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My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA
Six of AA's 12 steps explicitly refer to God, a Higher Power, or He.
August 28th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA

Editor's note: Marya Hornbacher's latest book, "Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power," explores what spirituality can mean to the recovering person who does not believe in God.

By Marya Hornbacher, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Kicked back with his boots on the table at the head of the smoke-dense room, the meeting's leader banged his fist and bellowed, “By the grace of this program and the blood of Jesus Christ, I’m sober today!”

I blinked.

This was not an auspicious beginning for the project of getting my vaguely atheistic, very alcoholic self off the sauce.

I wondered if perhaps I’d wandered into the wrong room. I thought maybe I’d wound up in Alcoholics Anonymous for crown-of-thorn Christians, and in the next room might find AA for lapsed Catholics, and downstairs a group for AA Hare Krishnas and one for AA Ukrainian Jews.

But a decade later, I’ve become aware that 12-step programs are home to people from every religion, denomination, sect, cult, political tilt, gender identity, sexual preference, economic strata, racial and ethnic background, believers in gun rights and abortion rights and the right to home schooling, drinkers of coffee and tea, whiskey and mouthwash, people who sleep on their sides or their stomachs or sidewalks.

Anyone who cares to sober up, in other words, can give it a shot the 12-step way.  The official preamble Alcoholics Anonymous states: "The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

And millions of people want that and find a way to do it in this program. I’m one of them. I was, not to put too fine a point on it, a raging drunk. Now I’m not.

It wasn’t magic; it was brutally hard work to get from point A to B. I do believe I’d be dead without the help of the people and the structure of the steps in AA.

But I don’t believe in God.

And this can be something of a sticking point when you’re sitting in a meeting room, desperate for almost any route out of hell, and someone cites “the blood of Jesus” as the only way to go. Or when you realize that six of AA's 12 steps explicitly refer to God, a Higher Power or He.

But this shouldn't be a dealbreaker. I’m going to make a lot of old-style AA’s cranky with this, but it’s perfectly possible to sober up sans belief in God.

At first that wasn’t clear to me. It’s unclear to most people because AA has a reputation as a cult, a religion unto itself, a bunch of blathering self-helpers, a herd of lemmings or morons, and it isn’t those things, either. It’s a pretty straightforward series of steps, based on spiritual principles, that helps people clean up their lives in a whole lot of ways.

But if you are of an atheistic or strongly agnostic mindset, chances are you’ll walk into a meeting, see the steps hanging on the wall and want to scream, laugh or walk back out.

I tried another tack: I made a valiant attempt to believe. I figured a) these people were funny, kind, and not plastered; b) they believed that some kind of higher power had helped them get sober; c) they knew something I did not.

So I did research. I read every word of AA literature I could find. I read up on the history of half a dozen important religions and a wide variety of frou-frou nonsense. I earnestly discussed my lack of belief with priests, rabbis, fanatics and my father.

People told me their stories — of God, the divine, the power of love, an intelligent creator. Something that made all this. Some origin, some end.

I told them I believed in math. Chaos, I said. Infinity. That sort of thing.

They looked at me in despair.

And not infrequently, they said, “So you think you’re the biggest, most important thing in the universe?”

On the contrary. I think I am among the smallest. Cosmically speaking, I barely exist.

Like anything else, I came into being by the chance, consist mostly of water, am composed of cells that can be reduced and reduced, down to the quarks and leptons and so forth, that make up matter and force. If you broke down all matter, the atom or my body, you’d arrive at the same thing: what scientists call one strange quark, with its half-integer spin.

And I find that not only fascinating but wondrous, awe-inspiring and humbling.

I believe that the most important spiritual principle of AA is humility. The recognition that we are flawed, that we can and must change and that our purpose not only in sobriety but in life is to be of service to others.

I believe that I exist at random, but I do not exist alone; and that as long as my quarks cohere, my entire function on this hurtling planet is to give what I can to the other extant things.

