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Is "Belief in a Supreme Being" an Actual Rule by Now?

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  • #31
    Never heard of them pulling out an adult unless they were loudly proclaiming and promoting being an atheist.. Most the adults I know I have no idea what the believe or if they believe in anything it is just accepted that if they signed up they were at peace with what they signed. Many are not affiliated with any church at all. The only time I have heard of anything is if a boy gets a question at their eagle board, and they proclaim they are atheist or whatever, at which point it is usually as much of a surprise to the scoutmaster, and the boy may not even know that he is saying something that will hurt his chances of getting his eagle (or he does know and it is an "in your face" move)... That it also was an ambush by district leaders tells me that you had a corrupt bunch on your district staff and there was something other then your religion that caused them to want to take you down..

    Comment


    • DWise1_AOL
      DWise1_AOL commented
      Editing a comment
      From the Bylaws of the BSA, POLICIES, Section 1 immediately following the DRP:
      Activities

      Clause 2. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of
      America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect
      to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as
      required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, "Rever-
      ent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious
      duties. He respects the beliefs of others "

      Freedom

      Clause 3. In no case where a unit is connected with a church
      or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other
      denominations or faith be required, because of their membership
      in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony dis-
      tinctly unique to that organization or church.
      Your position was firmly based on BSA Bylaws. And yet again BSA is in violation. Doesn't help to know that, does it?

    • Khaliela
      Khaliela commented
      Editing a comment
      DWise1: I knew they were violating the rules at the time. I also knew there was nothing I could do about because National won't enforce their own rules and have won every lawsuit ever filed. If it weren't for the fact that my son is interested in becoming career military and has already been working on his pilots license we wouldn't be bothering with Scouts, but the rank of Eagle gets him an automatic rank advancement upon enlisting.

    • DWise1
      DWise1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Khaliela, no apology necessary for not standing up. La familia. Watch out for your family and take care of them. Es lo màs importante.

      Pilot? Going for the Air Force? That is the most person-oriented of the services. My father was a Chief Carpenter's Mate in the US Navy Seabees. He never pushed it, but as a child I read through his 1944 Bluejacket's Manual many times over; I could read naval officer's rank early on and found it very interesting that Star Trek:TNG followed US Naval rank of insignia, albeit with pips instead of gold braid -- and I was severely disappointed that it took them several seasons to finally come up with enlisted insigniae of rank, including for Chief Petty Officers. When I enlisted in 1976, it as a toss-up between Navy and Air Force. Since I was about to get married, I went Air Force -- the USAF sends its officers off to get killed instead of the enlisted. Also, my active duty assignment allowed me to attend the local university to get my Computer Science degree, something that active-duty Navy and Army assignments allow much more rarely.

      So then after my active duty enlistment, I affiliated with the Naval Reserve (albeit renamed about a decade ago to "Navy Reserve"). In 1991, I made Chief Petty Officer. And I went on to serve until Nov 2011, when I turned 60, the maximum age allowed without waiver. 35 years of service.

      Is your son intending to apply for the US Air Force Academy? I have heard much about how fundamentalist Christians have taken over the Academy. I don't know what the situation is right now. Though I have heard within the past year that the US Army requires all members going through a divorce to go through the Baptists' DivorceCare program. A friend had talked me into going through that program (she was promoting dance classes for the Singles Ministry of her mega-church, Saddleback, which was lacking men (150 would sign up for a dance class, 100 of which were women) and the alternative I was considering was on the same night. DivorceCare is only of any possible use to a conservative Christian, or at the absolute least a Christian, since they repeatedly and emphatically emphasized that only Jesus H. Christ could ever possibly help you, that nobody could ever possibly recover from a divorce without the direct and personal intervention of Jesus H. Christ Himself. And the US Army is requiring this very nonsense of each and every member going through a divorce. I have personally been through a divorce. It is, according to some book that my sister has, the third worst stressor in one's life (I have also in very close proximity been through the first). To impose a blatantly religious and sectarian requirement and condemnation like that on somebody going through such an experience is totally inconscionable.

      Your son knows what he wants to do. Support him and guide him as much as you can. But at no point can you stop worrying about him. That is the fate of a parent. I know that.

  • #32
    Makes someone embarrassed to state they are a Christian, how people like that can get up and face a mirror is beyond me.

    Comment


    • #33
      Khaliela, my guess is that you didn't run into an official policy from National (though I have heard stories that there are people there who are actively hostile to neo-pagens), but into a group of bigoted volunteers. You should appeal it up the chain, even if it's only to get it on record.

      Also, which council was this, and how long ago?

      Comment


      • sailingpj
        sailingpj commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow Khaliela, that is crazy.

      • Huzzar
        Huzzar commented
        Editing a comment
        >>That explanation doesn't seem to flush with BSA's direct service units in plenty of foreign countries.

