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  • Do you like the Boy Scouts of America?

    BSA has changed policies, programs, uniforms, handbooks, requirements, badges, and many other things over the last 102 years. My question is simple: Do you approve or disapprove of BSA? My goal is to attempt an approval rating here on scouter.com of BSA.

    BSA is defined as the national corporation known as Boy Scouts of America which currently has a monopoly on use of the term Boy Scouts in the United States.
    41
    I hate BSA
    4.88%
    2
    I don't like BSA
    2.44%
    1
    Whatever
    17.07%
    7
    I like BSA
    34.15%
    14
    I love BSA
    41.46%
    17

    The poll is expired.


  • #2
    And your point is....

    Comment


    • #3
      I voted for I love the BSA. if i didnt think it was a good program would I allow my child to participate? he has found a niche where he is succeeding and want to apply himself. Now if i could only get him to study math as much as his first class requirements.

      Comment


      • #4
        Do I like national? NO
        Do I like my council? Nope
        Do I like my Unit? Yep.

        You can run a good program for the boys; you can make it better by ignoring council and striving to achieve what Baden Powell had intended.

        Comment


        • #5
          the question is who voted hate ?

          Comment


          • eaglewolfdad
            eaglewolfdad commented
            Editing a comment
            Best answered by the creator of the poll. I find it interesting that he starts off with the hate line.
            I'm with BD on this, not worth my time to select an option

        • #6
          How could anyone hate the Boy Scout programs??? You can be upset with all the political BS you have to put up with from National and Council so you give those two as little attention/participation as possible. But the youth programs themselves are second to none. This poll is poorly conceived and irrelevant. Run a fun and challenging program for your youth and ignore what National does. You design the quality, content, and challenges of your units program with over 100 years of past experiences and activities to support you. Think outside the box for a change, build it and they will come. Our crew is over 80 youth and 25 adult leaders and still growing.

          Comment


          • #7
            Why are you guys responding to this? Ignore it. Let it whimper into oblivion.

            Comment


            • #8
              I think most of us write here because we do like the BSA -- even if some of us had to deal with a dose of rejection. Some ways National has helped me: Jamborees - 'nuff said. Seabase - I wouldn't have a crew without it. Venturing - made scouting work for my entire family. Advancement - put my council in line when it questioning crew positions of responsibility for Eagle. So, I may be a bit of a scofflaw, but not hardly an anarchist.

              Comment


              • #9
                I could create a poll that asks "Do you like ice cream?" and then in the fine print define ice cream as as frozen water topped with cool whip - and I'd still bet I'd get a ton more "likes" than "hates." Folks are going to define what the BSA represents themselves and for a poll that resides in this forum where the vast majority are BSA members, well the poll outcome should be obvious.
                Last edited by acco40; 07-30-2013, 06:52 AM.

                Comment


                • #10
                  My vote is against polls like this.

                  I didn't vote.

                  But it does raise a point, when we talk about "the BSA" like this, I have to ask, "which one?" Several years ago I read an article that made the point that there are really two BSA's. There are the units, where Scouting actually gets done, and there is the actual corporation BSA, which can be as much of a hindrance as a help, and gets involved with issues it shouldn't get involved in. Or to put it another way, I make the distinction between Scouting as a whole, which I think is great, and the people who are, currently, temporarily, in charge of making decisions at the National level, many of which, in my opinion, are not so great.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I'd echo a lot of what others have stated... If I'd have to vote, it would be "I like BSA". Do I love national? Nope, but without them there is no program to carry out at the unit level. I think they could do a MUCH better job at marketing and do even get me started on both my personal beliefs with regards to membership policy and more so the PR nightmare Irving has created for the brand. However, even this seems to be moving in a more inclusive, it at least DADT direction.

                    Do I like my council / district? Depends. Council can be a pain in the butt to deal with. They are second only to the US Army at fouling up paperwork / record keeping. They do run a decent (although many would argue underfunded) council-wide camp with many ammenities to include some very good ranges. The district? eh? The last district camporee was an organizational debacle that included tapping non-MBC registered SMs and ASMs to teach some of the classes because district failed to line up instructors (or the lined up instructors flaked on the camporee staff and failed to show). Never got a straight answer to that question, so I'm betting they never had instructors lined up in the 1st place. Other than that - we see the DE about once a year when he comes around to beg for his salary (FOS presentation). Thankfully, the rest of the time we are left alone to run our unit as the boys see fit.

