When God Becomes A Drug
Hello fellow HolySmokers!!
One fringe benefit of watching the "Mysteries Of The Bible" television
shows is that we get to find out which recently published authors are on the
side of intellectual honesty and integrity!
Of course, their treatment on such a program is NOT going to be fair;
anyone with enough brains to treat the Babble as it DESERVES to be treated
knows that! But mere passage of the identities of these writers is enough for
the wise, who will hie themselves to their favorite libraries and book stores
to seek the works of these people.
One instance, and the one I am about to cite, is that of Leo Booth,
author of . This is an EXCELLENT book, and one well worth the read -- far
more so than the religion addicts who produced "Mysteries Of The Bible" gave
it credit for.
The next message or 3 will consist of passages from this book,
demonstrating what religious addiction is and what can be done about it.
As Leo Booth is an Episcopal priest, these citations will come from a
Theistic perspective, as does the book itself. But the ideas transacted are
well worth considering anyway, ESPECIALLY in the light of the fact that Leo
Booth still believes in Jesus. All that an Atheist would have any trouble
with are the Twelve Steps used in Booth's work; all that such an Atheist
would need to do is replace the Rational Recovery principles in the place of
But any Atheist WOULD agree with the terms in which Booth DEFINES
religious addiction, however; and that's where the thrust of my messages are
Herewith follows my citations from (ISBN
0-87477-657-0; Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 5858 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 200, Los
Angeles, CA 90036).
Taken from by Leo Booth.
SYMPTOMS OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION
======== == ========= =========
* Inability to think, doubt, or question information or authority
* Black-and-white, simplistic thinking
* Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough, or you aren't "doing it
* Magical thinking that God will fix you
* Scrupulosity; rigid, obsessive adherence to rules, codes of ethics, or
* Uncompromising, judgmental attitudes
* Compulsive praying, going to church or crusades, quoting scripture
* Unrealistic financial contributions
* Believing that sex is dirty -- that our bodies and physical pleasures are
* Compulsive eating or excessive fasting
* Conflict with science, medicine, and [secular] education
* Progressive detachment from the real world, isolation, breakdown of
* Psychosomatic illness: sleeplessness, back pains, headaches, hypertension
* Manipulating scripture or texts, feeling chosen, claiming to receive
special messages from God
* Trancelike state or religious high, wearing a glazed happy face
* Cries for help; mental, emotional, physical breakdown; hospitalization
[words in brackets are mine]
PROGRESSION OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION
=========== == ========= =========
* Ordinary religious or spiritual lifestyle
# Using Bible to calm nerves
* Excessive church-going/Bible study
# Praying before attending functions
# Church/Bible becomes greater focal point
* Using church/Bible/prayer to avoid problems
# Black-and-white thinking increases
# Missing family gatherings or work because of religious functions
* Compulsively thinking about or quoting scripture
* Preoccupation with church/Bible study
# Thinking only of church
* LOSS OF CONTROL PHASE
* Rationalization begins
# Secret irritation when religious practices discussed or criticized
* Increased use of church/Bible/prayer to avoid problems
* Thinking world/body evil
# Compulsive church attendance and scripture quoting
* Church attendance bolstered by excuses
# Obsessive praying, church-going, crusades, proselytizing
* Loss of other interests
# Excessive financial contributions/tithing
* Obsession with church/religion/preacher(s)
# Increasing dependence on religion
* Sexuality is perceived as dirty
# Feel guilt when missing church functions
* Excessive fasing/eating disorder
# Refuse to think critically/doubt/question information or authority
* Efforts to control church-going fail
* Isolation from people
# Unable to sensibly discuss religious issues
* Non-religious family and friends judged or avoided
# Brainwashing: family and friends
# Grandiose and aggressive behaviour
# Conflict with school or work
* LOSS OF JOB
# Money problems
* Radical deterioration of relationships
# Preaching that sex is dirty
* Sexual compulsive/obsessive behaviour; sexual acting out
# Unreasonable resentment(s)
* Physical and mental deterioration
# Lengthy crusades/mission work/communes
* Loss of family/friends
# "Messages" from God
* Unable to make decisions
* Complete abandonment
# Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion
* Psychiatric assistance
In , these items were presented as a chart, with
some items to the left of a descending vertical arrow (signifying deeper
progress into more and more severe addiction) and others to the right of it.
Since I did not have the width-of-field to reproduce this, I used the
approach of lumping things at the same level into blocks as above, with the
"*" character signifying items to the left of the arrow, and the "#"
character to signify those to the right of it.
THE TWELVE STEPS FOR RELIGIOUS ADDICTS
=== ====== ===== === ========= =======
1. We admitted that we were powerless over our dysfunctional religion or
beliefs -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Spiritual Power WITHIN OURSELVES could guide us to
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to this Spiritual
Power as we understood this Spiritual Power.
4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our dysfunctional religious
beliefs and behaviours.
5. Admitted to our Spiritual Power, to ourselves, and to another human being
the exact nature of those behaviours.
6. Were entirely ready to work with our Spiritual Power in replacing all
those old behaviours.
7. Worked with our Spiritual Power to help replace our dysfunctional
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so
would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we made mistakes, promptly
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact
with our Spiritual Power, _as_we_understood_ Spiritual Power, praying only
for knowledge of that Power's guidance and the willingness to carry it out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to
carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our
Ok, HolySmokers, there it is -- Leo Booth's suggested Twelve Steps for
religion addicts. I respectfully submit that even the Atheist could use
these, with the "Spiritual Power" merely defined as one's own rational mind.
But, as Lee Iacocca was wont to say, "your mileage may vary"........
peace -- Sean