Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
CA_Scouter

Agnostic Scout?

Recommended Posts

Sure, Scouting is a game. But I hope we never forget it is a game with a purpose.

 

The correct quotation is:

 

"A realization that to the boys Scouting is a gameto you, a game with a purpose: Character building and Citizenship training."

 

It is one of the "Ten Essentials of Scoutmastership" from Hillcourt's Handbook for Scoutmasters (emphasis in the original). See:

 

http://www.inquiry.net/patrol/hillcourt/scoutmastership.htm

 

Our actions should result in a boys happiness through his formative years: "A happy boy is a good boy, a good boy is a good citizen."

 

Sure, to us Scouting is a game with a purpose. But I hope we never forget that to the boys Scouting is a game.

 

Kudu

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't answer my question, either. How long do you give this Scout to make this "choice"? Five Minutes? A Fortnight? Five months, 30 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds?

How about until his 18th birthday. What are you people afraid of? That this agnostic scout is going to convert other scouts to agnosticism? Most agnostics I know aren't closet athiests, they just don't see organized religion as holding the all the answers.

If a scout came up to me for advancement and made the claim of agnostic, I would explain to him the membership requirements of BSA, then explain that he could meet these requirements by not labeling his belief as agnostic, but that he accepts there is a higher being but not how that being manifests himself. He need not demonstrate this belief by attending any church, just accept the higher being. Am I wrong here? Wouldn't that meet the membership requirement?

 

BTW, where is it in the 2nd class rank requirements that grace be said before advancement?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gern, you are so right about your time question. And if age 18 is the deadline for most every other requirement, why not this one? Especially considering that these are the formative years when young people should be free to ask these questions and seek these answers in order to make good decisions for themselves. We should be there to help them in the decisionmaking process, not to slam the door on them after kicking them out.

 

As for your other suggestion, I understand what you suggest but I still feel it can be much simpler. If I ask the boy if he meets the requirement and he says 'yes', that should be sufficient. I am not here to interrogate him regarding his personal beliefs. No one else, outside his parents, should either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A boy cannot "... do my duty to God ..." if he is agnostic about the existence of God.

Scouts need to live the Scout Oath in their daily life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FScouter,

What is your duty to God? How do you demonstrate it? Is it the same as my duty to God? My duty to God is to follow the golden rule and treat my fellow humans as I would like to be treated. If figure if He put me here, its the least I can do in return. Your duty to God is probably different.

 

I'm a diest. I believe in God, but I don't openly worship Him. I don't think He needs it or is much interested in what I do here on earth. Duty to God is a personal thing. Can an agnostic have a duty to God? Perhaps. Can an athiest, probably not. Its not my place to judge it. Would you like me judging your duty to God to see if it meets the requirement? What is enough duty to God? What is too little? Can it be measured or quantified?

 

And remember the oath is "On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country ".

 

Its MY duty to God. That phrasing tells me its personal; I define it, I promise it, I live up to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't really speak to the boy's duty to God. All I can really do is respond to my own duty to God.

 

And that's really very simple. To "let the children come to me, without hinderance." Doubt is one of God's gifts to young people; it saves them from arrogance. The boy would stay welcome in our troop, and the conversations would continue between friends, and the examples (hopefully) of how other good people do their duty to God would continue.

 

We get at least one of these kids every year at a BOR. God bless them, they're great! Over the years, some of those agnostics and atheists have gone on to become Eagle Scouts and ministers. Others have, over time, gradually realized their ideas and the BSA's didn't jibe, and they withdrew honorably and honestly, and yet remain good friends of the troop.

 

Let the children come, and do not hinder them. That's our duty, as adults, to God. And shame on us if we don't live up to it.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FScouter,

Do you have any idea what an agnostic is or are you assuming an agnostic is an atheist? If you are you are wrong. Please, do some research. You will be surprised by what you learn.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that it doesn't matter what the dictionary or any other reference says an agnostic is--what matters is what the boy means when he says this. He may just mean that he's having some doubts about the existence of God. He may really mean that he's having doubts about the particular beliefs of his family's religion. In other words, if you probe, you may indeed find that he's an atheist, but you may also find that he's a Unitarian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your family and religious leaders teach you about God and the ways you can serve. You do your duty to God by following the wisdom of those teachings every day

If one believes it is impossible to know anything about God, then it follows that it is impossible to do ones duty to God.

 

Id be interested to hear from an agnostic person exactly how he does his duty to God given the agnostic belief that it is impossible to know anything about God and what his duty is. These seem to be mutually exclusive concepts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If one believes it is impossible to know anything about God, then it follows that it is impossible to do ones duty to God.

 

What we have here is a failure to understand.

 

Let's try this - Define God! The God you do your duty to. Let's see what we get.

 

Excellent points, Hunt. And I would bet this Scout doesn't even understand what an agnostic is!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

(This message has been edited by evmori)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been reading this thread with great interest. Nephew and I have been having conversations along this vein for the last couple of weeks. On the one hand he wants to say he is agnostic because "it sounds cooler". On the other, when asked to explain what it means to be agnostic he said "It means I believe in something higher than me, I'm just not sure what that is". As a family we do not subscribe to a specific religion. My mother didn't believe in shoving religion down our throats so we were left to form our own beliefs and commune/serve/pray with/to our choosen God in our own fashion. He also enjoyed taking the Religious class for the Methodist as a Webelos and he does have a belief in a higher power. Does that preclude him from being able to remain a Scout? He isn't done forming his opinions, he is just exploring....and as he put it "being an agnostic is cool".

 

Michelle

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest OldGreyEagle

from the BSA website

 

Declaration of Religious Principle

 

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which a member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks OGE, but what was the point? To emphasis something we already know? And how would this eliminate an agnostic from being member?

 

mssnowman's post is probably where this Scout is! Being agnostic sounds a whole lot cooler than "not sure". And when one is a teenager, it's all about being cool!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It means I believe in something higher than me, I'm just not sure what that is".

 

This may be within the broad common understanding of what an "agnostic" is, although it is probably not within the dictionary definition. I think that a person with the belief stated above can subscribe to BSA's Declaration of Religious Principle, at least if he recognizes an obligation or duty to this higher power. That's all the Declaration calls for--it doesn't use labels like agnostic (or even atheist)--it focuses on whether the individual recognizes an obligation to God, and professes to be non-sectarian as to what exactly that entails.

 

And just to bring this back on topic, the following is from the Unitarian/Universalist website:

 

Do Unitarian Universalists say grace? If so, what are some UU table graces?

 

That depends on which Unitarian Universalist you ask. Some do, some don't. Our congregations don't require their members to say grace before eating. As with all religious practices, the decision about whether to adopt this ritual is left to the individual.

A small collection of UU table graces can be found in the Handbook of Religious Services, available from the UUA Bookstore: http://www.uua.org/bookstore/

 

Here are two sample graces from that collection:

 

"May the love we share around this table with family and friends

renew us in spirit.

May the spirit of hope, joy, peace, and love dwell within our hearts

This day and forever more. Amen."

 

"A circle of friends is a blessed thing;

Sweet is the breaking of bread with friends;

For the honor of their presence at our board

We are deeply grateful."

 

(This message has been edited by Hunt)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×