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  • #16
    I don't think you give yourself enough credit Moose, you can hardly say that your post are kind to conservatives. It is clear that you think yourself better, instead of different. I also get a kick out of liberals not being angry at this concervative Pope. Must be his delivery because his grounded principles are the same. But in the premise of your post, if religion were taken out of the oath and law, then what would anchor the traits of the law to have any continuity to the vision of making moral decision makers? How could an organization maintain integrity if the values are based on the ground level of the leader who looks no farther than teaching boys the skills that will get them to the next rank? Like any great movement, the foundation of its vision has to come from something greating than man reacting to emotions of the moment, otherwise it follows changes in the wind. As soon as the population looses the respect of the scouting's values, it looses its mystic to something better than just a club that goes camping. Repeating the oath, law, even the Pledge of Allegiance will fade away as old time rituals that hold little meaning. Go visit the YMCA if you doubt me. I'm not saying it won't happen, I'm just saying it won't be a values program when it does. By they way, I've heard this is exaclty what happened to the Canadian Scouts. Barry

    Comment


    • moosetracker
      moosetracker commented
      Editing a comment
      Eagledad "if religion were taken out of the oath and law, then what would anchor the traits of the law to have any continuity to the vision of making moral decision makers?"

      First off a belief in a higher being, does not mean a belief in a religion or a religious organization.. Religion is definitely man made.. Which is why there are so many variations believing very different things.. I can believe in a higher being, and have a belief that I have no need for a religion at all.

      Second a moral compass is grounded in many things that are not about religion. Your parents and family, your government, your community, people you look up to whether that person is personally known, or you just read about him in a bibliography..

      Eagledad "How could an organization maintain integrity if the values are based on the ground level of the leader who looks no farther than teaching boys the skills that will get them to the next rank?"

      So the Explorers that is another BSA organization has no integrity?.. Colleges and Medical Schools have no integrity? The red cross has no integrity?

      Of course an organization can have integrity and not be founded in religion and can even interest people to join in order to learn skills that help them to help others and to fulfill the needs of their moral compass whether that be due to a religion or an event in their past or someone they admire and aspire to be like.

      Do I think I am better?.. No I am different.. But, I simply like the view on my side of the fence.. The grass is much greener over here. I also love mentally sparring with people who are different them me.. I find it fun.

  • #17
    If you take out the religious component entirely, the entire concept of Scout Law goes away and we have a camping club.

    Not because religion is inherent in 11/12 points of Scout Law, its only inherent in one I suppose. BUT, the concept to "there is a right and wrong" is critical to the concept of Scout Law. Atheism can define a set of morality, but the morality is inherently legalistic and morally relativistic.

    Without the divine nature of morality, you are stuck with awkward things like Categorical Imperative, Veil of Ignorance/Justice, Utilitarianism, etc. All of which lack hard and fast black and white rules.

    Scouting, with its Scout Law to be taught to minors, requires the existence of black and white morality. It doesn't require any one specific black and white morality, it does require one.

    Without granting the power to the supernatural to define morality, everything becomes, "it depends."

    So while BSA is defacto Protestant while being officially non-sectarian, it doesn't reply on Protestant morality so much as divine morality, pure truth, pure black and white.

    The religious right didn't "take over the BSA." The ACLU bullied BSA, got it kicked out of the schools, and BSA relocated to the Churches. Prior to that, the anti-atheism bent of scouting was more or less the Pledge of Allegiance and acknowledging a Duty to God. Making a stand against that resulted in the very Christian BSA we have today.

    Comment


    • #18
      Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
      The religious right didn't "take over the BSA." The ACLU bullied BSA, got it kicked out of the schools, and BSA relocated to the Churches. Prior to that, the anti-atheism bent of scouting was more or less the Pledge of Allegiance and acknowledging a Duty to God. Making a stand against that resulted in the very Christian BSA we have today.
      I'm sorry but you have it backwards. The reason the BSA got kicked out of the schools, was because of the changes made by the religious right.

      Comment


      • #19
        Rick_in_CA - I thought the boy scouts got kicked out due to both atheists and gays.. BSA was always anti-atheists, the religious right forced them to add the anti-homosexual piece.. I think had they not the BSA would be in much better shape today for various reasons, but we still would have got kicked out of schools.. We need to be open to everyone..

