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EBOR no belief in a higher power

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"It is hard to explain the development of the human eye in purely evolutionary terms, but it is a slight possibility" .

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The Scoutmaster failed both the Scout and the members of the board. This is something which should have been dealt with well before the EBOR level.

 

Fairly early (maybe not Tenderfoot, but certainly by First Class) I ask Scouts how they do their "Duty to God". Now, even the T-2-1 Scout Spirit requirements mean at some point he has to give a concrete example of how he demonstrates Reverence. I'm not some much interested in the Scout's response -- after all, there are really only a couple "wrong" answers -- but I'm looking for an entre' to discussing BSA attitude toward religion. I don't reference the DRP, but that's what I'm covering. I explain that a Scout must do his duty to God in the manner proscribed by his family and church. Although our troop is sponsored by a church, nothing requires the Scout to follow that church's -- or any particular church's -- belief. However Scouting does expect a Scout to have a belief in a higher power. I am THE LAST person who will push my beliefs onto anyone else, but it is my responsibility to help Scouts understand the two pledges they have agreed to live by.

 

A major part of any BOR is assessing the troop program and discussing it's findings with the troop leadership. You need to do that.

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It is not clear what BSA expects.

 

When logical consistency produces uncomfortable answers, it is often avoided.

 

BSA, like Scouting, accepts Buddhists as Scouts who do their "Duty to God" and are "Relevant" although they have no belief in a deity. Therefore, BSA literally does not require belief in God or a god. BSA is not in a position to admit these realities. BSA has enough troubles as it is, so the issue is tiptoed around.

 

EBOR instructions expressly prohibit asking the candidate if he believes in God. It sounds like that rules was not violated; that the candidate was asked a question about the Law in general and volunteered that he has no belief in a higher power.

 

I suspect he could he counseled to discover, quite honestly, that there are mysteries that he does not have an answer for that suggest that some things are beyond human power and understanding. That is basically what I hear from my Buddhist friends, and they are certified GTG on the 12th Point of the Law since 1926.

 

And I am totally in agreement that this should not have exploded like Pearl Harbor at the EBOR.

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It is not clear what BSA expects.

 

When logical consistency produces uncomfortable answers, it is often avoided.

 

BSA, like Scouting, accepts Buddhists as Scouts who do their "Duty to God" and are "Relevant" although they have no belief in a deity. Therefore, BSA literally does not require belief in God or a god. BSA is not in a position to admit these realities. BSA has enough troubles as it is, so the issue is tiptoed around.

 

EBOR instructions expressly prohibit asking the candidate if he believes in God. It sounds like that rules was not violated; that the candidate was asked a question about the Law in general and volunteered that he has no belief in a higher power.

 

I suspect he could he counseled to discover, quite honestly, that there are mysteries that he does not have an answer for that suggest that some things are beyond human power and understanding. That is basically what I hear from my Buddhist friends, and they are certified GTG on the 12th Point of the Law since 1926.

 

And I am totally in agreement that this should not have exploded like Pearl Harbor at the EBOR.

 

Tahawk is right about the Buddhists. The BSA says they are fine even though many are atheists.

 

As for what the BSA does say, see the Guide to Advancement section 5.0.5.0:

The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or practice of religion. Neither does the BSA require membership in a religious organization or association for membership in the movement. If a Scout does not belong to a religious organization or association, then his parent(s) or guardian(s) will be considered responsible for his religious training. All that is required is the acknowledgment of belief in God as stated in the Scout Oath, and the ability to be reverent as stated in the Scout Law.

 

So, what constitutes a belief in God is left up to the scout and his family. If he defines it as: "I love my pets", then that is OK. As long as he can say he does his Duty to God (as he defines it - "he plays fetch with his dog") and can respect the beliefs of others, everything is good.

 

As for the phrase: "the BSA requires a belief in a higher power", I am curious, where that is written?

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... As for the phrase: "the BSA requires a belief in a higher power"' date=' I am curious, where that is written?[/quote']

 

I've only seen it written by people trying to find alternative words to explain BSA's religious position and trying to say it as moderate as possible.

 

Here's where I'd look and you do NOT find the term "higher power".

