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Another interesting article from Scoutmaster's Blog on FB; Belief structures

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Cyclops - this may be a different fight, but it was probably brought on by the policy change in homosexuals..  With some people, they have won a victory so are moving on for the next battle, some see that as co-ed, others as allowing in atheists..  Personally between the two I think we will get co-ed before atheists.. BSA just doubled down on this being a religious organization and beefed up it's advancement requirements in both cub scouts & boy scouts to make sure that religious is more of a main theme.. Some of it troubles me as it allows people who are religious fanatics to discount some peoples religious beliefs if it does not pass their smell test..  I see a lot of arguments coming up over people not understanding what non-sectarian really means.

 

Well, I'd have no problem with going coed. I'm not sure what the problem is with that either, other than tradition or something. I'll have to read through the other topics to find out the different views and their basis.

 

As for that "religious organization", excuse me? Religious organization? Which religion?

I see the religious tests in the requirements but they don't seem to specify much and it all seems to be left to local interpretation. I don't see Bernardo Gui coming to visit the unit to enforce some faith mandate. Mostly I see a bunch of bean counters in Irving who just want to see the proper boxes checked on forms in order to keep (who knows who) happy. More nonsense.

Edited by cyclops

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The problem is that it is local interpretation, and some have a very concrete interpretation.. They will have a problem with a Buddist faith, or wiccan or my son's belief that is more with Greek mythology.. There was a thread a little while back and one person did have a hard time with the concept and felt there had to be some sort of measure and pass/fail for a person's belief.. Some beliefs were too far out there, had no logic, or were too close to being the beliefs of a atheist..

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I have always been amazed by the number of people who claim only theists can be moral.  What drove me out of religion is a life-long observation that more like the opposite is true.

 

I saw a great post on Facebook recently featuring a boy on a bicycle holding his hands up and shouting for joy....

 

"I asked God for a bike but I know God doesn't work that way.   So I stole a bike and then asked for forgiveness"

 

Jim

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I have always been amazed by the number of people who claim only theists can be moral.  What drove me out of religion is a life-long observation that more like the opposite is true.

People judge the moral actions of others by their own moral measuring stick. I have a feeling your comment is less about morality of others and more about your personal biases.

 

This discussion went way off track. The point I was making is that in the BSA, it doesn't matter where one gets their morals so long as they can eventually track it back to a higher power. Once atheist (man) becomes the root source of the BSA values of behavior, it can no longer be a values program because man doesn't have a behavior source of reference. Not one that doesn't change from minute to minute anyway. It will just depend on the adult at the time and what mood they are in to how they feel a scout is behaving. Without the values part of the program, the BSA becomes just a after school and weekend camping program like the Canadian Scouts. It literally looses it's soul. 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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Atheist do have the same moral code as we have.  They often reject it.

 

There are more Christians in US prisons than there are Athiests.  I would argue that Christians often reject both God's and Society's moral code.

 

I believe it is rather righteous to make the claim that God is the source of morality for all, and that if people don't follow your own moral code, that they are somehow not worthy.  It is just fine if you want to claim that God is the source of your moral code, and that your belief gives you the strength to follow your moral code, but the fact is that even people believing in the same God have different interpretations of what God says is and is not moral, let alone people who believe in differents Gods and Goddesses or in no Gods at all.  The case of the county clerk in Kentucky who makes the claim that God is the reason she can't do her job is a good example of this - the vast majority of Christians of denominations other than Apolistic Christianity think she's off the rails. 

 

The reality, I suspect, is that much of what we pass off as "morality" isn't really about moral codes at all - it's really societal practices that we humanity has adopted over time.  People who don't murder others, or who don't steal, or who don't cheat others aren't really following God's laws - they are following laws that predate mankinds concept of a monotheistic God by close to a couple of thousand years.  The first written laws we know of is the Code of Hammurabai from around 1800 BCE - and chances are pretty good that a lot of those laws existed in some form or another well before then.  It isn't people's fear of God that prevents most people from murdering or assaulting people, from stealing, etc. - it's people's fear of facing the criminal justice system that we the people, as a society, have put in place.  We aren't afraid of God, we're afraid of a jury of our peers - a far more judgmental group than God could ever be.

