PP 53-54 We Agnostics (The Faith of Reason)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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PP 53-54 We Agnostics (The Faith of Reason)

Post by Karl R » Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:05 am

Good Day,

A prayer for today.

"God let me honestly accept the known and show me the unknown"

I've posted today's reading below in red.

Yesterday we saw that it is desireable to move from "self sufficiency" to "God Sufficiency"

Today we look at the Faith of Reason. Choices..... God is or isn't?
I choose IS because he works in my life on a daily basis. Things have happened and changes have occured that I can't explain based on my human understanding. Does our movement from Self sufficiency to God Sufficiency mean we abandon the faith of reason? Or--does our HP help us by utilizing the reason that we now have now that the fog has cleared?

Can someone speak to these questions from their ES and H?

Logic is great stuff. We liked it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions. That is one of man's magnificent attributes. We agnostically inclined would not feel satisfied with a proposal which does not lend itself to reasonable approach and interpretation. Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we threw up our hands in doubt and said, "We don't know."
When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?
Arrived at this point, we were squarely confronted with the question of faith. We couldn't duck the issue. Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands had stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and we did not like to lose our support.
That was natural, but let us think a little more closely. Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith? For did we not believe in our own reasoning? Did we not have confidence in our ability to think? What was that but a sort of faith? Yes, we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!

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Post by KC.Chowd » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:03 pm

Well, the kind of Alcoholic that I am doesn't like these "is or isn't" type of questions. You see, this Alcoholic fancies himself as intelligent and quick witted. Therefore a yes or no answer for me was no answer at all. That type of answer is for the less intelligent.

I always believed that there was a God, but I took the yes he is and turned it into yes and I know who he is and how to contact him. Therefore the next time I need him I will do just that. I will lay the facts out to him, state my reason for wanting what I want from him and expect the result I wanted in a timely fashion. when I didn't get the result I was looking for I turned elsewhere, mainly to the bottle.


I have come to believe that God is and I'm not, therefore I must only ask for knowledge of his will for me and how I may help others. I never expect that God's will for me is to pick up a drink, therefore I don't.

God = Good orderly Direction
There is a God, and it ain't me.

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Post by Karl R » Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:02 pm

thanks KC. You've brought me to the heart of the matter with this passage today.

Karl

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Post by martin08 » Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:00 am

Stepping from Bridge to Shore - it happened for me only when I desired it enough, when I fully aware that I could not stop drinking on my own.

When working the Steps with other alcoholics, this seems to be a critical turning point. The ones who desire to have a new stability have logically concluded that quitting on self will is futile. They blindly take a step of faith and continue with the Program. God does the real work from that point on. And so it was with me.

While others arrive at the end of the Bridge and turn back, they don't necessarily get drunk right away but life's problems continue to dominate their existences, and they are admittedly miserable. Many who do slip will tell of a reservation, "I wanted to be able to drink again." Thus the first two Steps had not been honestly taken.

'One day at a time' is great - for a while, and was quite necessary for me in the beginning. But coming to the logical conclusion that Dr. Silkworth puts in his letter, I can "never safely use alcohol in any form" brought home to me that any reservation whatsoever would lead to doom. I can never safely drink again. Period.

This fact had to be firmly driven home before any power outside of myself could become operative.

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Post by KC.Chowd » Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:50 am

martin08 wrote:Stepping from Bridge to Shore - it happened for me only when I desired it enough, when I fully aware that I could not stop drinking on my own.
Spot on Martin. Same for me!
Thanks for the reminder I am not alone nor can I stay sober on my own. I need my HP and fpolks like you.
There is a God, and it ain't me.

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Post by jujub » Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:54 am

hey all,

to be honest, i just want to work through this chapter and get to how it works. i started my 4th step today, listing resentments, and i realize how deep seated my anger toward god is. on the flip side, i believe with my heart and soul that i have no alternative to solving my alcoholism without the help of a god of my understanding. i certainly have had no ability to stop drinking left to my own devices. i do trust the steps to enable the psychic change necessary to solve my alcohol problem. maybe that's what needs to be my hp for now. i wanted a flowery, everything is awesome and so beautiful type of hp. b.s.! it isn't where i'm at. i'm angry and that's where i am today. i don't want to think too much in doing my 4th step. just write whatever comes out and trust that it is as it should be. no matter how i appear to others. i'm a drunk who doesn't know how to stay sober long term.

judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:07 am

i wanted a flowery, everything is awesome and so beautiful type of hp. b.s.!
I don't think it's b.s. -- I just think it changes. sometimes it's like that, and I don't question why -- it's grace, it's the will of my higher power. Sometimes it's different, very hard-headed, and I have to use my brain -- yes, that expression of my higher power HAS BEEN WITH ME, whether or not I "feel" it right now: the question is, do I support what that meant to me, or do I throw a tantrum and act out simply because that feeling is temporarily unavailable?