                    Do I like my unit? Heck I LOVE my unit. I also LOVE the program, I think there is great value in what scouting tries to achieve. Their teaching methods are solid and can be used throughout life. The EDGE method is good for teachers, business, military, etc... its a tested and proven learning tool. The program and EDGE / etc... all come from national, so they can't be all bad - hence the "like" vote. The unit is where scouting happens and really is the only thing that matters. The program is developed / revised via national, but honestly - they could cease to exist and outside of new publications, national high adventures bases, and corporate umbrella which to sit - it wouldn't really have much impact on what we do at the local / unit level. The program has been honed over 100 years now. It can stand on its own. Other than minor cosmetic changes and policy changes made by the opinion papers of the lawyers for BSA national, there really is no need to change the program.

                    I have a BSA handbook of my father's circa 1955. I have mine for the mid-80's. My son has the new BSA handbook. Aside from some updated photos, some minor stuff about the internet, and small changes because of legal concerns, the requirements for each rank are virtually the same as they were 50 years ago (and I'm willing to be pretty close to those 100 years ago). BSA is not national, its the local program. Most everyone on this forum LOVES their local program.

                    Comment


                    • DWise1
                      DWise1 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      When I was active in the 1990's, the Scout Shop was selling a reprint of the first Handbook. See if you can't pick up a copy (maybe the Scout Shop could order it for you) and see for yourself what it said about a century ago.

                  • #12
                    I have a slight disdain for "professional" Scouters, and Council lackies.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      I'm a little embarrassed to admit I'm entertianed by the hand wringing in this thread. In all my 30 or more years of scouting, the only memories that turn my stomach come from some of the post in this forum. Sadly this seems to be a place where malcontents come to feel good about themselves.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        I did not respond to the poll. I very rarely respond to polls, since the choices offered almost never reflect my thoughts, opinions, or beliefs.

                        I love Scouting. I truly believe that it is a great program that can prepare a boy for the rest of his life. I especially agree with what Lord Baden-Powell said about the Scout Law, as quoted by Scouting ("Worth Retelling: Baden-Powell on the Scout Law", Scouting, March-April 1991, page 12, quoted from Scouting Digest published by the Boy Scouts of South Africa):
                        The Scout Law is our binding disciplinary force. The boy is not governed by don't, but led on by do. The Scout Law is devised as a guide to his actions rather than as repressive of his faults.
                        When I had become an atheist (around the age of 12, I started reading the Bible and very quickly realized that I couldn't believe what I was reading), I toyed for a few minutes with every Christian teenager's wet dream of total hedonism by being an atheist*, but I immediately realized that that was a false concept. So since neither Christianity nor the Bible would be my guide, what would? The answer came to me immediately: Scouting. Every moral precept that I could ever need was embodied in the Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan. Decades later when I read that Baden-Powell quote, it certainly looked like he was referring to the Ten Commandments as governing by "don't" and hence was demonstrating that the Scout Law is actually superior; am I the only one or did anyone else also see that?

                        BTW, I'm still a big Boy Scout. A 61-year-old Boy Scout.

                        OTOH, I have no use for BSA, Inc. I view BSA as being more an enemy of Scouting than promoting it. BSA does not live nor operate by the Oath and Law and they constantly endanger Scouting by creating discrimination lawsuits and alienating sponsors and donors. I wish that BSA would just go away so that an actual Scouting organization could take its place.

                        { * FOOTNOTE:
                        Having been involved in creation/evolution since 1981 and in contact with fundamentalists since 1970, I have had a lot of dialogues with fundamentalists. One theme that keeps coming up is that if God doesn't exist, then there is no morality and we can do whatever we want. Absolutely ridiculous, but that is what they insist upon most emphatically. A local creationist activist claims to have been an atheist, but he never was. As he describes it in his own writings, as a teenager he accepted evolution and "became an atheist" (HINT: no such decision is necessary) just because of his bubbling hormones. In reality, it was his own religious training that had offered him that legal loophole, not evolution. And in reality, he never was an atheist, since he admitted to me that he prayed to God every night during his "atheism". Using atheism as an excuse to misbehave is a Christian practice, not an atheist one.
                        }

                        Comment


                        • qwazse
                          qwazse commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Salutation edited.

