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Religious groups and individual beliefs

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Have you heard about the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac Scouter?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poor fellow was awake all night wondering if there is a Dog?

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If I join a Unitarian church as a means of having "religion" and make sure my CO knows that there is no deception.  And in my case the CO is the Unitarian church.

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Their acknowledgement of the DRP is all that is required by the BSA.

It's actually a bit more complicated than that. The BSA requires that leaders agree with the DRP, but asks them to do so without having really seen it. What is on the application is a paraphrase of the DRP.

 

From the application:

Excerpt From 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 the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts from the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership.

 

The actual DRP from the bylaws:

Declaration of Religious Principle

Clause 1. The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.†The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, 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 the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

There are some key differences. I have met more than one scouter (including an ordained protestant minister) that had no problem with the "short" DRP on the application but couldn't accept the full version in the bylaws (though I admit in the case of the protestant minister, I couldn't understand the basis of his objection - it had something to do with the "grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings" bit. Huh?).

 

I think the reason the BSA replaces the DRP with a paraphrase is because the full version is so obviously written from a Judaeo-Christian perspective (my understanding is that the full DRP is almost identical to one written by James West - which he brought over from the YMCA, an explicitly Christian group). Which doesn't go with "absolutely nonsectarian".

 

So the "hiding" of the full DRP brings up the question: "what is the BSA really asking when they say accept the DRP?" Are they asking that scouters accept the "spirit" of the DRP (whatever that is), or accept it to the letter? I suspect that many Buddhists would have a problem with the full DRP (the whole "ruling and leading power" bit) but the BSA has been on record for years saying Buddhists are welcome. I know I have a problem with the "fundamental need of good citizenship" bit because I don't accept the idea that Buddhists and others that don't believe in a creator god somehow can't be good citizens. And if we take it literally, we can argue that only Jews and Christians can accept it because a capitalized "God" is a proper name and therefor referring to (and only referring too) the Judaeo-Christian god, God. Which is clearly not the BSA's current intent.

 

So what does it really mean?

Edited by Rick_in_CA
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I'm thinking the issue of religion and sexuality are based by the BSA on whatever the says he is rather than what he really is.

 

If the boy says he has a religious belief system in place, it could mean he believes there is no God and it opens the door.

 

Therefore whatever the person says is the determining factor and all the policies and by-laws are meaningless.

Edited by Stosh
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In this day and age it would appear that people can redefine themselves at the drop of a hat.  Why would agnostics and atheists be any different?  It used to be male and female, now the list of options has gone into the realm of sublime.  Maybe this has something to do with some ancient tower called Babel.

 

 

People can redefine themselves all they want -- but if you genuinely want to understand what another person means by "atheist" or "agnostic", you need to ask them what they mean.  If you just want to slap labels on people, you don't even need to ask first.

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A friendly thought to all...

 

Your "humorous" comment may actually be very hurtful to someone of a particular faith community.

 

While this is I&P, be thoughtful in what you post.  Remember the last third of the explanation to the 12th point.

 

Thank you.

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... Jews and Christians can accept it because a capitalized "God" is a proper name and therefor referring to (and only referring too) the Judaeo-Christian god, God. ...

Um, no, they can't. It is a reference whose origin is lost in the primitive cultures of northern Europe.

Missionaries and practitioners imbued it with particular meaning because that was the closest available word for the construct in vulgar speech. Christians and Jews do not accept it, neither do they own it.

No one gets baptized into any church or synagogue with even the slightest orthodoxy by saying "I believe in God. Full stop." It's simply an inadequate specification of the creed of Abrahamic faiths.

 

There are many theists who vociferously argue God is not a person. Their use of the word in such context is correct. Christians may argue that such folks are mistaken. But they can't say that folks have no business capitalizing it in a non-Christian context.

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It reminds me that in our society we are always referring to "the people".  While that's a label, it is pretty useless in that there are no two of us alike.  If I wish to make reference to a certain group within that larger population, there is no way one can do so without an identifying label.  While what used to be a commonly defined "label" is no longer acceptable and that leaves the discussion as simply "those people."  That in and of itself is rather condescending.  Kinda makes one wonder how we are to address people today without a label.

 

The people of the upper Midwest are common decent folk, as are the people of the Pacific Northwest and the New England states.  And the Southern states have a vast majority of really nice people.  So, then from my Midwestern perspective I might refer to the people from New York to another Midwestern colleague and they understand a different perspective than if I were talking to a person from New York.  

 

I cannot be held accountable for another person's understanding, nor can I be held accountable for them being upset with a term I use.  

 

The real problem lies in the fact that we cannot use terms people like because they are changing on an almost daily basis lately.  Instead, I just take the term and assume no ill-intent until further context proves otherwise. 