 

Where it get's tricky is in the realm of what is legal.  I believe most people tend to believe that if something is legal, it's also moral - unless there is a rumbling of societal disapproval without a real desire to do something about it - the fine line of public condemnation and private approbation. For many religious folk, viewing Playboy and it's cousins is a big moral no-no, yet there must be an awful lot of Christians in this country who don't have a moral objection to it (either that or Athiests, a much smaller cohort in the US, are both incredibly wealthy to be able to support an industry as large as that one, and are heavily concentrated in Utah - the state with the greatest per capita viewing habit).  In public, at least, no one admits to viewing, yet in private, there is a large enough number of people doing so that it is a multi-billion dollar industry.  The same can be said about subjects like adultery, abortion, gun control.  Moral arguments may be made in public but it's as likely they're being made because that's what most people think society expects to hear and not because of of what it says in the Bible.

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This discussion went way off track. The point I was making is that in the BSA, it doesn't matter where one gets their morals so long as they can eventually track it back to a higher power. Once atheist (man) becomes the root source of the BSA values of behavior, it can no longer be a values program because man doesn't have a behavior source of reference. Not one that doesn't change from minute to minute anyway. It will just depend on the adult at the time and what mood they are in to how they feel a scout is behaving. Without the values part of the program, the BSA becomes just a after school and weekend camping program like the Canadian Scouts. It literally looses it's soul. 

 

Barry

 

The thing is, historically, Man is the root source of most of our behavioral values - the Code of Hammurabai predates the word of God as written in the Bible by a couple of thousand centuries - thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt nor commit adultery, a good portion of the Levitical laws - all come from Hammurabain roots - those values have endured for almost 4,000 years - Boy Scout values of trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courteousness, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thrift, bravery, and cleanliness haven't changed in the 100+ years of Scouting - the only one that changes is reverance and that's mostly due to our embracing of a wider variety of religious and spiritual traditions, as well as a societal change that promotes individual spirituality over organized religion.

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the Code of Hammurabai predates the word of God as written in the Bible by a couple of thousand centuries - thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt nor commit adultery, a good portion of the Levitical laws - all come from Hammurabain roots

Code of Hammurabai - 1754 B.C.

Leviticus - 1500 B.C.

 

That's not a couple of thousand years let alone a couple of thousand centuries. Hope this helps

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That all being said CP, without a moral code, man fails because they become short sited and follow their emotions and instinct instead of the long term will of the moral code. Once the SM becomes the source of behavior within the oath and law, it is over because then the interpreters of right actions under the oath and law come down to just who is more intimating. To prevent chaos, new rules and laws will be required on the members for their safety. Gone is the freedom of doing right for the sake of doing right. Tracing the intent of our behavior to a higher power protects our intent and keeps us as moral and ethical decision makers. Lose the higher power and we loose our individual freedom to make ethical choices. The BSA becomes baby sitting camping club.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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...Once atheist (man) becomes the root source of the BSA values of behavior, it can no longer be a values program because man doesn't have a behavior source of reference.

 

Your assertion is nonsense; it wouldn't be a theistic source, but that is not the same as "no longer being a values program".

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Your assertion is nonsense; it wouldn't be a theistic source, but that is not the same as "no longer being a values program".

I disagree.

 

Barry

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Code of Hammurabai - 1754 B.C.

Leviticus - 1500 B.C.

 

That's not a couple of thousand years let alone a couple of thousand centuries. Hope this helps

 

Depending on who you talk to, Moses, traditionally held as the person who handed down the Torah, of which Leviticus is part, was born somwhere between 1592 BCE and 1271 BCE.  Scholars hold that Leviticus was actually written down sometime between 538 BCE and 302 BCE (and potentiall up to the 600's BCE) so there would have been at least a couple of centuries, if not more between the Code of Hammurabai and Leviticus - either way you look at it though, the Code of Hammurabai pre-dates Leviticus, as well as the other law books in the Torah.  Moses may have known something of the Code of Hammurabai and he definitely would have known about the laws of Egypt at the time.

