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Let's put the God/morality issue to rest

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  • #46
    >>

    Regardless of what the thinking was in the 1910's, if the CURRENT basis for the religion requirement is that there can be no morality without God, it doesn't make any sense, because the BSA allows in members who do not believe that God is the source of all morality.<<


    Doesn't make any sense?


    NJ, the BSA trys to be more open minded and tolerant of other faiths, whatever they are, so as to be as inclusive as possible. Culture changes and the BSA tried to be as accepting as they can to allow as many families to participate in the scouting program as they can. Should we really expect postings from National stating opinions on the teachings of every new faith brought in and out as families join? It's hard enough just getting leaders trained. How many scouts do you know have been challenged because the BSA ideals started with God being the final authority on morality? I don't know how National would respond to your question now, I know whatwas tought to me as a scout and what is still traditional for most faiths including Judaism, or the Judaism my friends practice.


    Since this has somehow turned into such a discussion, I was reading a paper the other day by some expert saying that we are raising a generation of narcissistis (spelling) because we teach our kids today that they are the final authority on their behavior and morality. They are learning that if you don' t like the rules, do what you want because it's your morality. Something to that effect. I doubt you will find many teachers who would disagree with this author.


    Adults today seem to give youth boundaries that they make up as they go and change at the drop of a hat. The advantage of an untouched source is that we personally don't become the end all of moral behavior. We give credit or blame to an untouchable source and live with it. It never changes and the community as a whole is accepting of the same boundaries. Poor, rich, short, or tall, we follow the same expectations of society. There is a saying of trainers in the animal word, more training gives more freedom. That more guidelines we follow, the more freedom we have to living in a civil society.


    Now of course as the culture changes, some rules change, but on the whole if we work those changes within the ideals of an untouchable auhtority, than we know the boundaries and freedoms expected of everyone. And if we don't, we can expect a rebuke by society.


    A society of narcissist can't function as a whole of community because their is nobody to rebuke anybody when they cross the line. At some point the guy with the biggest stick will have to put their foot down to prevent stop the chaos, which means no freedom. So while you see individual morality as more freedom in our nation, I see it as giving the stronger having more power over the weak.


    Barry

    Comment


    • NJCubScouter
      NJCubScouter commented
      Editing a comment
      Eagledad, I don't have time to respond to all that. I even agree with bits and pieces of it. But to address your last point: Is this a new thing, the strong having power over the weak? I think that is the story of much of human history, and sometimes the strong have used religion as a weapon. But I think that is how you and Merlyn started this conversation, and I have no desire to go around-and-around about it again, so that's probably my last word on the subject.

  • #47
    To be as "inclusive as possible", don't have ANY religious requirements. The very fact that the BSA has religious requirements means that some people won't meet them and be excluded. So "inclusive as possible" is nonsense.

    And if your unchangable source of morality never changes, why was slavery acceptable in the past but not now? Why do Christians disagree about homosexuality? Don't they all have the same unchangable god? Should gays be put to death, as your god demands? That's a pretty big stick.

    By the way, I can think of few things more narcissistic than believing the creator of the entire universe is a personal friend.

    Comment


    • #48
      About the only thing the BSA has stated is that one may not be "Godless" - what ever that means.

      By the way - Polygamy - not immoral but the burden of one wife is enough for me. If I was married, simulataneously, to two different women, would the women be considered to be in a gay marriage? Bacon eating - that action is heavenly. Gay marriage - see polygamy.

      Now my question, when Pope Benedict the sixteen steps down, will he now be allowed to make mistakes?

      Comment


      • AZMike
        AZMike commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes. He was allowed to make mistakes before, too, just not on matters of faith and doctrine. Popes have less and less room for movement with each Pope, however, as what has been settled has already been settled.

    • #49
      "Atheism. There are a good many men who have no religion, who don't believe in God; they are known as atheists. In Great Britain alone there are nine societies of these. They are welcome to have their opinions in this line, but when they try, as they are always doing, to force these ideas on other people, well, then they are like the Germans trying to force their "kultur" on the world, they become enemies of the worst sort."

