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Friday, February 24, 2012

Richard Dawkins 'Repents'

Yes, the "world's most renowned atheist" now says he isn't entirely sure God doesn't exist.

Why did I post this?  Well, Dawkins is usually rolled out when discussing atheism, and atheism is a major issue when talking about recovery.  Even if you are not an Orthodox Christian, the 12 Steps require a belief in a loving God.  No God, and you are on your own.  You must get out of your troubles by yourself, perhaps with a few people cheering you on or coaching, but you have to do it yourself.

The sad thing is that Dawkins talks theories while people literally die drunk because they refuse to participate in a program that confesses God.  I have known many addicts who simply refuse to go to meetings because they can't stand to even hear the word 'God.'

Dawkins is entitled to his opinions, and he is free to espouse them however he likes.  But, what is sad is how many people use his words, or perhaps more accurately -simplified characterizations of his words- to make significant life decisions.  They base their decisions on theories rather than facts.

The fact is that recovery from addiction is far more successfully treated with the 12 Steps than any other method, and these steps require belief in God.  Putting aside all else, it seems the most reasonable conclusion would be that belief in God is a positive influence on humanity and should not be rejected by someone looking for a means of escape from addictive behavior.

The evidence of faith in a loving God as a positive, healthy influence is right there in front of everyone, and yet many people will reject this in favor of a theory for which there is no evidence whatsoever.  Atheism is trap: Dawkins admits that he is guessing

Would you go to a doctor who guesses what your disease is?  That works on TV, but even then the actors pretend like they are looking for evidence.  

Atheism has no evidence: atheistic societies have been responsible for over 100 million murders in the 20th century (Communism and National Socialism are both related ideologies which also shared a common rejection of religion, the latter only less militantly so).  Atheism does not make societies better.  Just as much as we have seen religious wars, we have also seen atheists engaged in organized massacres and mechanized murder.

Belief in a loving God does have evidence, but we must ultimately look to humanity for that evidence.  I specify 'loving God' because there are horrific mis-characterizations of God that, while using the word 'God,' are so far from loving as to be bestial and worthy of scorn.  A loving and merciful God is what I am talking about, and faith in Him has been demonstrated time and time again to have a positive effect on the human person.

Here's just a snippet example:

This article focuses not on the effects of prayer of one person to another, but rather on the person who is praying.  many atheists love to point out that many studies indicate there is no substantial evidence that prayer effects the outcomes of events for which intercessions are made, but this is an artful dodge: the real issue is how prayer effects those who pray.

This is the real evidence for belief in a loving God.  


  1. With the greatest of respect for your knowledge and expertise, for 12 steps to be successful they do not require "God" to be there. 12 step recovery works well in any setting primarily because it's a support group and the core thread running through encourage you to live an authentic life (whatever that may be to the individual). Many atheists have been helped by a 12 step program from anorexia to anger management and all else inbetween.

    No God necessary.

    Having said that, i'm not really fussed either way as long as it works.

    1. Maussy, I'm not sure what you may be referring to, so I reproduced the 12 Steps here that I always refer to. If you removed God from this, it does not make much sense. Steps 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, & 11 are strictly devoted to God and cannot be practiced without belief in God, and God is referenced in Step 12.

      1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

      2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

      3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

      4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

      5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

      6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

      7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

      8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

      9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

      10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

      11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

      12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

  2. I have been to two meetinga and heard the organiser talk about people substituting "God" for "higher power" which could be anything you want it to be. One person shared in the meeting and told how his higher power was his 'adult self' speaking to his 'child self', as in the case of Transactional Analysis.

    Everywhere it mentions God in the twelve steps, he asked his adult self to help him. His 'spiritual awakening' was his epiphany about himself.

    For other people it might be 'the universe' that they submit to, believing that what you give out into the universe, you will eventually get back.

    I have a belief in God but i have read testimonies from a lot of other people who don't and yet have been helped by the twelve step program. I haven't been going long enough to the twelve step meetings to decide how helpful they are yet. I keep worrying that someone will recognise me when i go there so i stopped going after two sessions. I am reading the literature though.

    1. Keep reading the Big Book, and then you can see for yourself what the foundation of the Steps is. To me, it sounds like you've run into some of the stranger kind of meetings, which should not surprise me (I live in LA, where it gets pretty strange). There is something more than karma at work in AA, and the steps do not describe an inner self, but rather a path away from self and selfishness. Splitting the self isn't all that healthy, either.

      People can use bits of the program to get a bit better, that's for sure. You can go a very long way with using just the 12 Steps, though one of the points of this blog is to point out that the fullness of the Steps is fulfilled within the Church that originally proposed the tenets of of the Steps. The Big Book points back to a religious experience which it admits cannot be given within the meetings of AA.

      This experience can only truly be found within the Orthodox Church.

  3. @Maussy

    In such a case, it would probably be important to find out what statistics say. Do they prove that the God in the 12-steps can really be anything people want and they can heal just the same?

    My current understanding, and I am not at all an expert, is that the original 12 steps were strongly founded on belief in a Personal God, and it is this method that has had the best results. Am I wrong? Or, has this changed?

  4. I agree with you that it's the best way for me because healing is about becoming whole, we need healing from much more than our addictions. So in an overall context, yes i would say the spiritual and psychological together would be better.