Can Atheists and Agnostics Be Helped By A.A.?

I believe a good case can be made that the newcomer (who comes to A.A. from the depths of despair and depravity, who resolves to quit drinking for good, and who does so) has sure accomplished a lot. That–whether he or she is an atheist, agnostic, unbeliever, Buddhist, adherent to not-god-ness, or just a chair sitter.

On the other hand, early AA Akron AAs were Christians and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (See Big Book, 4th ed., page 191). They believed in God (See Big Book, 4th ed., page 181, and DR. BOB and the Good Old-timers, page 144, and Real 12 Step Fellowship History by Dick B.).

Since 1939, AAs could be just about anything. That didn’t mean they were thoroughly following the Big Book path or the verses in the Bible. After Dr. Bob died, there were still tens of thousands of Christians in A.A., And there are still tens of thousands in A.A. today. But in the later years, A.A. sure wasn’t a Christian Fellowship, nor does that mean that AAs couldn’t and didn’t quit drinking. The problem for many who “quit drinking for good” is that, if they don’ change their behavior or make a new life based on the cardinal teachings of Christianity, as well as the support of the A.A. fellowship, program, and activities, they may suffer on–dry, miserable, lonely, and angry.

If that’s the case, there are lots of other options and approaches and organizations for them to attach to and where they may perhaps become happy campers. Whether one becomes an AA and comes to God through Jesus Christ may make it possible for him or her to have and enjoy the abundant life and assurance of everlasting life accompanied with the love, guidance, forgiveness, healing, power, and peace of God.

Today the AA has a choice. Cofounder Bill Wilson and his mentor Sam Shoemaker put it very well: “God either is, or He isn’t.” What was our choice to be, they asked..

Following the verse Hebrews 11:6, I chose to seek and believe in God and receive the rewards that come to those who obey him. However, I see no reason to condemn or criticize or ostracize those who find other kinds of help in the fellowship, Steps, groups, and meetings of A.A., N.A., or the many other anonymous fellowships.

I believe the heart and hand of most AAs goes out to anyone suffering from alcoholism, being dry and miserable, getting into trouble, and losing health, wealth, and peace. They’re entitled to a shot. And most of us believe they are entitled to a helping hand whatever their religious beliefs or distaste for A.A., church, religion, and the Bible. The choice is theirs to make. Dick B.

And, if they can and do quit, rejoicing is in order whatever their belief or unbelief.ement that anyone


About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement.
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