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Is "Belief in a Supreme Being" an Actual Rule by Now?

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Never heard of them pulling out an adult unless they were loudly proclaiming and promoting being an atheist.. Most the adults I know I have no idea what the believe or if they believe in anything it is just accepted that if they signed up they were at peace with what they signed. Many are not affiliated with any church at all. The only time I have heard of anything is if a boy gets a question at their eagle board, and they proclaim they are atheist or whatever, at which point it is usually as much of a surprise to the scoutmaster, and the boy may not even know that he is saying something that will hurt his chances of getting his eagle (or he does know and it is an "in your face" move)... That it also was an ambush by district leaders tells me that you had a corrupt bunch on your district staff and there was something other then your religion that caused them to want to take you down..
From the Bylaws of the BSA, POLICIES, Section 1 immediately following the DRP:

Activities

 

Clause 2. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of

America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect

to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as

required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, "Rever-

ent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious

duties. He respects the beliefs of others "

 

Freedom

 

Clause 3. In no case where a unit is connected with a church

or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other

denominations or faith be required, because of their membership

in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony dis-

tinctly unique to that organization or church.

Your position was firmly based on BSA Bylaws. And yet again BSA is in violation. Doesn't help to know that, does it?

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

AZMike writes:

Merlyn, you wrote, "Once you start bringing in arbitrary actions that gods want, even killing other people (that god wants you to kill) magically becomes an ethical act. This doesn't mean I'm going to consider it ethical." As best I can recall, none of the ethical actions that believers can do that unbelievers can't (which I describe) included killing those whom God has commanded us to kill, nor are they arbitrary.

 

None of the ethical actions you cherry-picked, no, but, for example, Joshua and his troops:

The city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

...

They utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. … And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had.

 

So there's Joshua and his troops killing children under orders from your god.

 

By the same token, however, an atheist can argue for the murder of the unborn, the murder of the aged, or the murder of the deformed using the cloak of, say, Utilitarianism or the Dictatorship of the Proletariate or Improving the Human Breeding Stock or what have you, if there is no objective system of value that isn't, at base level, simply a cultural or personal aesthetic choice. Now THAT'S arbitrary.

 

No, it's not "arbitrary", you even stated that they'd have to argue for it.

 

That's one of the big problems with atheist-based "morality" and "ethics," Merlyn.

 

What, that people would actually have to argue for their positions, instead of mindlessly obeying what someone claims god wants?

 

Let me ask you, was Joshua acting morally and ethically, or not? I would say he wasn't. What's your take?

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Maybe the loss in membership is very simple. Our society no longer holds things like honesty, truth, real altruistic actions or thoughts, or other more traditional moral ideas as important. The ego -centrism of so much of our population and the mocking attitude towards idealism is reflected in the sneering comments such as "he such a boy scout". That in itself is reflective of the problem. That is not to say that some people, maybe even a majority, still respect these things; but they tend to no longer feel as comfortable expressing it a lot of the time, due to the tendency for so many people to make light of them. Just an observation of an old guy.
The wide range of popular sports options is certainly a factor. When I was a young no one played lacrosse until college, now a third of the troop does. Martial arts is huge.

 

The emphasis parents place on sports is understandable from a physical activity/obesity perspective but sometimes seems like overkill. Scouting offers great physical activity, but in most troops only once a month at best. Scouting does offer those three exciting citizenship badges.

 

Skeptic, I certainly see some of your points but don't see them as the major problem with membership. Certainly the "he is such a Boy Scout" comments are just plain absurd, although I am a bit uncomfortable with the traditional moral ideas language. I personally don't see people making light of scouting values frequently, but my interpretation of them may differ from yours at times.