                          Reading the NT without the OT is like trying to breath in a vacuum! Paul for his part made it very clear that his doctrine was not about handing down a moral code. Half of his audience thought they were the bee's knees because they had their moral coded handed down on stone tablets. For those folks he used the Old Testament in debunking that world view. The other half were tempted to believe they could do anything they wanted now that Christ (or, indirectly Paul, Apollos, or several other highly reputed messengers) was their champion, and he used mostly common sense (and a few "God forbids!") to debunk that world view. His premise was that anyone could come up with a moral code -- it's innate for humans to do so. But, regardless of the code, everyone falls short to dire effect. But, deliverance from those failures requires the miraculous intervention: enter the doctrine of salvation.

                          Now obviously an atheist is not buying that last part. But, any Christian that takes Paul with any level of seriousness ought to know that the world's highest moral standards are not inherently part of the Good News. So, not only is the image of an immoral atheist false, it is contrary to Scripture to imagine someone without knowledge of the Bible as somehow unfettered from moral obligations.

                        • st0ut717
                          st0ut717 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Why do christians claim to have the sole authority on morals?

                          Qwaze : While your pastor may have had the ten best ways to live and wow that looks like the scout code. the scout code also reflects well with Bushido which is an offshoot of Buddism. (kinda it a little more complecated than that really)

                          What I object to is those of you that want to force christainity on scouting. Christanity is not the only means to god. Scouting is not about the bible scouting is about scouting an ensureing that the scouts have a moral code that is outside of scouting to support the scout laws.

                        • qwazse
                          qwazse commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Why? 'cause they like it! And the 10c's isn't even theirs!!! The believers are just thoroughly wowed by the 3 millennium track record, I guess.

                          Don't come down to hard on the pastor. If he was hawking "10 rather mediocre ways to live", he'd lose his paycheck.

                          Agreed with trying to foist Christianity on every scout. I only go into any detail about any of the few religions I admire (or the one I adhere to) if a youth asks. Generally, I'm more interested in getting a scout to open up about his religion. It's more fun that way, and I actually learn a thing or two in the process!

                      • #15
                        Who else saw that the discussion leave the reservation after my first point. Qwazse, I enjoy your post, but I think you're half of the discussion is so deep with slavation that DWise's adolescent view of God can't understand value of religious morality, much less Christain morality. Before I try to contribute on a more pragmatic level, I would like to suggest DWise to do a search on "Fruits of the Spirit" and compare them with the Scout Law. Now on the basis of morality, all folks live by a moral code of some kind. For the sake of this dicussion, moral code is the code we use to define acts of right and wrong. Where mankind struggles is having to follow a moral code with parts they may not agree. Usually folks are willing to take the good with the bad, but when the masses of a society decide to follow only those parts of the code they pick and choose, chaos eventually follows.And then one way or another order will be forced by what I call the person with the biggest stick. Except for the civil war, the United States has had a relativlye peaceful history because the guy with the biggest stick has been the Judeo Christian God. Peace is easy when the majority of society follow one set of rules. Well easy within the context of peace versus chaos. But times are changing, people today or more self centered, which doesn't fit well in a religiously concieved moral code. The main difference between moral code defined by man and code defined by God is that God's moral code is pretty consistant through time, man's code changes fast and often. When man grabs (is given) the big stick, it is usually by political will and that never last long. If a person is truely willing to read the whole bible and understand it from a practical stand point, they will see that man at the core is corrupt, narcissitic and ambitious. The moral code they create is one of convenience that not only helps further their ambitions, but also typically ignores the meek. God has none of those self-centered traits, so the meek are the high priority because the actions of His moral code are selfless actions to enhanse lives of everyone toward a peaceful existance. I believe Dwise is truely an antheist because he appears repulsed by a living God, That he couldn't get half way through the first book of 39 in the Old Testeament or Pauls New Testament guidance of a living God proves it. Dwise does Jesus's simple rules of conduct beause they are obvious actions of peace, he just doesn't like them coming from from an invisible omnipotent source. The God in Genesis doesn't have his fatherly image. Ironic that Jesus is God in both the Old and New Testament. Still Dwise believes in a peaceful coexistance and understands following rules of right and wrong are how we get there. I agree with him about the virtues of Scout Law and Oath. I am curious to see how his moral code can stand up the man who takes the big stick. Barry

                        Comment


                        • DWise1_AOL
                          DWise1_AOL commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          I believe Dwise is truely an antheist ...
                          What does that mean? Even Google doesn't recognize that word.

