Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or rejected faith than to those who never had any faith at all, for they think they have tried faith and found it wanting. They have tried the way of faith and the way of no faith. Since both ways have proved bitterly disappointing, they have concluded there is no place whatever for them to go. The roadblocks of indifference, fancied self-sufficiency, prejudice, and defiance often prove more solid and formidable for these people than any erected by the unconvinced agnostic or even the militant atheist. Religion says the existence of God can be proved; the agnostic says it can’t be proved; and the atheist claims proof of the nonexistence of God. Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion. He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all. He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.
I don’t have a lot to say about this section or the one that follows, but I want to include them for completeness and because it’s good for me to study the whole text. I was brought up in what I think was a typical fashion regarding religion in my time and place. I had a childish “faith” because, as I child, I believed what I was told as much as I could. I found it wanting and turned away from it and arrived at AA, at the age of 16, firmly against “God” and religion and not participating in those aspects of AA. Not praying, for example, though I stood and held hands. Many of the people I hear talk at meetings say they arrived not knowing much of anything. Regardless, the important message is that AA has space for everyone, and people of every attitude have successfully recovered.