        Pack_18_Alex - I disagree with BSA being defacto Protestant.. What happened to the strong hold that Catholics & LDS have on the BSA?.. Perhaps Christian was the word you were looking for??? Still with Protestant it is a mixed bag of a lot of different things.. We have very liberal protestant religions and very conservative religions and everything in-between. Protestant is a hodge podge of a lot of different religious veiws, seems like the catch all for anything Christian that is not Catholic or LDS.. We get new denominations all the time, because protestant denominations split off all the time.. Why? Because of disagreements on their interpretation of the Bible and what is and is not a sin.. About the only thing that protestants have in common is maybe the bible is your good book, and specifically the teachings of Christ.. The teaching of Christ is subject to some interpretation.. The bible have wildly different interpretations, and different things are retired as not being at all relative, and various reasons why something is important, and other things are not at all important.

        Morality whether it is protestant, Christian or non-secular is based on "it-depends", just like someone getting their morals from non-religious sources.. Because not all religions believe the same things about right and wrong.. Especially not the Protestant community..

        Pretty much anything BSA has in advancement having to do with understanding your religion is to have the scouts work with their parents on.. Why? Because, there is too many varying differences to do the training at a BSA meeting.. Any Scouts own I have gone to is basically pointing to nature, or talking about a historic figure who did something wise or nice for his fellow man..

        I have never heard anyone say something like "You can't beat up on little Billy or you won't go to heaven", or "God wants you to do community service"..

        But, given that scouting is local, perhaps your BSA experience is way different then my BSA experience.. But sorry, Protestant morals being set in stone?? I think you need to visit various Protestant denominations, or go to one about ready to split into two separate denominations, and is having a civil war on the issue.

        Comment


        • #20
          >> Pack18Alex:
          Scouting, with its Scout Law to be taught to minors, requires the existence of black and white morality. It doesn't require any one specific black and white morality, it does require one.

          Without granting the power to the supernatural to define morality, everything becomes, "it depends."

          So while BSA is defacto Protestant while being officially non-sectarian, it doesn't reply on Protestant morality so much as divine morality, pure truth, pure black and white.<<

          Thanks Alex. That is exactly what I was trying to say, but you stated it more clearly.

          Barry

          Comment


          • #21
            Well personally I disagree with you both.. Since you can believe in a greater power, but do not need to subscribe to a religion. Or that your greater power must dictate your moral values.. Then your greater power can have nothing to do with caring about humans morals.. It could care less with humans over other living things. It could care less about how you treat other human beings, but be very upset about how you care for the planet.

            Again your religion gives you a black and white morality, and I guess you are so dependent on that morality you can not even contemplate having moral values without it being dictated to you my your religious leaders.. Other religious people can find their morality between religion and other factors, and if they lost faith in their religion for some reason, can find a way to navigate in this world. Still others who can believe that some greater power had some hand in the blueprint of creating us, can find their morals through other things in their world, family, friends, community, government, and great leaders they have met or read about.. They are very active in BSA, can say the Scout Oath and Pledge of allegiance with no problem and still not attribute a single nuance of their moral values to this greater power. Then there are the atheists who are not in the BSA, but get their moral values pretty much in the same manner as the third group of members of the BSA..

            If your religion is the only thing you can credit for defining your morals.. That is fine. That is you, and you are entitled to follow your beliefs.. But, yes, atheist can have good morals as well as the second or third group, who do not get all their morals if any from a supernatural power who defined morality for them.. All morals do not have to come from the black and white of your religious beliefs, you can be in BSA and have no religious beliefs at all.. Religion needs a God or Gods, but, belief in a God or a greater power requires no religion or religious belief.. BSA has many members who do not claim to follow a religion of any kind. If your duty to your God is nothing, well that is your belief, and that is what you follow, but baring that you are expected to do your duty to your Country and your duty to the Scout Law.