 

I was talking to a man in South Carolina recently.  I was an evacuation shelter manager during the recent hurricane Matthew disaster.  He asked me point blank, "Why would an old, white man from the Midwest come all the way down here to help us out?"  Okay, I can take that as an insult because I'm elderly, not old, his racist title "white" could have bothered me, and his gender reference was out of place.  He was obviously pointing out the geographical differences as well.  I hardly knew this fella (who incidentally was racially negroid) but I teased him back asking what he meant by "old, white man from the Midwest".  He smiled and said, "Because if I called you a damnYankee, you might be upset."  I keep in touch with him on Facebook and we still both chuckled at the conversation. 

 

Life is too short to always have to worry about always hurting someone's sensitivities.  If we did, we wouldn't talk to anyone anymore.  Unless it is obvious, I always try to assume the best in people, which isn't always the case anymore for others.

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Um, no, they can't. It is a reference whose origin is lost in the primitive cultures of northern Europe.

Missionaries and practitioners imbued it with particular meaning because that was the closest available word for the construct in vulgar speech. Christians and Jews do not accept it, neither do they own it.

No one gets baptized into any church or synagogue with even the slightest orthodoxy by saying "I believe in God. Full stop." It's simply an inadequate specification of the creed of Abrahamic faiths.

 

There are many theists who vociferously argue God is not a person. Their use of the word in such context is correct. Christians may argue that such folks are mistaken. But they can't say that folks have no business capitalizing it in a non-Christian context.

God isn't his name, it's a label identifying a supreme being of some sort.  In the Judeo-Christian-Muslim world it all translates to simply "G/god" as a label.  The God, Yahweh, Jehovah, and Allah are merely various translations of the same label.  When  Moses asked "God" what his name was, he said "I am who I am" which pretty much means it's none of your business to know.  If I am not mistaken, early biblical writings simply left a blank anytime they wished to reference "God".

Edited by Stosh

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Um, no, they can't. It is a reference whose origin is lost in the primitive cultures of northern Europe.

Missionaries and practitioners imbued it with particular meaning because that was the closest available word for the construct in vulgar speech. Christians and Jews do not accept it, neither do they own it.

No one gets baptized into any church or synagogue with even the slightest orthodoxy by saying "I believe in God. Full stop." It's simply an inadequate specification of the creed of Abrahamic faiths.

 

There are many theists who vociferously argue God is not a person. Their use of the word in such context is correct. Christians may argue that such folks are mistaken. But they can't say that folks have no business capitalizing it in a non-Christian context.

I was referring to the issue that in modern English grammar, most treat the word "God" as a proper name when it referrers to monotheistic deities and not in other cases. That is what it said in my grammar book when I was in school (actually it explicitly said only capitalize the Judaeo-Christian God), and in the AP Style Guide and many other sources. So you get examples like: "I prayed to God", "The Greeks once widely worshiped the god Zeus", and "This is a prayer to the Hindu god Vishnu.".

 

It is this "rule" of capitalization that I have seen used to argue that when the DRP (and other writings) capitalize "God", that means the authors are excluding any non-monotheistic or non-Judaeo-Christian religions. This is not something I agree with, especially in the context of the DRP.

 

I once watched a scouter use this capitalization "rule" to explain why a Hindu scout couldn't do his duty to God.

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... If I am not mistaken, early biblical writings simply left a blank anytime they wished to reference "God".

Rabbinical scholars, please advise. My understanding was YWH (that is, the word using the equivalent Hebrew consonants, Semites often didn't waste ink on vowels) was never left blank in Biblical scrolls. At a certain point in Jewish history priests wouldn't dare say it out loud when reading it.

 

In any case, @@Rick_in_CA, I have always taken the DRP to apply a very broad definition of the word and use that to make clear that Hindu and Muslim scouts were welcomed among us. That is how I still see scouters use it.

 

Of course, much of our problem is that a scouter in one part of the country picks this stuff up and uses it as a cudgel on someone trying be a decent scouter in another part of the country.

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It is this "rule" of capitalization that I have seen used to argue that when the DRP (and other writings) capitalize "God", that means the authors are excluding any non-monotheistic or non-Judaeo-Christian religions. This is not something I agree with, especially in the context of the DRP.

 

I once watched a scouter use this capitalization "rule" to explain why a Hindu scout couldn't do his duty to God.

But the BSA does not interpret it that way, that's the important thing.

