A Symposium on AA History 2016 : Episode 21 

Agnostica: Bringing AA to the Unbeliever

“...this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. They had widened our gateway so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their belief or lack of belief.” Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 167 

Symposium on AA History  March 4-6, 2016 
Sedona Mago Retreat Center 

3500 East Bill Gray Road Sedona, AZ 86336 

Recordings from Symposium on AA History 2016 are available from SedonaMagoRetreat.org

Saturday, Joe C of Rebellion Dogs presented on the ongoing history of atheists and agnostics in AA. On the agenda was: Growth of no-prayer, humanist, secular, freethinker, atheists/agnostic group in North America and around the world; A 40 year struggle for the General Service Conference to produce a pamphlet for atheists/agnostics; WAAFT (We Agnostics, Atheists & Freethinkers International AA Conference, and The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal case concerning Toronto Intergroup's discrimination of agnostic/atheist groups.

Here are the slides and transcript Read or download PDF slides and notes here.

Here is the audio + slide shows from Sedona Mago Retreat March 5th. Or watch on YouTube.

Here is the whole schedule for the 2016 Symposium.
visit http://www.sedonamagoretreat.org/symposium-on-aa-history/ or EMAIL JayATSedonaMagoRetreat

The whole program:
FRIDAY 
5:30 – 6:30 Dinner 
7:00 – 7:15 Welcome and Introductions 
Jay S.
7:15 – 8:00 Persistent Urban Legends in A.A. 
Dan Carracino (co-director of the documentary film: Bill W.) 
8:00 – 8:30 Ernie Kurtz: A Reverence for History 
A video interview moderated by William Schaberg & Kevin Hanlon 
8:30 – 9:30 Open A.A. Meeting 
SATURDAY 
6:00 – 7:00 Open A.A. Meeting 
with Oxford-Group-style Quiet Time [meditation] 
7:00 – 8:00 Breakfast 
8:00 – 8:15 An Overview of Our Day 
Bill S.
8:15 – 9:00 June, 1945: Bill Wilson Leaves A.A. for a Real Job 
Now What Happens? 
Kevin Hanlon (co-director of the documentary film: Bill W.) 
9:00 – 9:45 “King” Charles Towns of New York City 
Gary N.
9:45 – 10:15 Break 
10:15– 11:00 A Candid View of the “Lady Lush”: Marty Mann 
Dr. Beverly Allen (Professor, Syracuse University: Playwright 
[An Evening With Marty Mann: First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous]; 
Script Writer [Lady Lush]; Author [Mrs. Marty Mann: First Lady of Alcoholics 
Anonymous] 
11:00– 12:00 An Interview with Rt. Rev. Ward Ewing 
Jay S. & Ward Ewing (non-alcoholic Chair of the General 
Service Board from 2002 to 2013; Chair Emeritus thereafter) 
12:00 – 1:30 Lunch 
1:30 – 2:15 Agnostica: Bringing A.A. to the Unbeliever 
Joe C. Rebellion Dogs Publishing 
2:15 – 2:30 Break 
2:30 – 3:15 “In Their Own Words”: The Recovery of 
People of Color & LGBTQ in Early A.A. 
Jackie B. & Glenn C.
3:15 – 3:30 Break 
3:30 – 4:15 Lois Wilson, Her Legacy at Stepping Stones 
Sally C. (Executive Director, Stepping Stones, Bedford, NY) 
5:30 – 6:30 Dinner 
6:45 – 9:00 A Night at the Movies: 
Bill W. 
[Directors cut extended version) 
Followed by a Q&A Session 
with Director’s Kevin Hanlon & Dan Carracino 
9:00 – 10:00 Open A.A. Meeting 
SUNDAY 
6:00 – 7:00 Open A.A. Meeting 
with Oxford-Group-style Quiet Time [meditation] 
7:00 – 8:00 Breakfast 
8:00 – 8:15 An Overview of Our Day 
Bill S.
8:15 – 9:00 A New Pair of Goggles: The Spread of A.A. 
Internationally by the Armed Forces 
Roger W.
9:00– 9:45 From Psychic to Psychedelic: 
Bill Wilson at the Frontiers of Consciousness 
Jay S.
9:45– 10:15 Break 
10:15 – 11:00 A Virtual Tour of “Wilson House” in Dorset, Vermont 
Julie K. (Executive Director, Wilson House) 
11:00 – 11:30 OPEN FORUM: Suggestions for Future Symposiums 
Moderators: Jay Stinnett & William Schaberg 
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