        The BSA units in foreign countries are providing American Scouting to American boys in those countries. AFAIK, BSA cannot recruit locals for a BSA unit.
        Last edited by Huzzar; 06-17-2013, 11:46 AM.

      • Khaliela
        Khaliela commented
        Editing a comment
        Scouter 99:
        You can be a member of BSA if you are an American Citizen or live in the United States.
        You cam be a member of Scouts Canada if you are a Canadian Citizen or live in Canada.
        You can not be a Member of Scouts Canada if you are not a Canadian citizen and DO NOT live in Canada.

    • #34
      DW, if you cuss. You secure my contentment at National's dismissal of your claims.

      For the other folks that may be in your predicament. I'm just a guy in the trenches.

      Just thinking about the depiction of events:

      .... At one point, the BSA attorney asked me about "God". ... I said that I was confused by his question and I needed to know the official BSA definition of "God" that he was applying, .... I saw the plaintiff attorneys wake up just then, though sadly too late. I also saw the BSA defendent attorney back-pedal furiously to get himself out of that quagmire ....

      Again ...

      He said, "God is whatever you say it is." So, knowing something about some non-theistic religious traditions, I offered an idea. "No, that's not it. But God is whatever you say it is." So I offered another well-considered idea and he again responded with, "No, that's not it either. But God is whatever you say it is." After a few more iterations of this nonsense, I stated, "Well, obviously my own ideas are 'God' are not the same as yours." at which point he terminated the conversation, obviously satisfied that he had gotten what he had wanted.

      I gotta, say. It sounds like asking a kangaroo, "Can you do something about this kick-me sign?" There is nothing but pain in that line of inquiry.

      Here's what I've garnered from what little BSA training I've had. Their definition DOES NOT MATTER. An attempt to lead a plaintiff to leverage a relativistic-argument DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is if when asked, one can say they are living a life answerable to God. The asker may not understand the breadth of that as well as the person being asked does -- or maybe it's the other way around. But, the choice of that word allows for that kind of latitude. At least what I've been taught through BSA's instruction on the matter, is that a person's willingness to say they are doing that is all I need to know. Then again, all that was in the context of taking care of youth -- not in the context of selecting adult leaders.

      I don't think the folks who would take action to reject an adult leader are on this forum, so a straight answer as to how things are being done now (or iff there is any method to the madness) is not forthcoming. Although Khaleila's testimony indicates that at least at the council or area levels, there are lines drawn in the sand.

      Comment


      • sailingpj
        sailingpj commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by quazse
        DW, if you cuss. You secure my contentment at National's dismissal of your claims.
        Are you saying that people who swear should not be leaders in scouts?

    • #35
      Well, if you post BS you shouldn't act surprised when you get called on it. Like your kangaroo analogy, which stinks of the BSA BS lie of "we're not excluding anybody, but rather they are excluding themselves."

      But at least you now appear to be trying to actually discuss.

      Originally posted by qwazse View Post
      Here's what I've garnered from what little BSA training I've had. Their definition DOES NOT MATTER. An attempt to lead a plaintiff to leverage a relativistic-argument DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is if when asked, one can say they are living a life answerable to God. The asker may not understand the breadth of that as well as the person being asked does -- or maybe it's the other way around. But, the choice of that word allows for that kind of latitude. At least what I've been taught through BSA's instruction on the matter, is that a person's willingness to say they are doing that is all I need to know.
      You're headed in the right direction, but there's still a problem. BSA's definition does not matter, that is true, because officially BSA has no definition nor does it allow itself to form any definition or interpretation for "God", "belief in God", or just what "Duty to God" must entail, though it does define what "Duty to God" is, no part of which includes any specific theological requirements such as "belief in God". And as a Scouter, that is what you need to follow.

      But then you come up with "What matters is if when asked, one can say they are living a life answerable to God." Meaning what exactly? Then you dissemble by effectively saying that it doesn't mean anything and yet that person's membership depends on it. What you are doing here is, as in your earlier post requiring "belief in God", is that you are creating and applying additional requirements that are not required. If you read the Advancement Guidelines, you will see something that you should have also been told on your training: you cannot add or subtract from the existing requirements. Officially, BSA does not require "belief in God" and yet you have added that requirement. Officially, BSA does not require "Duty to God" to entail "living a life answerable to God" and yet you have added your own personal interpretation as an additional requirement.

      The reason why BSA attempts to define "God" is important, besides because it exposes BSA's violation of its own rules, is that that word has been loaded within our culture as referring specifically to one very specific supernatural being, YHWH. So even if you say that it could mean anything, the reality is that hardly any non-YHWHist would normally use that term to describe his own religion or belief system. So without a proper and undoubtedly lengthy discussion of what the official rules are really looking for under "Duty to God", most non-YHWHists would undoubtedly deny any belief in or allegiance to YHWH. That not at all mean that they do not do their "Duty to God" as is really required, but rather that they would deny that YHWH has anything whatsoever to do with it. And they would be perfectly right and would qualify for membership, but you would deny them that membership because of that one word, "God", and because of the additional requirements that you are imposing on them because of your own sectarian interpretations.

