upon to be open minded.  As my mentor's mentor says, "I used to think open minded meant adding to the vast knowledge that I already possess.  What I found out was that I'm called to start anew with the whole deal... and to choose... all the way down the line."  That's a paraphrase, but I think I got the jist of it.

Yesterday in this same meeting, we had a group of gals graduating from the local treatment center, so the chairperson yesterday chose to cater to these ladies and let them share where they are now and what they plan on doing going forward.  Just about every gal talked about how they used to hate other girls and only hung out with guys and how they have come to open up to their female companions a bit.  It's a good thing I didn't get called on to share because I was going to explain to them my opinion about their tendencies.  Many of these women hate other women because they see them as competition.  They see men as providers.  It's about that simple.

I would have gone on to talk about how it is my opinion that these gals... whether they go on to get sober/clean or not, do A.A./(fill-in-the-blank A.) or not... they at very least try to get back on their own two feet and put themselves in a position to provide for themselves.  This would entail, get a job, pay the bills, don't cheat, steal, fight, break the law in general, etc.  Then maybe, if they can face up to the fact that the best deal they got is to look at those steps.  Am I alky?  Do I need God's grace and protection and care?  Am I willing to let God be my Provider?  Will God do for me what I cannot do for myself?  Will God provide for me so long as I do not place others or myself in the wrong position? 

It's got to be a bit tougher for women though.  See, they will not hear that shit that I would spew in a meeting... not ever... especially the cute ones.  Ever notice how women, specifically the cute ones, get treated different?  It's as if nobody has the balls to give it to them straight.  This particual meeting I have been going to has no recovered women in it.  The "elder statesmen" don't want to see the new man/woman get run off with God talk or ... perhaps step-talk.

But unfortunately, I think people get what they want.  They want the easier softer way.  I don't think they spend enough time discussing what an alcoholic is and if they are one or not and whether they have really come to terms with whether they are going to decide into this spiritual path or not.  Until all this stuff is ironed out, the God talk is just talk, imo.


  1. It's hard to imagine how adamantly opposed to God some people are. It's also hard to remember that I wore the same pair of shoes at one time. I was opposed to God as a direct result of the conception of God that was sold to me by Organized Religion. No other reason than I was lied to and sold some unrealistic expectations of God.
    I was expecting a man sitting on a throne. This man donned a white robe with a golden rope belt. His hair was long and grey as was his beard. No wonder I couldn't find God. I had been looking for Zeus all this time. As a result of a lie sold to so many.

  2. If this was SR, some slogan spouting zombie would surely tell you "Religon is to save people from hell, spirituality is for those of us who have been there". Drop this little pearl of bullshit at a meeting and see how many nods and admiring looks you receive.

    My take on religion and spirituality is very similar to a Venn Diagram, there are many folks who consider themselves to be Christian who say they are spiritual as well, they are the intersection of the two circles. I consider myself a mystic, open to all religious practices but tied to none (with the exception of Scientology which I personally think is ridiculous).
    PAtrick is right, religion or spiritual all boils down to a solid step one experience, if I have something I can do to stay sober without these, I am probably not alcoholic in the way the book describes.

  3. "Belief fixates, faith liberates".

    Urantia Book 1955


  4. Cuda, have you seen my Chrysler vid and pics? I think they're in the Oct 2 Off Topic thread. Wondered what ya think of my tuneup.

    Rob, funny you mention the "Religious folks are afraid of going to Hell and us spiritual fucks have already been there and don't want to go back" chant. Someone actually said that shit right in that meeting and they thought they were clever for spouting it. My main problem with these folks is that they are the ones with "time". Oh, and congrats to your team on the win. Guess Tebow is human after all. Maybe we won't get the hype crammed down our throats so much this next week.

    Colter, hope you're having a nice holidays.

