12 Step Program for Recovering Ex-Theists?

Hambydammit
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12 Step Program for Recovering Ex-Theists?

 I found an atheist blog called "Heaving Dead Cats."  Since I have a deadly Rambo Kitty as my personal assistant, I had to see what was going on over there.  One post in particular caught my eye.  It's 12 steps for ex-theists.  Historically, I don't tend to go in for this kind of thing, but the more I've been thinking about it lately, the more I'm becoming convinced that a little schtick could be good for atheism.  People like bumper stickers, and the nuts and bolts of a scientific worldview are difficult to learn and harder to explain to others.  Maybe we need more simple, catchy gimmicks.

Anyway, here's the LINK and here are the 12 steps:

Quote:
1.    We admit we were oppressed by religion and that our lives had become incomprehensible and unmanageable under the guise of faith.

2.    We came to understand through common sense, education and critical thinking that our own inner strength can restore us to sanity and help us break free of the tyranny of religion.

3.    We made a decision to accept complete responsibility for our lives and our will, instead of giving that free will to a god that never made sense.

4.    We made a fearless searching inventory of ourselves and our beliefs, and discarded what was not logical and not ours.

5.    We admitted to ourselves and others the true nature of our beliefs, stripped of the lies of faith and religion.

6.    We were entirely ready to remove the illogical defects of skewed faith from our beliefs through education, common sense and critical thought.

7.    We humbly realized we are all human and make mistakes, and take personal responsibility for our shortcomings, and strive to be a good person.

8.    We made a list of all beliefs that have harmed us and those around us, and willingly removed them from our lives.

9.    We made direct amends to all persons we tried to control with religiousindoctrination.

10.    We continue to take personal inventory of ourselves and our beliefs through logical thinking, and when we are wrong, learn from our mistakes and correct them accordingly.

11.    We sought through education and critical thinking to improve our understanding of our developing beliefs and disconnection from religion, empowering ourselves to carry out our renunciation of faith.

12.    Having had an intellectual awakening as a result of these steps, we carry our lack of faith humbly and consciously, and offer to educate others when they are ready to break free of the tyranny of religion, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Granted, I don't believe in free will, and I'm not sure I think humility has worked out so well for atheists in the past.  Beyond these two minor objections, I'm thinking this is a pretty good foil for the religious 12 steps to beating alcoholism.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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At the risk of derailing the

At the risk of derailing the thread so early:

 

My early idea of what "free will" is never did assume it was free from some level of predeterministic factors, never mind otherwise uninfluenced - but rather free of forceful outside influence or free of submission to societal/peer ideas. I rather assumed that most intelligent folks thought of it in the same way.

From this point of view, the list's reference to will makes more sense. The traditional 12 step idea of giving up responsibility to a "higher power" essentially meant to submit to peer influence uncritically. An idea that, at first glance, would seem to be ideal for someone trying to kick an addiction.

Come to think on it, I think there's similar connotation problems with "humility" as well. I agree that the classic idea of humility hasn't worked terribly well - often silencing people when they really needed to be outspoken. However if humility more simply means not to be fooled into thinking your limits are far broader than they are, then it makes sense in the context of the steps. (This is not to say there isn't a superior way of phrasing it to avoid the problems with the connotations the word "humility" carries.)

 

Here's hoping that all made sense.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Quote:12 Step Program for

Quote:

12 Step Program for Recovering Ex-Theists?

Eh. Too gimmicky.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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deludedgod wrote:Eh. Too

deludedgod wrote:
Eh. Too gimmicky.
Don't make us take away your lifetime member chip.

 

(See? That's an example of the peer pressure used by 12 step programs, and the reason why they want you to submit uncritically to a higher power. Laughing out loud )

 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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No no no, I think it should

No no no, I think it should be called, "The Atheist Confession," or the, "Ex-theist Creed," instead. Or maybe just cut out two principles and call it, "The Ten Commandments." I didn't know atheism had loose doctrines to support converts.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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 Quote:No no no, I think it

 

Quote:
No no no, I think it should be called, "The Atheist Confession," or the, "Ex-theist Creed," instead. Or maybe just cut out two principles and call it, "The Ten Commandments." I didn't know atheism had loose doctrines to support converts.

I didn't either.

On reflection -- actually, after seeing a theist come in and make this sound all religious -- I take back my thought that it might be a good thing.  I'm tired enough of theists accusing atheism of being a religion.  