      Try this little experiment. Replace every occurance of "God" with "Allah", or even better with "Vishnu". As a believing practicing Christian, wouldn't you be taken aback by being required to do your "Duty to Allah" or "Duty to Vishnu"? Especially if the gung-ho Scouter you're dealing with also requires to to declare that you believe in "Allah" or in "Vishnu". Would you as a believing practicing Christian normally express your religious beliefs using "Allah" or "Vishnu"? Are you starting to see what it's like to walk a mile in another man's shoes?



      So why should any of this matter of BSA religious discrimination matter to you? Well, it should for several reasons, assuming that you are actually dedicated to Scouting (ie, not all volunteers register because of their support for Scouting and I'm just just talking about Mormons being drafted).

      To start with, as the organization responsible for providing Scouting to US youth, BSA should at least be setting the example and leading by example by living by the principles of Scouting, rather than willfully violating those principles, most fundamentally Scout's Honor. In so refusing, BSA is setting the wrong example and sending the wrong message and public support for Scouting has suffered for it.

      For example, as positive a face as I tried to put on everything, my son still could see what BSA was doing to his father and to others like the Randalls and he could plainly see how wrong their were. He's about to turn 32. When he returned home for Xmas from out-of-state university and I was driving him and a friend of his home from the airport with a minor detour so he could get a Del Taco burrito (not available in ND). As we drove past the BSA council office, he pointed it out to his friend and described it as the most evil place in the county. And the number of people who think that of BSA is growing with every dishonorable act by BSA.

      Oh, you may think that this is a rare problem that hardly ever happens, but that is because you only hear what BSA tells you (which will be nothing) or what appears in the local news, which will only show up if somebody tries to fight their expulsion. But the numbers of children and adults subjected to BSA religious discrimination is quite large. Eagle Scout Steve Cozzo who saw the same hypocrisy in BSA that I've been describing founded Scouting for All (http://www.scoutingforall.org/). He reported receiving hundreds of phone call every year from scouts who had been expelled, about 60% for being gay and 40% for being atheists. It is not a minor problem.

      BSA has wasted millions of dollars in court battles that it created itself and very easily could have settled out of court simply by talking with its victims. The results of those court cases, while finding that the laws cited did not apply to a private organization like BSA, did also find that BSA discriminates. And it became quite clear to the public following the news that BSA discriminates, as it also became clear to BSA's sponsors and donors who have very definite anti-discrimination policies. This has resulted in many of them dropping their support for BSA, which impacts BSA's budget which should impact their ability to promote Scouting in the USA (disregarding what's diverted to their self-inflicted legal costs and the CSE's really huge compensation package). I'm not sure, but in the reports of the recent decision to include gay youth I recall reading that BSA's main motivation in even considering the matter was because of its ever-growing loss of sponsors.

      Scouting is also losing chartering organizations and hence units, because of those former COs' own anti-discrimination policies. The US military used to be a big supporter of Scout units, but they are being ordered to not sponsor any units because of BSA discrimination. And a number of public schools are no longer allowing BSA access to their students because of BSA's claim of being a secret religious organization (a legalistic lie they started using in the 1990's court cases, but which is coming back to bite them). This much further reduces the availability of Scouting to US youth, particularly the children of military families living overseas.

      There's also the problem of the continuing loss of membership, which in turn concerns BSA because the donations it receives are tied to the number of youth that they are serving. Even though they have opened up programs to a wider range of members (eg, Tiger Cubs) and even though that segment of the population is still growing, membership is still shrinking. http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/ht...embership.html examines the numbers and finds that for the year ending December 31, 2012, BSA has lost over 643,566 registered Cub Scouts since 1998. Total youth membership in BSA's traditional programs has declined by approximately 27% (965,244 members), since 1997! The author of that page points to the fact that BSA is catering to the prejudices of older generations while the younger generation, the parents of boys of Scouting age, are largely repulsed by BSA's virulent discriminatory policies. Another reason that the parents of boys of Scouting age are rejecting BSA is because so many of them have friends and family who are gay or non-theists, so they know that there is nothing wrong with such people and that there is no real reason for them to be discriminated against. And the number of non-believers is steadily growing, fueled in part by the children of fundamentalist/evangelical/conservative Christians who had been raised in the faith and are leaving it -- no, running from it -- in droves, the numbers ranging from 60% to 80% who leave religion altogether by early adulthood. While that last one is a problem for the churches which they have been doing their best to ignore, it also increases exposure to BSA religious discrimination and further erosion of public support for BSA and for Scouting.

      BSA's sole purpose, its sole reason for even existing, is to provide Scouting to US youth. It is instead endangering Scouting in the USA. How could anyone who actually believes in Scouting possibly support what BSA is doing to it?

