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Unread 10-05-2010, 07:20 AM   #1
hairgirl
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Default AA Original Manuscript Shows Debate Over Religion

News Report
by Benjamin Chambers
The original manuscript of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book is being published for the first time, along with edits that changed its references to religion, the Washington Post reported Sept. 22.
The first AA manual, called: "Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism," was published in 1939, the Associated Press (AP) reported Sept. 28.
First drafted by co-founder Bill Wilson, the 12-step manual has become known as the "Big Book" or "Bible." Wilson's working manuscript is now being published by Hazelden under the title, "The Book That Started It All." 
The annotated manuscript shows that Wilson picked a group of people -- whose identities are still unknown -- to review and edit the Big Book. Their changes and comments indicate there was disagreement over how explicitly to talk about God and religion. 
For example, a sentence in the first chapter that read "God has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish," was changed to read "Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish." The anonymous editor explained, "Who are we to say what God has to do?" 
The editors also made changes to the 12 Steps as well. In Wilsonís original version, Step 7 read, "Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings -- holding nothing back." The editors suggested it be changed to read, "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings," because "on our knees" suggested church worship, the Post said. 
The Big Book has exerted worldwide influence. Millions have used it to help them with addiction -- not only to alcohol, but also to many other substances and activities, including sex, food, and email. It has been adopted for use by Jews, evangelical Christians, the former Soviet Union, and the Islamic government of Iran. 
"If it had been a Christian-based book, a religious book, it wouldn't have succeeded as it has," said Nick Motu, of Hazelden Publishing.
The book was published at a time when the public tended to see alcoholism not as a disease, but as an indication of weak morals. The doctorís opinion at the book's opening, by contrast, called it "a kind of allergy." That represented a radical shift in thinking.
"We didn't have any knowledge then about the brain. Today we know there is a neurological component, we know there are spiritual, psychological and environmental components," said Joseph Califano, founder of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
It is still unclear how Wilsonís manuscript was edited, or who its editors were. Before its publication, Wilson sent the manuscript to about 300 doctors, religious leaders, and people in recovery from alcoholism. The actual number of editors was probably smaller, according to the Post. Since its publication, the book has gone through four editions almost unchanged, although the stories of those in recovery have been replaced with newer ones several times.
Wilson and his wife Lois kept his manuscript until the late 1970s, when she gave it to a friend. In 2004, it was auctioned by Sotheby's for about $1.5 million; it was sold again a few years later to a man who gave it to Hazelden for publication. 
The Post reported that the publication of the edited manuscript may stimulate debate over how big a role faith should play in treatment.
"We're downplaying the faith issue to get more people," said Jack Cowley, who oversees faith-based prison programs. Cowley said that Wilsonís decision not to emphasize God and Christ was a "cop-out."
"Wilson was divided, too," said Sid Farrar, Hazelden's editorial director.


http://www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2010/aa-original-manuscript.html
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Unread 10-07-2010, 07:38 PM   #2
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The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand. 'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?' 'Yes sir,' the student says. 'So you believe in God?' 'Absolutely ' 'Is God good?' 'Sure! God's good.' 'Is God ...all-powerful? Can God do anything?' 'Yes'

‎'Are you good or evil?'



'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment. 'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you hel...p him? Would you try?'

'Yes sir, I would.'

'So you're good...!'

'I wouldn't say that.'

'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?'

The student remains silent. 'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. 'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'

'Er..yes,' the student says.

'Is Satan good?'

The student doesn't hesitate on this one.. 'No.'

'Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'

'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'

'Yes'

'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'

Again, the student has no answer. 'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'

The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'

'So who created them ?'

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. 'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. 'Tell me,' he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'

The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'

'No sir. I've never seen Him.'

'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'

'No, sir, I have not.'

'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?'

'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Yet you still believe in him?'

'Yes'

'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist... What do you say to that, son?'

'Nothing,' the student replies.. 'I only have my faith.'

'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat? '

' Yes.

'And is there such a thing as cold?'

'Yes, son, there's cold too.'

'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. 'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold.. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'

'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it isn't darkness?'

'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?'

'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you explain how?'

'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains.. 'You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.' 'It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.' 'Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?'

'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.'

'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided. 'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.' The student looks around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter. 'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so.. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.' 'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?'

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers.. 'I Guess you'll have to take them on faith.'

'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,' the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?' Now uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it Everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in The multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world.. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.'

To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God.. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.'

The professor sat down.
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Unread 10-08-2010, 03:13 AM   #3
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Wow..Omike Where did you find that article... That was amazing... What a concept as usual you find the perfect article and on top of that you made my day.....Thankyou Love Di YOU FIND YOUR FAITH INSIDE YOu.....
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Unread 10-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #4
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Love it!
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Unread 10-09-2010, 09:25 AM   #5
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Omike, Thank you sooooo much for that. I needed that this morning and appreciate you for posting it.
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Unread 10-09-2010, 10:39 AM   #6
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And that's how you end a debate! Well done Omike!
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Unread 10-09-2010, 12:16 PM   #7
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To me religion is a very personal thing. I am a Christian, but, in turn for me in regard to whatever others believe in, there is no right or wrong, it is whatever is good for them. I have been to many types of places of worship and faith in my life and I get sick when I hear one belief, trashing on another. Further, I have many friends who are either simply spiritual in their own way or just simply atheist and that's all good, as it works for them.

