I am sure that every Atheist that has heard this one at one time or another : "God can not reveal himself to us because to do so would interfere with our free will."
Free will, an issue that I had never really given a lot of thought to until a couple of years ago.
As a matter of fact, I had never given it much thought until I really started becoming more involved in debating people on the Web and in person.
Perhaps it was a hold over from all my days as a theist. Perhaps, it is just one of those popular memes that has been so ingrained into people that they never stop and give any thought to the reality that things could be any other way. But, I had always assumed that free will was just a given.
Now granted, there have been countless discussions on here about free will and morality, some threads very long and some threads very short, and I am not really going to touch upon the subject here in any other context other than the free will argument as it relates to the religious excuse for why god is hiding.
Like a lot of theists arguments that I have encountered that make excuses for god's absence in times of peril, it sounds good on the surface. Kind of like the theists that like to throw the : "God is probably testing you" argument at me when things are going bad. The reason I bring this up is because of the contradiction.
I have pondered upon writing something about my unease and disapproval with AA and it's 12 steps for quite some time. However, it is a sensitive subject and one that is apt to stir quite a bit of emotions on all sides of the fence. However, I feel that if I am to continue to be an open Atheist and continue to address the problems that I see with theism in the world, then I should not shy away from any subject, irregardless of it's controversy.
I will start out by saying, for most of my life, I knew very little of AA and what it proclaims to teach. I only knew what I had seen in the movies. A group of people trying to help one another overcome their problems and gathering together to get through those problems without a drink or a drug. Sounds good on the outside. In principle, there is strength in numbers and alcoholics and addicts tend to have a social stigma attached to them. What better for them, than to gather together and support one another ?
But is that what AA really does ?
Or is it possible, that AA is another quasi-religious movement that is not so much concerned with drinking, as it is converting people to it's rather strange ideas of what it calls "spirituality" ? AA tends to dodge the religious label by calling itself "spiritual but not religious". But, let's take a look at some of AA's literature and what it says.
As I stated in my most recent post, I have been unable to get on here for a little while. First, I was in the process of moving, then I was unfortunate enough to encounter a traffic incident where I had to lay down the bike to avoid a serious injury (don't worry folks, the bike is repairable and that was what matters, ).
Anyway, while lying in the hospital, I TOLD everyone not to notify my family, with whom I am estranged, of my current situation. Unfortunately, word reached them.
I could not help but notice the difference in the condolences of my immediate friends and theirs. My immediate friends, my closest friends, called me on the phone to say "Stay strong man,". and "Hope your back up and riding again soon,". etc.
My family condolences were "Well, GAWD is trying to get your attention and make you repent,". and "See what being an open Atheist has done to your life ? GAWD is not going to bless you, so long as you live like you do,". etc. I could go into more detail about the sort of responses that I got from them, but I think you get the general idea. Not to mention that once the word got out among them, that I was a bit down and out, I can't tell you how many "christians" were contacting me on the phone, claiming to want to wish me well and wanting to pray for me on the phone.
Not to long ago, with some spare time on my hands, I stumbled across some old tattered notebooks in a box while I was cleaning out my garage.
How I have manage to drag so much junk around through several states and many moves is beyond me.
The frenzied scribbled entries that belonged to a much younger version of me are really not important.
But they did bring my mind back to the frightened young kid that wrote in them.
I won't go into great detail about all the events that were taking place in my life at that time. But I was living in a cheap motel, completely cut off from family and devoid of any friends. Life had never seemed darker. I was ferverently praying and praying for some sort of answer, for some sort of guidance, hoping against hope that god had not completely abandoned me.
Well needless to say, no prayers were answered and no miracles were performed. I awoke one morning and discovered that I did not have enough money to buy any food. The frightened kid in me was filled with outrage. How could all of this be happening to me ? Why was all of this happening to me ? What could I have possibly have done to warrant this type of suffering ?