      Comment


      • Peregrinator
        Peregrinator commented
        Editing a comment
        "Even though they have opened up programs to a wider range of members (eg, Tiger Cubs) and even though that segment of the population is still growing, membership is still shrinking."

        Scouts Canada is also experiencing a membership decline despite being open and inclusive. So I'm not sure that one can conclude that the BSA's membership decline is because of BSA discrimination. (I don't think one can conclude anything in the other direction either, by the way -- Scouts Canada has lost 50% of its membership since 1998, but it had been declining for several years before that.)

      • boomerscout
        boomerscout commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh, hogwash! If belief in Yahweh was required by all, then the Ad Altare Dei would be the only religious medal offered by Scouting. Instead they do have medals for Hindu, Buddhist, Unity, others. If they added medals for Manitou and God as Gaia I would be happier. God has many names and takes many forms
        Scouting has always had its religious aspects. It was never secret.
        The main motivation to now including gay youth was that the state of California was going to start taxing their fundraisers & donations if they didn't

    • #36
      Maybe the loss in membership is very simple. Our society no longer holds things like honesty, truth, real altruistic actions or thoughts, or other more traditional moral ideas as important. The ego -centrism of so much of our population and the mocking attitude towards idealism is reflected in the sneering comments such as "he such a boy scout". That in itself is reflective of the problem. That is not to say that some people, maybe even a majority, still respect these things; but they tend to no longer feel as comfortable expressing it a lot of the time, due to the tendency for so many people to make light of them. Just an observation of an old guy.

      Comment


      • sailingpj
        sailingpj commented
        Editing a comment
        I think that could be part of it, but It probably has more to do with all the other options that people have of things to do now. I am ti young to know what it was like way back when, but I can tell you now that there are a ton of things to do and many of them are much more exciting than scouting.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        The wide range of popular sports options is certainly a factor. When I was a young no one played lacrosse until college, now a third of the troop does. Martial arts is huge.

        The emphasis parents place on sports is understandable from a physical activity/obesity perspective but sometimes seems like overkill. Scouting offers great physical activity, but in most troops only once a month at best. Scouting does offer those three exciting citizenship badges.

        Skeptic, I certainly see some of your points but don't see them as the major problem with membership. Certainly the "he is such a Boy Scout" comments are just plain absurd, although I am a bit uncomfortable with the traditional moral ideas language. I personally don't see people making light of scouting values frequently, but my interpretation of them may differ from yours at times.

      • skeptic
        skeptic commented
        Editing a comment
        KDD; I am likely much more seasoned so probably do have somewhat different view on many things. Do accept the much greater variety argument; when I was a scout, it was pretty much scouts, little league (if you had it nearby), the Y in its old formats, 4H, and a few others. But there also was no real peer pressure against scouting or the PC nonsense that is so common today. Of course we did have our McCarthyism going full bore at the time, and the start of the worst years of the Cold War. But we also had far stronger familial connections, less fear about something happening to kids if they are out of sight, and a basic respect for adults (on occasion a bit too much I admit, ranching to a fear of sorts). Still, general public life was far less filled with obvious egoism, and there was usually pride in communities reflected by the best things noted by the media regularly. As I said; I am an old guy.

        But, Scouting still has its place. If we simply run it as each unit sees fit, but within the honest parameters of "mutual" respect, it has much to continue as an important element of our society in nurturing youth.

    • #37
      AZMike says:

      "Would it be moral for me to contribute to a fund for, say, a Jewish temple? Sure. They are more right than wrong, in my view."

      Ha. Well, I suppose, relatively speaking, especially against the long backdrop of history, that counts as a "positive review."
      Last edited by NJCubScouter; 06-17-2013, 07:23 PM.

      Comment


      • #38
        UK Girl Guides revise promise to allow atheists:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...ountry-promise
        ...
        About 44,000 people responded to a consultation on changing the oath's wording, according to Girlguiding UK. The group still believes girls need space to explore their beliefs and "moral framework", said Chief Guide Gill Slocombe. "We knew that some people found our Promise confusing on this point and that it discouraged some girls and volunteers from joining us.

        "Guiding believes in having one Promise that is a clear statement of our core values for all our members to commit to. We hope that our new Promise will allow all girls – of all faiths and none – to understand and feel proud of their commitment."

        The oath now reads: "I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide law."
        ...

        Comment


        • #39
          The question still stands!

          In the 1990's, BSA repeatedly claimed to have a "belief in a Supreme Being" rule that required them to expel atheists "against their will", But such a "rule" never actually existed, as verified by the Orange County Council's SE Kent Gibb's forced admission in court to the judge in Randall v. Orange County Council.

          So I still ask the very same question as before: has officially published BSA policy changed since the late 1990's? Does BSA still claim to have that "rule" of "belief in a Supreme Being"? Do they still claim that it is an actual rule? Has it in fact actually become an actual rule?