    Jim... if you're taking time away from your FB project, I hope all is well with you. Haven't heard much on the relationship front. Hope all is well with you two... whether geographically closer or not. Either way that goes/went, may you both maintain your autonomy and solid sobriety and spirituality. Congrats to your locale's football team... the 7-7 Seagulls. They're still with a pulse.

    Joe... don't know if you're a football fan... but your Skins upset the G-men... again, and your Ratbirds dumped one to the late-starting Chargers. But the later team seems to still control its own destiny.

    Tony... your NY teams sucked it up this last week as well as my Broncos. Condolences.

    Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas to some of us and Happy Festivus to the rest of us.

  5. " I know many will argue that A.A. was generally based on Christianity. I don't buy it. I also hear the same garbage about the forming of the US of A. To me, our great nation was formed on Spiritual Principles, not religious dogma."


    A bunch of people go sick of the Catholic Church around about 1500.
    They had their points.

    Between the Protestant notion of an individual relationship with God outside of any organized religion and Masonic influence some of our basic principles of both AA and the US of A were passed on.

    Don't get me wrong, I love being a Catholic.
    It's a rich traditon.
    But tradition and being a part of a 'church' does not a meaningful relationship with a higher power make.

    Once you have that relationship an organized religion can help you grow in ways AA never will. But it's much better to sit in AA WITH a relationship than go to church every day without it. The former will get you sober, the later will make you a boring, religious drunk.
    IMHO, of course.

    Giants are screwing around.
    I had to turn that game off.
    You need to come to play when you're fighting for a playoff spot and they just plain didn't.

    The Jets....well, they're the Jets.

  6. Calling religion "spiritual" is simply a way of making religion more palatable to those who don't want to be considered religious. It's rhetorical lube that helps when the girth of the dogma is too wide to fit up the ass of the recipient.

    People fall for that shit all the time. Like Wal-Mart cashiers who call themselves "associates." They're still making minimum wage, but somehow it makes them feel better about themselves. Boys don't play with dolls -- they play with action figures. Hell, even creationism is all sciency now with it's fancy new name: intelligent design. It sounds really impressive when the one teaching it is in a lab coat.

    I'm old school, so I call anything with a sacred text that relies on divine intervention a religion. Not that AA isn't different than groups like Muslims, whose god tends to fixate on slapping down infidels; or the Jerry Falwell types whose god fixates on ridding the world of homos and such. Have you seen that snake church? Google that one. Those folks are krazy with capital "K." I guess their god's focus is snakes. But I digress.

    AA's god's specialty is, of course, spiritualizing alkies. That's too narrow of a focus for my taste. Show me a god who can multitask - like fixing alcoholism AND famine - and then I'd be more inclined to join his group. If he could also get rid of Tebow, that would be even better. It'd also be nice if we weren't called a religion, either. Maybe a "philosophical round table" or "hee-man women haters club." That would be shweeeeeeet.

    Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Crazy Kwanzwaa, or Sectaular Secularity (whichever applies).

  7. Good points. I think G/[g]od already has solved famine. For fuck's sake, have you not watched Fear Factor lately? People can eat ant snizz, skunk snatch, chocolate coated snake shit... bugs that crawl in sand, etc. In the US of A, we have a 75% obesity rate. An Ethiopian can feed his whole family on one of Oprah's butt-cheeks.

    Last week, God gave some love to quarterbacks who fuck hot models for a change, so... there's always hope, right?

  8. Why is it God's job to eradicate famine? He (She?) created mankind with free will and intelligence. I sort of think humans are quite capable of fixing the famine problem if they would only get their shit together and use the brains that God gave them.

    As for spirituality and religion, I see a big difference between the two. And if AA is a religion, I'm in deep shit trouble if the Catholic Church finds out. Probably excommunicate my sorry ass or something.

  9. Patrick, Bite your tongue. I'm a Dallas fan....

  10. Getting your ass excommunicated is one of the nicer things the Catholic Church can do to your ass... no offense intended.

