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Atheist in the Pack

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  • Yah, Gern, killin' birds with stones is contrary to LNT, eh? And pokin' hornets nests with sticks is just stupid. What would yeh want to be goin' and doin' that for? Even a tenderfoot scout knows not to do that.

    Beavah

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    • On page 7 of this thread, aquaticeagle said, "That's why the BSA doesn't affiliate with UU anymore. Apparently the BSA doesn't like tolerance or open-mindedness.

      Your information is out of date. In February 2004, BSA signed a Memorandum of Mutual Support with the Unitarian Universalist Scouters Association
      (see http://www.uuscouters.org/memorandum.htm) and since 2005, the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Living Your Religion award has been available to Boy Scouts and Venturers.

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      • I looked it up about a year ago and could only find where the Boy Scouts had stopped their affiliation with UU. I just verified what you stated on the BSA website though so I guess my source was bad. Thanks!

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        • Beavah,

          I don't mean to beat a dead horse but you said:

          "Me personally, I think it's very hard to find many wars that were started or perpetuated solely for religious reasons. Far more often any claimed religious basis was a veneer coverin' the root causes which were economic and sociopolitical."

          When Pope Urban II called for the Crusade in 1095 to rid the Levant of the godless Muslims he did it in the name of the Catholic Christ. Regardless of your current religious belief Catholicism was the only Christian belief at the time. Urban was so influential that he had the crowds and the subsequent Crusaders chanting "God wills it" whne they reved up for battle or worse yet when they killed someone else.

          Since the creation of a diety to worship there has been an ever present desire to convert "non-believers" to the only way to God (the way of the fighter, of course).

          Therefore, I submit to you that more people have died in warfare over religion than over territory alone.

          Comment


          • Eagle1977, As Rush Limbaugh says, "it's all about money." While the 'avowed' reasons for the Crusades was God and such, the crusaders were often really all about looting and the stuff that comes with such actions. Nevertheless, there's something to be said for calling them out on those 'avowed' reasons.

            As for conversions. My personal experience has been that compared to the number of condemnations, the number of attempts to 'convert' me to some other faith comprises a very small fraction. Perhaps 'convert' really means something else...like from living to non-living (as in the Crusades) or maybe to 'maximize entropy' or something, and I just didn't understand. To that I admit...I don't understand. At all.

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            • We really do need a "Scouting and Faith" or "Chaplaincy and Religion" or "Duty to God" or some such thread section, don't you think?

              This thread is about MORE than an alleged atheistic Cub Scout and/or family, yes?

              It's not just "Cub Scouts" or even "Issues and Politics".

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              • I am currently a life scout and I am also an atheist. My adult leaders didn't simply overlook this, however it was a major issue, and I still struggle with the hypocracy of it all. In the end I believe that reverent and god part of scouting are open for interpretation. I believe that reverent doesn't nesecaraly mean believing in god, but more of staying to a moral path and not letting other's bad decisions effect you. And if this scout believes he is reverent to himself then I think that should fill the requirement perfectly.

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                • A person's religious situation really doesn't matter, don't make them lie about their beliefs to get an award or to be included in the group. There is an award that isn't reconized by BSA anymore, but you can still use it as a replacement for the religious emblem award. [URL="http://www.uua.org/re/children/scouting/169557.shtml"]http://www.uua.org/re/children/scouting/169557.shtml[/URL="http://www.uua.org/re/children/scouting/169557.shtml"] has the details. There is the Religion in Life Award for older boys and the Love and Help Award for the younger ones. We are also a diverse group, and I am not going to force any religious organization on anyone who should be free to make their own decisions... after all we live in America. Faith is a personal issue, no conversation or chastising is going to give a person faith, but it may marginalize them. Just remember to follow the motto and "Do Your Best". When they do their best, they earn the award. Unconditional positive reguard is an important trait for any mentor, whatever you do don't judge them or exclude them for their differences, or they will hate scouts.

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                  • Seen some great answers here....but just to offer my .02:

                    Most boys aged 9-11 don't have a fully developed relationship with God. That's not to say they can't, but many boys are still searching for this. I can ceratinly state in my own youth, throughout my Scouting trail, I tried (and declaired) many different religions...and I'm sure I declaired I was an atheist at least once or twice. I'm now a very happy Christian, with a great relationship with God.

                    As previously suggested: I would sit down with the parents, and ask the boy to explain his beliefs. It's possible he does have some religous beliefs, but he's not really sure how to express them. It's also possible he's searching for attention, and thinks if he's different, he'll get some.

                    As stated, he needs to have some sort of belief in god.. even if that belief is only he agrees there is a god...he's just not sure who/what god is.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Sqyire21 View Post
                      As stated, he needs to have some sort of belief in god.. even if that belief is only he agrees there is a god...he's just not sure who/what god is.
                      So if he has a strong religious faith, but his religion doesn't have a god (like many Buddhists), he is out? What part of "completely non-sectarian" do you not understand? How is it your place to tell a kid that his religion is invalid? How is it your place to define what religion is for another scout? That is supposed to be between the scout, his family and his church. Unless it's your kid, it's not any of your business.

