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You're fufilling your destiny @InquisitiveScouter! Become my apprentice, and learn to use the dark side of the force! 

we could build a bridge out of it.

About as much as an unladen swallow?

Ed, take a look at this source:



I have clipped in a teaser...

"Buddhism is unique amongst the religions of the world because it does not have any place for God in its soteriology. Indeed most Asian religions (with the possible exception of some extremely devotional forms of Hinduism) are essentially non-theistic, in that God does not occupy the central place that is accorded to him in monotheistic religious traditions. But Buddhism goes beyond most of these other religions in that it is positively anti-theistic because the very notion of God conflicts with some principles which are fundamental to the Buddhist view of the world and the role of humans in it (see section "The God-Concept and Buddhist Principles" below)."


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Now in some strains of Buddhism, a Buddha is worshipped as a god, but this is usually done by "laymen" who have not studied the the teachings of Gautama or understand the Four Noble Truths. They simply bring offerings to a temple dedicated to a particular buddha and ask for his favors. We can call them Buddhists, but they aren't representative of "complete Buddhism" or philosophical Buddhism. Their Buddha may be a god, but he isn't a creator god or prime mover. These devotees may be considered theists (perhaps henotheists), but they aren't representative of the philosophy of "complete Buddhism" as taught by Siddhartha Gautama or the practices of monastic communities.


A Buddhists may consider the Law of Karma to be their "higher power." I don't really know. If they did consider Gautama Buddha to be their God (as far as the BSA is concerned, haha), then it wouldn't be the only case of a god who was once a man. Nor would it be the only religion to worship a god who was not the creator. Remember that creation was largely a bad deal for Buddhists.


In any event, we must remember that there are many forms and branches of Buddhism. The largest divide splits it into what may be called the "Greater Path" and "Lesser Path." These terms are used by the Greater Path, of course ;). The article also mentions two smaller divisions (Theravada, Mahayana). There are many more, without even including the forms of "pop buddhism" which are quite common in the United States. All of these forms differ greatly on many important points.


So it really depends upon the definition of God and the form of Buddhism in question. No form of Buddhism, however, has an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, and personal creator God.

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In response to Adarianvs site:

" For there is one riddle in that case which cannot easily be cleared up. If it was the man's religion to live as long as he could, why on earth was he enlisting as a soldier?"


From the point of view of the outsider, the man is clearly contradictory in his thinking and the outsider is correct. From the point of view of some Protestants, the man is clearly going down and the Protestant is correct. From the point of view of the psychologist, he is clearly irrational and the psychologist is correct. From the point of view of Scouting, he is clearly not doing his duty to God and the Scouter is correct. But, from his point of view, it makes perfect sense.


He is not in any immediate danger of hurting himself or others, unless it is wartime and his only desire is to kill or be killed. He may have joined the service to be a cook to serve others or as a physician to heal the wounded for longer life or as a minister to deliver his message to those in need. It is not clear to us his inner battles or personal mission. He is practicing what he believes to be true. His right to be wrong is protected by our Constitution and should be by the rest of us.


I have noted that some religions have God giving freedom of thought to humans or the ability to choose. I have even known good fathers that considered youth itself as a field of forgiveness.


My concern is only for the careful consideration of each individual's spiritual growth even in the face of clear contradictory evidence.


I have known those spiritually blessed

that professed belief in the Creator

but when times got tough,

they shook their fists and

cursed their Maker.




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>"Why on Earth do you feel compelled to remove him from your unit?"


>Because rules are rules.


And thankfully some rules fall by the wayside when people realize that they were silly to begin with. Things such as slavery, not allowing women to vote, and many other forms of discrimination were all rules (not to mention driving 55 mph) until people came to their senses.


I have spoken with many Scouts who doubted their religious beliefs, or at least the beliefs that their parents insisted that they had. One Scout, a couple months after he got his eagle, asked me if they could ever take it away from him. I said no, and asked if there was anything I should know about. He said that he was an athiest and he was afraid if anyone found out they would take his eagle away.


Theoretically I should have kicked him out of the troop (or had the DE or COR or whomever do it) but thankfully I didn't. I continued working with him for at least another year when it came out that he was really rebeling against his parent's religious views and his 'athiesm' was the furthest thing he could find from them. His views now are more in the agnostic range than anything else, but I have a feeling that they will gradually change to something a little more mainstream eventually.


I don't think that anyone up to the age of 18 really knows what they believe in regards to religion. They are told by their parents what to believe and it takes a very strong young man to disagree with his parent's religious beliefs.


Kicking a young man out of Scouting because of a simple comment such as that is a great disservice to both Scouting and that Scout. I agree with acco40, and that the Scout should stay and the advisor should go. My troop is chartered out of a presbyterian church, but less than 10% of the boys go there. If we even dreamed of trying to push the pres. religious award to all of them there would be an open revolt amongst the parents, as well there should be.


Ted McLaughlin


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Label me "Dazed and Confused..."