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Maybe the loss in membership is very simple. Our society no longer holds things like honesty, truth, real altruistic actions or thoughts, or other more traditional moral ideas as important. The ego -centrism of so much of our population and the mocking attitude towards idealism is reflected in the sneering comments such as "he such a boy scout". That in itself is reflective of the problem. That is not to say that some people, maybe even a majority, still respect these things; but they tend to no longer feel as comfortable expressing it a lot of the time, due to the tendency for so many people to make light of them. Just an observation of an old guy.
KDD; I am likely much more seasoned so probably do have somewhat different view on many things. Do accept the much greater variety argument; when I was a scout, it was pretty much scouts, little league (if you had it nearby), the Y in its old formats, 4H, and a few others. But there also was no real peer pressure against scouting or the PC nonsense that is so common today. Of course we did have our McCarthyism going full bore at the time, and the start of the worst years of the Cold War. But we also had far stronger familial connections, less fear about something happening to kids if they are out of sight, and a basic respect for adults (on occasion a bit too much I admit, ranching to a fear of sorts). Still, general public life was far less filled with obvious egoism, and there was usually pride in communities reflected by the best things noted by the media regularly. As I said; I am an old guy.

 

But, Scouting still has its place. If we simply run it as each unit sees fit, but within the honest parameters of "mutual" respect, it has much to continue as an important element of our society in nurturing youth.

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UK Girl Guides revise promise to allow atheists:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...ountry-promise

...

About 44,000 people responded to a consultation on changing the oath's wording, according to Girlguiding UK. The group still believes girls need space to explore their beliefs and "moral framework", said Chief Guide Gill Slocombe. "We knew that some people found our Promise confusing on this point and that it discouraged some girls and volunteers from joining us.

 

"Guiding believes in having one Promise that is a clear statement of our core values for all our members to commit to. We hope that our new Promise will allow all girls – of all faiths and none – to understand and feel proud of their commitment."

 

The oath now reads: "I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide law."

...

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Never heard of them pulling out an adult unless they were loudly proclaiming and promoting being an atheist.. Most the adults I know I have no idea what the believe or if they believe in anything it is just accepted that if they signed up they were at peace with what they signed. Many are not affiliated with any church at all. The only time I have heard of anything is if a boy gets a question at their eagle board, and they proclaim they are atheist or whatever, at which point it is usually as much of a surprise to the scoutmaster, and the boy may not even know that he is saying something that will hurt his chances of getting his eagle (or he does know and it is an "in your face" move)... That it also was an ambush by district leaders tells me that you had a corrupt bunch on your district staff and there was something other then your religion that caused them to want to take you down..
DWise1: I knew they were violating the rules at the time. I also knew there was nothing I could do about because National won't enforce their own rules and have won every lawsuit ever filed. If it weren't for the fact that my son is interested in becoming career military and has already been working on his pilots license we wouldn't be bothering with Scouts, but the rank of Eagle gets him an automatic rank advancement upon enlisting.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

Merlyn: "None of the ethical actions you cherry-picked, no, but, for example, Joshua and his troops, etc. etc."

 

So you agree that the actions I described were, in fact, ethical actions. And Hitchen's supposed dilemma collapses. Sweet!

 

And why do you think the fact that people will argue over an issue that is not based in any objective moral code somehow makes it anything other than arbitrary?

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

"So you agree that the actions I described were, in fact, ethical actions"

 

No, I already said "I'd agree that these are not ethical actions".

 

"And why do you think the fact that people will argue over an issue that is not based in any objective moral code somehow makes it anything other than arbitrary?"

 

Arbitrary: Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

 

Arguing about ethics and morals falls under reason in my book, while supposed "objective" morals that differ purely on what god people believe doles out these morals is what I call arbitrary because changing what god is used changes the morals, and I consider god-belief to fall under "random choice or personal whim".

 

By the way, was Joshua acting morally and ethically, or not?

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

Ah, Merlyn is backtracking from what he said earlier. Perhaps we should summarize. So, the original question was to answer a question Christopher Hitchens posed - are there ethical actions that could be done by a believer but not by an unbeliever? Hitchens and Merlyn and Moosetracker seemed to believe not.

 

I pointed out several examples, all of which an unbeliever would be unable to do (without being hypocritical, which would invalidate the ethical nature of the acts), and which would be considered ethical in that they were done out of concern and compassion for another, and would cause no harm for that person or anyone else. Merlyn and Moosetracker claim an exemption, because they apparently believe that such actions are inefficacious. As I pointed out, this is not a valid answer as a) It requires one to accept the assumptions of a comparatively small subculture (about 7% of the U.S. population) against the assumptions of 93%; and b) even if one accepts the beliefs of the atheists, they would still be ethical, as one’s initial beliefs do not determine if an act is ethical or unethical, as the acts I describe contribute to the overall good (psychological, if not spiritual) of the individuals concerned. As I said, this is what allows atheists to act morally even if their initial premises are false. Likewise, to use an example, a deranged person could contribute to a charity because he believes a giant panda that lives under Schenectady will be pleased. False premise, but an ethical act, as any reasonable person would agree. He is doing good for another and not causing harm, even if his premises are flawed.