As it all might pertain to the 12 step programs, as I have witnessed and/or actually taken part in, the steps can work for anyone, religious or not, spiritual or not, atheist of not!

Those who wish to point fingers or judge in this regard are the ones who make it not work!

The program when you break it down for what it really says or teaches, is simply good common sense steps to help one change their life. If a person wishes to add religion or spiritual faith to that, that is their choice.

Yes, the lords prayer is shared at meetings, but, I have seen many stand in unity of recovery and not recite it, simply because they are not spiritual and I have seen people leave right before that. They should not be judged and frankly if they are, they should ignore it, as it is someone else's weaknesses coming through, not theirs!

Those are my thoughts on it and what I have witnessed. The sober club I belong to hosts more than 20 meets per week and has hundreds of people walk through the doors each day. Everyone is different and they should be accepted for how they treat others, not what their personal views are on something like religion.

Those who are religious or spiritual and judge others for not being so, are wrong, those who are not and judge others because they are, are also wrong! IMO
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Unread 10-09-2010, 01:01 PM   #8
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Omike, You are on a roll!!! No one should cast the first stone. You are right about not judging others. I happen to share the same faith as you but I never shun someone else for their beliefs. I do however share my beliefs aloud and if someone disagrees I wouldn't shove it down their throat. Thank you for another great post You're a good hearted person and you have a VERY caring soul! Thanks again.
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Unread 10-09-2010, 01:25 PM   #9
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I couldn't agree more! I share my faith too, as it is part of my story, my experience. I don't do it to preach to another, I only do it to share me! That doesn't make my faith right or wrong, it just makes it mine and what helps me!
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Unread 10-11-2010, 05:07 PM   #10
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OhioMike,

I loved your post about the professor and student. Is this your own writing? I'd like to keep a copy of it, if that's okay with you...

If you didn't write it, do you know who did?

Thanks for sharing it...great read!

-DHF
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Unread 10-11-2010, 06:03 PM   #11
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Someone on Face Book shared it with me, so please share it with whom ever you wish.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 06:34 PM   #12
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OhioMike,

I also like what you and james said about sharing faith. I don't belong to a particular religion, I'm a very spiritual person, but don't affiliate myself with organized religion.

Nor do I judge people who do...

I love to share faith and experience, but not be preachy. My faith, like yours, has brought me through so much.

I feel I owe it to my faith in God to share it. Not argue, not debate, just share the incredible miracle that is faith.

Just thought I'd put it here if anyone cares to read it!

Have a blessed day,

-DHF
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Unread 10-15-2010, 06:22 PM   #13
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This is a good discussion! IMO, there is no sidestepping the spiritual aspect of the program, its just not an option.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 07:33 AM   #14
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DHF ,,,,,,,,, I'm right there with you! I don't care to debate religion or faith, as it is a very personal thing for each person and there is no right or wrong. However, because my personal faith is a large part of "me" then yes, when I share my experiences and/or story, my faith too is shared.

Tom,,,,,,, I certainly understand your opinion and I personally feel that the program and fellowship will lead a person or lead most people to some sort of personal spiritual awakening.

However, if that doesn't happen for a person, I also feel that the program can still be a huge positive in their personal recovery efforts. I personally don't feel that anyone should not try the program because they might be a atheist or a person of no spiritual life.

Mike
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Unread 10-16-2010, 03:32 PM   #15
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I agree 100%. I think so many turn away because they feel they must somehow conform to something in order to reap the benefits. Once the notion of "I can never get this" is accepted, the door is closed.

I had the opportunity to look over copies of the 1st and 2nd editions of the Big Book, and discovered that in his original writings, Bill was adamant about the necessity of spirituality to recovery. IMO, though, the 12 Steps are quite logical: the "awakening" refererred to in Step 12 occurs *as the result of* working the previous 11 Steps. Like any of the Steps, spinning one's wheels or having "trouble" with any one Step likely means that one needs to re-examine the preceeding Step(s).
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Unread 04-18-2011, 05:21 PM   #16
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SO WHAT? it is the current practice that has defined it as religous by the federal Government.

I am not a lawyer, but it appears that the most explicit of the cases is DeStefano (DeStefano vs. Emergency Housing Group, N.Y (2001) http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1140897.html; Bergin vs. McCall, Oregon (2009); going back more than a decade. Griffin vs. Coughlin (1996) New York Court of Appeals; Kerr vs. Lind (1996) U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh District New York; O’Connor vs. Orange County and the State of California (1994); California State Employees Association vs. The California Youth Authority (1995); Warner vs. Orange County Department of Probation (1994); Inouye vs. Kemna, Hawaii, 9th Cir. (2007) http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2007/09/07/0615474.pdf. I believe there are other case laws.
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