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Moses may have known something of the Code of Hammurabai

Or the oral traditions passed down from generation to generation among the Hebrews were similar the the Code of Hammurabi. Abraham was born in Ur so he undoubtedly had knowledge of whatever legal code preceded the Code of Hammurabi.

 

I don't find the documentary hypothesis convincing in the least so the notion that Leviticus was not written down until just a few centuries before Christ is silly.

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Having helped to escallate this thread, I guess I cannnot walk away now.

 

I mean absolutely no disrespect to my fellows who believe that their moral code ultimately derives from a supreme being through some combination of (1) the example set by the diety or his representatives, (2) expectations of the rewards for having lived a good life, (3) fear of the consequences for not living a moral life, or (4) something I have failed to adequately address.

 

However, in those religeons that do not believe in a diety to bestow these rewards and/or enforce the consequences ... it would seem that there would be little inherent motivation for the humans to follow God's laws/codes/etc.  Even some religeons that do believe in a god being, they may not believe in a heaven or hell or similar afterlife.  Other religeons may share a karma concept where how you live each life effects how you move on to the next one.  (I really liked "Defending Your Life" for this concept).

 

This does not dismiss that a person of any faith or no faith may still have a vested self interest in being moral to the communitty standards - the standards of men; because they want the benefits that come with an ordered and lawful society.  Likewise there will always be outliers, those who for the short term gains (of this life) may decide that the risk of consequences (in this life, or if they believe there to be one - the next) is low compared to the benefit of taking advantage of everyone else's moral code, by living outside it.

 

What I personally fail to grasp, and I meant that sincerely, is the position of some of our fellows that a "God given" moral code is timeless and unwavering whereas a code of man is too malable.  From my philosophy courses, I recall that this revolves around the difference in morals, and moreys (I think).  The harder part for me is, I guess, If one were to believe in a diety God, to the exclusion of all other possibilities, then I get that the rules that you have learned from that God's religeon are (largely) unwavering.  But this argument seems to crumble if you can accept that other people's Gods may not share that same absolute code; and thus the code is no longer universal, but also malable to the different beliefs of religeous groups.

 

As an extreme example there are sects within Islam (still an Abrahamic religeon), that truely believe that any land, once it has been ruled by the Islamic faith, may never revert back or accept the rule of another faith, and that any means used to recover that land is not only moral, but actually required by those believers.  To them, murder, torture, theft, rape, etc are given an exemption from the commandments that we may have grown up with, because those commandments are only shared between those that share our beliefs.

 

An alternative example is kosher foods.  At the time these rules were committed to print, they make perfect sence because those following them would be far less suceptible to disease, illness and death.  However, modern advances in medicine, agriculture, and the like have made the need for these rules less pronounced, and indeed less followed; however, there are still those whose moral code requires following these rules.

 

I cannot disagree that a moral code of man is not timeless.  It does, necessarily evolve, to meet the needs of the society.  No human in the times before the common era would have envisioned having to establish a morality for genetics and genetic manipulation.  I grant that a modern interpretation of the bible, and other similarly held religeous texts can be interpreted to cover such circumstances, but then here again, is the interpretation a timeless edict of God, or is it the maliable interpretation of man?

 

Again, at least for the purpose of this post, my questions are a sincere intent to understand the idea behind a fixed moral code, not to insite argument or disrespect.  Without the formality of a theological education, I have spend many years trying to understand the principles of belief structures.

Edited by gumbymaster

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Regardless of it's origin, the 10 Commandments pretty much sum up the minimum requirements for civilization.  The only time problems arise is when one can trace back to one of these commandments and it not being adhered to.  

 

Now those pertain to the community as a whole.  The break down of the individual's morality (gluttony, lust, greed, etc.) will produce a whole bunch of problems on a lesser scale unless the mob mentality steps in and if everyone else is doing it... and then all hell breaks loose.

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