          Comment


          • #40
            DWise1,

            The only way to get a clear answer to you query would be to contact the BSA legal department at the National Council. The only thing that you will get here are posts from the web that you can also find, various opinions and points of view, and some arguments. You are asking for a definitive declarative statement. You can get those from court cases or directly from the BSA if they are willing to make such a statement, which I would doubt. It is not clear to me why you are so demanding on this topic. Do you intend to take something posted here to assail the BSA in a public manner?

            Comment


            • DWise1
              DWise1 commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree that all I would ever get from BSA itself would be double-talk and lies; I've certain seen far too much of that.

              I am preparing to post my experiences on my webpage. Since I have been away from the subject since about 1998, I realize that some things may have changed in the meantime. I am trying to perform due dilligence here. I know what was officially published at the time, so I would need to know whether and how any of that had changed in the meantime.

              I also know that when I first started researching in order to properly understand the DRP and whether I could agree with it, the Scout Shop openly sold copies of the BSA Rules and Regulations and their Bylaws. Then when those materials started appearing in court to show what BSA's rules and policies really are and how BSA was violating them, BSA pull them from the shelves and very tightly controlled any and all access to them. I would also want and need to know what the status is on that.

              My intent, as always, is to seek and speak the truth. I am also very supportive of Scouting and incorporated its principles in my own life. I am appalled at how BSA is working to destroy Scouting.

            • boomerscout
              boomerscout commented
              Editing a comment
              Where's Beavah? We need his input. He didn't pass on to the other side, did he?

          • #41
            Hi DWise:
            Please catch me up with this. You say you don't accept a Supreme Being, but had no problem with accepting Duty to God. How did/do you define "God"? Also, in a later reply you talked about your religious beliefs. How can an atheist have religious beliefs?

            Comment


            • Peregrinator
              Peregrinator commented
              Editing a comment
              DWise1, I am having some difficulty with what you wrote. In one section, you write that you are strongly agnostic (I'm not sure one can apply the adjective "strongly" to agnosticism, but that is another matter), but then you write that you are an atheist. Would you mind explaining how that is not a contradiction?

            • DWise1
              DWise1 commented
              Editing a comment
              Merlyn:
              A better explanation would be like the region in the UK our minister told us about called "The Black Spot" by a major church (CoE?). Populated by Unitarians, it has a reputation for being impervious to all their proselytizing efforts. They hate us so much because they cannot convert us. Kind of like with Martin Luther's vicious hatred for the Jews.

              But a better explanation would be that they are acting in ignorance upon their prejudices which they have learned from their churches. I'm sure that you've been pontificated at by Christians who "know" exactly what atheists think and believe, only the more they pontificate the more obvious it is that they are completely clueless. Even worse, they refuse to stop and listen and learn from actual atheists what actual atheists actually do think and believe.

              So where do they get their prejudices from? I found it interesting that over the decades some of the same false ideas about atheists would keep appearing. Then one night while browsing through ex-christian.net, an ex-Christian sharing his deconversion story remembered what he had been taught by his church about atheists and he even quoted from some Bible verses about those teachings. They were the same false ideas that I had observed appearing over and over again! Unfortunately, when I tried to return to that post the next night to write down the citations, I couldn't find it anymore. So that's it! They're getting some of those false ideas from the Bible!

              That could also explain why they work so hard to not learn the truth about atheists. I started studying "creation science" over 30 years ago and have been discussing it for almost as long. Now, mind you, we're talking about biblical literalists there, who are almost exclusively fundamentalists. One of the things that I find very disturbing about them is the brinksmanship that they insist on playing with their own faith. Creationists have repeatedly insisted to me emphatically that if there's even one, just one, error in the Bible, then you should throw the entire Bible in the trash and become an atheist. And that's what they teach their kids! And since their claims about the real world are contrary-to-fact and the truth of the Bible depends on them being true, that's a sure recipe of disaster. So how then do they deal with the evidence of the real world? They turn a blind eye to it and invent their own "evidences".

              I think that's part of what's happening in our "conversations" (ie, they pontificate and then refuse to listen to the truth) with that kind of Christians. They're getting their wrong ideas about atheists from the Bible, but if they learn that those ideas are wrong, then that means that the Bible is wrong about something and that's when it all starts to unravel for them. They have a vested interest in remaining ignorant.

              And because their prejudices are hateful, they act them out with hatred. Against boogeymen who don't even exist regardless of how many innocent people get trampled.

