A little ditty on the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous (We Agnostics).
What is an Agnostic?
The word broken down from Greek is, A meaning without, and gnosis meaning knowledge. So Agnostic means without knowledge. People tend to use Atheist and Agnostic as the same thing but they are not. An Agnostic is one without knowledge of God. In other words An Agnostic means one who does not know if God is or is not. Whereas an Atheist means one who believes there is no God at all.
Why is there an entire chapter dedicated to this topic?
As is stated early in this Chapter; “To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face. “So to one who has arrived at the reality that they are alcoholic, yet has no belief what so ever in a power greater than themselves, where can they go from there. Almost half of the original members of AA where atheist or agnostic. Yet they have recovered. So the authors of the book go to great lengths to show the importance of having a willingness to believe in a power greater than yourself. They site many examples of how we tend to worship other things, money, people, you name it. There are people who worship something or someone in one way or another. So why not be open to the possibility of a power which is greater than you.
When I was a kid I was forced to go to church and as soon as I was old enough I never went back. I don’t want to be told what I should believe. Do I have to believe in your/their God?
Absolutely not. To quote from the AA big book again from this chapter; “Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him.”
Once again, all that is required of you is the willingness to believe. Nothing more is needed to make a start at this program. Alcoholics and addicts are famous for not liking to be told much of anything. Another term for alcohol in the big book is “the great persuader”. If you are alcoholic you probably understand that term immediately. You see the main foundation of AA is; “Honesty”, “Open-mindedness”, and “Willingness” (the popular acronym “HOW”). The program is more concerned with what you do rather than what you think, what you feel, or even what you believe.
Why must I have the whole higher power thing anyway?
Alcoholism is about lack of power, physically, mentally, and spiritually. If a person could stop drinking on their own willpower and stay stopped and be comfortable in their own skin at the same time, chances are they are not alcoholic. Going back to the chapter on “More on Alcoholism”, The alcoholic has a disease that has him/her drinking against their own free will. Again from Chapter 4; “Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.” Once again, lack of power is our dilemma. The alcoholic cannot stay sober by willpower or self knowledge alone. Hence the need to find a power that can help solve their problem.