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Adrianvs

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About Adrianvs

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  1. Adrianvs

    A Christian Nation?

    Regarding the Iroquois (or other native american tribes or cultures, for that matter), let's be careful not to romanticize them. One way that this is done is by assuming that those features of their culture which are not known or mentioned are the same as the features of our culture. I am not familiar with the Iroquois tribe, but I have studied the cultural and personal histories of other tribes like the Sauk, Mesquakie, and Ioway. We can admire many aspects of the tribal culture (and I do), but there are other features which are seen as reprehensible in our own minds. Everyone in the tribe may have a voice, but the way in which a member of another tribe is seen was often not in keeping with our understanding of human rights (developed from the Christian tradition of western europe). Noble and heroic figures (or tragic victims, depending on one's bias) like Black Hawk did not believe in anything resembling human rights PER SE. There was nothing in the culture or belief system to prevent one from attacking and killing members of an enemy tribe, without reason or provokation. These may be unarmed, elderly, women or children. Such things were irrelevant to many tribes. The Iroquois, for example, were proud of the clans and tribes that they had wiped out in their history. Also, the relationship of many tribes to European and later US civilizations was much more complex than we would like to think. In many tribes, especially the woodland cultures, conquering and wiping out an enemy was expected and understood behavior. There is also the whole issue of seeing white political figures as Fathers and forming real cultural and political relationships with them. The "We and Them" was very very rarely Indian and White, in Native American consciousness until very recently. The "Them" was always primarily another native tribe and historical enemy and the "We" almost always included a white Father. I would recommend reading first-hand accounts (albeit translated in many cases) in order to truly understand the historical native american experience, keeping in mind that the tribes were very different from each other and had different experiences. Regarding the abortion question mentioned by Prairie Scouter, the fundamental question of determining what constitutes murder is never soley a matter of medicine. Who is a human being? What rights, if any, do human beings have? What behaviors are in keeping with human nature? These are ethical questions that only an ethical system can address. The fact of the manner is that "secularism" itself provides no basis for any form of human right. That we cannot torture and kill babies is a matter of religious principle. That we can legally torture and kill babies in certain situations in this country is a result of secularism, a central point of which is that there is no ethical system. The powerful do what they are able to to the weak. This is a case of physical power and political power. Those who are unable to vote cannot expect to be protected by Prairie Scouter's ideal government, since rights are nothing more than allowances granted by the government. I prefer the philosophical and theological notion that human rights are intrinsic to human nature and that they are bestowed by the Creator. Call me a zealot..
  2. Adrianvs

    A Christian Nation?

    Much of the difficulty in discussing this issue comes from a particularly narrow definition of "Christian principles." Individuals often bring this issue up defining Christian principles to include only exclusively Christian principles. Ex: "What evidence is there to support the idea that the founders of this nation *wanted* Christian principles to be it's bedrock? There is no mention of Jesus or God the Constitution." They will also assume that the consensi (consensuses?) of our nation somehow form a core set of "secular principles." This is a simple method of division, but it does not give an accurate impression of how principles such as human rights, separation of religion and state, specific ethical concerns, the western concept of education, and other supposedly "secular" principles developed. There are many things that historic Christianity and some forms of secularism have in common. Just as Christianity inherited many principles from Judaism and Greek philosophy, most of the notions and systems considered secular were born out of Christianity. Just as the concept of one Absolute God may be considered a Greek philosophical principle, a Hindu principle, a Jewish principle, a Christian principle, and an Islamic principle, some concepts may be considered both secular and Christian principles. There may, be a legitimate argument as to whether the set of principles used by the Founders may more accurately be described as Christian, secular, or something else, but we mustn't confuse the issue with false divisions or oversimplifications. In addition, we must not forget that there is hardly a secular consensus on legal or ethical issues. Principles such as basic human rights, personal autonomy or the separation of state and religion have routinely been opposed by secular governments throughout history. In the end, it is easy to define Christian principles as narrowly as to include only a few exclusive doctrines. It is also easy to throw out lists of things that one would expect a Christian government to enact, in an attempt to shock the reader. It is just as easy to define secularism in such a way that it cannot guarantee basic human rights and list atrocities committed by secular governments. Neither of these things are helpful to the discussion at hand.
  3. Adrianvs