Links from the presentation
Area 17 History of Proposals for a pamphlet for the Atheist/Agnostic/Non-believer CLICK HERE


Roger C (AA Agnostica)'s History of Secular AA groups. CLICK HERE

White Paper on Non-Believers CLICK HERE

Ontario Human Rights Commission April 12th webinar sign up CLICK HERE

We Agnostics, Atheists & FreeThinkers International A.A. Conference in Austin TX November 11th - 13th CLICK HERE


 


From the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

The right to be free from discrimination based on creed reflects core Canadian constitutional values and commitments to a secular, multicultural and democratic society. People who follow a creed, and people who do not, have the right to live in a society that respects pluralism and human rights and the right to follow different creeds. 

“When we ask people to be tolerant of others, we do not ask them to abandon their personal convictions. We merely ask them to respect the rights, values and ways of being of those who may not share those convictions. The belief that others are entitled to equal respect depends, not on the belief that their values are right, but on the belief that they have a claim to equal respect regardless of whether they are right.” – Supreme Court of Canada. 2002

2 comments

  • Gary N

    Gary N Lilburn, Georgia

    How an Atheist Works the Steps Even the ones with "God" in them March 2003, Vol. 59, No. 10 (last two paragraphs) What is missing? Step Eleven. I have no conscious contact with God--it's just not there and this does not disturb me. I try regularly to train my brain to a more spiritual viewpoint by a practice that includes contemplation, introspection, and affirmation of gratitude to have been embraced by AA. As a result, I rarely am troubled by that pervasive feeling of separation I used to feel; it has been replaced by a sense of the connectedness of all of us to one other. Even though I didn't plan it, and even though I don't think about it as "working the Steps," Steps happen in my life as part of an AA-guided recovery. Not one of these practices involves God or believing in God, but all of them together, or each of them alone, fits the intent of the Steps. Atheism and AA's principles are not mutually exclusive, and if anyone tells you that you have to believe in God to stay sober or to remain in AA, he or she is dead wrong. I always tell nonbelievers who ask how they can do those God Steps to look for the goal of the Step and do whatever they can to meet its intent. And don't drink, no matter what happens. Nothing improves if you drink. June L. El Granada, California

    How an Atheist Works the Steps
    Even the ones with "God" in them
    March 2003, Vol. 59, No. 10 (last two paragraphs)
    What is missing? Step Eleven. I have no conscious contact with God--it's just not there and this does not disturb me. I try regularly to train my brain to a more spiritual viewpoint by a practice that includes contemplation, introspection, and affirmation of gratitude to have been embraced by AA. As a result, I rarely am troubled by that pervasive feeling of separation I used to feel; it has been replaced by a sense of the connectedness of all of us to one other.
    Even though I didn't plan it, and even though I don't think about it as "working the Steps," Steps happen in my life as part of an AA-guided recovery. Not one of these practices involves God or believing in God, but all of them together, or each of them alone, fits the intent of the Steps. Atheism and AA's principles are not mutually exclusive, and if anyone tells you that you have to believe in God to stay sober or to remain in AA, he or she is dead wrong. I always tell nonbelievers who ask how they can do those God Steps to look for the goal of the Step and do whatever they can to meet its intent. And don't drink, no matter what happens. Nothing improves if you drink.
    June L.
    El Granada, California

  • Craig GC

    Craig GC

    The simple expedient for me is to make a word substitution when reading AA literature: For capital 'G' god, I write capital 'L' life. With the appropriate grammatical modifications, it works for me in every case, keeping the important principle without the silly supernatural frills. "....that one is Life, may you find it now." I turn my will over to Life and discover that Life is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. Wasn't it an ancient Jewish preacher that said "I am come that you might have Life, and that Life more abundantly"?

    The simple expedient for me is to make a word substitution when reading AA literature: For capital 'G' god, I write capital 'L' life. With the appropriate grammatical modifications, it works for me in every case, keeping the important principle without the silly supernatural frills. "....that one is Life, may you find it now." I turn my will over to Life and discover that Life is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. Wasn't it an ancient Jewish preacher that said "I am come that you might have Life, and that Life more abundantly"?

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