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walk in the woods

And so it begins

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2 minutes ago, Saltface said:

Jesus associated with sinners in an attempt to change them, not become one of them. Do you want to allow atheists into BSA for the express purpose of helping them find God? Sounds like a great idea.

As I said, I'm talking about admission of atheists to the existing program.  What they choose to do in the program once they are in the door is up to them -- but at least we would be giving them the chance to learn and follow the Scout Oath and all 12 points of the Scout Law.  

I'm not talking about changing the program, the words of the Oath, or the words of the Law, or doing anything else to accommodate atheists or any other interest group.  Just opening the door and inviting them to join us -- on our terms.  You know, like Jesus did.  

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33 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

15While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:15-17.

It's risky using scripture out of context to justify a motive. 

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits. 1 COR 15:33

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 COR 6:14

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

Jesus preaches to love all and not judge their eternity with God. But not to the detriment of loosing the relationship with God. When the program looses it's mission of "prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law", then it's gone too far. My opinion is the National has lost sight of the mission and change the program to the detriment of loosing the values of the program.

Barry

 

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19 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

As I said, I'm talking about admission of atheists to the existing program.  What they choose to do in the program once they are in the door is up to them -- but at least we would be giving them the chance to learn and follow the Scout Oath and all 12 points of the Scout Law.  

I'm not talking about changing the program, the words of the Oath, or the words of the Law, or doing anything else to accommodate atheists or any other interest group.  Just opening the door and inviting them to join us -- on our terms.  You know, like Jesus did.  

How would an atheist fulfill his duty to God or be reverent?

Before anyone says it, claiming God doesn't exist ergo nothing is required of me ergo I have fulfilled my duty to God (as I have often seen on Reddit) does nothing but mock Scouting's ideals. By that metric, I can go from Scout to Eagle in two weeks.

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

A "the right thing to do" program will not be boy run because the scouts will have to wait for the adults to tell them the right or wrong behavior. Kind of scary since every adult likely has some different definition of "the right thing to do". 

Just like religions have a different definition of "the right thing to do."

I could be wrong, but I'm not aware of any Scouts convening directly with their creator to know which version of the truth is right.

What's more scary to me is that you feel Scouts, or people in general, don't have the ability to determine right and wrong without relying on a book.

Edited by Pale Horse
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39 minutes ago, Saltface said:

How would an atheist fulfill his duty to God or be reverent?

An atheist couldn't.  But he'd have the chance to see duty to God in action, to think about it, maybe even give it a try.  A dedicated atheist who knows we aren't changing anything in our program probably won't walk through that door we open.  But a less dedicated atheist might.  If he does, we don't know what will happen; but we know that one possibility, however remote, is that he'll give God a chance.  Right now we're denying him that opportunity.

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1 hour ago, Saltface said:

How would an atheist fulfill his duty to God or be reverent?

Before anyone says it, claiming God doesn't exist ergo nothing is required of me ergo I have fulfilled my duty to God (as I have often seen on Reddit) does nothing but mock Scouting's ideals. By that metric, I can go from Scout to Eagle in two weeks.

If you were to speak to one of my assistant leaders who is an atheist he’d say something along the lines of the following. Bear in mind I’m summarising his words from a long conversation one night.

that it’s his belief that we are one small speck in a mind bogglingly vast universe. That the laws of physics and the fact that they created this universe fills him with wonder. That we are here only once. That the earth is the only place we have found, so far, where humans can live. Indeed where anything can live. That we are the only species who’s has developed intelligence to the point where we understand how fragile it is. That we have to share it with 7 billion others. So it naturally follows that the moral thing to do is to cooperate with each other. To look after the planet for the next generation. 

His world view is not self centric but actually that he is reverent to the laws of nature and they in themselves create a moral code that he acts upon.

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33 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

An atheist couldn't.  But he'd have the chance to see duty to God in action, to think about it, maybe even give it a try.  A dedicated atheist who knows we aren't changing anything in our program probably won't walk through that door we open.  But a less dedicated atheist might.  If he does, we don't know what will happen; but we know that one possibility, however remote, is that he'll give God a chance.  Right now we're denying him that opportunity.

When someone walks into our church on Sunday morning we don't ask if he's a believer, we say "we're glad you're here."

When a youth joins our youth group we don't ask if he's a believer, we say "thanks for joining us."

I get that we're worried about Scouts and oaths things, but isn't it really about helping youth build character?  If we can keep our existing program and open the door so that more Scouts experience our program that's got to be a good thing.

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1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

Just like religions have a different definition of "the right thing to do."

Not really, not in the big picture anyway. The problem with religions on the micro scale is they let the devil get into the details.

 

1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

I could be wrong, but I'm not aware of any Scouts convening directly with their creator to know which version of the truth is right.

Why would they, they have the Oath and Law.

 

1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

What's more scary to me is that you feel Scouts, or people in general, don't have the ability to determine right and wrong without relying on a book.

Well, it's a bit more complex than that, but yes, determining right and wrong at cultural level has to come from god. 

I believe youth learn most of their discernment from observing the role models in their community.

Humility is the source of intended good while pride is the source of intended bad. Man by nature is undisciplined and prideful and their selfishness drives them drive toward intended bad. On the other hand, teaches man to live by the intent of humility. A disciplined community of humble role models can only come from god guidance because man's natural selfishness and pride will never agree on a community of humble actions. Not without force anyway. Force is not humility.