 

Ta-dah! Hitchen’s supposed “dilemma†collapses in either case! Thanks, folks, and don’t forget to tip the waiters!

 

So, although the question was answered, Merlyn still feels like he needs to make some kind of point, so he brings up an unrelated issue, that was not part of my argument - he now changes Hitchen's question (first carefully uprooting each goalpost in it’s turn) to ask if the actions of Joshua in the Old Testament - acts which arguably did cause harm, and resulted in the taking of life and do were not part of my argument, are “ethical†or perhaps, “moral?â€Â

 

I didn’t really address this because I answered your initial questions (and quite handily I may add), but it pops up a lot with atheists, so I’ll try to address it briefly.

 

Yes. Here’s why.

 

Now, one could argue that because God wills a thing, it is right (as did Sir William of Ockham, who formulated the “Occam’s Razor†tool of logic that atheists are so fond of using and misusing), but I don’t think that’s a sufficient answer for most.

 

We first have to look at the premises of Merlyn’s question - if the premises are flawed, the whole question is like asking “Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?†If I am not now beating my wife, and never have beat my wife, the question itself is has zero information content as it follows from a false premise.

 

So, DID Joshua commit genocide and wipe out all those people? Clearly not, as the Bible reflects. How do we reconcile Joshua Chapters 10 and 11 where Joshua left no survivors and destroyed all who breathed, with the later Book of Judges, where the Canaanites clearly DID survive because that chapter is all about the “Canaanization†of the Israelites, and how the become prey for the immoral behavior of their enemies (about which more later). So obviously, not everyone was killed and a significant portion of their enemies survived to create havoc among the Israelites.

 

Now, people have been reading the OT for millennia, and some of those people were as sharp and observant as I or even Merlyn...do you think no one ever noticed this apparent discrepancy before? Why did they think it happens that one book of the OT says Joshua killed everything, and then in the next chapter, those people are still alive and active and spreading evil? Was Joshua guilty of body count inflation? Was God as bad as Robert McNamara?

 

Because clearly, the OT is a collection of texts in varying literary styles and genres - military narratives, genealogy, prophetic hyperbole, poetry, and parable. The texts included in the Bible by Christians were held to be inspired enough for inclusion in the canon with the NT because they related in some way to a central event (for Christians) - the new Covenant of Christ and the preparation of His people. Some of the early Christians even argued that the OT should NOT be included within the Bible, as it did not comport with the message of Christ, but they lost.

 

This is because most Christians throughout history were not biblical literalists (a movement that essentially began with the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation,) and you can see early fathers of the Church such as Augustine describing the nature of some of the OT (including the creation account of Genesis) as metaphorical. That doesn’t mean it is not true, it means that it can be truth wrapped in a parable. Christians consider the Holy Bible to be divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, but do not generally believe that God wrote it by guiding the hands of the Prophets (as Muslims generally believe of the Koran). Generally, however, the Israelite historical and military accounts of the OT seem to be accurate, and there is some external evidence (Non-OT texts and archaeological evidence) that supports much of these accounts. We can say it is a largely accurate account of events, as expressed through the eyes of the writers.

 

Those who study the Bible know that you have to be able to understand the conventions of these different genres and styles to have an understanding of the Bible’s message, just as you need to be able to understand the language in which it was translated. There are very specific references and terminology within the prophetic portions, for instance, that call back to earlier references and have very specific meanings for what happens, although some sound strange to us now.

 

Clearly, the common convention for describing military battles and conquests within the ancient Near East was exaggerated and bombastic, both in and out of the OT. Paul Copan has assembled an impressive body of references from non-OT sources of the same time and place that describe peoples being wiped off the face of the earth, not a stone was left lying against a stone, the people ceased to exist, etc., when we know that the people and culture did survive, even after a particularly violent battle or campaign.

