“God will steer if we row the boat”
Posted: 17 November 2012 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Actually not any particular “God”, but something along the lines of “A higher power of our own understanding. ” (Or misunderstanding)

I believe Sam Harris new book on “Free Will” has the potential to bring Agnostics like myself closer to an understanding of “How it works”.

Being a long time member of a 12 step program (AA), I have been invoved with 1,000s of discussions about the AA 3rd and 11th steps ....

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” and… “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

I have participated in thousands of meetings,listening to people describe, the admittedly self contradictary process, of how they regain control of their lives through the practice of these steps. Although I don’t know how it works or the exact nature (or even approximate nature) of the higher power that is involved, I have absolutely no doubt that doing so, can somehow work more transformative miracles than are described in any “Holy Book” from any religion.

Somehow, Sams’ theory of “Self Will” fits into this process. I have to think and “pray” about it more, but I believe it may hold the key to many answers concerning the nature of reality and “How it works”.

I would love to have Sam put his creative prowess to work on this area and would be glad to assist from the AA side in any small way that might be helpful.

[ Edited: 17 November 2012 08:07 AM by GenerousGeorge]
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Posted: 17 November 2012 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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GenerousGeorge - 17 November 2012 07:54 AM

Actually not any particular “God”, but something along the lines of “A higher power of our own understanding. ” (Or misunderstanding)

I believe Sam Harris new book on “Free Will” has the potential to bring Agnostics like myself closer to an understanding of “How it works”.

Being a long time member of a 12 step program (AA), I have been invoved with 1,000s of discussions about the AA 3rd and 11th steps ....

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” and… “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

I have participated in thousands of meetings,listening to people describe, the admittedly self contradictary process, of how they regain control of their lives through the practice of these steps. Although I don’t know how it works or the exact nature (or even approximate nature) of the higher power that is involved, I have absolutely no doubt that doing so, can somehow work more transformative miracles than are described in any “Holy Book” from any religion.

Somehow, Sams’ theory of “Self Will” fits into this process. I have to think and “pray” about it more, but I believe it may hold the key to many answers concerning the nature of reality and “How it works”.

I would love to have Sam put his creative prowess to work on this area and would be glad to assist from the AA side in any small way that might be helpful.


Why do you believe a higher being exists?

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Posted: 17 November 2012 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Rami ......  where in my post did you see that I believe a higher “being” exists?

Please refer to .... “Although I don’t know how it works or the exact nature (or even approximate nature) of the higher power that is involved, I have absolutely no doubt that doing so, can somehow work more transformative miracles than are described in any “Holy Book” from any religion.”

also ....  “We don ‘t know what we don’t know.” I am Agnostic.

Because my quote from the 12 steps uses the word “God”, I am not referring to a “being”, much less a “God”.

[ Edited: 17 November 2012 11:54 AM by GenerousGeorge]
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Posted: 17 November 2012 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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GenerousGeorge - 17 November 2012 11:50 AM

Rami ......  where in my post did you see that I believe a higher “being” exists?

Please refer to .... “Although I don’t know how it works or the exact nature (or even approximate nature) of the higher power that is involved, I have absolutely no doubt that doing so, can somehow work more transformative miracles than are described in any “Holy Book” from any religion.”

also ....  “We don ‘t know what we don’t know.” I am Agnostic.

Because my quote from the 12 steps uses the word “God”, I am not referring to a “being”, much less a “God”.

You said “higher power that is involved”. I took that to mean “higher being”. If not that, then what did you mean?

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If you agree with my ideas, you’d enjoy these:

http://ramirustom.blogspot.com
http://fallibleideas.com/
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http://groups.google.com/group/taking-children-seriously/subscribe
http://groups.google.com/group/rational-politics-list/subscribe
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Autonomy-Respecting-Relationships/messages

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Posted: 18 November 2012 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Rami, I am not sure.  LOL However, I am sure it is not a being or super being. (At least for me and many others, it is not.)

I see significant (almost miraculous) changes in people in AA. Almost unanimously they claim a “Higher power of their own understanding” played a significant part in their much improved life and outlook on life. Some claim the group as a Higher Power, some are religious and claim their particular “God of Choice”, some claim it is the “God inside themselves”. Others (like me) are Agnostic and are searching for what that might mean.