                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          ... because he appears repulsed by a living God,
                          Not at all. I did not become an atheist because anything repulsed me, but rather because I simply could not believe what I was reading. I'm not even repulsed by how Christianity requires belief in human infallibility, but rather will either roll my eyes or sigh in great sadness, depending in part on the audacity of the Christian invoking it. Even the wicked fruit of dishonesty and hypocrisy (especially apparent among creationists) disappoint and disgust me more than they repulse me.

                          Rather what repulses me, are the wicked fruits of religious bigotry and of the attempts the Religious Right's persistent attempts to tear down religious liberty in their drive to use the government to impose their beliefs on everybody else.

                          You may refer to the Matthew 7:20 Test for context.

                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          ... DWise's adolescent view of God ...
                          That was 50 years ago. Both I and my religious views have matured since then.

                          I still have a copy of an interesting brochure that was posted at our church. It was about a book, Stupid Ways, Smart Ways, to Think about God, by Rabbi Jack Bemporad and Michael Shevack. They point out that most people have childish ideas about God because those ideas were formed in their childhood; since most people do not think about and challenge their beliefs as they themselves mature, their beliefs about God never mature and thus remain childish.

                          I have found it more common for Christians to keep their beliefs from maturing and less common for atheists. In self-defense against personal attacks from Christians atheists have to think about and present their beliefs, whereas too many Christians just take theirs for granted.

                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          ... , That he couldn't get half way through the first book of 39 in the Old Testeament or Pauls New Testament guidance of a living God proves it.
                          Completely and utterly false on both counts.

                          I have gotten all the way through the New Testament, cover to cover twice!. I simply did not and do not agree with the theology that Paul had built.

                          When I started reading the Old Testament, I was a Christian, baptized just the year before after attending for most of my childhood. I most certainly was not "repulsed by a living God" and I did believe that the Bible was the "Word of God" and that I was supposed to believe what it says. As I already stated quite clearly and unambiguously, I simply could not believe what I was reading. And since I could not believe what I was supposed to believe, I couldn't be a Christian. That's what happened. That's the complete story. Please try to stick to the facts and not to what you want to imagine.


                          As for the rest of your post ... . Have you ever studied formal logic? In formal logic, we start from premises and we use those premises to form conclusions which themselves can be used as premises to form other conclusions. And what we end up with, if we've followed the rules of logic correctly, is a valid set of conclusions. Valid conclusions, but not necessarily true conclusions. Because logic does not guarantee us true conclusions, but only valid conclusions. Now, if a valid conclusion's premises are true, then the conclusion is true. But if any of the premises is not true, then we have no idea whether the conclusion is true or not. So valid is not the same as true.

                          What I see you having built up there is logical framework, conclusions that you (or those from whom you had gotten all or part of that) have arrived at logically from a set of premises. I don't know whether that logical framework is valid, but even if we grant that all the logic is valid, that does not make it true because we would still have to prove all the premises true. Which we cannot do, in part because we cannot prove your "invisible omnipotent source" nor that it would have the exact set of properties that your theology requires your god to have. Nobody has ever been able to prove or disprove the existence of YHWH, AKA "The God of the Bible", with the possible exception of "creation science" whose resounding disproof of God itself depends on premises that are demonstrably false, though many ex-Christians had been convinced by it. Of course, you are thoroughly convinced of the truth of your premises, whereas those whose minds are not so wrapped up in and blinded by your theology are not at all similarly convinced. As a creationist once told me when I asked him why he kept using such unconvincing and repeatedly disproven creationist claims (in that case specifically, sea salt), he responded by telling me, "You do not find them convincing because you are not already convinced." Premises that can only be convincing if you are already convinced by them should be deemed suspect by any objective observer.