      - Lord Baden-Powell.

      From this, I learned that atheists are like the Weimar Republic of Life, Merlyn.

      I read this after I went to the Visiting Nurses Auxiliary Book Sale today at the fairgrounds, and found an original copy of "Rovering to Success" by Baden-Powell for a buck. It's a book for young men (older than scouts) full of advice (quite a bit on STDs, where babies come from, how to choose a girlfriend and wife, how to choose a career, how to improve yourself, etc. - actually, pretty good advice for a young man, then and now - I would guess that the Rovering program was a young adult program of its time.). The quote above is from the chapter on "Irreligion," which B-P defines as one of the Rocks standing in the way of your path to success. (He also includes a pretty funny (well, to me, anyway) caricature of a typical atheist, that looks a great deal like Richard Dawkins.) B-P wrote that chapter as an apologetic of answers to anti-religious atheists, as well as those "fellows who, though not violently opposed to religion, are not particularly interested in it. In some cases they have never been shown what it is; in others it has not proved very attractive or inspiring and they have let it slide." B-P provides some arguments based on the wonder of the natural world and the Natural Law, especially to inspire those in the latter category.

      B-P makes the interesting point that "Some of these [atheist] societies directly attack the religious belief of others in a very offensive way, but I believe that by doing so they are, as a matter of fact, doing more good than harm to the religions concerned, since it makes people buck up and sink their own differences in order to combine together to repel these attacks."

      Probably correct, as the rise of the "New Atheism" (as well as the rise of the Internet) recently triggered a corresponding greater interest in Christian apologetics, and a greater knowledge of the answers to the simpler atheist arguments by a lot of younger believers. So out of evil, good.

      The chapter is actually pretty good, and provides a very non-denominational series of arguments for God, although it draws on a number of very different faith traditions - Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Shinto - and makes an apologetic use of the observation, and reverence for, nature as a way to coming to know God. If a troop wishes to discuss the "Reverent" part of the code, the sections of this chapter would make a good series of starting points, without offending anyone's particular religious beliefs.


      Comment


      • Merlyn_LeRoy
        Merlyn_LeRoy commented
        Editing a comment
        "how can a "lack of belief" possess a system of morality?"

        It doesn't. People who lack a belief in a god can possess a system of morality, of course.

      • AZMike
        AZMike commented
        Editing a comment
        Of course people who lack a belief in God can possess some kind of a system of morality. Most do. Many of them are quite good people, in some respects. Their morality is just not based on whatever beliefs they commonly bring into their atheist mindset to support it, whether those beliefs include naturalism or materialism or what have you. It will be inherently subjective, and so the individual's choice of moral guidelines will be ultimately a simple aesthetic choice with no moral force compulsion. To the extent it is modeled on an objective standard it will be close to a good one, but the atheist will still be driving a car with borrowed gasoline. No offense intended.

      • Merlyn_LeRoy
        Merlyn_LeRoy commented
        Editing a comment
        AZMike, your religion has convinced you that religion is the only source of morality, and that your religion is the only source of real morality; a classic con job. You need to take the blinders off.

    • #50
      Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy
      To be as "inclusive as possible", don't have ANY religious requirements. The very fact that the BSA has religious requirements means that some people won't meet them and be excluded. So "inclusive as possible" is nonsense. And if your unchangable source of morality never changes, why was slavery acceptable in the past but not now? Why do Christians disagree about homosexuality? Don't they all have the same unchangable god? Should gays be put to death, as your god demands? That's a pretty big stick. By the way, I can think of few things more narcissistic than believing the creator of the entire universe is a personal friend.
      There's a difference between "as inclusive as possible" and "totally inclusive". The BSA welcomes followers of all types of religions. Whether I'm a wiccan, a baptist or a mennonite, the BSA welcomes me. A particular CO might not, but it's the purview of a CO to accept or deny my membership in their unit. I can always register as a lone scout, or join a unit not chartered by a religious organization.