            • DWise1
              DWise1 commented
              Editing a comment
              Peregrinator:

              I thought I was quite clear on what I meant by being "strongly agnostic". Here it is again (with a key part in bold):
              Originally posted by DWise1
              The gods are supposed supernatural beings that we have created to explain what you do not understand. The basic problem is that we are unable to perceive the supernatural or even determine whether it actually exists. As a result, I am strongly agnostic, because I believe that we cannot know anything about the supernatural. If a theist were honest about it, he would also have to hold the same agnostic position. All anyone can do with the supernatural is to make guesses and assumptions. A theist makes the assumption that supernatural beings do exist and then tries to figure out what he can about the gods. An atheist makes the opposite assumption that the gods don't exist, or at the very least realize that what we call "gods" are of human invention. Even if real gods do exist, it is the invented ones that we use, which may come close to the real thing or miss by tera-light-years. Even with the Christian God the image that believers hold is a pale substitute, but it's the best that the human mind can work with; thus a believer should engage in a life-long attempt to understand God, something that should be ever growing (I have a brochure from church about a book co-written by a rabbi whose thesis was that most adults have a childish view of God because they formed their ideas of God in childhood and never returned to form a more mature view as they grew up).
              Could you please point out what part of that you did not understand or had difficulty with?

              As I just shared with Merlyn, we atheists repeatedly get subjected to theists (mainly fundamentalist/evangelical/conservative Christians) pontificating to us what atheists think and believe. In the process they only succeed in demonstrating how completely clueless they are and yet they absolutely refuse to hear from us atheists ourselves what we actually do think and believe.

              Here is a link to a page on the website of the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, religioustolerance.org, entitled, "Agnostic-Atheists. Agnostic-Theists. More definitions. Famous Agnostics.": http://www.religioustolerance.org/agnostic2.htm I just found it today, but you will notice that many of the definitions and quotations offered say the same thing that I had just repeated for you:
              Originally posted by religioustolerance.org
              Can an Agnostic also be an Atheist?
              Theists believe in the existence of a God, or a Goddess, or in multiple Gods, or multiple Goddesses or in a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. Agnostics believe that the existence of a deity can neither be proven nor disproven.

              However, some Agnostics consider themselves to be Atheists. That is because the term "Atheist" has two slightly different meanings:

              1. Strong Atheist: A person who positively believes that no God(s) or Goddess(es) exists.
              ...
              This is the definition of Atheism used by most Christians, other Theists, and dictionaries of the English language.

              2. A person who has no belief in a God or Goddess. ... A person can be a non-Theist by simply lacking a belief in God without actively denying God's existence. This is the definition of Atheism used by many Atheists.

              Some Agnostics feel that their beliefs match the second definition, and thus consider themselves to be both Atheist and an Agnostic. Such confusion is common throughout the field of religion. ... A lack of clear, unambiguous definitions for religious terms is responsible for a great deal of confusion and hatred. It makes dialog among Agnostics, Theists, and Atheists very difficult. In fact, when such a dialogue is attempted, it should be preceded with a long session to agree on a set of definitions.

              Can an Agnostic also be a Theist?
              Agnostic-Theist: A Theist firmly believes in the existence of a God. An Agnostic has concluded that there is no proof for either the existence or non-existence of God. However, these two beliefs are not necessarily mutually exclusive. An Agnostic could still believe in the existence of God even though they accept that there is no proof either way.
              ...
              George Smith, the author of "Atheism" divides Agnostics into two types:
              Agnostic Theists: those who believe that a deity probably exists, even though god's existence cannot be proven;

              Agnostic Atheists: those who believe that it is very improbable that a deity exists, even though god's non-existence cannot absolutely be proven.

              Another category of Agnostic are the "Empirical Agnostics." They believe that God may exist, but that little or nothing can be known about him/her/it/them.

              Still another category are "Agnostic Humanists." These individuals are undecided about the existence of God. Further, they do not really consider the question to be particularly important. They have derived their moral and behavioral codes from secular considerations. Their ethical behavior would not be altered if a deity were proven to exist.
              ...
              Charles Darwin, ... :
              "The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic."

              "I think an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind. The whole subject {of God} is beyond the scope of man's intellect."
              You can plainly see them saying the same things as I have. I will remind you that I have held and developed my beliefs for many decades and that I have only just today found this webpage that I just quoted from. I would suggest that it is your own definitions and understanding of "atheist" and "agnostic" that need to be re-examined and corrected.

          • #42
            ""Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbour and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decide. It is our business to respect their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes.
            Robert Baden-Powell, “Aids to Scoutmastership”

            B-P got into trouble with the local church (of England) when he made it clear that , to Scouting, it didn't matter what the boy and/or his family professed. The Founder saw that the Church of Nature was more important than any "official" definition of faith. That is what I , as a Scout Chaplain, both at the Jamboree, at IOLS, and at home, try to make clear. It ain't up to me to judge the relationship between a Scout (or anyone for that matter) and his/her deity. The Divine is pretty much undefinable, and we do ourselves a great disservice when we try to tie "it" up in any one bundle.

            DW, I find your story very unfortunate, and your ability to tell it heartening. I, too, have found very often the pro's are unfortunately more likely to put their emphasis on the second point of the SL rather than the first or twelvth.

