I found an atheist blog called “Heaving Dead Cats.” Since I have a deadly Rambo Kitty as my personal assistant, I had to see what was going on over there. One post in particular caught my eye. It’s 12 steps for ex-theists. Historically, I don’t tend to go in for this kind of thing, but the more I’ve been thinking about it lately, the more I’m becoming convinced that a little schtick could be good for atheism. People like bumper stickers, and the nuts and bolts of a scientific worldview are difficult to learn and harder to explain to others. Maybe we need more simple, catchy gimmicks.
Anyway, here’s the LINK and here are the 12 steps:
1. We admit we were oppressed by religion and that our lives had become incomprehensible and unmanageable under the guise of faith.
2. We came to understand through common sense, education and critical thinking that our own inner strength can restore us to sanity and help us break free of the tyranny of religion.
3. We made a decision to accept complete responsibility for our lives and our will, instead of giving that free will to a god that never made sense.
4. We made a fearless searching inventory of ourselves and our beliefs, and discarded what was not logical and not ours.
5. We admitted to ourselves and others the true nature of our beliefs, stripped of the lies of faith and religion.
6. We were entirely ready to remove the illogical defects of skewed faith from our beliefs through education, common sense and critical thought.
7. We humbly realized we are all human and make mistakes, and take personal responsibility for our shortcomings, and strive to be a good person.
8. We made a list of all beliefs that have harmed us and those around us, and willingly removed them from our lives.
9. We made direct amends to all persons we tried to control with religious indoctrination.
10. We continue to take personal inventory of ourselves and our beliefs through logical thinking, and when we are wrong, learn from our mistakes and correct them accordingly.
11. We sought through education and critical thinking to improve our understanding of our developing beliefs and disconnection from religion, empowering ourselves to carry out our renunciation of faith.
12. Having had an intellectual awakening as a result of these steps, we carry our lack of faith humbly and consciously, and offer to educate others when they are ready to break free of the tyranny of religion, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Granted, I don’t believe in free will, and I’m not sure I think humility has worked out so well for atheists in the past. Beyond these two minor objections, I’m thinking this is a pretty good foil for the religious 12 steps to beating alcoholism.