I just thought it would be neat to have some kind of catchy way to remember to think critically about everything.  I think now that any such efforts would just end in the accusation that we were starting a religion.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:No

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
No no no, I think it should be called, "The Atheist Confession," or the, "Ex-theist Creed," instead. Or maybe just cut out two principles and call it, "The Ten Commandments." I didn't know atheism had loose doctrines to support converts.

I didn't either.

On reflection -- actually, after seeing a theist come in and make this sound all religious -- I take back my thought that it might be a good thing.  I'm tired enough of theists accusing atheism of being a religion.  

I just thought it would be neat to have some kind of catchy way to remember to think critically about everything.  I think now that any such efforts would just end in the accusation that we were starting a religion.

 

 

 

Seems like an excellent way of enabling religion to stop people with similar ideas to cooperate and further a shared agenda.

If atheists don't organize they stand a much higher risk of being overlooked and rejected in society.  If they band together they must be a religion and therefore self-defeating.

 

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Quote:On reflection --

Quote:

On reflection -- actually, after seeing a theist come in and make this sound all religious -- I take back my thought that it might be a good thing.  I'm tired enough of theists accusing atheism of being a religion.  

I just thought it would be neat to have some kind of catchy way to remember to think critically about everything.  I think now that any such efforts would just end in the accusation that we were starting a religion.

Meh. Let 'em kick, scream and squeal. It's funny.

 

Besides, I don't think it's a good idea to let our actions/judgement be steered by a theist's nincompoopery.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Quote:No no no, I think it

Quote:
No no no, I think it should be called, "The Atheist Confession," or the, "Ex-theist Creed," instead. Or maybe just cut out two principles and call it, "The Ten Commandments." I didn't know atheism had loose doctrines to support converts.

Hell Yeah!

While we're at it, we may as well rename this stupid thing Mein Kampf, amirite?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Quote:No

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Hell Yeah!

While we're at it, we may as well rename this stupid thing Mein Kampf, amirite?

 

I was going to say something like this but figured someone else would say it better Smiling

The atheist doctrine problem seems to relate back to the fact that atheists are "forced" to identify themselves off their collective REJECTION or lack of belief.  If athiests used a term that defined themselves by what they actually support rather than reject it wouldn't be so much of an issue.

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Christos wrote:No no no, I

Christos wrote:
No no no, I think it should be called, "The Atheist Confession," or the, "Ex-theist Creed," instead. Or maybe just cut out two principles and call it, "The Ten Commandments." I didn't know atheism had loose doctrines to support converts.
It's a good thing that most atheists can easily differentiate between "an idea" meant to help consider one's world-view - which is what these 12 steps are - and "dogma" that is meant to enforce a world-view - crap like the Bible or the Koran.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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You need to make it a

You need to make it a 13-step program.

13. I realize that 12-step programs are for insecure, intellectually weak sheep. Also there is no such thing as an unlucky number.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:You need to make

EXC wrote:

You need to make it a 13-step program.

13. I realize that 12-step programs are for insecure, intellectually weak sheep. Also there is no such thing as an unlucky number.

Pwnt.

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It shouldn't be labelled

It shouldn't be labelled under atheism. What it proposes is skepticism and rationality, which although common to atheists isn't required for atheism or ex-theism.

 

Atheism, being merely a lack of god belief, does not dictate whether one is going to be rational or skeptical or logical. I've seen many times an atheist will make claims that imply atheism=rationality, or atheism=skepticism. It may be common among atheists but these people are attributing things to atheism that go beyond it's definition. Inversely they do the same with theism, for example theism=insanity, theism=irrationality, etc. Theism means a belief in god or gods, that's it.

 

I think if you guys stick with the most simple definition, you won't run in to problems of "atheist commandments" or "atheism is a belief system", etc.


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Ciarin wrote:It shouldn't be

Ciarin wrote:

It shouldn't be labelled under atheism. What it proposes is skepticism and rationality, which although common to atheists isn't required for atheism or ex-theism.

 

Atheism, being merely a lack of god belief, does not dictate whether one is going to be rational or skeptical or logical. I've seen many times an atheist will make claims that imply atheism=rationality, or atheism=skepticism. It may be common among atheists but these people are attributing things to atheism that go beyond it's definition. Inversely they do the same with theism, for example theism=insanity, theism=irrationality, etc. Theism means a belief in god or gods, that's it.

 

I think if you guys stick with the most simple definition, you won't run in to problems of "atheist commandments" or "atheism is a belief system", etc.

well observed


 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray