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What is an Atheist????

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Hello everybody! I'm Beth, and I'm a Camp Fire leader who's been lurking here for quite some time. I can't resist jumping in here. :)


What is an atheist? Well, if we're trying to figure out the strict definition, I can tell you that even atheists fight about that one all the time. lol It's a battle of semantics, really. And people tend to choose to describe themselves as "agnostic" or "atheist" depending on the audience, I've noticed. It also reflects a little bit on where they are in their freethinking ways - the religious guilt can be tough to shake off.


How would *I* describe an atheist?


Well, an atheist is someone who believes life is a very precious thing, and tries to appreciate each day. They are good people for goodness's sake only, not because they're expecting a reward in return. They are curious about the world and nature, and marvel in the vastness of the universe and life's creativity. They live on after death in the hearts of those who loved them, in their children, and in the works they left behind.

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Oh, what the heck, here goes...


#1 It is the duty of every parent to teach, either on purpose or by example or by neglect, their form of religious belief (or disbelif) SO THAT the child(s) will have something to either ACCEPT or REJECT and REBELL against. That's all there is to it. If the child(s) accept it, well and good. If he/she/they reject it (pick a reason), oooo, the complications that can result.


#2 I am not able to put up a web site for you folks to jump to, but if you can find the Washington Post, Saturday 21 October 2006, page B9, at the bottom of the page, you'll find the following, which I will partially quote:

"Wanted: Religious Leader. Belief in God Not Required"

'Local Ethical Society Ponders Core Values In Choosing a Leader'


"When you are a member of a religion with no scripture, no divinity school, and no denominational structure, clarifying what you stand for can be complex....

The (Washington Ethical Society) was plunged into major transition because of the retirement of its leader of 34 years..."


The article goes on to speak of how the WES is certified by the American Ethical Union, how they hold a 'sunday school' hold rituals for weddings and deaths and baby namings, how they are held as a 'religion' by the IRS ( but many members bristle at that title).

Do we Here we have an "atheist" religion?


3) " There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in the hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to wearyout all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. As it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other. If it be betrayed, it bears it, for its ground and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God."

Part of James Naylors deathbed testimony (1660)


4) "...duty to God..." by whose definition? The boys? The parents? Conklins? The DRP?

If the boys definition is that by teaching a good Totin' Chip lesson, he is doing his DtG, who are we to question? If by memorizing at length the catechism, so be it. If by practicing the Zen of Archery, so be it. If his parents hogtie him and drag him to (insert religious service here) and he accepts it SO FAR...If by being faithful in his recycling ( being good to Gaia?), and he can explain it as such, so be it.

If he comes forward and declares "aw there ain't no god..." ...well...


#5) Anyone out there studied Jefferson's bible? I sometimes think Ben Franklin and Mr. Jefferson (among others of our 'founding daddies') might have a hard time being Scouts of our generation.


#6) Any Confuscians out there? I don't know if Con fu Tse would be accepted as a Scout Leader, altho he was the most moral/ethical person of his age and society?


YiS Still...


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OGE, a minor point but Baha'i is generally considered to be a breakaway Islamic sect (in the same sense that Christianity is a breakaway Jewish sect) and thus has biblical roots.


Beth, welcome! We're glad you're done lurking and hope you'll share your thoughts again!

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Welcome BethM, to the forums. I agree with your post. Just imagine, being good for the sake of being good, not because of some supernatural threat. Imagine doing the right thing with no expectation of some supernatural reward. Wow. Almost makes a person want to write a song or something. ;)

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What doing good just for the sake of being good? I can see doing "good" without the promise of some supernatural reward but not for service hours or a patch? You've got to be kidding! :-)(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Triple S implied something about the Totin Chip when writing about the DRP.


This got me to thinking about giving each Scout a DRP and that each time that they disavow God that we tear one corner off. When all four corners are torn off, then the Scout must be retrained in whatever religion that he says that he belongs to at that moment. If he disavows all religions, rocks, clouds, gods, God, etc., then he must make something up on the spot or suffer the consequences and possibly a trip to the Supreme Court to learn a hard lesson. fb

(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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Won't happen. If a fellow was to be so bold as to declare his faith in the FSM (or the IPU), and assuming that the EBoR was to deny him, cooler heads would surely prevail upon appeal to council and/or national. BSA legal would know they would surely loose this one on freeedom of religion grounds.


I sorta remember that something similar happened for a pagan scout 10 years ago or so; the fellow's Eagle was awarded upon appeal. Don't remember the details. Maybe DanKroh knows the story.

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No, the BSA would certainly win; "freedom of religion" does not restrict the actions of the BSA, which is a private club. If they can deny Eagle awards based on an applicant being an atheist (and they do), they can deny it on any religious grounds whatsoever.

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I don't think I know the specific story you are referencing. However, I have a pagan friend who is a Lifer because he was denied Eagle for being a pagan (raised that way by his parents). This would have been in upstate NY in the early 70's.


He seems to think that at the time, one had to earn a religious emblem in order to advance to Eagle, and, of course, there is no emblem recognized by the BSA for pagan religions. Anyone know if that used to be a requirement for Eagle?



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