Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Assume the Position

A leader of one far-away atheist/agnostic AA Group begins each meeting reciting a statement of values and practices, including the claim--I paraphrase--'while the group welcomes non-believers, it does not endorse atheism or oppose religious belief--it welcomes people without regard to their belief or non-belief.'

Sometimes religious believers show up; sometimes people arrive expecting a vanilla AA meeting--though our observer has never seen anyone react rudely or with great shock upon becoming aware of the group's unusual slant.

Interacting with the dozen or so regulars for some months, not one takes a strong atheistic cultural stand.  Not an attendee shows any awareness or interest in the webstars of atheism. The members often show tolerance and understanding toward members who are 'grappling emotionally' in their effort to comply with AA's multiple mental and behavioral demands.

Such interior struggle is unnecessary, as it represents a cowardly submission to the moralistic blackmailing by the supporters of superstition.  If you've read Ch. 4 of the Big Book--or the twelve steps--you know AA's central texts equate 'higher power' with monotheistic God.  The book suggests the reader entertain abject submission to a fictional entity, forever.

When bullyragged within such social situations, the atheist has a proudly oppositional reply:  'We don't think groundless superstition shows much real promise, as a moral bedrock upon which to build a rewarding life.'

Our man thinks--as he listens to the leader, reading the weekly disclaimer--it is not quite true: we cannot sincerely promise to be neutral with regard to the adoption of evidence-free magical and historical claims.  We cannot feign impassivity when asked if we consider it wise to base one's life on bullshit.  We're not really looking for something to put into the bullshit slot in our lives.

Religious gente propound the viewpoint 'believing my religion makes you a better person.'  The atheist cannot help but answer, 'A decent society should not pressure folks to feel better about themselves for cultivating superstition.'

One encounters many, within conventional AA meetings, who claim to have progressed from religious apathy or non-belief to devotional fervor, in sobriety.  The organization implicitly steers members precisely in this bearing--a foolishly biased set of public values engenders a preponderance of falsehood-spreading members.

The meme itself, of course, has no conscience.
blog comments powered by Disqus