    Women In Scouting

    Seed, I am sincerely curious as to what you believe the purpose of the uniform to be. That it does not fit your body type is a legitimate concern, but you indicated that having a custom tailored uniform would not solve the real problem. Instead the problem is that the uniform has "weird elastic on the waisband [sic], and pockets galore." The uniform is not "in style" or "something a younger woman wants to be seen in." It has unnecessary "big pockets in the front," and a "yahoo coller [sic]" that one "can't do anything with." The uniform is also "ugly and mannish." We must also not forget that you are unable to find the "'right' earings [sic] to go with this outfit." While I agree that there are some unnecessary or even odd elements to the uniform, I would submit that the purpose of the uniform is not to be something that a young woman (or young man, for that manner) feels is fashionable. I've long thought that a redesign of the female blouse would be welcomed. Could the female uniform be cut better, without large chest pockets and not tucked in, like some female miliary uniform shirts. Sure, that would be legitimate, but it still isn't fashionable by society's standards. It isn't supposed to be. It is supposed to look like a uniform. That entails humility, identity, and equality with everyone else in the uniform. I'm not indicating that this is the case for you, but if someone expects a scouting uniform to be an addition to their wardrobe to draw attention to their looks, whether in scouting or just "at the store," then there is a serious problem. What is your position within scouting? Do you feel that the uniform is hindering your fulfilling of that role? The only people whose perception of the uniform you should be concerned about are the scouts.
  4. Adrianvs

    Denless Dad with question about Homesick Boys

    Although several of the points have been addressed in the responses, here is a primer on homesickness by the Rev. Msgr. Francis Schwartz, whom I met at a session of National Camping School a couple of years ago. The little article is spot on. http://www.inquiry.net/adult/problems/homesick.htm One thing that I would like to add, however, is that the guideline regarding calling home or keeping the boy at camp is not an absolute. As a camp chaplain, I have been taken to a scout who, resulting from a number of factors, was bordering on psychosis. The child had some specific developmental issues (and clinical, if I recall), and a history of maladaptive behaviors related to separation which were not made known to the scoutmasters. Later in the week, when the sitation had become very serious, the scoutmaster had to accept that keeping the boy at camp against his will was irresponsible and that a promise that his parents would be called the following morning was the only thing that would allow this child to escape his condition and return to his camp and sleep. (This was not a ploy, by the way; the parents in this case were completely unavailable for sigificant periods of time.) In any case, one must realize that there are situations (albeit rare) where a case of homesickness can be the circumstance of something more serious.
  5. Adrianvs

    Pagan scouting group takes root

    "Really? The BSA's Judeo-Christian Declaration of Religious Principle...does not sound very Buddhist to me." I never said that the Declaration of Religious Principle was compatible with Buddhism (the modern religious form). I stated that it was compatible with "Indian understanding." Within that paragraph, I was referring to Indian philosophy and you will note that the subject of the post as a whole was Hinduism. I only brought up Buddhism as an illustrative example. While philosophical Buddhism originated in India, it never took hold there, and modern forms of Buddhism are not considered Indian in any real sense.(This message has been edited by Adrianvs)
  6. Adrianvs

    Inappropriate Announcement song?

    Mary had a litte lamb, She fed it Castor oil, Every time it jumped the fence, It fertilized the soil. Mary had a little lamb, The doctors were surprised. But when Old McDonald had a farm, The doctors nearly died.
  7. Adrianvs

    Pagan scouting group takes root

    That is true, Trevorum. Hinduism is very complicated and has been undergoing substantial changes for centuries. Some of the old gods (who were once the deities of a polytheistic Hinduism) such as Indra and Agni are still worshipped by many. When tribes or villages fight each other, their gods also fight and kill each other. Local gods become national gods and vice versa. Gods of conquered peoples join the new nation or empire along with their people. Most polytheisms seem to develop this way. We can see this in Egyptian cult as well as that of the Greek and Roman empires. In the case of Hinduism, local gods (some of whom were beaten and/or killed by the big names) are still worshipped. The same is true of many "Buddhists" of the far east who continue the animistic practices of their ancestors, simply substituting Buddha and/or the Bodisattvas for the ancestors or gods. They may not even recognize the dharma (teachings) of the monastic communities, let alone the philosophical teachings of the historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Incidently, Indian philosophy is quite similar to western philosophy, beginning with the Greek tradition. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are almost completely expressed in the school of Greek Stoicism and Pythagoreas could have easily been an Indian swami and mystic like Adi Shankara, had he been located in the right continent. This is likely outside the interest of most persons, but the point is that Judeo-Christian understanding of God (assisted by Greek philosophy) is quite comparable with Indian understanding. They are comparable enough, in my opinion, to share a declaration of religious principle.
  8. Adrianvs

    Pagan scouting group takes root

    I can't speak to Shintoism (and I don't know if there is really any "pure" animistic Shintoism which has not been assumed into a form of Buddhism), but regarding Hindus, it would be inappropriate to think of the religion as polytheistic. Modern Hinduism is almost exclusively monotheistic, seeing the gods as merely aspects of the One, Absolute, and Eternal God. The four major divisions of modern Hinduism (Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism) differ in which god(s) they are devoted to as the form(s) of God, but all agree in the unity of the singular God (often called Brahman or Ishvari). It is true that many Hindus (expecially children or uneducated) may have a polytheistic understanding of the gods, but this is not the "official" understanding of the religion. An analogy that might help to understand this is the Christian understanding of the Trinity. According to historic Christian teaching, God consists of three divine Persons. An outsider might think that Christianity is polytheistic after hearing prayers addressed to the Father, the Logos, and the Paraclete, but this would be a mistake. Likewise, a child or uneducated Christian may not realize that the religion teaches that Jesus is God. Just to be clear, there are substantial difference between the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit and the Hindu "Trinity" of Vishnu, Siva, and Brahma. Christians do not see the Persons of the Trinty as aspects or forms and always worship the Three Persons in unity. Hindus usually worship only one of the aspects (dependent upon their sect), and almost never worship all three (Western pop-Hindus aside).
  9. Adrianvs