            Even with this fact that BSA does not need you to have a power to the supernatural to define morality.. Or if you have a religion, then even if your religious beliefs are totally different then the guy who sits next to you in your patrol.. BSA can mold all of you into a person who has good morals and be a good citizen.. You can do this, because unless you are in a youth group that is members of your church only, then you are doing it.. So pat yourself on the back, and take credit for doing a super job with a mixed group of youth whose morality is built on "it depends"..

            Comment


            • #22
              "The ACLU bullied BSA, got it kicked out of the schools"

              The BSA wasn't kicked out of schools, they can still meet in public schools on the same basis as any other outside group. What the BSA lost were public schools as chartering organizations, as public schools can't run private clubs that exclude atheists.

              "Prior to that, the anti-atheism bent of scouting was more or less the Pledge of Allegiance and acknowledging a Duty to God."

              And excluding every atheist that the BSA knew about, like the Randall twins, Remington Powell, and Darrell Lambert.

              Since you're new here, I helped Adam Schwartz of the Illinois ACLU stop public school BSA units in 2005, by the way.

              Comment


              • #23
                Moose, you keep trying to debate this at a personal level. We are talking about the conceptual design of the whole organization. Values based from what Pack18Alex calls devine nature is not theory, it's reality by design. Your need to debate the reality shows that either you don't understand the intent, or that you don't agree with it in the desgin and would rather the BSA change it's values away from a devine scource and move toward a youth activities theme program like the YMCA and little league baseball. Your debate is not whether the BSA's values are centered from a Devine Nature, because it is. Your argument should be to take god out of the oath and law so that there are no adult membership restrictions. Barry

                Comment


                • #24
                  As an individual, you can absolutely have verb strong morals and be an atheist. You can be a very strong theist and utterly immoral. The very legalistic side of Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam all tend towards amoral legalisms. That's NOT the point.

                  Scout Law as a philosophical framework requires that there be an absolute set of principles, enumerated as 12 points of Scout Law. That framework requires "black and white" from an external higher authority.

                  It is a philosophical framework, divine morality. There are certainly non-divine morality frameworks, but most of them require a degree of case-by-case relatavisms. For example, if we accept Rawl's Theory of Justice as our framework, then all actions get viewed through a Veil of Ignorance, and morality is determined by how we would feel if we had no idea which side of the equation we'd be on. This encourages compassion for the less fortunate, but it's case by case. If you accept Utilitarianism as your framework, it's greatest good for the greatest number, which accepts scapegoating, but again is case by case. If we accept Kant's categorical imperative, then we have to evaluate each decision on universality, something is only moral if everyone doing it results in a good result. This is the most compatible with Scouting, BTW, but runs into conflict with the ability to deal with behaviors that are harmless in small numbers, bad universally. To bring it back to the current subject, acceptance of Homosexuality is rejected by Abrahamic Divine Law, accepted by Theory of Justice, and Utilitarianism is somewhat indifferent, while perhaps seeing that the greatest good is accepting everyone for whom they are. The categorical imperative forces a condemnation of homosexuality, because if EVERYONE is homosexual, society crumbles.

                  So it is very possible to build a personal moral worldview without divine law. It's very possible to build a philosophical worldview without divine law.

                  However, Scout Law, with its emphasis on 12 unbreakable virtues to live by, is NOT compatible with case-by-case philosophy. At it's core, the Scout Law requires accepting those virtues as given and not negotiable. Mosaic Law is given by Torah/Talmud, Christian law by Bible/Canon/Governing bodies, and Scout Law is given by Baden-Powell.

                  If you reject "law from on high," then you can't really accept Baden-Powell's Scout Law, because the idea of law "as given" is rejected. Scout Law is NOT compatible with "personal morality."

                  One can ABIDE by Scout Law and ABIDE by personal morality, but only because in your personal morality, you've chosen to embrace Scout Law. The nature that Scout Law simply is and must be accepted is not compatible with a view of personal morality.

                  Now, if you embrace personal morality AND scout law, you don't see this conflict... that's not my ignorance, that's your selection bias. Those that embrace personal morality and reject scout law simple aren't Scouts/Scouters, so they aren't in the discussion.

                  Comment


                  • packsaddle
                    packsaddle commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Say....How about that water and vinegar. I hope everyone understands that vinegar and water mix very well. And that actually vinegar IS an aqueous solution in the first place.

