BIG BOOK THEOLOGY: “We Agnostics” and William James (By James R.)
May 21, 2008, 12:54 am
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Much has been made of the religious language that is sprinkled throughout Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly called “The Big Book.” Some conservatives cite this language as evidence that the Twelve Step program is really a Christian program that cannot be fully effective without an active faith in Christ. Others see this same language simply as a product of its time that does not play an important role in Twelve Step spirituality. Still others are threatened by the religious language of the Big Book and disregard the book as a whole because they feel it is aggressively religious.

It is common knowledge that AA (and therefore the entire Twelve Step movement) had its birth within and evangelical Christian movement known as the Oxford Group. AA separated itself from the Oxford Group prior to the publication of the Big Book. The Big Book contains some religious language, but only mentions Jesus once, and then only in passing. This has left historians and AA members divided over some important questions. Just how Christian was early AA? Who is the God of the Big Book? Is this the Christian God, or can we really take this to mean a God of our own understanding? Continue reading