 

Youth application ... http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/524-406A.pdf

 

BSA Charter and Bylaws ... http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/BSA_Charter_and_Bylaws.pdf

 

BSA Rules and Regulations ... http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/BSA_Rules_and_Regulations.pdf

 

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I have no idea who originated the 'higher power' words but they seem to be used synonymously with the concept of gods or a supernatural god of some sort...and they apparently have been embraced widely enough to placate the absolutists - or at least to keep them relatively quiet. When I first heard 'higher power' used it seemed to be used as a way to softly deflect what seemed to be an absolute and inflexible requirement for the Abrahamic supernatural 'God' that is clearly specified in the law and DRP....or at least is viewed that way by absolutists.

The better question, if you want to push the limit, is to identify the origin of the idea that belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster satisfies the DRP. If the FSM is good enough, then the concept of 'higher power' seems tame in comparison.

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... The better question' date=' if you want to push the limit, is to identify the origin of the idea that belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster satisfies the DRP. If the FSM is good enough, then the concept of 'higher power' seems tame in comparison.[/quote']

 

I can't speak for others, but if a scout ever did assert the FSM he'd have a pretty high hurdle from me to pass his EBOR ... and it's not out of his concern on whether he is an atheist or not. I've heard people for years now use the Flying Spaghetti Monster in discussions.

 

With me, the scout would only pass his EBOR if he was able to convince me that he really believed a FSM created the universe and such. If he really believed it, it would fulfill the requirements and he'd pass his EBOR.

 

But if the scout asserted the FSM as FSM is usually asserted, he'd fail multiple ways without even addressing if he was an atheist. First he'd fail for trustworthy because he's asserting a statement he doesn't really believe in. Second, he'd fail reverent because he's mocking faith instead of showing respect for the beliefs of others. Third, he'd fail courteous simply because he's wasting my time.

 

======================================

 

I fully believe in being compassionate, understanding and supportive of our scouts. But when knuckleheads want to bring in things like a flying spaghetti monster in the discussion, I'm done ... and I'm done because of disrespect and insult. They can come back when they are ready for a real discussion on how we can all live together in this society.

 

BSA has as faith component. Everyone knows it. We can be extremely flexible until others don't want to be flexible with us. At that point, everything falls apart and there is no solution for us to work together.

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Keep in mind that with his Eagle application, a Scout must submit a letter of recommendation from a religious leader, or if there is none (I'm not aware of Flying Spaghetti Monster priests) a parent must submit an equivalent letter addressing the Scout's religion (my words, I'm not looking up the quote.) For adherents of the FSM, it should be interesting reading.

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Fred, that's why I referred to pushing the limit. This is an example of reductio ad absurdum. Does the concept hold up when pushed to an extreme (FSM)? If not (as you seem to think) then what consistent standard does everyone use to identify the 'line' that can't be crossed? During the Q&A regarding the religious requirement, the BSA representative did not reject the worship of a rock, implying that rocks can be considered gods as far as the DRP is concerned. So somewhere between a rock and a piece of pasta must be a limit that we must identify.

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I can't speak for others, but if a scout ever did assert the FSM he'd have a pretty high hurdle from me to pass his EBOR ... and it's not out of his concern on whether he is an atheist or not. I've heard people for years now use the Flying Spaghetti Monster in discussions.

 

With me, the scout would only pass his EBOR if he was able to convince me that he really believed a FSM created the universe and such. If he really believed it, it would fulfill the requirements and he'd pass his EBOR.

 

The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or practice of religion. Neither does the BSA require membership in a religious organization or association for membership in the movement. If a Scout does not belong to a religious organization or association, then his parent(s) or guardian(s) will be considered responsible for his religious training. All that is required is the acknowledgment of belief in God as stated in the Scout Oath, and the ability to be reverent as stated in the Scout Law.

 

On appeal, the result you state would be reversed as contrary to BSA policy. See Buddhists, above. With very few exceptions, those calling themselves Buddhist do not believe in a creator deity - or any deity whatsoever.

 

We are apparently to apply all parts of BSA's (often wildly) inconsistent statements to the extent that they pass the Scout.

 

Scouters do not get to define either "God" or "religion" or "relevant" to suite their personal beliefs even as BSA gives inconsistent definitions so as to avoid conflict.

 

 

 

 

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With me, the scout would only pass his EBOR if he was able to convince me that he really believed a FSM created the universe and such. If he really believed it, it would fulfill the requirements and he'd pass his EBOR.

 

But if the scout asserted the FSM as FSM is usually asserted, he'd fail multiple ways without even addressing if he was an atheist. First he'd fail for trustworthy because he's asserting a statement he doesn't really believe in. Second, he'd fail reverent because he's mocking faith instead of showing respect for the beliefs of others. Third, he'd fail courteous simply because he's wasting my time.