            More than once , I've had to remind folks that Scouting is NOT a christian organization alone, altho a unit may limit itself to one particular faith. I had a Islamic sponsored unit tell me that they would accept any boy, just so they undertood that the unit would worship three times a day and celebrate fast and Ramadan! And I have had Mormon units tell me they would accept anyboy , so long as they understood the unit would NOT camp on sabbath! And I have had a Catholic unit tell me that they would NOT accept a boy who was not Catholic (and it had to be "their" sort of Catholicism).




            Looks like we just have to keep on keeping on.....

            ((spelling correction))
            Last edited by SSScout; 07-06-2013, 06:13 PM.

            Comment


            • #43
              We accept the idea of a Supreme Being because our founder, Baden Powell, told us to.
              In contrast to the Christian-only Boys' Brigade, which started two decades earlier, Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scout movement as a youth organisation (with boys as 'Scouts' and girls as 'Guides'), which was independent of any single faith or religion, yet still held that spirituality and a belief in a higher power were key to the development of young people
              The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in the United States takes a hard-line position, excluding atheists and agnostics.[11] The BSA has come under strong criticism over the past years due to their religious policy and stance against agnostics and atheists:
              "Declaration of Religious Principle. The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honour I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of his favours and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members."[11]
              The Boy Scouts of America has accepted Buddhist members and units since 1920, and also accepts members of various pantheistic faiths. Many Buddhists do not believe in a supreme being or creator deity, but because these beliefs are still religious and spiritual in nature, they are deemed acceptable by the BSA since their leaders subscribe to the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle
              While the BSA associates with the WOSM for mutual benefit, the WOSM does not control the BSA

              Earlier I asked about how an atheist can have religious beliefs since religion implies the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power. I can accept you have moral beliefs or idealistic beliefs; I would just not call them religious

              Is Where Have All the Boy Scouts Gone? your website?

              Comment


              • DWise1
                DWise1 commented
                Editing a comment
                Originally posted by boomerscout
                We accept the idea of a Supreme Being because our founder, Baden Powell, told us to.
                In contrast to the Christian-only Boys' Brigade, which started two decades earlier, Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scout movement as a youth organisation (with boys as 'Scouts' and girls as 'Guides'), which was independent of any single faith or religion, yet still held that spirituality and a belief in a higher power were key to the development of young people
                All your links to www.scouter.com/wiki are broken, which is too bad since I would have wanted to have seen what this forum's Wiki had to say about "higher power". But needless to say, while it may be your own narrow sectarian interpretation that a "higher power" must be a "Supreme Being", reality and the world's religions say otherwise.

                A "Supreme Being" would be what is referred to as a "personal god", which Wikipedia defines as:
                A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an "impersonal force", such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being".
                That definition alone indicates that a "higher power" need not be a personal god. We also have other examples, such as the Tao, Hinduism's Brahman-Atman (the ultimate reality -- "The personal God is impersonal reality reflected upon the mirror of ignorance and illusion." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman#Brahman_and_Atman), Confuscianism's natural social order, the physical laws of the universe, all of which are higher powers than each individual and none of which are personal gods (aside from a tiny bit of wriggle-room with Brahman, depending on which school).

                You are bound to your sectarian view of "higher power" because of your own religious tradition. The rest of us are not similiarly bound, except for those whose religious traditions share your sectarian views. As per officially published BSA policy.

                To paraphrase the idea and purpose behind officially published BSA religious policy:
                Originally posted by me paraphrasing
                We want to be absolutely nonsectarian regarding religion, but we don't know anything about it. We are not experts in all the different religious beliefs that exist, so we don't try to be. Instead, we leave the evaluation of any member's religious beliefs and of the performance of his religious duties up to the experts in that particular religious tradition, which would be the member's religious leaders and religious community (which includes the family). The most that we can possibly do is to strong urge that each member does give attention to his own religious duties, whatever they may be.
                Originally posted by boomerscout
                While the BSA associates with the WOSM for mutual benefit, the WOSM does not control the BSA
                Which also invalidates your attempt to use Baden Powell for support. You cannot have it both ways.

                I would remind you of the reason why I quoted from WOSM's definition of "Duty to God". I have moved since the time of my direct involvement, so my printed Scouting materials are packed away somewhere. That means that I do not have at hand the definition and explanation of "Duty to God" that is contained in the Boy Scout Handbook, the Cub Scout handbooks, or officially published BSA policy -- what I've been quoting is from my notes and correspondence that I have on disk. When I Google'd for BSA's definition, all I was able to find was WOSM's. That is all as I had stated. I also stated that what I remember BSA's definition and explanation as saying was the same as what WOSM is saying. I feel that I was quite clear on that.

                That renders your objection to WOSM's definition both moot and irrelevent. Now, what would have been relevent would have for you to have provided BSA's official definition and explanation. But you didn't do that, did you?

