We Agnostics – Seven Deceptive Delusions
By Samuel Ross
1) It is possible that the writer of this chapter doesn’t understand the tremendous difference between agnostics and atheists but it is more likely that he is simply disregarding the difference in order to manipulate its readers. While atheism is the absolute disbelief in a God of any kind, agnostics believe that a God of some sort may exist but as far as they know it’s impossible to be certain. This chapter states that it is vain of both atheists and agnostics to believe that when it comes to the universe there is nothing outside of human intelligence. This is completely wrong. This is a description of an atheist’s beliefs but nowhere near the belief system of an agnostic. When it comes to God or spirituality agnostics do not disbelieve nor do they believe anything since as far as they know it’s impossible to be sure. As Socrates once said, “the greatest wisdom is to know that you know nothing.” To be sure of any belief, especially religion, without any solid evidence only leads to very dangerous situations, as history has proven time and time again.
2) It is written that as soon as we believe or have a willingness to believe that we would commence to get results. Isn’t that a bit conceded? Why are us alcoholics so important? This apparent power greater than us feels that it is more important to help us with our alcoholism than it is to help out the very spiritual people of Darfur that are being genocidally wiped off the face of the earth? I’ve spent a great deal of time in South America and I have seen first hand the incredible suffering of massive amounts of people who are extremely religious. Most of Latin America attends church once a week and prays daily. Yet, there is an immense amount of suffering in the form of poverty, war, disease, and yes…addiction. Why is God more interested in helping us rather than them? They are far more devout than most of us are. I don’t want to believe in any higher power that would put the recovery of my alcoholism above the actual lives of so many others. I am not saying that there is no higher power because I simply do not know. I am just saying that if it does exist I hope those with greater suffering than us alcoholics have a higher priority than we do. Until the bigger problems of this world are solved I believe it is very conceded of almost anyone in AA to ask God for help.
3) I understand that this book was written in a different time but that doesn’t mean we should ignore or evade its many fallacies. In this chapter science is actually compared to spirituality. It questions the reader by stating that we believe without doubt in the existence of electrons and how they behave even though we can not see them and yet we do doubt the existence of a higher power. It’s implied that we have no more evidence for the existence of atoms than we do for the existence of a higher power. Although the writer was wrong even at the time that he wrote this, it is unquestionably wrong today. We can see electrons and atoms with the technology available today but there is still no technology that can provide evidence of a higher power; as far as I know there is no telescope that reaches to heaven.
4) The writer tells us that we should not even hold prejudice against organized religion because it provides direction and purpose to so many people. He is right about this and no one can argue that, for organized religion has provided a great amount of direction and purpose throughout history with the bloody wars that have been initiated by men in the name of God such as the crusades. Organized religion has also provided immense direction and purpose in modern times to the devout people of Bosnia and Serbia, Sri Lanka, Somalia, the Middle East and the Bush administration. Any God that can be used to justify the means or actions of these people is not a God anyone in their right mind should want to seek for any positive personal help. Many people will say that God never meant for these people or groups to manipulate His texts in the manner they have but then why didn’t He provide a better text? In all organized religions God is said to be perfect. Every text containing the so-called “word of God” is full of holes and contradictions leaving it open to misinterpretations. So if a God as defined by organized religion actually does exist it is reasonable to blame Him for how people have interpreted His text since He apparently created both the text and the men who read and apply it. For this reason I truly hope that God, as defined by any organized religion, does not exist. If He does exist I do not respect Him but am not worried about what He thinks of my lack of faith since God apparently created me in my entirety and so if He wanted me to have faith He would have made me differently…or just dumber.
5) In this chapter non-religious people are accused of not giving religion a fair chance. This is absolutely absurd and backwards; it is usually not those without faith that don’t give religion a chance, it is the religious that don’t give the non-religious a chance and the writer of this book is a perfect example of that.
6) The complete nonsense of this chapter continues as the writer explains to the reader that we have all had faith all along without even knowing it. He says that since we all have or have had faith in ourselves as well as things like money, the sunset, the sea, a flower, or other people that we clearly are all people of faith. This is undoubtedly another attempt to manipulate the reader. Faith is, by definition, a belief in something without any logical proof. We can see, touch, feel or interact with the examples the writer mentioned and therefore we have logical proof of their existence. Faith is irrelevant when it comes to believing in these things because they obviously exist. This particular part of the chapter is what is referred to as a “bait-and-switch” stunt. The writer is baiting the reader by having them accept that they are a person of faith after all, and then switching their accepted faith in real world things to faith in God or a higher power. There is no such thing as faith in real world things…that’s why they are real world things!
7) On the last pages of this chapter there is a story about an alcoholic who while alone in a hospital room offered himself to God and his problem with alcoholism was lifted; he was saved. Alcohol gives us a psychological feeling that is not naturally possible and so when we no longer have the feeling that alcohol gives us alcoholics it is only normal to feel the need to replace it with another form of an unnatural psychological state. Faith, being belief without logic, in religion or spirituality provides us with an unnatural psychological state that we feel we need to fill the hole that alcoholism leaves in us. Religion or spirituality is merely a quick fix for our problems. We give up on ourselves when we submit to a higher power instead of looking into ourselves using our logic and rationality to get to the root of the problem. We have the power within ourselves, others and the real world to overcome alcoholism but this writer attempts to lead us to believe that we do not. The abandonment of logic and rationality is detrimental to the advancement of the human race.
– Samuel Ross