To quote from another dubious role model at least...


It may just be me, but when I review the posts on this thread, I don't see anyone who wants to toss the youth out summarily. Most comments are focused on being sure the youth was not joking and/or having a serious discussion with him about his beliefs. I don't think anyone advocates "tossing him out" without a very careful examination of the facts.


Now, from the original post, it appears the youth declared himself an Atheist in a meeting. I assumme, a dagerous tactic in any situation, that others heard him. So, now you have the Crew, hearing a member state he is an Atheist and I have to beleive some if not all, can we agree on most know belief in God as defined by the religious declaration principle of Socuting is required for membership. To ignore this comment is to tell the Crew no rules are absolute, and thats a very danerous message.


On this Board many of the BSA's polcies and procedures are questioned, critiqued and down right savaged out for being unclear, inconsistent and vague. Here is a requirement that is outright clear and we have suggestions that its ok to ignore it. To say you dont have to beleive in God, to me is like saying you only need 18 merit badges for Eagle and dont worry about tieing a bowline, we know you tried.


I dont think you "throw out" people out for a an offhand comment, but I also think its in the best interest of the Crew to be sure everyone knows where they stand.

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The age for Scouting is 6 - 18 (yes I'm ignoring some aspects such as OA youth membership and Crews who may maintain youth membership until 21) all of which are minors in most every aspect of the law. It is NORMAL for adolescents to try various ways to assert their independence while they start to spread their wings. Some techniques are to challenge authority, belief systems, clothing, and music.


When my oldest son was a Webelos Scout, his religious education teacher, a woman in her thirties, suddenly died (aorta burst). All of his simplistic beliefs in a caring God who loved "good" people were challenged. In his own way he questioned his beliefs as only an innocent 10 year old could. "How could a loving God (Jesus loves me this I know ...) let the mother of one of his classmates and friends, mother to two younger children, teacher of the "word", etc. die in her sleep?", he asked. "All that I have been taught has been disproved", he thought. He refused to go to mass the following week proclaiming that it was all nonsense. Should I have pulled him out of his den right then and there? Should I have forced him to "believe"? No to both accounts. People, don't forget that these are children we are dealing with struggling to find themselves and their place in the world. Let them know what we expect of them, provide them with the best role models we can deliver, counsel them but for heaven sake, don't abandon them if they question their faith.


Now, on the other hand, if a youth is attempting to dissuade others in the unit from upholding the Oath/Promise, you may well have to remove the individual if he persists. Similarly, I feel if an adult or youth, in a nonsectarian unit, pushes a particular religious belief onto the other members, it is just as serious an offense. That is why I do not like denominational prayer in our unit or council activities. I don't say I don't allow it (I have no authority to not allow it) I just don't like it.

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"And thankfully some rules fall by the wayside when people realize that they were silly to begin with."


However, they were rules until they were rescinded and were to be obeyed. Until BSA changes its collective mind, it is a rule to be obeyed. If you chose to disobey it, there is a price to be paid just as when you were civilly disobedient and drove 65 in a 55 zone.



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Proclaiming in front of the other scouts "I am an athiest" is not 'wrestling with ones inner religious beliefs'. It is announcing who won the wrestling match.


There is a big difference in questioning your religious beliefs or affiliations (or questioning how God works), and stating that you are an atheist. Which is saying that you do not accept the existence of God, and cannot serve him.


You cannot do the latter and keep your membership in the BSA.

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My wife has been told by our daughter (8 yrs old at the time) that she "hated" her. My son's have called me an idiot. People proclaim things that they don't believe all the time (or maybe just they DO believe them at the time in the heat of the moment). As adult Scouters, we need to be careful of the context, time and place when a Scout utters a so called "belief." In the example given in the first (original post) my interpretation was that the Scouts "proclamation" that he was an atheist was given in response to the adviser stating to the crew that he would like everyone to earn a specific protestant religious award. IMO, more investigation is needed before any action is taken. Assuming the Venture program has an equivalent Scoutmaster conference meeting, that may be an appropriate place to bring up the topic.


Just as surely as uttering the Scout oath proves nothing of the Scouts beliefs, uttering, "I'm an atheist" prove nothing on the surface either. I believe more investigation is required before drastic action is taken.

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Your daughter did not say "my mother does not exist and so I am not required to do the things that you say she would want me to do."


The Scout did not say I hate God, because to do so one would first have to accept His existence.


What the scout said was, he promised to fulfill a required obligation to "Do his duty to God" and then retracted that obligation by saying he has decided that God does not exist.


The next step is for a representative at the unit or council level to ask him to reconsider his view and recommend that he seek counseling from a family member, friend or religious counselor, and then determine of his own will if he still wants to stand by his statement. If after carefull consideration he decides he is an athiest, then he cannot continue as a member in the BSA. If at sometime in the future he realizes the existence of God and his responsibility to be reverent, then he would be eligible for re-instatement.

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