I am a “reluctant” searcher as I have a lot of problems with religions along the lines of what Sam speaks of often. I see people in religions using their imaginary Gods for their own selfish reasons. “It takes religion to make good people do bad things.” Certainly there is a lot of similarity to a cult in most religions. (Just more widely acepted)


The way people in AA overcome their desire to drink is by “turning that problem (their will) over to a higher power”. Maybe it is a psychological trick, maybe it is the support of a group with a similar problem. In an event, I see miraculous changes in peoples way of life, outlook on life and willingness to be more selfless and less concerned with ego. Somehow we get our will back by turning it over to a HP. Kind of like swiming with the current as opposed to “upstream”. and…...  almost all give creit to a higher power of their own understanding. Baffles me really, but I also give credit to a higher power I dont understand. I just see that it works. So as they say in AA, I take what I need and leave the rest behind.


Some regard those who abuse drugs and alcohol as being weak willed. I personaly have a very strong will that has made me very successful in life. I just had no self will when it came to having a second drink. My only choice is over the first and help with the persistent illusion that “this time it would be different”. I would be able to have “just one.


Many will disagree with my view and regard AA as something like a religion or cult. Anyway, I was struck by Sams’ theory that there is no self will and wondered if the way AA works had anything to do with where our illusion of self will comes from.


I don’t know, maybe “there is a pony in there somewhere”? Just part of my search for “How it works”.


Sam, you should investigate how AA works. I am pretty sure you will find some clues that support, maybe modify and/or clarify your theory on self will. Sit in some meetings, see what people have to say at the beginning and a year later. You will be amazed at the ageless wisdom that )  They are wise far beyond there years. How that happens is worth studying.

[ Edited: 18 November 2012 10:14 AM by GenerousGeorge]
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Posted: 18 November 2012 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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GenerousGeorge - 18 November 2012 09:57 AM

Rami, I am not sure.  LOL However, I am sure it is not a being or super being. (At least for me and many others, it is not.)

I see significant (almost miraculous) changes in people in AA. Almost unanimously they claim a “Higher power of their own understanding” played a significant part in their much improved life and outlook on life. Some claim the group as a Higher Power, some are religious and claim their particular “God of Choice”, some claim it is the “God inside themselves”, others (like me) are Agnostic and are searching for what that might mean.

“God inside myself”? What does that mean?

GenerousGeorge - 18 November 2012 09:57 AM

I am a “reluctant” searcher as I have a lot of problems with religions along the lines of what Sam speaks of often. I see people in religions using their imaginary Gods for their own selfish reasons. “It takes religion to make good people do bad things.” Certainly there is a lot of similarity to a cult in most religions. (Just more widely acepted)

The way people in AA overcome their desire to drink is by “turning that problem (their will) over to a higher power”. Maybe it is a psychological trick, maybe it is the support of a group with a similar problem. In an event, I see miraculous changes in peoples way of life, outlook on life and willingness to be more selfless

That sounds like altruism. Its evil. See Ayn Rand’s Objectivism.

GenerousGeorge - 18 November 2012 09:57 AM

and less concrned with ego. Somehow we get our will back by turning it over to a HP. Kind of like swiming with the current as opposed to “upstream”. and…...  almost all give creit to a higher power of their own understanding. Baffles me really, but I also give credit to a higher power I dont understand. I just see that it works. So as they say in AA, I take what I need and leave the rest behind.

Its mysticism. Hypnosis is another example of mysticism. Do you believe that hypnotists can make people do stuff against their will?

GenerousGeorge - 18 November 2012 09:57 AM

Some regard those who abuse drugs and alcohol as being weak willed. I personaly have a very strong will that has made me very successful in life. I just had no self will when it came to having a second drink. My only choice is over the first and help with the persistent illusion that “this time it would be different”. I would be able to have “just one:.

Many will disagree with my view and regard AA as something like a religion or cult. Anyway, I was struck by Sams’ theory that there is no self will and wondered if the way AA works had anything to do with where our illusion of self will comes from.

Sam is wrong about free will. See my post here: http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/16894/

GenerousGeorge - 18 November 2012 09:57 AM

I don’t know, maybe “there is a pony in there somewhere”? Just part of my search for “How it works”.

Sam, you should investigate how AA works. I am pretty sure you will find some clues that support and/or clarify your theory on sel will.

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If you agree with my ideas, you’d enjoy these:

http://ramirustom.blogspot.com
http://fallibleideas.com/
http://groups.google.com/group/beginning-of-infinity/subscribe
http://groups.google.com/group/taking-children-seriously/subscribe
http://groups.google.com/group/rational-politics-list/subscribe
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Autonomy-Respecting-Relationships/messages

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Posted: 18 November 2012 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

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