The Drum Beat for Atheism and Agnosticism in Alcoholics Anonymous
What is a reasonable position for Christians in A.A.
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With a small group consisting of an atheist (Henry P.) who soon got drunk, a secretary (Ruth Hock) who wasn’t a drunk, a Christian (Fitz M.) who tried hard to perpetuate the original A.A. solution—having a vital religious experience bringing the Creator off the bench, and Bill W. (a young man born and raised a Christian, a Bible student, and a Congregationalist ([the umpire] who set in motion in 1939 an admiration for nonsense gods, higher-powered light bulbs, and atheist support as the Big Book went to press.
All those who are perceptive observers may well see that A.A. today may well have evolved into a non-monolithic fellowship that highlighted some Steps and helped others get well. Quashed relationships with God, but watched the flow go out instead of in.
The personal stories in the First Edition of the Bible Book testified primarily how the original Akron Christian Fellowship worked. But they were gradually removed from A.A. publications—one by one—in the ensuing A.A. decades. The unrelated chapters of the First Edition Big Book were gradually changed to show how to find “a” God and-make a new variety of idol that would supposedly affront nobody. An illusory idol called a higher power, a door knob, a tree.
In other words, the original Akron A.A. required belief in God, coming to Him through Jesus Christ, the Bible as the source of answers for healing, and the simple message of how to get well by renouncing liquor for God. And then deciding to seek God’s help, and help others were placed in competition with the uninformed meanderings of newcomers, the determined idolatry of academia, and the economic fright over mention of the Creator.
Today, the criticism of A.A. by the few Christian commentators who think it is a pathway to destruction and hell, who think it is heretical to associate with those in A.A. of the Christian faith, and who are determined as fighters to win their case by condemnation and ostracism. But their charge has been met with a new and much stronger foe that is barely mentioned and scarcely recognized by AAs. Apathy!
Generally, newcomers don’t enter A.A. to belong to a church, to learn apologetics, or to find release through God. In the past, those proclivities just grew with the sanity and sobriety of those who learned A.A. beginnings, revered God, and knew they needed the love and power of the Creator to gain victory.
In other words, mere fellowship among believers and unbelievers became secondary to simplicity and helping others get well with God’s help.
But what Bill W. set in motion by his committee of four–without Dr. Bob, Anne Smith, Henrietta Seiberling, T. Henry and Clarace Williams, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, or even Clarence Snyder present, has become his “broad highway” through which the uninformed, unbelieving, confused crowds from treatment, prisons, and therapy find it easier to swallow than to learn what A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob meant when he said: (1) We believed the answer to our problems was in the Bible. (2) The basic ideas for the Steps came from our study, teaching, and effort in the Bible.
Today the choice remains. AAs can join together—whatever their religious or irreligious beliefs—and focus on helping the still suffering alcoholic through abstinence, steps, meetings, and book studies. Or AAs can join together—whatever their religious or irreligious beliefs—and learn the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the healing of seemingly hopeless, medically incurable alcoholics, and then decide whether to apply old school A.A. in today’s fellowship or to drift farther and farther away from the facts showing the real program and successes of early A.A.