    13%

    Anarchist, Political and economic systems are not quite as simple as you would like to believe. It seems quite paradoxical for a self-referred anarchist to have such a simple faith in government programs to solve societial problems. In any event, the relationship between tax cuts and tax revenues is not as simple and inverse as you may believe. Remember, too, that wealth and income are not the same thing as anyone who owns a nonincorporated small business or works for such an individual should know. In any event, the following article by economist Thomas Sowell may help to clarify the tax/revenue/income/wealth dynamic. It's a year old, but the economic structures it describes are relevant. http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/thomassowell/2004/10/22/13423.html
  10. Adrianvs

    Happy solstice to all!

    "Perhaps I am less cynical than you, but I saw Trevorum's greeting as an acknowledgement to his fellow Pagans that our holiday was last night." When Trevorum extended his solstice greeting to all, I took him at his word. It seemed to me that he was offering it to everyone. I was not offended. Nor was I offended when Ed and John extended Christmas greetings (presumably) to all. Should I be offended at either? Also, keep in mind that not all pagans celebrate the winter solstice and not all who celebrate the solstice are pagans. The features of nature, including the sun, are important manifestations and icons in many theistic traditions.
  11. Adrianvs

    Happy solstice to all!

    O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Isaiah had prophesied, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.
  12. Adrianvs

    Agnostic Scout?

    Perhaps some clarifications would be helpful here. Regarding agnosticism, the term applies to two distinct philosophical positions. Hard agnosticism maintains that knowledge of God or gods is unknown or inherently unknowable. Soft agnosticism maintains that one does not know such things, but does not maintain that they are inherently unknowable. Soft agnosticism is often a personal designation, rather than an absolute doctrine like hard agnosticism. Soft agnosticism is compatible with weak atheism, which is a absence of belief in God or gods, but they are not identical. Deists believe that God exists, but that He is completely transcendent and does not interact with the world, apart from the initial act of creation. Deism maintains that reason is the only means to know God and that moral truths can likewise be deduced by reason. The Declaration of Religious Principle requires a certain kind of relationship with whatever definition of God one provides, not a specific definition of God. An agnostic could or could not meet this requirement. Even a pantheist who happened to be a materialist would meet this requirement if he admitted that "no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to [God/the world] and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member..." The materialist pantheist can follow this, as could the philosopher Compte, who applied the title "God" to humanity. The point is that the "God" specified in the DRP doesn't have to be the Creator, benevolent, intelligent, or even personal. The "God" in question doesn't have to be singular, spiritual, transcendent, immanent, or the subject of prayer. This may be a dodge of the assumed intent of the authors, but it is a legitimate dodge given the religions which the BSA implicitly accepts as subscribing to it.
  13. Adrianvs

    Agnostic Scout?

    I have often been haunted with a fancy that the creeds of men might be paralleled and represented in their beverages. Wine might stand for genuine Catholicism, and ale for genuine Protestantism; for these at least are real religions with comfort and strength in them. Clean cold Agnosticism would be clean cold water -- an excellent thing if you can get it. Most modern ethical and idealistic movements might be well represented by soda-water -- which is a fuss about nothing. Mr. Bernard Shaw's philosophy is exactly like black coffee -- it awakens, but it does not really inspire. Modern hygienic materialism is very like cocoa; it would be impossible to express one's contempt for it in stronger terms than that. Sometimes one may come across something that may honestly be compared to milk, an ancient and heathen mildness, an earthly yet sustaining mercy -- the milk of human kindness. You can find it in a few pagan poets and a few old fables; but it is everywhere dying out. G. K. Chesterton
  14. Adrianvs

    A big, clueless Boy Scout

    I wonder if Ms. Rood will answer for the death tolls of the ideologies she supports. I wonder if she really believes that the dead are disturbed or disgraced by the presence of flag-waving adolescents. I wonder if the dead are disturbed or disgraced by the presence of spiteful and malicious journalists. Ms. Rood pretends that it is the death that sickens her, but it appears to really be the life.
  15. Adrianvs

    Duty, Honor and Allah

    "It's interesting to note that the Jewish Kosher laws are simular to Isalm's and the Jewish Committee on Scouting did provide kosher meals at Jambo. I wonder if any Islamic troops knew these meals were available?" I had the same thought, Trail Day, but somehow I doubt that grabbing Jewish Kosher meals would have been a popular option. In my understanding, it would have worked, however, as Muslim dietary restrictions are contained within a more restrictive Kosher law.
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