It occurs to me that I need to refer to my own “Higher Power” as exactly that within a meeting. As soon as I put a more exact label on Him, I am going to exclude someone. What would have happened If — at the very first meeting I went to — the first 3 people to share started out with: “Praise be to Allah! Allah is Merciful!”? I probably would have thought I was in the wrong place. I don’t happen to be a Muslim (though I respect their religion).
A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew walk into a bar. The Buddhist ducked under it.
If you put a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew in a room and had them discuss what they believe to be true about God, What their religion has given them, and the place they believe they hold in the universe, they would all agree. As long as they didn’t name their God, mention Moses, Jesus or Mohammed, or whip their dicks out and show who was circumcised, they would each believe the other two believed exactly as they did. “You guys are some Righteous Dudes! We should Hang out!” said Achmed Faisal to Eben Shapiro.
After all, they’re all the sons of Abraham. They differ in only 1% of what they believe. That 1% seems to make so much difference! A Buddhist, Shinto, Hindu, Sikh… these differ from them by 30 or 40%, so they just benignly say: “You’re crazy.” and they have nothing to discuss. But that last 1%? That makes ALL the difference! Gotta go to war over THAT!
Jews stand to pray, Baptists kneel, Catholics do both. Jews cover their head to show respect to God, and Christians believe that shows DIS-respect. “Take off your damn HAT!” Imagine, just for a moment, that as you were about to say the Lord’s prayer, someone said: “… And if you have a hat, please put it ON while we pray…” Whatever thought just went through your mind, that’s what goes through the minds of people of other religions when you tell them how they should pray. presumptuous, at best.
So in a meeting you can talk about what your God — or “Higher Power” — has given you, and you include everyone in the room, because chances are, they believe as you do. As soon as you put a name to Him, though, you exclude someone. Does your God really want you to alienate people?
Maybe you have been told that God demands you to proselytize, convert to your faith. I ask you to re-examine. Wouldn’t He be a lot happier if you drew people into your way of Acting, than your way of Thinking? When I came into this program they told me I couldn’t think my way into better actions, I had to act my way into better thinking.
Which would make the world a better place, if everyone thought right or acted right?
One of the cool thing about A.A. is that there are people I have seen on a daily basis for over a decade. I know them pretty darn well. Looked at that way we have the luxury of time. Even if you do believe it’s your job to convert people to your religion, is it necessary to do it the first time you meet? Wouldn’t you be more effective to spend 5 or 10 years making small talk — gaining their respect — before trying to shove your tongue religion down their throat?
I know a guy who, every time someone talks about Jesus says: “All Hail Lucifer! The Dark Lord!”
One gentleman in my area is an American Indian. When someone names their Higher Power he says more simply: “Please leave your Tribal Gods out of my meeting.”
Possibly the 4 words most important to A.A’s success are “As We Understood Him”. How many people would not have recovered if those words were not included? The program most certainly wouldn’t have spread out of the U.S., but even within this country it would only have included those raised in a Christian environment. Those who had been Christian — but felt that Christianity had failed them — would also not have stayed. Let’s just stop right there — without including any more people — and throw some ballpark figures at it. Keep it real simple:
20% outside U.S. (non-Christian)
20% inside U.S. and non-Christian
20% Christian but feel let down by organized religion
Congratulations, you selfish fuck. By alienating people — simply by saying the word “Jesus” — you have just killed off 60% of A.A.
Nothing terribly new in your religion though, is it?
Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 46.
“To us, the Realm of the Spirit is broad, roomy, all-inclusive; never exclusive….”