 

This is something that was not unique to the ancient military, or the Bible, incidentally - throughout history we hear, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it;†“We wiped out the enemy;†“They were wiped out to the last man,†“We utterly and completely annihilated them,†and so forth, even when these statements are clearly hyperbolic. Delenda est Carthago, and all that jazz.

 

So, from this entirely reasonable view of history and textual research, it appears that a hard-fought battle occurred, the Israelites were victorious (for a time), and not all the enemy’s women and children and donkeys were actually killed. Some probably were, as your own country killed women and children and animals at Dresden and Hiroshima and Fallujah, Merlyn- war is a terrible thing, and the loss of innocent lives almost always comes with it. The Israelites had no resources to keep a Guantanamo Bay prison for their POWs, so they kept them as slaves.)

 

Given the nature of what we know about military combat at that time, a large army was assembled, they marched forth, and they (often) lay siege to the enemy city. Those who wanted to leave generally had ample time to do so out the back gates.

 

So, what do we have then, Merlyn? Joshua fought a battle at the command of his God, the battle and results were described in an exaggerated fashion, as military epics often are, and enough people survived that they continued as a people. That’s not genocide, clearly, unless you consider every battle to be genocide. The rules for the Israelites in warfare seemed harsh, if you want to use the Historian’s Fallacy, but compared to the actions of their opponents, the rules placed upon them by God made them look like the Amish.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

So, as ethical as a military action for the survival of one’s people can be, then, Merlyn. Clearly not ethnic genocide or ethnic cleansing, as God and His prophets were as hard or harder on His own people when they backslid into immoral behavior - so the issue God had a problem with clearly was sin, not color of skin. More on that later.

 

Now, Merlyn is likely to say, well yes - but what about your God? (Although Merlyn would probably use the lowercase-g, as hip and trendy atheists like to do.) Isn’t what He commanded E-V-I-L?

 

No, clearly not. Even by an atheist’s own reasoning. Let’s unpack this, you and I.

 

For an atheist, the Israelite’s actions were clearly ethical. First, by a purely materialist/naturalist conception of atheism, there is no objective good and no objective evil. Purely natural forces like natural selection can’t create that, as there are too many variations in cultures to account for the Christian moral code (or even its pale imitation, Harris’s “flourishingâ€Â) by genetic or social selection. If there is no objective good or evil (as Dawkins and Harris claim), we are limited to what each culture accepts as ethical - and more accurately, what the strongest, wealthiest, and most powerful members of a society feels is “ethical.†Thus, the Israelites were not bound by what Merlyn, (sitting in his easy chair in his comfortable home and typing on his laptop, with an abundant supply of food in his pantry and fresh purified water coming from the nearest faucet and his enemies kept a comfortable distance away from him by rough men who maintain the borders) conceives of as “ethical.†The Israelites were in quite a different position. Even if the war had been an unprovoked and power-hungry war of conquest (which the OT says it was not), it would still be ethical under a materialist/naturalist atheistic perspective, as it was culturally based. You do not find any writings in the ancient Near East (or, anywhere in the world at that time) describing actions of war as immoral or unethical, unless it was happening to them, in which case it was less “This is an immoral act!†than “This really sucks!†At best, you got to write an epic ballad about your people’s glorious victory, at worst, your people were wiped out and/or enslaved, your children were sacrificed to the enemy’s gods, your wife and daughters and sons taken into the harems of your mortal enemies to be raped, and absolutely nobody cared to hear your side of the story. (The sole exception, actually, was, um....the Israelites, who alone among ancient writers actually expressed empathy for other conquered peoples even when they didn’t have a dog in the fight. Huh.)

 

But let’s say we are not godless atheists, and we believe in an objective moral code and a Supreme Lawgiver. Even if we accept the literal description in the OT, God is the father of life, he gives it, and he receives it. From our perspective, when someone died, they were dealt with justly, and went on to eternal happiness or punishment (or possibly, for Catholics, the half-way house of Purgatory for a while). Those who acted immorally on the winning side in battle would have to suffer the same judgment. No one got off scot-free, and no one who was good died forever.