 

One might go further and say that the BSA does not fully "enforce" the DRP, and I mean the excerpted/paraphrased version, not the full version, which has been effectively superseded by the version appearing on the adult leader application. To make things even more confusing, the manner and degree to which the different aspects of "DRP lite" are actually enforced, and how the enforcement changes from time to time, are not shared with those of us out here in the field. Nor do we know whether it is enforced consistently. Rick-in-CA had a conversation with one guy at National who had one view, but who knows whether the guy in the next office at National, or the guy who will have the first guy's job next year, has the same view? Many of us remember the BSA spokesman who said it's ok if a Scout worships a rock or a tree in the backyard, which I think was worded "inartfully" (as people in my profession like to say) and really means that all you have to do is believe in a "higher power" of any kind and you're ok. And then National issues press releases saying that what is required is that one do his "duty to God", as if everyone interprets that phrase to mean the same thing. (As a long-time reader of this forum I can tell you this: They don't.) And now (phased-in during 2016, now effective for all advancements) for every rank, the Scout must "tell" how he does his duty to God. Can a Scout do that without actually believing in God (or a god)? I don't know. If anyone asked me, I would vote "sometimes". I think someone raised that issue earlier in this thread.

 

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. :)

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Rabbinical scholars, please advise. My understanding was YWH (that is, the word using the equivalent Hebrew consonants, Semites often didn't waste ink on vowels) was never left blank in Biblical scrolls. At a certain point in Jewish history priests wouldn't dare say it out loud when reading it.

I am by no means a rabbinical scholar, and I don't know about the "leaving blank" part, but I can tell you that the word in question (which is actually anglicized as YHWH) is not pronounced today either, and it is one thing that all "movements" within Judaism agree on.  (So when someone speaks or writes of "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or etc., they are not following Jewish tradition or practice.) When reading Hebrew text aloud, other words are spoken in its place, such as "Adonai" ("Lord"). Given my rather peripheral relationship with the actual practice of my religion, that's about all I know, but here is a lot more, written by people who know a lot more (and yes, it's Wikipedia, but most of what is on Wikipedia is correct, it's just that you never know for sure that what you're reading at any given moment falls into that category, but this looks pretty good): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Judaism

 

Not that this actually has anything to do with the subject.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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God isn't his name, it's a label identifying a supreme being of some sort.  In the Judeo-Christian-Muslim world it all translates to simply "G/god" as a label.  The God, Yahweh, Jehovah, and Allah are merely various translations of the same label.  When  Moses asked "God" what his name was, he said "I am who I am" which pretty much means it's none of your business to know.  If I am not mistaken, early biblical writings simply left a blank anytime they wished to reference "God".

Since I'm bored with coed scouts...

 

I think the early biblical writings would be the Torah :) Actually, I got curious. In the dead sea scrolls the name of God is not blank, but it does use a different alphabet, or maybe it's just a different font.

 

Anyway, the YHWH, called the tetragrammaton, is from the hebrew   יהוה  or Yud Heh Vav Hey, which could be translated as "he" plus the root of the verb "to be" and likely comes from Exodus where Moses asks God for his name and God says something that can be translated a dozen different ways (He is who He is, I am what I am, I shall be what I am, He shall be who I am, I am who I am, .....).

 

Somewhere along the line the Catholic church wanted a Latin version of the tetragrammaton and translated YHVH into JeHoVaH. Maybe Latin doesn't have a Y?

 

But, back to not writing it or pronouncing God's name. Throughout the Bible God is referred to by either the tetragrammaton or one of many nicknames. The tetragrammaton is never pronounced and it's usually pronounced Adonai, which oddly enough translates to "my Lords". The idea behind not pronouncing God's name is not so far off. Kings get new names when they're anointed and using their original name is considered rude. Even using someone's first name, if you don't know them well, is, or was, also considered rude. There are native American tribes where people are given a secret name that only the person and the medicine man knows. Used in the right way this name was considered to have healing powers and used in the wrong way was bad. Anyway, God's name is never mentioned.

 

Even if anyone wanted to pronounce it they wouldn't know how because there are no vowels in the original text and unless someone told you what the vowels are, you couldn't say it. At one point in time there was someone that knew how to pronounce God's name and that was the high priest. It was passed down from high priests to high priest. The high priest only mentioned it once a year at the end of the high holidays after 10 days of prayer. And he had a special room in the temple where he said it and nobody else was allowed in that room. What I've been told, and I have no idea of it's validity because I find this rather humorous, is that there was another high priest that acted as a backup just in case the first team high priest got sick, died or whatever. That brings up the scenario of what if the high priest dies in the room? Apparently they tied a rope around him and if he didn't walk out they pulled him out and sent in the backup. ;)

 

Well, after the destruction of the 2nd temple the priesthood ended and Rabbinic Judaism started, and one thing that was lost in the transition was the pronunciation of God's name. That's why Jews never pronounce God's name.

 

Back to the regularly scheduled subject....

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God doesn't have a "name" he has a label. 

 

God is the label, Lord is his title, but there is no "name".

 

There is a great disconnect between the Greco-Roman use of the word and the Hebraic use.  We "Gentiles" read into it a different definition of "name" than the Hebrews do.

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