Thursday, 8 July 2010

We Agnostics

Ok, I am doing Step 2, and I have a query: What about We Fully-Paid-Up-Richard-Dawkins-Brand-of-Atheists?!

How have other people, atheists, got beyond this point? (I think this is where we Brits differ from our American cousins: church attendance in this country is a minority rather than a majority.)

As a child I was very spiritual. My mother was into Buddhism when I was very young, and this is something that has stayed with me, but this is more of a philosophy, a way of life, than religion (i.e. the idea of a god in Buddhism is somewhat irrelevant*). Later in life I grew interested in Hinduism, but in my early 20s I rejected it - along with any other god based rhetoric - and have ever since rejected any notion of god.

So how do I get past this point? As the book says "we found ourselves thinking, when enchanted by a starlit night, "who then made all this?" There was a feeling of awe and wonder, but it was fleeting and soon lost". Well no, not really - I just thinking big-bang, hydrogen, light waves… ('wow, bet he's romantic'!!!)

So how do I get in touch with that lost sense of spirituality I had up till my teens? Haven't got an answer for that, but one thing is for sure - I am willing to try. And as someone once said**, he was asked "what you would like God to be?" He wrote down a lists of things, was then told "you can begin with that!".

So that is what I will be doing - write a list of what this higher power will be to me. My list, my god. I just hope I can rekindle that wonderment of yesteryear…

I would love to hear from anyone who has struggled with the idea of a god, or a higher power, and how you came to move beyond it.

*At least that is my reading of it, I do not profess to be an expert (and indeed I refer to Theravada Buddhism, other strands do have more 'mystic' elements, e.g. the more well-known Tibetan Buddhism)

** Charlie and Joe do an excellent read through and interpretation of the Big Book, it can be found HERE.


  1. I too had similar thoughts as I was not spiritual or religious. But I could believe and knew that I didn't have all the answers: that there was something greater than me--a power that was beyond me. So that was where I started. At one point, the group was my Higher Power, then my sponsor, and now the God of my understanding. I simply know that there is much more than me, that there is an energy around that makes me realize how small I really am. That was enough for me to come to believe.

  2. I am with Syd...I don't really have a name for what I am spiritually, but I know it's not the Christian brand indeed and I rarely talk about it at meetings as sadly some have gotten angry at me as I am not "christian enough" whatever that means.

    I like to look at the mysteries to life...I see my higher power in nature...nature seems to know what it's doing all the time and it is greater than me indeed, but it's mysterious and full of life at the same time.

    My sponsor reminded me that life is not in the answer or having the answer, but it's in the questions, sometimes they are more important for us...and have a power we cannot define.

    Keep us posted on what you are finding on your journey.


  3. Thanks for your comments - its nice to know I am not alone in struggling with this (even if the book says many among us were agnostic or atheist, its still nice to hear it!)

    I am also kinda aware that I don't need to force this, just be open minded - worrying about it ain't going to do any good!

    So yeah, like you said Syd, for now it can be the rooms, the other fellows, the fellowship...

  4. I noticed at one of my first meetings as others spoke of their Higher Power and especially when it was related to a specific "religion" and/or "belief" that the speaker always brought in what other people had told them. They would talk about how their belief or lack thereof was influenced my family and/or friends.

    This was my moment of clarity regarding the question of my Higher Power. My awakening. I knew that if I was going to stay in recovery and work the steps I had to have a one on one relationship with my Higher Power, one that was void of what others may believe or not believe. So I would continue to ask (pray) who this Higher Power is. How do I understand and what do I do. I would say make yourself known to me as I am willing. I believe that God (the God of my understanding) knew I was willing, he knew my motives were pure (no tricks) so He made himself known to me and provided me with the spiritual strength to stay clean and sober.

  5. Thanks VJ, that's really beautiful. That makes a lot of sense, and much along the lines of what I will do.