                          So to an outsider who is not yet convinced of and enthralled by the logic of your theology, that looks very similar to to listening to the girls arguing passionately, and apparently almost ready to come to blows, over scenarios in which somebody other than Thor could pick up Mjolnir (Big Bang Theory, "The Bakersfield Expedition", 10 Jan 2013). To the ones enmeshed in that logic it makes sense, but others not ensnared thus can only react with either a confused or a bemused "Huh?" as they're left trying to make some sense out of what mostly appears to be a rambling mess based on assumptions that just do not make any sense.

                        • DWise1_AOL
                          DWise1_AOL commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          Peace is easy when the majority of society follow one set of rules. Well easy within the context of peace versus chaos.
                          Yes, that is true. A monolithic society always has it easier. But we are not a monolithic society. So what's your solution to that? Have somebody "with the biggest stick" force a single set of rules on all segments of society? Well, yes, throughout history the "biggest stick" approach has been demonstrated to work for a time. Prussia in the German Empire (das Zweite Reich), the British Army in India, Hitler in dem Dritten Reich, a procession of leaders in the Soviet Union, Tito in Yugoslavia, Sadam Hussein in Iraq, countless theocracies with their own versions of inquisitions. Even when done with brute force and ruthless repression, they maintained peace and order within their realms, keeping inter-tribal rivalies and animosity in check, such that it would often erupt violently once that strong "with the biggest stick" was no longer there.

                          What you appear to be proposing is that we need that "biggest stick" to be wielded by your god in order to force everyone's compliance to one set of rules. Is that what you are proposing? A theocratic dictatorship to repress all those who are not among the theologic "chosen"? You appear to want that, but how much will you still want it when it's somebody else's theology that's in charge and you are among the oppressed?

                          Well, as it turns out there is one set of rules in this country which I have solemnly sworn to protect and defend when I enlisted and reenlisted, so about seven times: The Constitution of the United States of America. It is not perfect, but it does provide the framework for this country to exist and to function with a diverse population. Part of the secret of letting it work is for us to remember that we are Americans first and whatever else second. Just as in Scouting we must place Scouting first and our own theology after that. If we do not keep those priorities straight, then we will end up trying to use America and Scouting to serve our own political and religious agendae, to the detriment of all. Placing religion and religious differences above country and society is a proven way to splinter a pluralistic society and generate acrimony, strife, and violence, especially if one group gains political advantage over the rest (eg, Protestants vs Catholics in Ireland, Sunis vs Shites throughout the Middle East).

                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          Except for the civil war, the United States has had a relativlye peaceful history because the guy with the biggest stick has been the Judeo Christian God.
                          Now, you know that is simply not true. From the beginning there were regional differences that threatened our new nation, such that portions of the Constitution were compromises (eg, appeasing the South by making slaves fractional people in order to not eliminate them altogether from calculating representation by population). Slavery and the divisions it caused in our society were there from the beginning, but repeated compromises allowed us to keep from resolving the problem, letting it continue to fester until it finally came to a head with the Civil War. Your view of that "relativlye peaceful history" ignores the political strife of that time.

                          And YHWH never had one of your sticks and YHWH never ran our government! The closest that we could come to your statement was that for the most part Protestant humans held that "big stick" of political power. They are the ones who abused that power to promote their own religious agendae of imposing their own religion on everyone else, including non-Protestants. They are the ones who had the public schools teach Protestantism and require Protestant prayers and reading from the Protestant Bible, all despite the repeated complaints from the parents of the Catholic students. In one instance, when a bishop in a major city (either Baltimore or Philadelphia, as I recall) merely asked that the Catholic students be allowed to read from the Catholic Bible, it triggered three days of violent anti-Catholic rioting. That is the reason why the Catholics created their own parochial school system, in order to escape Protestant oppression and forced indoctrination of their children. And when the Catholics tried to get public school funding for their own schools, the Protestants passed laws and set legal precedence in court cases to prevent the Catholics from ever getting one cent of public school money. Ironically, when in our own time the Protestants started setting up their own private schools and tried to get public school funding for them, it was the same laws and legal precedence that they had erected against the Catholics that they were now facing. Sorry, but there are some people you cannot help but enjoy seeing getting hoisted on their own petard.