That keeps me sober. Amen.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Marya Hornbacher.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • My Take

soundoff (3,939 Responses)
  1. Lind

    I would rather be a drunk who knows Jesus than a sober atheist. I believe what the bible teaches and man...if when I hit 80 and die, there is nothing...I would like to order a GUINNESS and 6 shots of jack...Everything is always only about Jesus...whether you believe it or not.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • bpadraig

      "if there's nothing there?" Is that your idea of faith? Not much better than an atheist.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Martin T

      Lind, you are a raging idiot, and I don't say that often about people... sorry, but it had to be said.. peace.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  2. ike raoul

    Pardon any inconvenience. The Good Intentions Paving Company.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  3. Al

    A dear wise old teacher, who passed away last year, said to me once: Al, there is not a single atheist, who on the verge of dieying, will not look up...chew on that people. If you are right, when we die, we will never find out; but if I am right and God exists, you'll be sorry when you pass on.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Martin T

      Pasqual's wager... look it up..

      August 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • bpadraig

      Same fundamentalist exclusion crap–jump on the wagon or be damned in death.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Elysian

      Blaise Pascal passed away in 1662...

      August 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Martin T

      I live my life not worried about god, but about my fellow man... this is why I became a psychologist and a teacher. I am now going into the field of optometry, for much the same reason. I will finish my education and then go into a practice that will allow me to give my help to those less fortunate. I can't worry about god, I worry about man... they need my help a lot more than your god does.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • letstalk

      @Martin T

      I worry about my fellow man too. Thats why I pray for them every day. I'll pray for you too.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ letstalk, Truthfully tell me has your praying EVER really done anything you can point to? According to studies prayer accomplishes absolutely NOTHING... NOT one study ever done has proven that prayer is effective... ever...

      August 29, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • letstalk

      Martin T
      BTW, I'll still pray for you.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • letstalk

      Martin T
      "@ Letstalk.. FAT lot of good your god is doing to eleviate those things."

      Classic Jung theory of transferrence. Your anger is manifesting itself.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  4. bpadraig

    That you need a higher reason than booze and drugs to sober up is not rocket science or theology, just reality. Big deal.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  5. Elysian

    The reason AA is considered a cult is exactly because of things like the 11th tradition. Attraction rather than promotion is great... so why do you sign court papers... Its hypocritical and I have no problem with the author writing this piece as it might actually help people instead of hiding behind dogmatic 80 year old literature.

    I've got a few 24's...

    August 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Sebastien

      and I wish you many others, I agree with your comment by the way

      August 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Anonymous

      The reason AA still exists after 76 years is because of the 12 traditions, I hope as members we don't lose sight of the importance of all of them. I'd like this program to be around at least another 76.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Elysian

      Thats great I'd rather see people with real sobriety standing up in public, being identified, and trying to help others... I know thats crazy... Who in the media is a testament to AA's ability to help us? Lindsey Lohan? Amy Winehouse?

      You are right though I'm sure because of things like this article AA will cease to exist... It isn't a Bible... It was a book written by men 76 years ago and its long overdue for some changes.

      Do you sign paper?

      August 29, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Anonymous

      Yeah, it seems like a good idea to have someone stand up and shout their sobriety at the public level, but there is no spokesperson for AA. It's exactly because of the "Lindsay Lohans" that we have this tradition. No I don't think the traditions need an update, they are working just fine and have been for 76 years. It's worked for me and countless others. No I do not sign papers. But remember it says at the level of "press, radio, films and tv including websites", it doesn't say anything about courtrooms. My suggestion to anyone is to read the history of AA and the traditions to give you a better understanding as to why we have them.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Elysian

      And when that tradition was written courts weren't "promoting" people to AA. The tradition is worthless and outdated. I'm glad it worked for you it did for me too, but it can work for a lot more if AA became more willing to drop the second A.

      Your meetings sign paper just as mine do...

      August 29, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Rob R.

      A group of men got together in the 19th century and formed a group much like today's A.A.; they called themselves "Washingtonians." Their primary purpose was to stay sober by helping other alcoholics by sharing their experience. They failed when they started getting involved in other matters, such as prohibition, politics, etc. Our primary purpose in AA is to stay sober and help other alcoholics who want to get sober. The11th Tradition is a very important Tradition in my opinion as it keeps us all as equals among our fellowship.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Anonymous

      Sorry to disappoint you Elysian, but I do not sign court papers, and neither does "my group".