                • #25
                  Regarding BSA being Protestant:

                  BSA is extremely Protestant, it's just that Protestants don't even understand how it's Protestant, which I've posted elsewhere.

                  Scouts' Own: EXTREMELY Protestant. Not the content, which is non-denominational, but the structure. Catholics/Jews/Muslims have fixed prayer liturgy. LDS has it's own structure. Freewheeling services are Protestant.

                  Religious Requirements: talk with parents/religious leader type stuff. Again, very Protestant in the personal interpretation area. Other religions have their own structure.

                  Cub Scouts: Tigers talk about faith that is simply a Protestant approach to faith. Wolf: again, it's a Protestant approach to religion, the electives have things like "learn a hymn before/after meals" -- Jews don't do hymns. We do prayers with the pre-post psalms.

                  In Cub Scouts, my son is talking about Faith, believing in things we can't see, etc. In my son's religious schooling, faith is at most presumed. The boys at this age are learning to read Hebrew, learning the most common prayers, and learning which prayer is for which thing (tricky one: bananas follow the vegetable prayer, not the fruit prayer, since they fruit within 12-18 months and aren't classified as trees), learning the morning blessings said every morning (not subject to your personal views that day). They aren't talking about faith/belief. Muslim youth at this age would be learning their structured prayer service.

                  LDS has their own structure, I'm not aware of the details. It has some heavy Protestant influences in structure (as opposed to the more Judaic/Catholic legalisms), but it's own structure... part of why LDS runs its own Scout Programs. But the structure of their service reflects that they broke off from Protestantism. In contrast, Catholicism and Rabbinic Judaism both broke off from Temple Judaism.

                  Comment


                  • qwazse
                    qwazse commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Fun fact about Hymns: some protestants of reformed theology insist that the only ones that should be used in worship are the those that directly quote a Psalm in its entirety. They have some narrow interpretations of scripture to support their view, but I think it was simply a few protestants who were trying to shed the trappings of imperial Christianity really admired how their Jewish buddies were doing things.

                • #26
                  If you reject "law from on high," then you can't really accept Baden-Powell's Scout Law, because the idea of law "as given" is rejected. Scout Law is NOT compatible with "personal morality."

                  The Scout Association that B-P created started accepting atheist scouts a week ago.

                  Comment


                  • #27
                    Also recently from the UK and discussed on this forum:

                    “A girl guide group faces being thrown out of the national association after refusing to force members to drop God from the oath.”

                    The boys may not be too far behind. Seems god is getting in the way of good scouting.

                    Barry

                    Comment


                    • #28
                      The boys may not be too far behind.

                      Wrong. The Girl Guides decided to have only one promise, while the SA has (and has had for quite a long time) various alternate promises; all they did was add a nonreligious one.

                      Seems god is getting in the way of good scouting.

                      True enough in the USA.

                      Comment


                      • #29
                        Accepting atheist Scouts is distinct from accepting atheism. Some atheists will reject Scout Law and can't be Scouts, some atheists will accept Scout Law and can be Scouts.

                        The problem is, once you open it up, you end up with atheism crowding out religion, with things like removing God from the promise/oath.

                        Comment


                        • Merlyn_LeRoy
                          Merlyn_LeRoy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          The scout law, from the SA's website, is:
                          A Scout is to be trusted.
                          A Scout is loyal.
                          A Scout is friendly and considerate.
                          A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts.
                          A Scout has courage in all difficulties.
                          A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
                          A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.

                          Nothing in there conflicting with atheism.

                          "The problem is, once you open it up, you end up with atheism crowding out religion, with things like removing God from the promise/oath."

                          Don't forget the part about the sky falling.

                      • #30
                        Eagledad - Absolutely not, I'm fine with BSA;s change to values.. our disagreement is not about if there is duty to God.. But, what a god can be.. If a scout believes a rock is a higher being, and can explain why, that is fine to BSA. Don't know if anyone is a rock worshipper, but many look at nature as their higher power.. The trees, the rivers, the wind etc.. Many others have a feeling something larger then themselves is there, but have aside from there is something, that is the extent of their belief in a higher power..

                        From these people with no religion, but a belief in a higher power, to expect them to state to you what black and white moral ethics their god requires from them is silly, and not required to be in BSA..

