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Atheist in the Pack

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  • Funny, my son & fiancee had a run in with someone while deciding who would perform the wedding ceremony.. They didn't have too much problem with this guy, but kindof walked away laughing at his black & white view about religion.. When asked what religion they were, fiance said "stay-at-home Christian".. to which she was told she couldn't be as Christian meant society oriented... (First I heard of that, I thought it only meant a belief in Christ.).. My son also has some beliefs that I don't know if they conform to any organized religion.. Sort of a little bit this and a little bit that.. He couldn't do that either, per this guys view of religious beliefs..

    But, this guy was just black and white on everything.. My son also said he asked about their favorite color.. My son said it was green, although he didn't like this shade of green.. To which he couldn't do that.. If he liked green he had to like all shades of green.


    • Originally posted by fred8033 View Post
      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.
      I am partly responding to those people who say: "A scout has to have a belief in God or a higher power”. My point is that doesn’t describe all religions. Unfortunately, I have encountered scouters that take a narrow view of “Duty to God” including one (In my youth) that used it to explain why no non-Christian scout can reach the rank of Tenderfoot.

      Are all Buddhist atheists? No (as I said). Do some describe themselves as atheists? Yes. I have met several practicing Buddhists that describe their religion as atheistic (and one that didn’t). So if a practicing Buddhists says his religion is an atheist one, who am I to argue?

      As for the contradiction, my point is that almost all the justifications I have heard of why atheists and agnostics are “unacceptable” in the BSA are based on ignorance of what the words “atheist” and “agnostic” actually mean; and in narrow views of what is "religion". To illustrate my point:

      But clearly, Buddism is about spirituality, faith, transcending our physical existence, etc.
      Very true, but what does that have to do with Buddhism being atheist? Nothing. Or are you arguing that because Buddhism is about spirituality, faith, etc., it can’t be atheist? That is not what the word “atheist” means.


      • All great points...but the original question/issue was: A cub-scout who said he was an Atheist.

        It's my understanding....a scout must be Reverent. It's a requirement for every rank in the BSA program. How that reverence is defined (and reverent to who/what) is open to interpretation. (but not by the leaders)

        My only point was to ask the scout (with his family present) if he could explain his belief's. I certainly don't feel having a boy explain something would develop into a theological disccusion. I ask my pack cub scouts to explain things all of the time. (Tell me more about what you learned. Tell me what you did to earn this.) It shows understanding, and helps re-enforce the lessons.

        The rest would be a great thread on theology and reverence in the political disccusion thread...but I think we've all agreed... not all belief's are easliy defined, and a broad stroke must be applied when it comes to this requirement. However, to me, having a scout claim to be an Atheist, doesn't necessarily disqualify him from the program. (at least, I think we've all pretty much agreed to these points)


        • I don't think it would be difficult for an atheist to achieve reverence. Well, no more difficult than it is for all of our Christian scouts. Duty might be more challenging. Can a true atheist do his duty to God? A Buddhist can, I think, as I understand Buddhism, they have a duty to treat all men and women with kindness, and this is a duty to the universe or something like that. I have a Buddhist scout in my den, and he is planning to earn his religious emblem next year when he is a bear.

          Likewise, some Unitarian Universalist consider themselves atheists, and they have a bona fide approved BSA religious emblem, too. So I would encourage any scout who claimed to be an atheist to study that curriculum, and see if he could bring himself to acknowledge anything supernatural at all, and do his duty to that. I read through the curriculum once, and I think duty to God differs very little to once duty tot the community, and that is okay by me.