      Merlyn, the problem with atheism is it's basic premise...that all religions are wrong because none are right. The BSA doesn't require me to worship a particular deity in a particular way; what it requires me to do is respect the beliefs of others. If I truly subscribe to a philosophy that your deity and belief system is a sham, how can I respect it? I can't. Quite frankly, the BSA should treat baptists, catholics, jews, etc who disrespect the beliefs of others the same way as well, but that's a different topic.

      So, as the BSA has a policy of respecting each other's beliefs, excluding atheists is being as inclusive as possible.

      Comment


      • #51
        "There's a difference between "as inclusive as possible" and "totally inclusive""

        Not in English; to actually be as inclusive as possible would be to exclude no one.

        "Merlyn, the problem with atheism is it's basic premise...that all religions are wrong because none are right"

        Why isn't that a problem with religion X, that says all other religions (and atheists) are wrong because none of them are religion X?

        "The BSA doesn't require me to worship a particular deity in a particular way; what it requires me to do is respect the beliefs of others."

        Atheists can certainly meet that requirement too.

        "If I truly subscribe to a philosophy that your deity and belief system is a sham, how can I respect it? I can't"

        How can a Christian respect a Wiccan if they believe Wicca is a religion of the devil? He can't.

        "Quite frankly, the BSA should treat baptists, catholics, jews, etc who disrespect the beliefs of others the same way as well, but that's a different topic."

        Oh, but you're just fine with treating atheists like that, because it's impossible for them, eh? Or is it Jews? Wait, that was last century.

        "So, as the BSA has a policy of respecting each other's beliefs, excluding atheists is being as inclusive as possible."

        Only for bigots who paint atheists as all the same and incapable of respect. Why should I give you any respect when you clearly don't respect me?

        Comment


        • #52
          Merlyn, you're not paying attention.

          Someone who is truly atheist cannot, by definition, respect the beliefs of others. If he respects the beliefs of others, he grants value to their belief system, and he isn't really an atheist. He's just calling himself an atheist because it's fashionable, or he hates televangelists, or whatever. There's a difference between someone keeping their mouth shut and someone truly respecting the beliefs of others.

          Christianity is a fine example. Yes, there are many, many christians who think wiccans, jews, buddhists, muslims, even each other are all damned to eternal hellfire and don't mind saying it loudly and frequently. Yes, I believe the BSA should exclude them too. 100%. However, there is nothing in the new testament that says all members of religion X are damned to hellfire. That's an invention of man. Same reason as to why christians gleefully persecuted jews for centuries. Jesus certainly didn't tell them to. But, there is no requirement that to be a Christian, you MUST consider all other religions to be false...there is only the requirement that you accept Jesus as your savior and that He lights the way towards salvation. I can respect wicca, islam, judeaism, etc without following them. Anyone who says they are Christian but does not respect the beliefs of others is doing so out of ignorance and/or prejudice. Just my opinion.

          That being said, that's a seperate discussion. The discussion here is that atheists DO subscribe to the phiolosphy that ALL religions are false, and if you consider my religion to be false as a matter of doctrine, you cannot respect it. You can't do your best to do your Duty to God, because as an atheist, you won't even try. No atheist can try and still be an atheist. If you ARE trying, you're not an atheist anymore. You're undecided. "Undecided" is just fine with the BSA. A struggling wiccan, christian, jew, muslim or buddhist can still be doing his or her best.

          Comment


          • ghjim
            ghjim commented
            Editing a comment
            "Someone who is truly atheist cannot, by definition, respect the beliefs of others"
            Not sure I agree with this. I don't have very much respect for the beliefs of Evangelical Christians. But I do have respect for their right to believe what they do.

        • #53
          "Merlyn, you're not paying attention."

          Yes, I am. You're clearly bigoted against atheists.

