One theme that invariably emerges when I regularly attend AA meetings — something that happens only when I get bored or lonely enough, which between mid-December and mid-January tends to be more often — is people with at least a couple of years of sobriety describing themselves as doing generally well in life, maybe even better than they expected at the start of the boozeless journey, but unable to settle on a higher power and feeling like they’re failing as a result. All signs are there that quitting drinking and being active about sobriety have been a smashing success for them, but the nature of “the program” compels them to fret needlessly about this “missing” element.
Even to those unaware of the history of the Big Book’s authorship, it should be clear that the chapter to the agnostic is a bald-faced bait-and-switch. It doesn’t really offer a path to working the steps for the godless, but rather unpretentiously cajoles the nonbeliever in the direction of faith. This is because the chapter was only included because a prominent businessman who happened to also be a prominent atheist (rare in those days) insisted on it; the Big Book was essentially Bill W’s sole creation.
The A.A. mantra that a higher power can be “anything you want” was clearly not a part of the worldview of Bill W, himself a full-force Born Again Christian. This is even more evident in the steps themselves; the scheme depends not just on any old “HP,” but one that is capable of not only moral judgment but moral enslavement. The “program” through Bill W’s lens is at least as much about atonement to a critical deity and adherence to its unknowable whims as it is about living well. Any higher power that could function within this scheme would have to possess all of the essential characteristics of the Abrahamic rage-god, even if we’re allowed to nominally declare it something else.
Nothing Bill W wrote suggests he believed that anything other than a “burning bush” moment could produce a lasting spiritual transformation, even if he appears to offer latitude in this area. This is cynical in the extreme and sets people up to fail, because some people have “spiritual experiences” they see as tantamount to a cure, and the next thing you know, they’re living in a van down by the river subsisting on government cheese and MD 20/20 in its whole grotesque range of flavors.
Some people simply aren’t constructed to approach sobriety with the metaphysical demands Bill W’s “suggestions” make on would-be step-completers. In my case I simply gave up and realized that I had managed half-consciously to set up my life over a period of years in such a way that I would basically have a hard time sustaining a return to drinking for more than a couple of hours without someone knowing about it. That’s as close as I can get to the level of absolute accountability the steps seem to demand.
If you are among the people who has been actively or passively convinced you’re cheating somehow by not having a reliable concept of a higher power, maybe just giving up on that part and taking recourse in Tradition Three is sufficient. Also, where I attend meetings, most people are receptive to such viewpoints; when I lived in the Bible Belt, not so much, and you may not have ready access to meetings where you won’t be silently or openly accused of excessive freelancing.
There are many compelling reasons to reject the idea that the Christian god is real. Most of these center, properly, on the lack of evidence for God and the undeniable and ever-growing body of evidence against innumerable biblical claims, while others encompass the inconsistencies and myriad logical contradictions within the Bible itself. More circumstantially, it’s impossible to not notice that some of the most ardent believers in the God of the Bible are either under the lash of mental illness, not very intelligent or both; the correlation between slack-jawed inbred yokelism and religiosity in the United States is practically unity. (This makes a certain sense, since the God of the Bible is a psychotically childish dipshit.) And it is undeniably true that no Christian who really believes that Christianity is about moral goodness could possibly support Donald Trump, and in fact should be calling for his death by stoning or whatever means is most convenient. Yet Christians are Trump’s most energetic supporters. They are a shitstain on American society and the world in general, and if all of them were swept up in a tsunami and dashed to pieces screaming against a rocky cliff, the rest of us would be vastly better off.
Often ignored in everyday evaluations of Christian nonsense, however, is the fact that the most ardent supporters of God, Evangelicals, clearly don’t believe in the God of the Bible themselves. Even if they did, it would be incumbent upon reasonable people to either ignore, deride or actively fight their incessant lunacy, depending on the circumstances. I won’t go so far as to say the world would be better off without belief in things that are demonstrably untrue, because, standing alone, fictional narratives (e.g., literature, films) can offer people a great deal of comfort in an uncaring universe. But the would be far better off without religion, and aggressive religious leaders of any faith should be met with proportional derision and their efforts opposed absolutely.
Continue reading “Christians: Why should anyone believe ideas you plainly reject yourself?”
Pro-reason Americans can, I suppose, take solace in the 38% figure being the lowest in the 36-year-history of this poll from May 2017.