                          So then this "the good old days" of "relativlye peaceful history because the guy with the biggest stick has been the Judeo Christian God", what was it really like? The continued imposition and determined protection of slavery, the imposition of sectarian religious laws on the populace, and the oppression of religious minorities. That directly contradicted the Founding Fathers' intent that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority *. Who in their right mind would ever want to go back to that?

                          Oh, but I'm sure you will protest, it also saw Christians fighting to abolish slavery. Yes, that is true. And the Abolitionists did quote from the Bible to support and justify the abolition of slavery. Just as the pro-slave Christians also quoted from the very same Bible in support and defense of slavery, at times even using the very same passages in support of slavery that the Abolitionists were using against slavery. That's the wonderful thing about the Bible. You can use it to support just about any position you want. Which means that a government that would base itself on the Bible could then use the Bible to justify almost any kind of unspeakable act it may choose to commit.

                          BTW, our National Motto for those first 180 years, from our declaration of independence through and past the Second World War, was "E Pluribus Unum" ("Out of Many, One"), a profound statement of commitment to national unity. Sadly, that noble cause was scrapped in 1956 when it was replaced by a religious statement, which is inherently divisive in a pluralistic society, the consequences of which is now grave disunity.

                          {* FOOTNOTE:
                          The passage from James Madison's A Memorial and Remonstrance reads:
                          Originally posted by Madison
                          1. ... We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.
                          James Madison was the chief architect of the Constitution and he also drafted the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, a few years after he wrote A Memorial and Remonstrance. In the second paragraph, he describes the Wall of Separation, though he called it a "Great Barrier":
                          Originally posted by Madison
                          The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.
                          Those "departments of power" are religion and government. The purpose for which A Memorial and Remonstrance was written was to protest a legislative bill that would allot government money to be paid to Protestant ministers. After A Memorial and Remonstrance was published, that bill died without being put to a vote and Thomas Jefferson's Religious Liberty bill was voted into law instead.
                          I have reprinted A Memorial and Remonstrance at http://dwise1.net/rel_lib/memorial.html, though you could Google for it elsewhere if you wish. It should be required reading.
                          }

                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          When man grabs (is given) the big stick, it is usually by political will and that never last long.
                          The thing is that it is always man and never any god who wields political power. Please name at least one god who ever actually ruled a country personally; the Japanese Emperor doesn't count, because he is merely descended from a goddess, Amaterasu, and hasn't actually wielded power since circa 900 CE. Oh yes, that man in power may claim to be acting for God and be doing God's will, but we both know that's not what's happening. It is always Man. So what we must ensure is that we never allow any man to wield the power of God, which is what theocracy is. And, be honest now, that is really where your line of reasoning would lead us.

                        • DWise1_AOL
                          DWise1_AOL commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          The main difference between moral code defined by man and code defined by God is that God's moral code is pretty consistant through time, man's code changes fast and often.
                          Our opinions differ here. You have presented your, so I will present mine.

                          Morality really has nothing to do with the supernatural, nor the supernatural with morality -- your claim is that it does, given your premise that a supernatural entity dictated the moral code that's in the Bible. Rather, morality has everything to do with people and societies and how people interact within societies and within all social interactions. Whether actions are to be deemed right or wrong depends on whether the outcome of those actions was beneficial to the social order and, hopefully, either beneficial or at least minimally detrimental to the people involved. That can be a delicate balance that doesn't always work out fairly. Over time, society learns what works and what doesn't and, since it's far better to learn from others' mistakes than from your own **, parents teach their children the moral lessons that they have learned. The only real role of religion in that process is that it is the religious organization that codifies the rules, preserves them, and passes them on to each new generation. And as an added "bonus", the moral rules also get incorporated in the society's mythology in order to "explain" where they came from and why you need to follow them, as well as lending some extra authority to them. That's all that happened with the Bible. Those rules were codified in the society, got written down, and other societies ended up adopting them as well. For that matter, it appears that a lot of Mosaic Law, if not most, was itself adopted from the Code of Hammurabi, though Mosaic Law tends to be far more strict about the rights of slaves and their children, but we would expect stricter rules in a harsher environment where your society's very survival is in more peril than in a city. In that case, since the god and goddess Bel and Anu were the Givers of the Hammurabic Code, you should be thanking them and YHWH for your "God's moral code".