    When it comes to food and stuff, I consider God to be my provider. But ashes to ashes and dust to dust, it's not good to worship things of the flesh. God also provides me with spititual food.

    Just as many who come to A.A. are not looking to be fed. Well if your hungry, get your ass up there and eat. One cannot eat for another.

    Now when I was a child, my older brother used to say, "I want pizza! Pork chops suck!"

  11. MA :

    "Calling religion "spiritual" is simply a way of making religion more palatable to those who don't want to be considered religious."

    Either that or it's a way of saying something is 'spiritual' as opposed to 'religious'.

    Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.
    But not very often to a raving alcoholic mind........always looking for the angle.

    LOL !!!!

  12. The beauty of Spirituality is that nobody can tell me what to think, how to act and what to say. Religion on the other hand is someones conception of God sold to a group of followers. That's what turned me off to begin with. Spirituality was offered by Ebby when he said "Why don't you choose your own conception..." It stuck. From then it's been morphed by the meeting attenders into doorknobs and rocks. I really can't find any monotheistic society that conforms to this idiocy and probably never will. I'' buy the first round for any group of people that made a decision to turn their will and their lives over to a doorknob. I hope they do well. I won't however tell them what to believe. That to me would be "Religious"
    Patrick, your car sounds great. Perhaps we could see some video of you boiling the Goodyears off the thing. I do have half a mind to take a bike trip down south sometime this Summer if I can get rid of the wife and kids for a day or two. I'll have to find a back road. I-25 doesn't impress me too much. I hate to meet God before it's time.

  13. Yeah, especially Fort Collins to about 8 miles south of Colorado Springs.

    Come on down. You could tour the Westcliffe Wet Mountains area... maybe hit one of our better closed meetings and get a bite to eat.

  14. Freemasonry :

    "Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. "

    "Candidates for regular Freemasonry are required to declare a belief in a Supreme Being.[29] However, the candidate is not asked to expand on, or explain, his interpretation of Supreme Being. The discussion of politics and religion is forbidden within a Masonic Lodge, in part so a Mason will not be placed in the situation of having to justify his personal interpretation.[30] Thus, reference to the Supreme Being can mean the Christian Trinity to a Christian Mason, Allah to a Muslim Mason, Para Brahman to a Hindu Mason, etc. While most Freemasons would take the view that the term Supreme Being equates to God, others may hold a more complex or philosophical interpretation of the term.

    In the ritual, the Supreme Being is referred to as the Great Architect of the Universe, which alludes to the use of architectural symbolism within Freemasonry.[31][32]

    A Volume of the Sacred Law is always displayed in an open Lodge in those jurisdictions which require a belief in the Supreme Being. In English-speaking countries, this is frequently the King James Version of the Bible or another standard translation; there is no such thing as an exclusive "Masonic Bible."[33] Furthermore, a candidate is given his choice of religious text for his Obligation, according to his beliefs. UGLE alludes to similarities to legal practice in the UK, and to a common source with other oath taking processes.[34][35][36][37] In Lodges with a membership of mixed religions it is common to find more than one sacred text displayed. In lodges that follow the Continental tradition other texts may be used, including texts that are non-religious in nature."


    So is Freemasonry a religion ?
    Is AA merely a fraternal organization ?

    Dawg, a little googling and I think you're on point. We did found our nation on spiritual principles as opposed to Christian ones.

    I looked up George Washington. He would go to three seperate churches on some Sundays.

    This spiritual not religious idea has been around for quite a while it seems.

    Good stuff.

    MA and the other fanatics will miss it because they're still trying to work out a theory sitting at home safely n their rooms and then trying to force that theory into reality.

    In a word the anti-AA atheists are religious rather that spiritual.

    Spirituality seems to imply a willingness to accept the world (natural/supernataural/whatever) exactly as it is and working from there.

    No theories need be imposed. Just start applying spiritual practices and see what happens.

    Adjust as necessary.