All Courses Forums Course Discussion Forums Healthy and Unhealthy Religion Week 2: "Superstition, Magic, and Sick Religion" Reply To: Week 2: "Superstition, Magic, and Sick Religion"


Lee Whitlock

Michael, I worked for 3 years with alcohol and drug addicted persons at Beacon House in Louisville, and I agree that sick religion becomes an addiction. The person is drawn deeper and deeper into charts, graphs, etc. to “prove” scripture. Rather than live by faith, they choose to live by what God appears to them to believe. Oates writes, “Underneath the patient’s behavior is a world view that all behavior is determined totally by God, that there is no such thing as a chance of more than one outcome for any one situation, and that even within the variety of directions a course of evens could take, there is no such thing as the fortuitous ‘break’ of events in which accidents change the whole direction of a given history.” (51) The addict’s world view is determined by his/her drug of choice. Behavior is determined by how easily or difficult it is to get the next shot of alcohol or fix of drug.  In the beginning, the behavior is controlled by the addict, but soon the roles are reversed. The substance controls the outcome. As they say in 12-step meetings, “You end up locked up or covered up (grave).” Working with the addict at its best is an interdisciplinary relationship. The physician treats the physical side of the disease. The therapist helps with an addicts problems that have been brought on by the addiction. The 12-step groups work with the addict to show them that there is no “magic” to sobering up. It is determined by the behavior changes that are suggested in the 12-steps as a way to recovery.