 

People may have died under the sword, but every one of them would have been dead by now, anyway. Death comes to us all. It came to the enemies of the Israelites sooner because of their actions, which were abhorrent, in opposition to God, and (even to our modern eyes) evil.

 

So, if God commanded, God would still provide.

 

(I realize you don’t share these basic assumptions, Merlyn - but it does reflect a consistent theological worldview, a consistency that atheism does not share on the issue of objective morality.)

 

I mention the issue of God as Justice because we tend to overlook that and focus on his nature as the Good. Can’t have one without t’other, though - what good is there, in this life or the next, if good is not rewarded and evil punished? In the story of Joshua, we have a very clear example of God acting as both Justice and Goodness. Was God acting in an arbitrary fashion? No. Did he give the Canaanite tribes sufficient warning? Dude, he gave them 400 YEARS to reform their ways, clear out, and stop hassling his Chosen People before telling the Israelites that enough was enough, get your John Waynes together and saddle your horses (or chariots, or whatever.)

 

Did the Canaanites deserve being attacked? By their standards and probably our own, yes. Both the evidence from the Old Testament, AS WELL AS independent archaeological finds and ancient texts (from non-Israelite cultures) reflect that these people were at least as bad as the Nazis. They practiced ritual sacrifices of children and infants to their Gods (sufficient cause right there), as well as a host of immoral acts, including incest, bestiality, and homosexuality (I know the last one is not as bad as the first few, if it was not coerced and was among two consenting and committed adults in a tastefully decorated apartment and all the other appurtenances of our modern understanding of what “gay†means, but it was what it was, and it was abhorrent to the Israelites). These immoral activities were celebrated in the Canaanite’s own surviving literature, both among themselves and their gods. They sporadically made war on the Israelites themselves, and they wanted to and did corrupt God’s people by enticing them to participate in such activities as well - such as infanticide and child sacrifice to Moloch, which was rightfully abhorrent to the Israelite leaders and to God.

 

Atheists are quite fond of asking why God does not stop evil. You complain why didn’t God stop the Nazis - well he did, through his servants. If the Canaanites were as bad as we know them to have been, wasn’t it appropriate to go to war to stop them, again, using his servants? By this account He clearly did, but the atheists still aren’t happy. You complain when He doesn’t stop evil, you complain when He does stop evil. Will you make up your freaking minds?

 

Oh yeah - a subjective code of morality fits the definition of "arbitrary" as you cited it, Merlyn. It is arbitrary.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

AZMike writes:

"Ah, Merlyn is backtracking from what he said earlier. "

 

Nope, you're the one who mis-described what I had said, even though I clearly stated "I'd agree that these are not ethical actions".

 

"So, from this entirely reasonable view of history and textual research, it appears that a hard-fought battle occurred, the Israelites were victorious (for a time), and not all the enemy’s women and children and donkeys were actually killed."

 

So, only killing SOME children is moral?

 

"People may have died under the sword, but every one of them would have been dead by now, anyway."

 

Hey, that excuses ALL murders that happened 150 years ago or earlier! Wow, great morals you got there.

 

"You complain why didn’t God stop the Nazis"

 

Uh, where did I say that? Now you seem to just be making up things I've said.

 

"Oh yeah - a subjective code of morality fits the definition of "arbitrary" as you cited it, Merlyn. It is arbitrary."

 

Nope, like I said, arguing about morals falls under "reason" in my book. Supposedly "god"-given morals are arbitrary.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

Nope, you're the one who mis-described what I had said, even though I clearly stated "I'd agree that these are not ethical actions" ...and then you described the examples I gave as ethical actions. Freudian slip?

 

"So, only killing SOME children is moral?" Has your government done the same? Are you sure that no innocent children were ever killed in the war against Nazism? If a people, such as the Canaanites, are in the wrong but still keep their children with them in a battlezone, who would be responsible for keeping them in a battle zone? The Israelites gave them a chance to surrender. Why did they not take it and save their own children's lives? Although again, the evidence is good that the description of total warfare given is hyperbolic.

 

"Hey, that excuses ALL murders that happened 150 years ago or earlier! Wow, great morals you got there." Nope, addressed above.