                Originally posted by boomerscout
                Earlier I asked about how an atheist can have religious beliefs since religion implies the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power. I can accept you have moral beliefs or idealistic beliefs; I would just not call them religious
                Religious beliefs only imply that to you because you are bound by the sectarian views of your own religious tradition. I am not bound by your sectarian views. As per officially published BSA policy. And while you would not call somebody else's religious tradition "religious" because of your own sectarian views, that does not prevent us from considering our own religious beliefs to be religious. As per officially published BSA policy, that judgement is not yours to make for anyone except yourself and for someone within the same religious tradition.

                For more information, maybe you should have a chat with a minister from my church, the Unitarian-Universalist Association (UUA). I'd like to know his reaction and response when you tell him that UU beliefs are not religious.

                Quite honestly, once when I was asked what I believe in, I quite literally responded with, "Truth, justice, and the American way." Corny, but true. And of the American way I particularly value religious liberty and am dedicated to preserving it.

                Originally posted by boomerscout
                Is Where Have All the Boy Scouts Gone? your website?
                No, it is not. I haven't put it up yet. Actually, I had a single page marking "more to come" on my old website, but then that provider suddenly went out of the hosting business and I've been putting my site up elsewhere in my "copious spare time" (engineer parlance -- we have too much work to do to have any spare time).

            • #44
              That should be Where Have the Boy Scouts Gone on bsatoday.org

              Comment


              • #45
                DWise1 - God and religions are funny things. They mean many different things to many different folks. The BSA has their declaration of religious principle stated on their application. You keep giving what appears to be a circular argument to me - you apparently did or said something that someone felt was in violation of membership. Possibly, you posted something that upset an individual and they (rightly or wrongly) looked for a reason to kick you out of the BSA. Sort of like tax evasion for Al Capone?



                I stated my opinion on the BSA's previous stance on avowed homosexuality on this forum but I did not "preach" that to Scouts, at roundtable events or bring it up at my Wood Badge training. Was that due to cowardice? Prudence? I'm sure everyone has their opinion. Bottom line, for the general public the DRP, Scout Oath and Law (I'm Boy Scout oriented) are the guidelines. Does the BSA have not so public position papers? I'm sure they do but I'm not interested in picking a fight.



                Now, is any of the following untrue?
                In 1989, six-year-old Mark Welsh, after receiving a flyer advertising membership, attempted to sign up for Tiger Cubs, the Boy Scouts of America's Scouting program for six- and seven-year olds. To become a member of the Tiger Cubs, each child must have an "Adult Partner", typically a parent, who also becomes a member of the organization. Mark's father, Elliott Welsh, agnostic, informed a BSA official that he did not want to sign the "Declaration of Religious Principles" section of the adult application. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, denied Mr. Welsh membership, thereby also denying Mark membership. One year later, when Mark had reached the age of eligibility for Cub Scouts (who do not require Adult partners), he was still denied admission into the Scouting organization as he refused to repeat the phrase "to do my duty to God and my country" in the Cub Scout Promise.




                From what I gather from the above, no secret regulations were used. I don't see the issue of "supreme being" relevant in the decision.



                P.S. Anyone else ever gotten this error message?

                The string you entered for the image verification did not match what was displayed.
                Last edited by acco40; 07-07-2013, 06:43 PM.

                Comment


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I get that error a lot. I think it means that the website has timed out your session.

                  To salvage what I've typed, I select the text and cut it. Then I refresh the window. It it shows that I'm logged out, I log back in, move to the "post reply" box, and paste the message I was typing. Then click post.

                • DWise1
                  DWise1 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes, I'm familiar with the Welsh case. I met Elliott on-line on CompuServe immediately upon joining their Scouting Forum. And the BSA spy there printed out just about every message posted there and turned them in to BSA, whose lawyers then presented a thick stack of those messages in federal court as evidence in the Welsh trial. In fact, the very first message I posted there was included and marked "ATHEIST LEADER" in big red letters.

                  We followed reports of those CompuServe forum members about the proceedings and the actions and statements of BSA officials and of other participants. While that is an accurate account of what had happened, it is also true that BSA frequently invoked its non-existent "rule requiring belief in a Supreme Being" in the Welsh case as well as in all the other cases involving religious discrimination. That included BSA's persistent and well-publicized direct lies to the public about having a rule requiring "belief in a Supreme Being".

                  I would also point out how the Welsh case started as being a prime example of the problems caused by the surface wording of the DRP in absense of any explanation of what officially published BSA policy actually says. In fact, on recruitment night for our pack there was one parent who balked at that wording, so I sat down and explained what it meant according to officially published policy and she found that she could agree with it. Rather, it is when that policy is kept secret from the parents so that all they have to go by is the surface wording that these kinds of problems even arise.

                  Originally posted by acco40
                  You keep giving what appears to be a circular argument to me
                  How so? Please explain why you think that and what you think is circular about my arguments. I think that I've been very straight-forward in my reasoning and in my presentation. For that matter, I cannot see how officially published BSA policy could be construed to say something different.
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