Experiencing a Higher Power, Part II

Under my post, Experiencing a Higher Power, Russell Miller says there’s a contradiction between my following two statements:

“Not only was it anti-intellectual in that it smugly blew off certain thoughts without giving them due consideration, but it also promoted group-think: believe this way because a lot of other people do.”

“I was having a private anti-religious rant in my head, until a woman said something that set me more at ease. She said that she heard of other recovering alcoholics’ experiences of God, and she asked if they could all be lying. She concluded that they were not.”

Contradiction occurs in many of my posts, since my blog is not academia or the political arena. Flip-flopping is something I freely do.

But, believe it or not, I actually had the same thought that Russell did. In one paragraph, I criticize the Big Book for promoting a sort of group think: believe in God because not all of those religious people can be wrong. Then, in the next paragraph, I laud a woman who concludes that not all of those religious people in AA could be lying.

Tone is a big factor in my reaction. In my first quote, I’m reacting against what seems to me to be the tone of the Big Book passage: do this because a bunch of other people are doing it. In my second quote, I’m responding to a similar point being made with a tone of humility: here are all of these people, and they have stories of a higher power carrying them, working things out in their lives, and changing them into better people. And they seem so happy. Can all of them be lying?

Under the same post, Anonymous said that some could be lying, possibly to fit in. That could be. There are plenty of people who blow smoke. But should we assume that every story is made up? I mean, people believe in a higher power for some reason.

One more point: this post is not a call for Christians to give personal testimonies. Christians have told me that I should witness by telling people how God is working in my life. To be honest, I don’t know how God is working in my life! When I have a story, I’ll tell it, but I’m not going to manufacture one to fulfill some “witnessing” requirement.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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