The creators of the Scouting movement thought much the same. Otherwise why would they give scouts the Oath and Law to direct their behavior if they already had the habits of determining right and wrong?

Barry

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The worry is Boy Scouts will have to change to welcome anyone that is offended by a part of the program.

Making a path for atheists to take part in the program is fine.

. . . but removing God from the program, changing the scout oath and banning prayer and doing away with scouts own services is what many Scouters are worried will happen.

  

 

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7 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

An atheist couldn't.  But he'd have the chance to see duty to God in action, to think about it, maybe even give it a try.  A dedicated atheist who knows we aren't changing anything in our program probably won't walk through that door we open.  But a less dedicated atheist might.  If he does, we don't know what will happen; but we know that one possibility, however remote, is that he'll give God a chance.  Right now we're denying him that opportunity.

Unfortunately, I disagree with you on what would occur if this were to be put into public practice. Like the proverbial camel putting his head in the tent, it would only open BSA up to more pressure to drop the religious requirement. How many "I'm a scout but BSA won't give me my Eagle" op-eds would we see before National caves to peer pressure? I would bet you could count them on one hand.

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23 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

When someone walks into our church on Sunday morning we don't ask if he's a believer, we say "we're glad you're here."

When a youth joins our youth group we don't ask if he's a believer, we say "thanks for joining us."

And what if the Muslim or Jewish parents of those youth demand your church start teaching their religion to all the youth?

 

26 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I get that we're worried about Scouts and oaths things, but isn't it really about helping youth build character?  If we can keep our existing program and open the door so that more Scouts experience our program that's got to be a good thing.

Can't be done. Atheist adults have no more desire for the present BSA Oath and Law than the teachings of your church.

Mediocrity requires giving up the virtues that make the program special.

Barry

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3 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

As I said, I'm talking about admission of atheists to the existing program.  What they choose to do in the program once they are in the door is up to them -- but at least we would be giving them the chance to learn and follow the Scout Oath and all 12 points of the Scout Law.  

I'm not talking about changing the program, the words of the Oath, or the words of the Law, or doing anything else to accommodate atheists or any other interest group.  Just opening the door and inviting them to join us -- on our terms.  You know, like Jesus did.  

The problem is that when you open the door, even with the stated goal of not changing anything or making accommodations, people make their own changes and accommodations and then call it their right to do so. People did it throughout the "girls in the BSA" debate, going rogue and putting girls in uniform. And although I fully support the new program for girls, I was always opposed to changing things without it being made part of the program officially. I'm not a fan of forcing change by going rogue. I advocated for change by talking about the issue, voicing my support for girls in the BSA, etc.

I have to listen to an atheist DL in my pack make a point of omitting "God" in the oath. He can't just silently pause at the God part, he (I think very deliberately) skips right over saying "God" so that he's saying "my country" when everyone else is saying "God". So we all clearly hear him and the very noticeable skip in cadence.

I wish we could just open the doors and welcome everyone, but not everyone will just go with the program. Everyone wants accommodations. We have another DL (not the guy mentioned above, actually) who opposes prayer at scouting activities. We often close campfires and other activities with a non-sectarian prayer. This DL argues that we should stop doing that, that it offends people. (Yeah, I know, I can't roll my eyes up into my head far enough either). The other 9 DLs in the Pack want the prayer to remain in the program. But again, 1 person wants accommodations made for the group because of how they personally feel.

This is what I see right now, while the rule is still firmly in favor of Duty to God being very much a part of Scouting. If the BSA took an official stance that atheists would be welcome, it wouldn't be with them just signing up and not participating in the faith-based components of the program. They'd want things changed for them. They would use any shift in stance by the BSA as leverage to argue for further change. Open that door a crack and it will be flung wide open in no time and God will be out of the BSA.

Edited by FireStone
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44 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I get that we're worried about Scouts and oaths things, but isn't it really about helping youth build character?  If we can keep our existing program and open the door so that more Scouts experience our program that's got to be a good thing.

But doing one's duty to God IS the program, or at least it's certainly one of the most important parts of it. It's the first thing we commit to doing every time we recite the Scout oath, and if we, as Scouters, decide that we no longer wish to fulfil that obligation, an obligation we promised to do ON OUR HONOR, what good is our word in regards to anything any more? I made the oath as a brand new 11 year-old Scout, more than 20 years ago, that I would do my duty to God. Thus I am obliged, on my honor, to continue to do so for the rest of my life, and that includes defending it from those who would remove it from the very fabric of Scouting. And what's more, I want to do it. It shapes and molds my character daily, not just because it's nice, not just because it's respectable, but because it is my duty to God, and I am honored to serve Him. Millions of boys over the past century will gladly say the same.

I am a little tired of hearing the word "exclusion," as though by requiring Scouts to acknowledge God we were the ones kicking them out. Not so. Our program is religious in composition if not in denomination, and if a young person wishes to exclude religious from his or her life, they should find a program that will serve them "according to the dictates of their own conscience." Scouting is not that program, and that's okay - let us serve the youth who want religion in their lives, and let other programs serve those who don't. That's not exclusion. That's being respectful of the feelings of others - both those who don't believe, and those who do.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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10 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

A relationship with god is a personal one and should be left that way. 

Would that the BSA would be more respectful towards members/families who ask for privacy in matters they consider personal. 

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