      August 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I'd like to point out that the writer is not unique, and as member of AA for over 20 years, I have known people to get sober in AA from every religion, denomination as well as other atheists, agnostics or non-believers. The program doesn't say you have to believe in God, it says only to find a "power greater than yourself", or a "God of your own understanding". That can be anything from a religious God, to just a belief in the program of AA to help you stay sober because you can't do it alone, obviously. Whatever works. If your sober then it's working. I am disappointed this author had to add her name and her picture. It goes against the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. I appreciate the article, however it is very important as a member of AA to remain anonymous at the public level, including radio, films, tv and internet. That is the first step in humility.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  7. MrCurve

    @Martin T, you're almost spot on. Most do not care about a greater understanding or may I say, a higher awareness; yes it does exist. This is also liken to just simply being content with understanding addition and subtraction versus learning how to multiply and divide, maybe even further than that to learn algebra and calculus...

    August 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Martin T

      Trust me, I "get" it... I have studied all religions, some more intensely than others... I think that the Tao is pretty cool, and anyone who wants to equate "god" with nature or the nature of things, is fine with me... My fear is not with the belief or disbelief of god, but in taking religion and applying that to the day to day lives of citizens of the US. Using religion to "hate" atheists or gays, or any other group, is scary.. also stating that this country is a Christian nation and trying to apply Christian "principles" to government or society as a whole, is worth fighting against. I will never fight a person's personal belief, only when that belief intrudes upon my life in such a way as to threaten.. Now, I will always debate with anyone the existence of god, it's fun and educating to me.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  8. Matt

    I believe in God. I also study, or "believe", in math and science. I don't think you have to pick one or the other. Things discovered in mathematics and science simply explain the way God works. The awe and humility I receive from studying the world, translates into worship to God for creating it. God's pretty amazing.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Martin T

      Matt, you are taking the easy way out and in fact stating NOTHING. There is no evidence that math and science prove anything at all about god or the way he supposedly works.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Martin T

      Well said, dude!

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • letstalk

      Why not. Its a matter of perspective and keeping an open mind. One can look at DNA and realize its a computer information system and design is a definite option. Once can see the complexity of the rules of the universe and determine that design is an option. One can see a point of origin of the universe with the Big Bang theory and determine that an infinite intelligent creator was the source.

      One should keep an open mind and accept possiblities. Simply shutting out possiblities will not lead us to the truth.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • fred

      Martin T
      Take off you Atheist hat for a moment. Science explains why pork was not Kosher for example. Way back when the chosen did not eat pork because Jacob was touched on the hip effecting the joint. Latter we find out about the disease from pork. God tells people what they need to know in a language they can understand. Today we know the real reason eating pork close to the bone caused disease so we eat pork now without need of Kosher rules.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Martin T

      @Fred – what you have managed to do is PROVE my point, that religion has simply been the placebo until Science came along and explained the REAL reason why things happen the way they do, not because of god.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  9. Sebastien

    I did my first meeting at 14...I'm now 32, got 2 kids a good job and I'm married to a beautiful caring women that has been sober for the last 5 years. Last time I did a meeting was years ago, and I mean yearssss, but I will still celebrate 7 years clean shortly...I still don't understand what is the difference between me staying clean, and hundreds of other I have seen dying from that disease. I just don't get it. You sure are violating 11th tradition, bad bad girl, but sending a wonderfull message of hope..what if it did save just one life...

