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An experiment involving Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, etc.

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  • #91
    That's actually Emo Philip's joke:
    http://www.theguardian.com/stage/200...omedy.religion

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    • #92
      Pack18Alex, thanks for the correction. "wait it out" sounds harsher than I meant. I do the exact same coaching with the Jewish scouts in my troop.

      AZMike, yes, I like what you have. While I'm not sure how you jumped from an invocation to getting scouts to explore their own beliefs, I would certainly like to get better at encouraging scouts to explore and talk about beliefs. Probably another thread. Not sure if anyone wants to deal with the rules, though.

      SSScout and Merlyn, great joke, but I knew the punchline before it showed up. He should have pushed him off at about Northern Baptist.

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      • #93
        In matters of faith, there's just not much way to change someone's mind if they don't want to change it. And each of us has some kind of conceptual model of the world that we use to structure our lives, whether the model is supplied through a system of faith or through some other source, even from within ourselves. So why do people ask about the faith of others? No one is likely to change any ideas. For that matter, words alone are unlikely to completely allow one person to understand another's faith. So why bother?

        To me this is a question that I have with this entire topic. I accept that people believe things. I even partially understand some of them, at least the outward manifestations. I have my own beliefs. But I don't enjoy being asked about them. And mostly, when asked, I give polite but cryptic responses, whatever is necessary to get this person (whoever it is) out of my face. I've done that in these forums on a couple of occasions when someone was trying to pry into what I 'believe'. Sometimes I haven't been very polite about it.

        So why would I do this to someone else? Why would I question anything about a boy's faith? Who am I, being profoundly ignorant of what his faith is, to question anything about it? Obviously, my answer is that I don't question these things with the boys. I can't possibly understand someone else's personal faith and if I really try hard enough through questions, I risk acting as if I'm being critical or a jerk or something. So I don't.

        But I have observed that many people seem to think they CAN understand what is in another's mind. They seem to think that other people WANT to be questioned about their faith. They seem to thing that other people CAN use words to convey true understanding of their faith. They seem to think that other people WANT to hear all about some other person's faith. They seem to think that they can somehow bridge a gap between people because they think (and I disagree) that they even know what the gap is in the first place.
        Why? Is this a human characteristic that is unavoidable? I hope not because I shun this personally, thus making myself seem apart I guess.

        This is something I've wondered about ever since our minister gave a sermon about the fact that Satan's demons really exist in real life, not just as metaphorical characters in people who do bad things, but as real supernatural demons that if our faith was strong enough we could see just like we see trees or people. [I suppose this would be somewhat like the TV show, 'Grimm']. I just couldn't get my mind around the fact that I was somehow flawed that I couldn't see these things. And when I started asking questions, as a middle school boy in a very, very conservative Presbyterian church, well, things went badly.

        I just couldn't figure out how it is that all those people could think I was wrong (or bordering on evil) when all I was asking was for the evidence, some way, some method by which I could see things the same way they claimed to. Of course this was during the Civil Rights struggle as well, and this church had just ejected a really nice man as minister because he advocated for the Golden Rule and replaced him with the guy who can see demons.

        I was too young to really understand the complicated basis for racial prejudice...heck, I barely understood the unspoken social rules that separated the races at that time...but I DID understand that the consequences for breaking them was severe. Severe enough to get a really nice guy put out of the church because, well basically, he was a nice guy. He died a few years ago. I didn't find out about it until quite a while later but I managed to visit his eldest daughter and thank her for having had a father that thoughtful.

        So I guess I'm questioning is the idea that people need to or even CAN discuss faith in any kind of meaningful way or, in particular, that an entire forum for doing this would somehow enrich us beyond what we have now. Time to get back to work.
        Last edited by packsaddle; 05-29-2014, 12:11 PM.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by MattR View Post
          Pack18Alex, thanks for the correction. "wait it out" sounds harsher than I meant. I do the exact same coaching with the Jewish scouts in my troop.
          Yeah, I didn't think that you meant it the way it sounded, but since this is an Internet forum, and for better or for worse the 3 or 4 Jewish Scouters here seem to be the spokespeople for the entire Hebraic people, I feel it is best that we clarify things.

          And in fairness, depending on where you are in the country (i.e. unless you live in the "young professional" part of the city you live in, or the one or two suburbs that Jews congregate in, most people in the country won't encounter that many Jews, period. We cluster.

          That being said, one of my side projects for my pack has been to try to get an "invocation" for our Pack Meetings. Only Orthodox Jews don't do "invocations," we do D'var Torah (word of Torah), basically an insight from the weekly Torah Portion. In a "Sermon-like" setting, it's a stepping off to a values discussion. In a Yeshiva setting, it's a stepping off point for an analysis of the commentary. We'd want the former.

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          • #95
            Friend Merlyn: Thank you. I might have known, Emo Phillips. But the Google search brought up Jeff Holder.... glad to see the "original".
            It still brings up the stupefying theological subdivisions we all may deal with. Babel Tower condos for sale, anyone?

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            • #96
              Originally posted by packsaddle View Post
              So I guess I'm questioning is the idea that people need to or even CAN discuss faith in any kind of meaningful way or, in particular, that an entire forum for doing this would somehow enrich us beyond what we have now. Time to get back to work.
              I think you just did talk about your faith. We should break beer together and compare notes some time. We have a somewhat similar history. I agree with you that questioning a scouts beliefs in the context of Boy Scouts is bad if it leads to judgement. I've been close to that edge before but stopped after I asked about it on this forum. But just getting a scout to talk about their beliefs in a completely non judgmental way is something I wish someone had done for me when I was that age. Learning how to be that adult is obviously hard. Courteous discussion like we saw here could be a benefit. If a new forum isn't needed then put it under Working with kids. Just realize that anything close to social hot button issues, if they aren't under politics need the Play Nice Police to keep things smooth.

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              • #97
                A peek into a failed attempt, lol...but I get your point.
                Just an idea...I think there's no law against playing nice in all the threads, unless I missed something along the way.

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                • #98
                  I think keeping the discussion on "Faith in Action" is okay and a good idea, focusing on doctrinal issues (which may be weakly formed in young men anyway), probably not.

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                  • #99
                    @pack18alex "And in fairness, depending on where you are in the country (i.e. unless you live in the "young professional" part of the city you live in, or the one or two suburbs that Jews congregate in, most people in the country won't encounter that many Jews, period. We cluster" Is that an attempt at humor? I think more properly most don't realize they are encountering Jews because Jews don't typically wear it on their sleeve. Unless they are a comedian.

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