An open question to steppers, as-yet uncommitted 12×12 practitioners, non 12×12 practicing AA members, 12×12 critical types, interested lay-persons, theologians, string theorists, richard dawkins, etc.:

Explain the qualitative differences (or similarities if you choose) between the following set of quotations:

Membership & Damnation New Testament style:

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. […] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already.” – John 3:16-18
  • “[Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,] but anyone who blasphemes against the the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke 12:10
  • “Whosever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” Mark 3:29

Membership & Damnation AA style:

  •  “So the hand of Providence early gave us a sign that any alcoholic is a member of our Society when he says so.”
– William Griffith Wilson, “Tradition Three”, 12 Steps & 12 Traditions, pg. 145 (Note the un-capitalized ‘h’ in “he” – very dissimilar to the ‘God’/’He’/’Him’/’Power of Your Understanding’ in the rest of the literature.)
  •  “To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are [sic] not always easy alternatives to face. […] But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life—or else.” William Griffith Wilson,We Agnostics,” Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 44
  • “Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant.” William Griffith Wilson, “Tradition Nine”, 12 Steps & 12 Traditions, pg. 177 (again, note the un-capitalized ‘h’ in “he.”)


The common formula (IMHO – humility at all times!) seems to be:

1) Believe (e.g., Jesus as savior; “alcoholic” as definition of self) and you’re in.

 2) Stop believing in “the program” (e.g., The Holy Spirit — the most mystifying & least tangible aspect of the Christian triune God; the 12 steps — the most mystifying & least tangible aspect of AA) and you’re doomed

hmmm … .

Any and all responses are welcome.  Have at it kids.