There is still so much to cover in this series! We haven’t gotten to Bill Wilson’s womanizing, the relapses of early AA members, séances and “spook sessions” at Stepping Stones, daughter cults of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA as part of sentencing and rehab, the 12 Steps in pop culture, and “thirteenth stepping”. Today I want to focus on AA as an anti Christian religion.
First we must establish that it is a religion at all. Alcoholics Anonymous states that it is a ” spiritual, not religious ” program, compatible with all faiths and none. Interfaith ecumenism usually takes the form of vague platitudes and a food bank, not specific instructions on when and how to pray, confess sins, and submit to the will of God.
AA is a religion with its own scriptures (Big Book of AA, AA Comes of Age), tennants (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions), and theology (One Day at a Time). Meetings are a form of religious service, complete with group recitation of texts and prayers. Confession is the primary action proscribed in the steps. Religious accountability is ensured through a sponsor. Tokens and key chains for length of sobriety advertise the program while establishing an in-group hierarchy.
The second chapter of the Big Book, authored by Bill W., is called “We Agnostics”. Bill liked to pretend he had been many things before his conversion to the Oxford Group, like a stock broker (he was a prospector), a lawyer (flunked out of law school due to binge drinking), and an atheist. None were true, but it is with this false claim to agnosticism that he wrote:
Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuador. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long ss some of us were.
Bill Wilson was saying in the above that anyone who balked at his authoritarian psychic wish granting vision of God was: unable, handicapped, obstinate, over sensitive, unreasoning, prejudiced, touchy, bristling with antagonism, close minded, and doomed with tedious alcoholic destruction until they relented. Don’t believe the AA party line that their cult is compatible with atheism or in any way not a religion.