 

Personally I think you are walking dangerous ground here. You don't want to get into the role of judging someones religion. You are correct that Pastafarianism originally was created as a parody religion (specifically aimed at keeping scientific creationism out of schools), but there are a few people out there that honestly identify as Pastafarians because it means something to them.

How would you respond to a Raëlian (it's a UFO church, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%ABlism)? Some Raëlians are very sincere in their faith, even though it may look kind of ridiculous to many of us. Would you demand justifications or "proofs" of a scouts faith if they said they were Catholic or Jewish? If not, then you shouldn't do that for ANY scout.

 

I fully believe in being compassionate, understanding and supportive of our scouts. But when knuckleheads want to bring in things like a flying spaghetti monster in the discussion, I'm done ... and I'm done because of disrespect and insult. They can come back when they are ready for a real discussion on how we can all live together in this society.

 

BSA has as faith component. Everyone knows it. We can be extremely flexible until others don't want to be flexible with us. At that point, everything falls apart and there is no solution for us to work together.

 

"Faith" means many things to many people. We need to be careful we don't fall into the trap of "your faith doesn't look anything like mine, so it isn't real". You want to talk about disrespect and insult? I remember speaking to a woman that became a Wiccan in college. She was very sincere about her faith and found something profound in it, but she mostly hides her religion because she constantly gets her faith belittled by people ("you only do it to piss off your parents", "you have been playing too much D&D", "do you put glitter on your wand?", "you guys just make this crap up right?", "you are just doing this to make fun of people with real faith", etc.). There are lots of people who think that Wicca is a made up religion and isn't "real". The same can be said of any religion, I don't believe we should be judging.

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And thus did BSA wimp out on the religious requirement by ducking and dodging all manner of various faiths. All one needs to do is say they believe in 'something' and by the powers vested in BSA you have laid your hands on the TV and been HEALED!

This kind of nonsense clearly 'outs' the religious requirement for the farce that it has turned out to be...and here's the irony: at the hands of BSA itself. Wow.

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Religion can be blessed for much and blamed for much. Faith is a different issue. One's faith can be in logic, or a Spirit, or a ritual, or science. ( now where did I leave that "Faith and Chaplaincy" shortcut button?) . You can have faith in the US of A, is that a religion? Or I can have faith in my lovely wife. Or I can have faith in Jesus or Vishnu or the Buddha..... "is a puzzlement", to quote one Buddhist king of the stage.

 

"By their fruits ye shall know them". is Biblical, but applies easily to this standard. The Westboro Baptist Church professes a Christianity I would not agree with. Would their Scout (if there is such a thing) pass a EboR How 'bout Gandhi? Would he pass a Ebor? His faith was decidedly not of any one defined religion. Hindu? Christian? He declared that Christ could be followed, but not as a Christian!

 

".... duty to God" is our stumbling block here. I would not suggest ridding our Scout movement of that. What needs to be done is to early on ask our Scouts to see what real obeisance to that undefinable quality really means, no matter what faith title one wears.

Reverent can mean a shared belief (a religion?) , it can also mean understanding and respecting another's ritual (breakfast must include things other than bacon. I will not offer my left hand to my Muslim Scout brother. ). It can mean not being flippant or "trying to be funny" at one's EboR.

So is our problem allowing a "Belief", or in not allowing certain "Religions"?

Thought provoking article: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/no-2-religion-yes-2-faith/2012/feb/12/what-best-definition-religion/

"Keep your stick on the ice. I'm pulling for ya, we're all in this together. "

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SSScout, that could be a helpful article for C23's scout.

 

We want to help a boy manage his doubts. Maybe he doesn't believe in God as folks have spelled out to him, but through helping others or being kind to animals he acts in a way that any God he'd respect would honor.

 

We've coached our boys in similar situations on how to put words to those thoughts. Most of our boys who don't practice religion have been positively influenced by Christians. So often they can talk about those influences and how they apply what they've learned from their Christian friends (being a cheerful giver, helping the poor, even your enemy, etc ...). I can see something similar happen if our boys were on the periphery of some other religion. At the same time we encourage them to not say anything they don't believe. The BoR isn't looking for someone who prays 10 times a day and can rattle off 1000 verses.

 

The only boy who should have a problem with Eagle is one who believes religion is a complete waste of time and BSA shouldn't encourage it in any boy.

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