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Title: The 12 Step fellowships encourages their members to invent their own God.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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 The 12 Step fellowships encourage members to invent their own God. Systematic theology is an outside issue, and dogmatic approaches to the...
 The 12 Step fellowships encourage members to invent their own God. Systematic theology is an outside issue, and dogmatic approaches to the nature of God find no home in AA meetings. However, theism permeates the program as does the belief that escaping the bondage of self as a result of a "spiritual experience" will deliver the alcoholic from his craving for alcohol. Precisely defining the role of self, theism and the religious experience in human growth and change has been as problematic for AA as it has been for pragmatism. With different emphasis, James and Dewey celebrate religious aspects of experience but have little sympathy for institutional theism. AA finds that the religious experience, at least the sudden "white light" kind of experience, is a rare bird, and even when it occurs to be no guarantee of subsequent sobriety. Consequently, it has a fallback position that resembles Dewey's views of habit more than James's ecstatic faith. Nevertheless, both theism and spirituality remain an integral part of the program. To the pragmatists this spirituality is suspect. To the churches it is heresy.
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