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The DRP debate club, Round WHAT??

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It's not clear whether by "Religion" you are referring to your Christanity in the limited case or the broader phenomenon of religion in general. If the former, I might agree with you (discounting variable views on slavery, etc. as Merlyn notes). However, if you mean the latter, I would strongly disagree. Approaches to religion vary tremendously across the globe (much more so than our limited exposure to monotheism would suggest) and even more so across the depths of history.


(And thanks! So far my day is going pretty well. I hope you have a good one too!)


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Yah, I agree with da DRP, eh? I don't think the best kind of citizenship is possible in the absence of a duty to somethin' outside ourselves and our particular nation/tribe. I think the Scout Law would be incomplete and insufficient without the 12th point, too.


Merlyn's a good example of why, eh? :) Besides nitpickin' isolated lines of another's post, when confronted with an area of ethical challenge or decisionmakin', he always falls back on legalism. What is legal or "constitutional" in our nation?


Problem is, chattel slavery was both legal and constitutional, eh?


Relyin' on self, or on duty to nation, just ain't enough in my mind to build either character or community. Somethin' else has to be there that says "It might be constitutional, but it's still wrong". When faced with a challenge or even a threat to the nation where laws can be changed or "reinterpreted", it has to be possible to say "that doesn't matter. Torture is still wrong. Eavesdropping on innocent fellow citizens is still wrong. Makin' a profit without providin' a service is wrong."


It's a fine thing for us to teach lads to be courteous, and kind, and thrifty and all that, eh? Yah, those habits will serve 'em well. But at some point in their lives, the habits of bein' kind aren't goin' to be enough. Bein' kind to someone might conflict with being thrifty. Bein' kind might also become destructive, when a person is more in need of "tough love."


Whether it's in makin' big decisions or small ones, our young men are gonna reach the point where they face challenges in how to apply da other 11 points. They'll be tempted to choose based on their own interest. "What do I want?" They'll be tempted to choose what's in the best interest of their own family/tribe/nation. "What do my fellow atheists want? My fellow Democrats?" But that's not enough, eh? When they're out there, they need to be guided by somethin' bigger. Somethin' that gives 'em the willpower to sacrifice their own interest. Somethin' that gives 'em the courage to challenge even their own friends/family/nation.


God. Da quest for Enlightenment. The goddess. Something.


It was the religious folk who ran the underground railroads and fought the long fight against slavery, because their first duty was to a Higher Power. And it's telling that those revered in most religious traditions as saints and holy folk were ones who challenged people, challenged nations, yah, and challenged religions/religious folk on behalf of that Higher Power.


Service beyond da self-interest of them and their group. Dat's the best kind of citizenship, I reckon. And it ain't possible, or at least it's much less likely, without Reverence.




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So the best answer is to ignore moral issues (e.g. slavery, homosexuality) where many religions have radically changed through time, and just assert that they haven't changed?


Yah, oops, I'll jump in on this one briefly, eh?


On da issue of slavery, yeh remind me of folks who quote Boy Scout documents without understandin' 'em in a bigger picture, Merlyn. Yeh get the words right but the meanin' wrong.


Da "slavery" of the Mideast of biblical times you refer to was more of a nature of indentured service or household help. More akin to what for us would be hirin' a live-in immigrant housekeeper. There's good ways and bad ways of doin' that, eh? So where it talks about that kind of slavery, the bible talks about da responsibilities of the master. "Slavery" is probably a poor translation, because there was no concept of chattel "ownership" of another human bein' the way there was in later times. Da relationship was master and servant, but not "owner." We just don't have a good English word for the practice which fits da translation.


True slavery (in this case, internment camps of forced labor, still not "ownership") is addressed very early on in da bible, eh? God sends a prophet, and then a whole series of plagues, and pillars of fire and the wholesale slaughter of an army and the firstborn of the offending land to bring it to a forcible end. I reckon it's awfully hard to make a claim that that God or any religion which flowed from Him has ever been in any way in favor of what in modern times we call "slavery."




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I'm glad you personally interpret scripture the way you do, Beavah. In more recent times, you must agree that other people employed religion (and the Bible, in particular) to justify slavery in the South. There are just too many examples. In even more recent times it was employed to justify racial segregation - I saw it myself in the Presbyterian Church as well as in public schools. I've heard the KKK employ it to promote their brand of hatred.


