The We Agnostic Difference

Many members of AA, both newcomers and old timers, have been challenged by the concept of God. Some reject outright the whole idea of a supreme being while others of us are simply incapable of accepting a classical view of God.

The word Agnostic literally means one who rejects Gnosis, which is the claim that spiritual or mystical knowledge exists. At the other extreme, some Agnostics believe in God but assert that they do not comprehend what it is in which they believe. While spiritual traditions exist that do not invoke the concept of God, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous calls for a “Higher Power of our own understanding.”

It is important that the newcomer to AA who is interested in this program of recovery is not pressured to accept a classical belief about God and His existence. We expect to provide a safe space for you to inquire into the concept of such a Higher Power that will be acceptable to you personally. We wish to show you that AA is a system of practice, not of beliefs. Certain beliefs may help us in our personal journey towards sobriety but we do not foist our beliefs on others. The program calls for the acknowledgment of forces in the universe outside of the will of the individual but does not attribute specific qualities to such power. Although some have found it helpful, it may not be necessary to believe that such an intelligent Being actually exists with a will and intentions for each of us.

In Agnostics in Alcoholics Anonynmous, we do not ask you to believe in anything except belief that recovery is possible.

We follow the twelve steps without the overtones of moralism (imposing one’s morals on others) or subscribing to any specific faith, dogma, belief or superstition. We do not have any opinion on the truth or incorrectness of any belief but also, we ask that you respect people’s right to their own beliefs and interpretations even if you strongly disagree. We also ask that you respect their skepticism about any beliefs you may have. If you proclaim belief in something during your comment at a meeting, we ask that you also explain how that belief helps you stay sober.

We make space for everyone to express their questions and doubts in the spirit of open inquiry. We consider honest doubt while seeking the truth to be the basis of spirituality just as others have considered sincere beliefs to be the basis of spirituality. We respect and honor everyone exactly where they are in their search for sobriety and sanity in life.

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