    August 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Alyssa

      You were an alcoholic at 14? Sounds like you had more problems than just alcohol.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  10. Steve

    Martin
    Please see my reply to disco_fever as to my Einstein comment

    I would love to see a non-biased source for your 97% figure? I would have to say that the"greatest minds" statement would be a matter of opinion. Basing research on unproven theories (evolution) would lead some to believe that much of their research is a work in futility. Keep in mind that there were claims (albiet unproven) that Darwin himself renounced evolution and accepted Christianity late in life.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Martin T

      The non biased source was a 2007 study done where EVERY scientist in the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Fellows were polled and the results were that 97% stated that they had NO belief in a personal god. I could quote you the study and who did it, but I'd have to do the research.. not tonight. As for the Greatest Minds statement, I'd think that those in the two groups I mentioned would be thought of as the greatest minds in the scientific community. I wouldn't put ANY stock in anyone deathbed conversion to religion, and it would be pretty silly to think that after a lifetime of being an atheist, that someone would be suddenly "converted" at death.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Steve

      Martin, I would also have to question your comment about the govermnents of the time being run by the church, and the research of the scientists of the era reflected the opinions of said governments and the church. Many of the findings of the scientists mentioned flew in the faces of the accepted teachings of the time. Galileo and Decartes were often in direct conflict with the church.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      I can back Martin T up on those numbers – except that I believe it is 98% – and it was indeed an internal National Academy of Sciences survey, so very little chance that it was biased.

      Steve, your tired uses of "chance" to refer to evolution (ever hear of natural selection? not a random process at all), evolution as "just a theory" (might want to learn what theory means in science), and Darwin's BS deathbed recantation identify you as having gotten your information from misleading sources, i.e., sources that have little understanding, and perhaps very little honesty, concerning evoutionary research.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Martin T

      Surely Steve, you are correct MOST of the findings of those scientist were against the church's teachings; however, the church did run the governments of those men, either directly or indirectly. Don't get me wrong, I totally get where you are going, however, MOST of those scientists "believed" in god because to not do so would result in death.. not a hard decision.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Steve

      natural selection implies that there is a nature to begin with. Where does the nature come from?

      August 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      And as long as we are flogging long-dead horses, when that quote by Einstein was pounced upon by the religionists, he responded with the following public clarification:

      “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

      Regardless, it should not matter unless the best one can do is base their arguments on appeal to authority, but if it is the best once can do, they should at least be accurate and honest concerning those authorities.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • letstalk

      @Martin T

      Im surprised by you 97% statement. Since the 1920's between 30 – 40 % of scientists believe in God. You simply have to Google this and you will find it consistently. Some groups, such as biologists, have more disbelievers, but the average remains the same.

      You as a teacher should know this. Please do not spread lies.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Martin T

      Steve, saying that nature is god is not very convincing for me.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      Steve, the honest answer to where does "nature" come from is that no one currently knows, not me, not other scientists, not you. But not knowing does not mean that by default that some supernatural creator being did it. That is a false dichotomy – there are far more than two possible answers to consider.

      Besides, if nothing can exist without being created, then we just push the explanation farther up the ladder (the infinite regress conundrum). If nature is too improbable to exist on its own, then something capable of creating nature must by the same logic be even less probable.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Martin T

      @letstalk... Whatever you want to think dude, but I KNOW that my numbers are correct... I didn't have to Google.. as for spreading lies.. I leave that to the faith heads...Like you

      August 29, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Steve

      Martin

      I don't remember saying that nature is God. I am simply saying that nature CAME from somewhere. Back to my original argument that started this thread, Why must science and nature be exclusive?

      DK, I believe I covered that in a prior post on this thread. You are correct that Einstein did not have a personal relationship with God but he did believe in a god. That was my point. Atheism and science do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

      I am done for tonight. As usual, nothing is resolved here and nothing will be resolved until the day of judgement. All I have to say to those who don't believe in God... you better be right!

      August 29, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • letstalk

      Martin T

      Im no faith head IM a realist and former athiest. I gave up that game a long time ago when I tried to prove God didnt exist. Turns out I couldnt and found more to the contrary. The number of scientists has remained consistent and this I know, I looked it up with my research and it can easily be found on Google for the common layman.

      By the way, your crass remark regarding "faith head" indicates your militant bias towards me. Im used to it and have been there. I know how you think and it doesnt anger me, I only feel sad for you.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Dr.K.

      Steve, you may be right that they are not necessarily incompatible, but I can't help but point out that your religious views are causing you to refuse to accept well-established science. If that is the case then you are indeed unable to make your religion compatible with science.

      I agree, it's late. Goodnight and have a good week.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Martin T

      Actually, letstalk, I use the term faithhead for people who get to thinking that they are holier than thou and you have reached that level with me. As for your beliefs, they are your own and I do not wish you ill for them, I simply do NOT now nor will I ever share them with you. As to how you came to your beliefs is also your own and as to your research, please share with me the links that back it up.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Martin T

      As for your feeling sad for me, letstalk, how gracious of you... does it make you feel better to feel sad for poor me?

      If you recall, MY statement about the 97% was based on a study of members of the academy of science and the academy of fellows.. it was a published study and if I had the time, I'd share it with you, but if you want to read about it, you can certainly find it, I'm sure.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • letstalk

      If you truly care about your fellow man, find the study and publish it here. You seem to have a lot of time on this blog. SPend a bit of time to find it.

      In the meantime, look it up in google and you will find studies that show 30-40% of scientists believe in a God. This you can find yourself.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Dr.K.

      Actually, according to a 1998 study we are mistaken – the figure is 93% at the NAS. As for me, I think I was thinking of 98% because that is the figure for the number of professional scientists that accept evolution.

      Martin T may be right that there is a 2007 study, but here is the link to the outdated 1998 study:

      stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

      August 29, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • letstalk

      DR K.

      Saw the link (BTW Stephen Gould is a militant atheist not unbiased). As I mentioned before, you rarely find consensus with any issue. But the majority of studies point to between 30-40% belief in God. (ex: Elaine Ecklund wrote about it in her book Science vs. Religion. Essentially 36% of scientists believed in a God or highre power.)

      August 29, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Dr.K.

      Stephen Jay Gould did not carry out the study, this copy is only reported there. Besides, he was not t all a "militant athiest," he was actually considered an accomodationist between science and religion (ever hear of non-overlapping magisteria? actually, based on your posts you probably haven't).

      Anyway, it is clear that facts won't get in the way of your opinions, so I am done.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  11. Toto

    Without this imaginary God the world will be a paradise

    August 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • reb

      A paradise, eh? So, godless communist repressive regimes, Pol Pot and other utopian idealist groups, violent anarchists, and other irreligious, violent groups would simply cease to exist? God-given or evolved, you have a brain that could help you think logically. Give it a try.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • letstalk

      What about famine, disease, hunger, greed, poverty. Would these disappear if the world because atheist?

      August 29, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Martin T

      @Reb.. Why, oh WHY do you religious types always leave out the atrocties committed in the name of god over the course of mankind's history?? From LONG before Jesus, Long before the Jewish god... Men have killed in the name of their god/gods.... using a couple leaders who were atheists as proof that all atheists are evil, is silly.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Martin T

      @ Letstalk.. FAT lot of good your god is doing to eleviate those things.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • letstalk

      Martin T

      Argumentation by quantification is riduculus. More people have been killed in the 20th century by atheistic regimes alone then in all of human history.

      Take away religion and God and mankind will still fight one another. The issue is mans selfishness and greed which always starts conflicts.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • letstalk

      @ Letstalk
      God did, he asked us to help. I came to oblige.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  12. AA IS A TRAP!!!

    AA is a trap.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • reb

      Yeah, yeah, watch out for them! they'll trap you into overcoming a destructive, life-threatening disease and help you to live a life free of resentment and fear. Such a trap!!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  13. Tom O

    This woman named Marya needs to learn a thing called anonymity you dont post your full name and mention AA please read the 12 traditions and respect them. In addition, and perhaps less understood, our tradition of anonymity acts as a restraint on A.A. members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual A.A. member may presume to act as a spokesman or leader of our fellowship. If an A.A member is identified in the media, we ask that you please use first names only (e.g., Bob S. or Alice F.) and that you not use photographs or electronic images in which members’ faces may be recognized

    August 28, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  14. Ken

    Wow, I've read about 10 pages of these comments and my head is spinning. I'm an alcoholic and an agnostic with over 9 years of sobriety. I could not have done it without AA. I believe in Science but I also believe that Science cannot provide all the answers. I can't explain what the rooms of AA do for me, but the experience, strength and hope of fellow recovering alcoholics provide all the "higher power" I need. I have never been ostracized for my beliefs or lack thereof at an AA meeting. Believe what you want, live and let live...Oh, and if you have a desire to stop drinking, go to an AA meeting. Whatever your beliefs are or aren't, it might help.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Martin T

      While science can't "understand" everything YET the the crux here is "YET" The god of the gaps is becoming more and more useless as science grows our understanding of the universe.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Free

      What science cannot answer art, music and philosophy likely can, and without the sacrifice in intellectual integrity that religion demands.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      God never demanded one sacrafice intellectual integrety where do you come up with that?

      August 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • letstalk

      Science cannot disprove God. In fact, it brings God back into the forum. DNA as a part of intelligent design. Physics and rules based universe. One needs to look at the perspective of a design and see that it can be entirely possible. You cannot disprove otherwise. Since you cannot disprove, it remains a possiblity.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Martin T

      letstalk, What mainstream scientific journal brings god "back into the discussion"?

      August 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • fred

      Martin T
      The Christian Science Journal
      Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
      Just to mention a few

      August 29, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • Free

      fred
      Where in science must one accept an idea based solely upon faith? Religion often demands that you do the opposite to science and reject what the objectively observed evidence is, allowing your bias towards certain predetermined beliefs to rule your judgment of things instead.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • fred

      Free,
      As you know I tend to give lots of weight to what Jesus said verses what religion may say. I know of some religions that would bias objectively observed evidence but everyone does that to some degree. Atheists deny God yet cannot prove or disprove God. Global warming was blamed on man yet warming has been in process since the last little ice age. The bias of the scientific community was to prove man at fault so models were developed that tended to prove that position. Objectively observed evidence did not conclude man at fault yet that has been the position for 11 years and counting. The sound bite is now climate change because the bias is coming to light. CO2 from man has been debunked so the definition is being changed to include all green house gases. How many times has the missing link been found in the rush to prove science right. There is little or no empirical evidence supporting Darwin’s claim of macroevolution yet on "faith" someday we will prove it. Doubt is now creeping in and random evolution is in trouble as the “trade secret” of paleontologists has been exposed. Now I believe in evolution because I was brainwashed as a child and in college that it was fact. Today I am thinking I put too much faith in science.
      The bedrock that there is no intelligent designer was based on the popular ordinary earth “Copernican Principle.” Then recently the scientific community finally concluded it is virtually impossible that the life sustaining nature of our universe and earth could have come about by chance.
      Science may be closer to a criminal investigation than true science. The detectives try and prove their suspect guilty until proven otherwise.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  15. acepotle

    admitting there is no god is the first step on the way to health and recovery.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • letstalk

      Prove it.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • letstalk

      Atheism is a cult. You deny because it is easier than to search for the truth.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Answer

      letstalk, seriously you are a joke.

      "Atheism is a cult. You deny because it is easier than to search for the truth."

      How much searching did you accomplish before you accepted religion?
      I have yet to even cover .00001% of any of science's vast domain and you give that ridiculous claim about it being easy for atheists. Seriously go and die.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • letstalk

      Answer

      Your anger shows. You cannot disprove God and yes, I spent time and research on the subject. I was once an atheist and full of anger as yourself (BTW name calling is not very humanist or nice for that matter).

      August 29, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Answer

      Your anger at being wrong shows all too clearly.

      The christian science journal? Really? :)

      August 29, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  16. BUFFALO

    It's possible to do ANYTHING without believing in "GOD". "God" is a crutch for weak-willed people to blame things on.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • This Guy

      It's not possible to pray. ;)

      August 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Free

      But it is possible to hope?

      August 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Jay

      IS there anything easier than being an atheist? Ialk about lazy and undisciplined.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  17. RR

    AA Tradition #11- "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films."

    August 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  18. EnergyBeing3

    I love the teachings of Carl Jung

    August 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  19. Dan B

    Whatever keeps me sober is my Higher Power (God to some). Trust God, clean house, help others. That's the spirit.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  20. Krow

    Religion is simply mythology. Sorry, but none of it is true. Just a pleasant fantasy to explain the unknown.

    August 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.