          "]Someone who is truly atheist cannot, by definition, respect the beliefs of others"

          Someone who is truly Jewish cannot, by definition, respect the beliefs of others.
          Someone who is truly Catholic cannot, by definition, respect the beliefs of others.
          Someone who is truly Muslim cannot, by definition, respect the beliefs of others.

          Bigot.

          You are a PERFECT example of how the BSA encourages bigotry against atheists. And people criticized ME for removing school-sponsored BSA units...

          Comment


          • Peregrinator
            Peregrinator commented
            Editing a comment
            No sir - I've not heard of him

          • Tschitqui
            Tschitqui commented
            Editing a comment
            Peregrinator, maybe I can move this argument along by saying that I am an atheist that respects the belief of others. As such, I am offended by what jrush said. Not respecting others is not part of the definition of an atheist, the only definition is a lack of belief in God. I wouldn't go so far as to call jrush a bigot for his statement, but he is certainly incorrect.

          • Peregrinator
            Peregrinator commented
            Editing a comment
            Tschitqui, thank you for your calm and reasoned response!

        • #54
          jrush, you are not an atheist. But you seem to think you KNOW about atheism. Moreover, you have just categorized atheists as if they are some monolithic group with exactly the characteristics you just mentioned. Is that REALLY what you meant to do? Do you really KNOW that this is a fair characterization of all atheists?
          If so, I would like to understand how you know these things?
          If not, then you must be able to understand why Merlyn takes exception to what you wrote.

          Comment


          • #55
            I'm sure that some atheists respect the beliefs of others, but the one who posts here most prolifically is an anti-theist who prefers to denigrate religious beliefs as being foolish worship of a "magic man in the clouds." Hardly respectful or tolerant.

            Comment


            • packsaddle
              packsaddle commented
              Editing a comment
              I realize I am sometimes guilty of being the pot that calls the kettle 'black' but here I note that the 'tit-for-tat' approach to interactions tends to escalate things away from 'scoutlike' while the 'turn-the-other-cheek' tends to moderate things. I guess that also depends on what 'cheek' we're talking about, lol.

          • #56
            I treat others the way they treat me, Brewmeister. I have standards, too.

            Comment


            • #57
              There are many religions that disrespect the beliefs of others, such as the Lutheran-Missouri Synod. Their prohibition of blended services, which I assume would include "Scouts Own" interfaith services, came up very recently: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/lcms-newtown-interfaith-prayers-reopens-old-wounds-for-missouri-synod_n_2681340.html

              If we allow a group that refuses to mix religiously with others, why can't we allow those that refuse to mix religiously at all?

              Comment


              • #58
                >>I realize I am sometimes guilty of being the pot that calls the kettle 'black' but here I note that the 'tit-for-tat' approach to interactions tends to escalate things away from 'scoutlike' while the 'turn-the-other-cheek' tends to moderate things. I guess that also depends on what 'cheek' we're talking about, lol.<<

                Or 'tongue-in-cheek' for that matter. Without voice or facial expressions, sometimes tongue-n-cheek post can appear tit-for-tat even when that is the furthest thing from the poster's intent.


                Barry

                Comment


                • #59
                  "I treat others the way they treat me . . " Merlyn, try treating others the way you would like to be treated. Doesn't always work but give it a chance. I do sympathize with your use of logic with those who vehemently refuse to understand logic. It must get tiresome. However, I must object to one of your comments. "You are a PERFECT example of how the BSA encourages bigotry against atheists." While it is difficult to determine the cause of bigotry against atheists, I would venture to guess that the BSA is not a primary cause - similar to bigotry against homosexuals, while the BSA may not do much to prevent such actions, I don't think it is a primary cause.

                  Comment


                  • #60
                    If I decided to wander onto an anti-theism forum somewhere and start calling everyone a bunch of godless bigots I would expect a little dissent and wouldn't constantly cry about it.

                    Boo hoo.

                    Comment

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