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Beyond Belief

Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life: Finally, Daily Reflections for Nonbelievers, Freethinkers and Everyone

by Joe C


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Every daily reflection in Beyond Belief starts with a quote. The source may be a philosopher, writer, psychologist, addiction/recovery professional, comedian, historical figure or member of the Twelve Step community—past or present. Author Joe C. invites mindful inquiry and a holistic approach to sobriety. He considers stewardship of the Twelve & Twelve community and challenges readers to reflect on their own biases and fears about change. Skepticism, courage and open-mindedness are essential to vibrant, relevant fellowships. The alternative is reification, rigidity and ultimately, extinction. Our founders didn't ask us to canonize their memory and preserve their words as the alpha and omega of recovery. They conceded that they knew but a little and that more would be revealed. They urged us to prepare our fellowship for tomorrow's newcomer, never fearing needed change.

The recovery journey has ebbs and flows and every recovering addict can expect their values and outlook to change with time. Beyond Belief doesn't treat doubt or atheism as either a handicap or a higher plane. The Twelve & Twelve community is about unity, not uniformity. There is room for everyone and everyone deserves to speak their truth candidly. We are a mosaic, not a melting pot and the voice of the nonbeliever not only has a right to be heard and respected, but has much to add to the recovery conversation. For 365 days of the year Beyond Belief draws upon classic philosophy to pop-culture to create a truly 21st century daily reflection book.

Some definitions:

Agnostic is someone who has no knowledge of or personal experience of God. In Alcoholics Anonymous Appendix II on the Spiritual Experience, founders described the transformation as either an educational variety or "our more religious members call it 'God-consciousness." So someone who doesn't describe their personality change that was sufficient enough to recovery from addiction as "God-consciousness," such a person could call themselves agnostic. Some agnostics are seeking an understanding to the great question of the universe, "Is there a creator or guiding force upon which to draw upon?" Others are not. The "apathetic agnostic doesn't know and doesn't care. If the ultimate answer to the mystery of the universe was definitively answered today, it would not change how he or she conducted themselves tomorrow.

Apostate is someone who has rejected a religious or political view. We may have rejected the formal religion of our youth for something else or nothing at all. We may have gone from religious to spiritual or secular in how we define ourselves. Apostasy has a special definition in Twelve & Twelve culture. Some of us wholeheartedly accepted the interfering/intervening god concept as part of our Twelve Step indoctrination. We faked it until we made it. Maybe we made it, maybe we just stayed fakers. Apostasy is to say, "I have tried this god-business but I find no connection. After thoughtful consideration, I respectfully reject the notion of Divine intervention." The author of this book was a closet atheist and dodged god-issue in meetings for years, talking in abstracts and with anecdotal accounts. Finally, Joe C. came out of the closet and admitted he believed in no god as he understood him, her, it or they. Closet atheists will find great comfort in this book. You are no longer alone.

Atheists see belief in an intervening deity as tantamount to belief in fairies, unicorns, Santa Claus or leprechauns. There is no collective consciousness and no need to have supernatural forces fill in the blanks for the unexplained mysteries of life. For an atheist faith in god would be as delusional as faith in...

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Rebellion Dogs Publishing
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Beyond Belief
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