                      If the scout is making pronouncements to be disruptive, or seeking attention, you deal with it in that context (like any disruptive behavior). It is not your place to judge a scout's (or his family's) religious beliefs.

                      There is a very broad spectrum of religions and religious belief out there. Don't get caught in the trap of judging them by your religion. Just because it doesn't look like yours, doesn't mean it "isn't real" or it's invalid.

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                      • Sqyire21
                        Sqyire21 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Don't misunderstand my statement to down-play any religion. I was simply trying to state...a scout should have some sort of faith. When I say a belief in god, perhaps saying a higher power would be better.

                        I don't pretend to judge what a person believes to be true or untrue.

                        To paraphrase a little: "Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him." but please don't ask me to explain who or what God is to someone... because that is always an indiviudal journey..

                    • Seen some great answers here....but just to offer my .02:

                      Most boys aged 9-11 don't have a fully developed relationship with God. That's not to say they can't, but many boys are still searching for this. I can ceratinly state in my own youth, throughout my Scouting trail, I tried (and declaired) many different religions...and I'm sure I declaired I was an atheist at least once or twice. I'm now a very happy Christian, with a great relationship with God.

                      As previously suggested: I would sit down with the parents, and ask the boy to explain his beliefs. It's possible he does have some religous beliefs, but he's not really sure how to express them. It's also possible he's searching for attention, and thinks if he's different, he'll get some.

                      As stated, he needs to have some sort of belief in god.. even if that belief is only he agrees there is a god...he's just not sure who/what god is.

                      Comment


                      • Our Pack's approach is to let the parents (Akela) sign-off on the "Faith" requirements. We might discuss our Duty to God with Cubs at den meetings on a high-level, but the remaining requirements are done at home. If the scout proclaims he is an "atheist", I would ask the parents to talk to him about this as they work on the "Faith" requirements at home. I agree with other comments, let him stay in the Pack if the parents agree, but with a warning that the "duty to God" expectation will become more prevelant as he gets older in Scouts.

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                        • Originally posted by Sqyire21 View Post
                          Don't misunderstand my statement to down-play any religion. I was simply trying to state...a scout should have some sort of faith. When I say a belief in god, perhaps saying a higher power would be better. I don't pretend to judge what a person believes to be true or untrue.
                          But now we run into a problem with what is a "higher power"? My understanding is many Buddhists don't believe in any kind of "higher power" (I am getting into deep water here, I am not a Buddhist nor an expert on Buddhism). So if you require a belief in a "higher power", you may be saying their religious faith isn't good enough.

                          The real problem (and my point) is that "religious faith" can be a very broad concept, and there are many religions out their that don't match what many of us think of as "religion". A Buddhist, Unitarian (and others) may have a strong religious faith, but also technically be an atheist (not to say that all Buddhists or Unitarians are). That is why I say as leaders, we need to leave ALL questions of faith to the scout, his family and church (where they belong). If we start to question, we risk inadvertently passing judgement.

                          The BSA gets into trouble when it says that Buddhists are fine, but atheist are not; or Hindus are fine, but agnostics are not (again, deep water - my understanding is that there are some versions of the Hindu faith that are agnostic in character). I believe this contradiction exists because the people that created this BSA policy don't really understand Buddhism, agnosticism or atheism.

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                          • Buddists not believing in God? It is a simplistic misguided question. Using it to say BSA is inconsistent is weak, at best. The Buddist answer to the question of God depends on the branch of Buddism. More importantly, Buddism is less about answering questions about God and more about a path to enlightenment and Nirvana. But clearly, Buddism is about spirituality, faith, transcending our physical existence, etc. I remember reading "Religions of Man" by Houston Smith 30 years ago, Buddism is a core religion.

                            If anything, celebrate that BSA has long been a uniting force bringing many many religions together under one umbrella.

                            But I am generally with you... BSA should be open. Let the charter orgs choose leaders that reflect their beliefs. I'd rather have everyone as members and let them choose units under charter orgs that reflect their personal beliefs.

                            We can leave the Oath and Law as it is. Even our schools pledge "one nation under God" and our money says "In God We Trust". Let each charter org emphasize as it wants. BSA can keep the premise and the charter orgs can teach it according to their beliefs.

                            The issue is that atheism is more often anti-theism and evangelized int he face of those trying to raise their children in their families faith.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by fred8033 View Post
                              The issue is that atheism is more often anti-theism and evangelized int he face of those trying to raise their children in their families faith.
                              I disagree that "atheism is more often anti-theism". The "in your face" anti-theists just get the most press. Most atheist are like most people, just interested in getting along without a lot of fuss. An atheist that calls a scout that believes in God a fool, is just as bad as a Christian that tells a Hindu scout that he is going to hell (something I have witnessed an adult scouting doing). Both are showing disrespect for someone of a different faith, and are behaving in a non-scout like and unacceptable way.

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