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NJCubScouter

A better question

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Tjhammer started a thread with the title, is the Bible infallible? Since this is a Scouting forum, I would suggest that a better question would be the following:

 

Should membership in the Boy Scouts (youth and adult) be limited to those who believe the Bible (meaning both the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible) is infallible?

 

Or to ask a somewhat different question (perhaps it is the same question from Ed Mori's viewpoint):

 

Should persons who think the Bible is "just another book" be excluded from BSA membership?(This message has been edited by NJCubScouter)

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NJ,

 

I hope belei in the bible doesnt become prerequisite for membership in BSA else the Boy Scout readers of the Torah and Koran might be confused as well as followers of Shinto, Buddha, Hindu and Native Americans and a whole lot of other faiths BSA recongnizes that regard the bible as another book.

 

I was a bit surprised when TJ said in another thread that BSA was close to being linked as a "christian" group or some such thing. I thought of you and how many times you have expressed that as a follower of the Jewish faith you resented talk of the Christian God. (I hope I got that right, if not I apologize) I thought it was strange that TJ would make such a reference when you have been a downright arch ally of his views on Gays in Boy Scouts. Since he takes time to debate his detractors, I would think he would also have time to know his allies, or at least people who hold similar views.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Scouting "is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training." this is directly from the Declaration of Religious Principle. That would make this question moot wouldn't it?

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To answer your question, NO, and it is not now, never has been and never will be. While there may be a majority of it's members who are christian or jewish or budist, Scouting allows for all faiths - that's one of the great things about how it fits in with the american system. Freedom of religion (vs. freedom from religion).

 

YIS

Quixote

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OGE, I said that we're becoming typecast as a narrow, Christian-only organization. I certainly do not agree that we should be, and have stated on many occassions that I believe we should adhere to our Declaration of Relious Principles and remain "absolutely non-sectarian".

 

NJCubScouter, I agree with you idea to move this discussion in the direction of "should BSA members be limited to those who believe the Bible is infallible?"... it's the logical next step for the debate and a more appropriate way to approach the discussion. My obvious answer is "absolutely not".

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No, belief in the Bible is not required. A Scout is free to believe in whatever faith he so desires. I don't think anyone in this forum ever suggested otherwise.

 

However, I do contend this: BSA founders championed/endorsed Judeo-Christian values. There is a big difference between requiring folks to be a member of one's faith, and requiring folks to believe in the same core values (i.e., reverence for God, truthfulness, treat others as you would want to be treated, sobriety, sexual purity, etc.). I believe there is a set of core values that BSA expects all members to possess. Many of these values, if not all, are rooted in the faiths of Christianity and Judaism. Yet, these values are not exclusive to those two faiths.

 

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However, I do contend this: BSA founders championed/endorsed Judeo-Christian values.

 

Ernest Seton, the first chief scout of the BSA and writer of the first BSA handbook, didn't. Judging by his autobiography and his other writings and public statements, I doubt he would be allowed to join to BSA today. He was quite skeptical about gods.

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Rooster says:

 

A Scout is free to believe in whatever faith he so desires. I don't think anyone in this forum ever suggested otherwise.

 

Well, I think at least one person in this forum has suggested otherwise. Possibly two. That is why I asked the question. (Neither of the two are you, Rooster, though I was interested to see how you would respond as well.)

 

I will wait for some more responses before commenting further on the responses so far.

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Why even ask this question? Everyone who joins BSA fills out an application that clearly states the requirement for belief in God. Period. Not the Hindu definition of God, not the Jewish, not the Muslim, not the Christian. Just belief in God. Why would anyone want to join who isn't willing to accept this requirement when there are many other youth organizations out there that have no such requirement (4H, Campfire, Boys Clubs, etc.)? Conversely, it is this very requirement that makes BSA attractive to parents, myself included. In a society that increasing denigrates faith, here is a youth organization that encourages it.

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Not only is answer no, the fact that the BSA supports religous awards for non-christian faiths quite positively proves the answer to be no.

 

 

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The answer is NO. The Scout oath only requires a belief in God. This can be the God of your choice. While I would like it to be my God (I'm a Christian)it doesn't have to be.

 

This point I am about to make might stir up the pot a little. Since God is capitalized in the Scout Oath I contend this means God. Not the god of water or the god of you carpet.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Ed, with all due respect, "God" (capital G) traditionally refers (talking about typography, not theology, here) to the single deity of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam . . . "god" (small g) is more generic, as in "Hindu gods."

 

BSA may write "God" but the substance of their nonsectarian policy suggests that they mean "god."

 

 

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VH_50,

Good point. But if the BSA meant the non-secterian god, why hasn't this changed in the updated versions of their printed material? And considering their stance on atheists, I would propose the BSA means God not god.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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The GSUSA says that a member must have a belief in

SOMETHING spiritual, whether or not they choose to use the word God or something else in the oath. The Girl Scouts also say that it is up to the individual girl to decide if her own sense of spirituality qualifies her for membership.

 

Now, that throws the definition WIDE open, but since the GSUSA still belongs to the World organization - which comes right out and says God is part of its mission - we need to step back and reflect that the GSUSA isn't really any more officially accepting of atheists than the BSA, they've just really opened up what can be

meant by God, god, or spirituality - as well as leaving it up to the conscience of the individual to decide if they want to say that they meet the requirement! (Actually, there's an avenue for abuse here that may be seen as an unwitting temptation to the atheist child to lie, but that's another issue)

 

That really is the position the BSA should consider - in our varied religious lives, nothing less allows us ALL 'permission' to our own

belief system and language to express that belief.

 

There is One Who is a Shepherd of many flocks...

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