Like Karl, I chose that God is. That was my decision, the use of my will. Sometimes I have no immediate proof of God -- big deal! What am I, omniscient? Do I see everything, know everything? Uh, no, in fact the steps have shown how very limited my perceptions are and that I need to accept that my pride pushes me into thinking I know everything when I don't. Far from it.

So I continue to use logic. I simply disagree that there's any absolute reality that isn't based on the existence of my higher power. That's what saved my sorry ass, and it's not such a great ass but it's mine, so I'm willing to take on anything that works.

That being said, I have had incredible personal proofs of that very higher power that may be called "subjective." Well, it's my subjectivity that affects everything for me, I figure. Why question it? My internal logic doesn't depend on someone else's perceptions. After all, they're just as fallible as I am. Might as well go for something that I've felt and believed for myself.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: 10/4/08 BB We Agnostics pp. 53-54 (the faith of reason)

Post by Karl R » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:46 pm

To a certain extent this passage speaks of the infinite and the finite. One can continue to reason all around the HP question forever but but at some point I pretty quickly had to throw up my hands, declare my finiteness, and decide that God IS...in all the infinity that stands in opposition to the finite power of my own self will. Once having made that surrender; that HP IS; the best practice I could find for reinforcing that surrender was the power of starting on a 4th step to explore my own finite power in all it's self will and ego and perhaps to have a bit of the infinity of a Creator revealed to me. Surrender is something to practice.

Perhaps that's why we see this at the beginning of the chapter "how it works"
We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
p. 59 BB

And perhaps that's why we see this in the big book at the end of the third step material.
Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
p. 64 BB

cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 53-54 We Agnostics (The Faith of Reason)

Post by leejosepho » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:48 am

For anyone thinking it illogical to live by faith, Bill next tries to show how illogical that kind of thinking actually is ...
Logic is great stuff. We liked it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions.
Recovery in A.A. is founded upon "a reasonable assumption as a starting point ... that underneath the material world and life as we see it, there is an All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence" (pages 48-49), but we are each given the opportunity to draw our own conclusion about that after investigating the matter for ourselves by taking the Steps and "examining the evidence of our senses" in relation to the result of our having done that. In other words, after hearing of the recoveries of others, Step Two is where we "come to believe" (or become at least *willing* to believe) the idea of "trust in God and clean house" is worthy of investigation so we can later draw our own conclusions on the matter of "God". But apart from that ...
... we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe ...
... for no matter how hard we might try, we just cannot cannot persuade others at the level of intellect. Rather, we can only share this:
When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?
So, shall we (or shall you) take the Steps and investigate the matter of "God" or shall we (or shall you) still cling to the old idea "that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all" (page 49)?

So again, and in relation to the matter of living by faith ...
Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith? For did we not believe in our own reasoning? Did we not have confidence in our ability to think? What was that but a sort of faith? Yes, we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!
And now today, following further investigation:

"We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us [at Step Two], what He can do." (page 68)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: PP 53-54 We Agnostics (The Faith of Reason)

Post by PaigeB » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:43 am

God either is, or He isn't.
My answer is that "he isn't". From there I had to ask, "So how did all these people get sober & relatively happy?" The answer I found is they are working at and relying on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is as honest as I can get. I don't care what you call it and arguing over it is senseless and time consuming.

Best to get on with living in the solution. Action through love & tolerance, sticking with the winners and do what they did.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: PP 53-54 We Agnostics (The Faith of Reason)

Post by leejosepho » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:36 am

PaigeB wrote:
God either is, or He isn't.
My answer is that "he isn't". From there I had to ask, "So how did all these people get sober & relatively happy?" The answer I found is they are working at and relying on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is as honest as I can get. I don't care what you call it and arguing over it is senseless and time consuming.
Exactly, and that is a key point in this chapter. We never argue the matter of "God" -- we simply lay aside our old ideas and investigate the matter for ourselves while engaging a completely new manner of living. Some people might still never give the credit to God, but we do not even care about that as long as they are no longer patting themselves on the back and thereby leading new folks away from where it all begins: Step One.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: PP 53-54 We Agnostics (The Faith of Reason)

Post by Duke » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:38 am

-- we simply lay aside our old ideas and investigate the matter for ourselves while engaging a completely new manner of living.


Perfect. Faith that works summed up in a sentence. Thanks Joe.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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