 

"Uh, where did I say that? Now you seem to just be making up things I've said." Read the sentence before that. The reference was clearly to "you atheists" as a group. You do realize that atheists are very fond of asking why God does not stop evil, right? You have read some atheist literature from your quotation of Hitchens, right? This is a common atheist trope. It is appropriate to ask why atheists object to God acting against evil in this case but demand that he should have acted in a more modern case.

 

"Nope, like I said, arguing about morals falls under "reason" in my book. Supposedly "god"-given morals are arbitrary." No, Merlyn. If there are no objective morals, then one's choice of a moral stance has no moral warrant, and thus, one moral system would be just as meaningless as another, however you may choose to waste time arguing about it. That's arbitrary. And, as I said, from a materialist perspective, there can be no such thing as objective morality. You're arguing about something that cannot even exist from your basic premises.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

AZMike writes:

"Nope, you're the one who mis-described what I had said, even though I clearly stated "I'd agree that these are not ethical actions" ...and then you described the examples I gave as ethical actions. Freudian slip?"

 

No, like I said, I don't consider them ethical actions.

 

""So, only killing SOME children is moral?" Has your government done the same? "

 

What's with the red herring? Is only killing SOME children moral in your view? The ethical or unethical actions of my government is irrelevant.

 

"Are you sure that no innocent children were ever killed in the war against Nazism?"

 

What's that got to do with anything?

 

"If a people, such as the Canaanites, are in the wrong but still keep their children with them in a battlezone, who would be responsible for keeping them in a battle zone?"

 

How about my Jericho example? That was a city. And killing inhabitants in a city 2000 years ago meant killing people up close and personal with swords and spears, so you don't get some kind of "collateral damage" excuse. Killing children in that kind of situation means that soldiers directly killed children by stabbing them to death.

 

"The Israelites gave them a chance to surrender. Why did they not take it and save their own children's lives?"

 

Why not stick to my question of Jericho instead of using your own cherry-picked example?

 

""Hey, that excuses ALL murders that happened 150 years ago or earlier! Wow, great morals you got there." Nope, addressed above. "

 

Not at all. Your "excuse" was appalling. It brushes off any murder if the victim would have been dead X years later, and since that's true of every murder after 150 years or more, it excuses every murder ever committed, eventually.

 

""Uh, where did I say that? Now you seem to just be making up things I've said." Read the sentence before that. The reference was clearly to "you atheists" as a group."

 

Then you should have said "you atheists" or "atheists", not "you" when you are typing a direct reply to me. I'll just put that down to your poor writing skills.

 

"You do realize that atheists are very fond of asking why God does not stop evil, right?"

 

So what? That isn't an argument I had raised.

 

""Nope, like I said, arguing about morals falls under "reason" in my book. Supposedly "god"-given morals are arbitrary." No, Merlyn. If there are no objective morals, then one's choice of a moral stance has no moral warrant, and thus, one moral system would be just as meaningless as another, however you may choose to waste time arguing about it. "

 

Well, I disagree, and since you've been busy trying to justify killing children, I'd say my moral system is better than yours.

 

"That's arbitrary. And, as I said, from a materialist perspective, there can be no such thing as objective morality."

 

And that's not a bad thing. Even if objective morals did exist, there's no certain way to derive these supposed morals, so it still comes down to the same thing -- humans arguing about what is and isn't moral.

 

"You're arguing about something that cannot even exist from your basic premises."

 

What are you babbling about now? I've never said that objective morals exist. I've been arguing about morals, not objective morals.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

Merlyn, AZMike, it's Miller Time.

 

You know you won't change the mind of the other. You completely disagree with the other. You're arguing to win, not find common ground. Not very scout like. Thus, not very ethical ;)

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The question still stands!

 

In the 1990's, BSA repeatedly claimed to have a "belief in a Supreme Being" rule that required them to expel atheists "against their will", But such a "rule" never actually existed, as verified by the Orange County Council's SE Kent Gibb's forced admission in court to the judge in Randall v. Orange County Council.

 

So I still ask the very same question as before: has officially published BSA policy changed since the late 1990's? Does BSA still claim to have that "rule" of "belief in a Supreme Being"? Do they still claim that it is an actual rule? Has it in fact actually become an actual rule?

 

 

 

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