                        Pack18Alex - Jews might not do hymns, but Catholics and LDS d.. Growing up protestant, I never did a hymn before/after a meal.. Gosh, my father was a protestant minister.. No hymns at meals EVER, a prayer yes.. I have been in different denominations of protestant church's.. No singing for our meals.. EVER.. Who sings for their supper??

                        Scouts own??? It's freewheeling to be non-denominational, When taught how to do one at Woodbadge we learned things like, don't ask people to remove hats as some faiths do not, the word God wasn't spelled out in our program, instead you were to write it as G-d because Jews find it disrespectful.. Prayers are either totally generic or you hop around with a protestant prayer, Jewish prayer, Muslim prayer etc.. To try to give everyone a part (most people just go generic.).. Scouts own is to try not to exclude anyone.. But, I will admit it is much more Christian then Jewish, but that's because most are Christian, but if you have Muslim, or Jewish or whatever, scouts own should ask them to share with others something about their faith during the service.

                        Discussing religion is not Protestant only.. I know our CO a Catholic church has a bible study class.. I would imagine they also discuss and try to interpret the Bible in it same as protestants.. Sunday school classes or communion classes are to discuss your religion, this is not just a protestant program, definatly both are part of Catholics program LDS at least has Sunday schools.. With LDS a friend who was LDS, and she discussed their faith with their children.. Jahovah witness (not protestant forgot about them).. Definitely love to discuss their religion.. They come to your door to discuss to you about their religion.

                        Comment


                        • Peregrinator
                          Peregrinator commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Pack18Alex - I am not sure why you think a protestant service is a free-for all.
                          I don't think he said that all Protestant services are free-for-alls, but rather that free-for-all-type services are Protestant in origin. Which is true enough but some distinctions should be made. I think the free-for-alls are more characteristic of Pentecostalism so even most "low church" Protestant services would have some kind of structure.

                        • Peregrinator
                          Peregrinator commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I apologize for getting the origin of hymns wrong, I'm not Christian, and while I have huge respect for all people of faith (and respect for people without faith), I'm not an expert on my own religion, let alone an expert on others.
                          Hymns during Mass are a rather recent innovation. During the Middle Ages one would only hear hymns and anthems (an anthem is a song that doesn't have the structure of a hymn -- "Salve Regina" is an anthem while "Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above" is a hymn) during the Divine Office (the fixed prayers prayed by priests and members of religious orders made up mostly of Psalms; all 150 Psalms would be prayed weekly). The Mass itself doesn't have any hymns; most of its chants come directly from Holy Scripture (e.g., Psalm 25 (26 in Hebrew numbering)).

                        • moosetracker
                          moosetracker commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Pergenerator - LOL.. Thanks - I had such a clear picture of the "smoke pot thing" in my head, I didn't even visualize the second meaning of that phrase..

                          Also - I think I did state that per any service I went to they seemed to all conform to a fairly similar format, but that I didn't know about all formats.. Protestant simply isn't a single religion, but a cluster of various religions with various beliefs.. So, there definitely may be a group out there that flys by the seat of their pants.. I have seen some TV shows of some type of service that seems pretty lose and fun.. Normally it is of a black congregation group that gets up and sings and people just get up and scream "Praise God" or talk in tongues or say whatever they are feeling.. I am not even sure if there are really congregations like that or if that is TV hype.. But, the background of the church is fairly plain and low key, so the church itself looks protestant like.. But... I haven't gone to a BSA scouts own service that is that way.. But, in other parts of the country.. Maybe this is how it is run, nothing is planned and you just wait for someone to pop up and start a hymn or say something or whatever..
                          In our area, our services pass out a brochure with a format, and it is set up with specific hymns and prayers.. leading into the Sermon.. the offerings.. the benediction.. then the hymn and then we are done.. Therefore, I will conceded to say the BSA services I have been to seem to have a format, and that format is like a protestant or from what I see the modern style Catholic services I have seen.. But, I wouldn't call it free style.. If I am not mistaken, I think that the wood badge program, when they have to go through teaching a Scouts-own, and then getting the participants to do their own, recommend this format.
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