                          Your "God's moral code" was not "pretty consistant through time", at least not at first. It was a conceit of the Romantic Era that folk tales and traditions went back several centuries, but in reality they only went back no more than a few generations. An oral tradition is very flexible and able to change in a very short time. For example, an isolated African tribe, the Dogon, had a mythology based on the star Sirius. It wasn't until the late 19th century that we discovered Sirius B, a faint white dwarf companion to Sirius A which is invisible to the naked eye and difficult to see through a telescope, but the Dogon's mythology included reference to that smaller companion. However, it turns out that news of that discovery had somehow made its way to the Dogon who immediately modified their oral tradition to include it. Similarly, in examining the creation myth of the Mandan Indians we find it repeatedly changing drastically within a few generations to reflect their radically changing life-styles through contact with Europeans. In contrast to oral tradition which can change rapidly, written traditions change very slowly. Students of Western European languages know that you can hardly understand at all your own language a mere 500 years ago, whereas Modern Greek words, which have been written since ancient times, are still written very similar to their ancient counterparts. So your "God's moral code" being "pretty consistant through time" only happened when it got written down. Before then, it changed quite regularly as needed.

                          So what is the constant factor over time? Man's nature, which is genetic. It takes a long time for our genome to change, especially if there's no selective pressure to force it to; at most, the selective pressure has been to be more sociable and more willing to learn and follow social rules, with those who cannot being eliminated from society. The circumstances that a society faces can change rapidly, but human nature remains constant. You could come up with arbitrary rules that you think will work well, but there will often be unforeseen consequences that you could never anticipate. A few such rules just might work and they will be kept and incorporated into "God's moral code" (meaning become part of the moral code and teachings that get passed on to the next generation), even though most arbitrary rules will have to be abandoned or corrected (and then possibly abandoned) because they just didn't work. We keep what works and we drop what doesn't. And within a generation or two, everyone will believe that it's been that way since forever. Until it gets written down.

                          {** FOOTNOTE:
                          For example, a co-worker and good friend (and a Christian fundamentalist) was a problem teenager, so he spent a few years on a boys' ranch. When he arrived, they only had four rules that mainly concerned attending chapel and cleaning up and being at meals on time. By the time he left, they had accrued more than 30 more rules, all of them due to him and basically saying, "You remember that stupid thing that Steve did? Don't do that!" Even at present, a lot of laws that get passed are in reaction to people doing something stupid that caused problems, though at least now it's no longer Steve' fault.
                          }


                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          When man grabs (is given) the big stick, it is usually by political will and that never last long. If a person is truely willing to read the whole bible and understand it from a practical stand point, they will see that man at the core is corrupt, narcissitic and ambitious. The moral code they create is one of convenience that not only helps further their ambitions, but also typically ignores the meek.
                          Granted. And it is even more true of theocracies than it is for representative governments, because in a theocracy you have Man ruling in the name of God with the power of God and answerable to nobody but God, whom nobody has ever heard voicing any objection to what the theocrats are doing in His name.

                          The meek have a much better chance of it with a representative government, since that kind of government is at least supposed to be answerable to the People. As is stated in the Declaration of Independence and in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America. It doesn't always happen as it should, but it's supposed to. Which is far more than can be said of any theocracy.

                          And that brings us right back to James Madison's observation that one result mixing religion and government will be the majority trespassing on the rights of the minority, of the meek. And it's the Bill of Rights that seeks to prevent that, not government by the Bible.


                          Originally posted by Eagledad
                          God has none of those self-centered traits, so the meek are the high priority because the actions of His moral code are selfless actions to enhanse lives of everyone toward a peaceful existance.
                          So what does God have to do with government, outside of being a convenient excuse for ruthless rule by theocrats?


                          You are obviously enthralled by your theology and its conclusions, which is fine and good ... for you. Other peoples' beliefs similarly suit them just fine and their right to their own beliefs, as yours with yours, must be guaranteed. And through Scouting comes the further requirement of respecting the beliefs of others, which BSA fails at miserably.
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