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ghjim

Religious groups and individual beliefs

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As for your question about sports teams, chess club, etc.:  If it is a PUBLIC school, the football team cannot exclude atheists, nor can the chess team, marching band, robotics club, etc.  The difference between those teams and clubs, and a Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop, is that the BSA says its units MUST exclude atheists.

 

So this brings me to a question for anyone who can answer;  something I have been wondering about.

 

I believe that the Unitarian church recently has reaffirmed their relationship with the BSA after a period of self-imposed exile.  Since the Unitarians accept atheists in their ranks, does being a Unitarian satisfy the religious affirmation requirement?  Even if that Unitarian is an atheist?

 

Jim

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So this brings me to a question for anyone who can answer;  something I have been wondering about.

 

I believe that the Unitarian church recently has reaffirmed their relationship with the BSA after a period of self-imposed exile.  Since the Unitarians accept atheists in their ranks, does being a Unitarian satisfy the religious affirmation requirement?  Even if that Unitarian is an atheist?

 

Jim

Yes it does. This is how it was explained to me by someone from National: "If the person doesn't have a belief in a god, it's fine as long as they don't use the word "atheist" to describe themselves. If they call themselves a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Pantheist, a Unitarian, or a ... then they are OK. It's the label that is the problem, not the belief. The BSA is not in the business of judging anyone's faith." - or words to that effect, it was quite a few years ago.

 

I think part of the problem is that a lot of people don't know what the word "atheist" really means. They think an atheist is someone that thinks anyone that believes in God is stupid (there are some atheists that do think that, but that is not inherent to being an atheist), which is incorrect. An atheist is simply a non-theist. There are priests out there that are atheists, there are entire religions that are atheistic in nature. But many people still think an atheist is someone that will automatically insult their faith, instead of just being someone with a different faith. Hence the "atheist are bad" idea.

 

I have even met atheists that claim they don't believe in any sort of god, or a soul, or an afterlife, or anything "spiritual", but insist they aren't atheists because atheists are "bad" and they aren't that. It's a very misunderstood word.

 

Of course part of the definition problem is in order to properly define "atheist", you need to define "theist". And to understand that you need to first come of with a definition of "god" or "deity", and to do that ... (and down the rabbit hole we go...).

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Well, it is good to know we now have a "Faith and Chaplaincy"  forum to discuss ... oh, wait...

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The Romans stoned early Christians because they were "athiests", so by some ancient uses of the word, large swaths of scouting should be excluded.

 

The issue boils down to one of supporting BSA's declaration of religious principle. If a person, in even a modest sense, can support it, then they could submit a membership application. If a person, by virtue of his or her convictions finds the DRP or other membership policies to be totally unfounded, then they should not sign on.

 

I do this with my venturers. They are to read and fill out their own applications. And it cuts both ways.

One girl was reading the application and asked me to explain "non-sectarian". I said "We don't put any one religion over the other. But, we want you to believe and value religion. Are you okay with that?" She had to think a bit as she was brought up to never concede the inferiority of her family's faith. She is certainly not alone.

 

So, @@ghjim, care less about labels. Care more about people taking their belief seriously and taking a stand accordingly.

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So this brings me to a question for anyone who can answer;  something I have been wondering about.

 

I believe that the Unitarian church recently has reaffirmed their relationship with the BSA after a period of self-imposed exile.  Since the Unitarians accept atheists in their ranks, does being a Unitarian satisfy the religious affirmation requirement?  Even if that Unitarian is an atheist?

 

Jim

IMHO, yes.

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This thread has been split off from "Closed Unit".  Let's please try to stay reasonably on-topic.  There's no charge for starting new threads.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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The Romans stoned early Christians because they were "athiests", so by some ancient uses of the word, large swaths of scouting should be excluded.

 

The issue boils down to one of supporting BSA's declaration of religious principle. If a person, in even a modest sense, can support it, then they could submit a membership application. If a person, by virtue of his or her convictions finds the DRP or other membership policies to be totally unfounded, then they should not sign on.

 

I do this with my venturers. They are to read and fill out their own applications. And it cuts both ways.

One girl was reading the application and asked me to explain "non-sectarian". I said "We don't put any one religion over the other. But, we want you to believe and value religion. Are you okay with that?" She had to think a bit as she was brought up to never concede the inferiority of her family's faith. She is certainly not alone.

 

So, @@ghjim, care less about labels. Care more about people taking their belief seriously and taking a stand accordingly.

 

BSA is non-sectarian.  There is no requirement that the Chartered Organization or individual members of a unit be non-sectarian in their religious beliefs.  

 

Most Chartered Organizations are churches who are, by definition, sectarian. A scout is perfectly free to believe in his religion, and not believe in others.  

 

A scout should never be asked to concede the inferiority (or mere equality, for that matter) of his faith.  That is outrageous. 

Edited by David CO

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So this brings me to a question for anyone who can answer;  something I have been wondering about.

 

I believe that the Unitarian church recently has reaffirmed their relationship with the BSA after a period of self-imposed exile.  Since the Unitarians accept atheists in their ranks, does being a Unitarian satisfy the religious affirmation requirement?  Even if that Unitarian is an atheist?

 

Jim

 

Well, since Scientologists are accepted I suspect your question might be answered.  ;)

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BSA is non-sectarian.  There is no requirement that the Chartered Organization or individual members of a unit be non-sectarian in their religious beliefs.  

 

Most Chartered Organizations are churches who are, by definition, sectarian. A scout is perfectly free to believe in his religion, and not believe in others.  

 

A scout should never be asked to concede the inferiority (or mere equality, for that matter) of his faith.  That is outrageous. 

Agree.

 

But, I'm not gonna tell a scout that she is not making a concession if that's not how her family brought her up.  Doing so is a waste of everyone's time.

 

Either you're okay with occasional weekends around people of diverse religion, or you're not.

Either you're okay with folks devaluing atheism, or you're not.

 

The last thing we should do is presume that they should be fine with BSA's DRP merely by virtue of association with X house of worship.

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It's pretty easy to promise to do one's duty to God when one doesn't believe in one.  Unfortunately it kinda takes the wind out of the sails at the same time.

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It's pretty easy to promise to do one's duty to God when one doesn't believe in one.  Unfortunately it kinda takes the wind out of the sails at the same time.

Yah. Too bad about all those Buddhists though.

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Wow,  I forgot to check back on my earlier entry and couldn't find it.  Whoopee, I have never started a thread before!

 

I guess this answers my question.

 

Jim

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Wow,  I forgot to check back on my earlier entry and couldn't find it.  Whoopee, I have never started a thread before!

 

I guess this answers my question.

 

Jim

My response would be 'yes' as well. In this unit we have an atheist Buddhist family and boy. Very interesting conversations with them. The scout is really good at DO cooking, he seems to find some kind of Zen connection with it. Me too, once dinner is ready, lol.

Edited by cyclops

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I've never quite understood how questioning the existance of God is not consistent with doing one's Duty to God. Does it not follow that when someone questions the authority or existance of God, that it often (if not usually) serves to strengthen others belief in God and if that's the case, then hasn't the non-theist actually done God a service?

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I've never quite understood how questioning the existance of God is not consistent with doing one's Duty to God. Does it not follow that when someone questions the authority or existance of God, that it often (if not usually) serves to strengthen others belief in God and if that's the case, then hasn't the non-theist actually done God a service?

 

That is nonsense.

 

It is like saying that criminals do us all a public service by strengthening our support for law and order.

Edited by David CO

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