Three houses down from mine is one of the houses in the area that flies the confederate flag - on the mast ABOVE the American flag. It is the home of the minister for one of the local fundamentalist churches. He adopted an infant. She was black. As she matured, the menial tasks that were heaped on her caused her to become rebellious. He openly expressed his attitude toward her as a servant, not a daughter. Social services has no leverage as long as there is no clear abuse. As she grew she became a pretty, bright, young black woman. I saw the anger, resentment, and hatred this man of God had toward her but he was very guarded and I never came close enough to see much else.


Nevertheless this young woman was in ROTC in high school and seemed on the way to making a life for herself. To me she was always polite and seemed very bright. She was doing well in school. The man of God kicked her out of the house during her senior year. She reacted badly and is now living a wretched life...I'll let your imagination run with this one.

Early on, she and my daughter were friends. My daughter came home with the stories of how the girl was treated. The man of God was open about his use of Biblical authority to do these things, open about concepts such as 'mud races' and worse. His first amendment religious right. At least she's free from him now.


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Don't know about that Beaver.


New International Version, Exedos 21:20-21


"If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.


Leviticus talks of buying and selling of slaves and how they are your property (Lev 25).



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Yah, packsaddle. Sad story, eh? There is no end to the way some folks can delude themselves for personal ends. Religion is not the same thing as God, eh? It's man's effort at tryin' to understand God. There can be a lot of "fallible" man in it alongside the stuff which comes from God. My Master spent a good part of his life correctin' and chastisin' the religious men of his day, eh? Some of 'em killed him for it.


But if you're fair, you'll admit that kind of self-interested man-made error creeps into every discipline. Look at da "Afrocentric" histories that make up imaginary Ethiopian prehistory from nearly whole cloth. Look at pseudoscience like Intelligent Design and da credentialed scientists that support it.


Pointing to individuals or groups that ignore the proper tenets of their own discipline because of personal bias is a commentary on those folks' hypocrisy, sure. But it's not a comment on da value of the discipline as a whole, nor of the folks who practice the discipline more honestly.


And if yeh think it is valid to critique all of Christianity based on da actions of a few but not any other discipline, then that's your bias, eh? ;)




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Beavah, I do agree with you on this. It's the question of what's proper that is the sticking point, and who decides it.

I mentioned that story (I have resisted telling it for a long time) in order to note that the man of God I mentioned will say that HIS interpretation, HIS view, is superior to yours, and mine, with regard to religion, Christianity, or God. And while I support your desire to do good through your understanding of your faith, the 'evidence' to reject the hypothesis that his view, his interpretation, is of equal merit to yours just doesn't exist, except in the form of personal opinions, again based on personal interpretations.

I am not trying to attack Christianity, but rather the tendency to use any belief system as a source of ABSOLUTE knowledge.

Edited part: added some stuff for clarity.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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the 'evidence' to reject the hypothesis that his view, his interpretation, is of equal merit to yours just doesn't exist, except in the form of personal opinions, again based on personal interpretations.


Nonsense. Or at least no less than any other discipline.


There's all da rest of da bible, eh? All the evidence yeh could wish for. Add to that contemporaneous documents and archaeological evidence and the long history of learnin' and writin' and commentary.


Definitive experiment might be out, but little in real life can be decided by definitive experiment. Nuthin' outside a subset of da "hard" sciences. Even in da hard sciences, experiments tend to be messy, debated, and too expensive to be repeated very much. A lot taken on faith in each other and previously accepted principles. ;)


Mostly, though, all disciplines decide things by the debate of ideas and personal opinions and personal interpretations, eh? Has nuthin' to do with God. Just the way we humans do things.




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Beavah writes:

Yah, I agree with da DRP, eh? I don't think the best kind of citizenship is possible in the absence of a duty to somethin' outside ourselves and our particular nation/tribe.


But the DRP specifies that belief in a deity is required, while a "duty to somethin' outside ourselves and our particular nation/tribe" does not require a deity. So do you agree with the DRP that this duty must come from a deity?

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Is belief in a deity required??


I've come to the conclusion that BSA is decidedly - and purposefully - ambivalent on this issue. They don't want to be pinned down. The folks who insist that belief in a supernatural deity is a joining requirement (the "letter" of the DRP) are happy, and the folks (including Buddhists) who interpret the requirement more broadly (the "spirit" or the DRP) are satisfied also.


If BSA were to clearly side with one interpretation or the other, they would loose big membership numbers, and that is a line that no executive will cross.

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