I take a perhaps more cynical view: Three in eight adult Americans subscribe to an obvious fairy tale (this poll isn’t about belief in god but in the Christian creation myth specifically). Another three in ten believe that “God” somehow “guided” this process, an idea that, while unsupported, is not flat-out stupid like creationism.
This wouldn’t be so bad if creationists didn’t try to push this nonsense into public schools with the unrelenting ferocity of starving termites, but if there’s one thing Evangelicals as a rule can do notoriously well, it’s behave very aggressively as if they don’t have anything resembling fully developed human brains inside their skulls. Continue reading “Five in eight Americans can now identify thermonuclear-scale bullshit as bullshit”
A (trigger warning!) Florida man was arrested and fired from his job after being caught taking pictures up a woman’s skirt at his pace of work. That place of work was a church, the woman was a parishioner, and the man arrested is a pastor.
Serious question: Why don’t church leaders seem more concerned about the frequency with which this stuff happens, which in turn relates to how easy it evidently is to achieve the designation of “pastor”?
I figure that folks at the top don’t see any way to stop what people leading any of the thousands of congregations across the country are doing, or they don’t really care.
Continue reading “Pervy pastors and the nature of the profession”
As unlikely as it seems, Steve McConkey‘s antics are worse than ever. He posted this on his Facebook page this morning (I’ve included his followers’ comments as of 2:30 MDT to again establish the level of reckless ignorance and stupidity it takes to respond to anything this asshole says with anything besides derision and sad guffawing).
People like Steve are why the government needs to be more stringent about granting nonprofit status to “religious” “organizations” that are nothing more than ways for ersatz Christians like Steve, whose days are evidently consumed by unwanted fantasies about nude, well-oiled young men, to not only lobby for handouts from fellow morons, but avoid paying taxes on whatever handouts they receive.
Continue reading “Steve McConkey goes full douchebag”
I sometimes think I’m too cynical. Then I remind myself that the majority of Americans claim to believe in an exquisitely well-concealed chamber of horrors where dead folks are tortured literally forever for thought crimes (such as believing in the “wrong” god) or actions that aren’t morally wrong at all. Virtually nothing could be more cynical than this.
The disturbing thing about the crazier strains of Christianity is that its adherents don’t merely think Hell is an actual place, one ecclesiastical consideration among many; they emphasize its inevitably cruel promises above all else. It seems that condemning others to Hell is a far more important consideration than striving to get into Heaven. Despite all the cool and useful things one might extract from holy books, a sizable fraction of the American religious population does little besides howl and complain about sinners and sin (and, in many cases, beg for money in the process).
Continue reading “Hellish desires”
[Note: I’ve duplicated all of my “Beck of the Pack” posts about Steve McConkey and Kim Duclos and included them here on the Chimp Refuge, with the dates of the original posts. Although both of these characters were once part of the running world, that’s no longer true, and I’m no longer interested in sullying a running blog with anything about either person. After all, this blog actually gets more traffic than my other one in spite of my having largely neglected it in recent years, and it also a more appropriate place to rant about the world’s reprobates, undesirables, and sick fucks. I also feel free to be even meaner here, which with an eye on recent events could come in quite handy. So, say hello to Steve and Kim. And if you want to keep tabs on the ridiculous things Steve writes and says in near-real time, try this humble group project.]
At this point, I won’t delete the relevant existing posts from BotP, and the more astute among you, and even some of you nitwits, can probably figure out why.]
Obviously, not everyone who believes or claims to believe in a supernatural Neitherbeing is insane, ignorant, lying, or stupid. Our brains are plainly wired in ways that make the idea of an unseen, megapowerful cosmos-creator universal across cultures.
But subscribing specifically to any one of the various religious fables on offer, and embracing absurdities as true, is a different story. Anyone who believes that the universe was created in six days within the past ten thousand years and that biological evolution is a hoax is either mentally disturbed or profoundly ignorant or both. One can adhere to a lazy sort of deism without clinging to the whole crazed, mostly purloined “Jesus-as-man-and-god nonsense. Bart Ehrman, a recovered born-again Christian and professor of religious studies, explores a lot of the rationale behind the explosion of Christianity in this podcast with Sam Harris.
When people who would be nutjobs no matter what take up the Christian cause, the results are predictably messy. Like this:
Continue reading “The “atheists are actually angry believers” canard”