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walk in the woods

And so it begins

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2 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

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

 

1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

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.

OK then, let's play this game... What do you think is different about what an Atheist believes is "right and wrong" and what a Theist believes to be "right and wrong"?  "Big Picture" as you say, I'm pretty sure Atheists and Theists can both agree on right and wrong.  Just as much as a Protestant and a Catholic could, I guess.  

Should we even bring up the Westboro Baptist Church?  Just so sad that you'd gladly accept a member of that "church" to join, but are opposed to my family joining.

2 hours 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.

 

1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Why would they, they have the Oath and Law.

So if the Oath and Law are sufficient, why do we need religion?  How I fulfill my "Duty to God" is not your concern.  Is there a similar benchmark for Duty to Country?  Is simply not breaking the law sufficient?  Maybe only children of military veterans.  Or how about a point system where you get X amount of points for reciting the pledge of allegiance, marching in a parade, etc.  

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42 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

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.

Understood - but my point holds.

For the sake of discussion, say our troop is very devout.  If a Scout who does not believe wants to join us and participate fully in our troop, why not?  He can stand there and absorb all kinds of religious goodness.  He may even convert in the process.

Wouldn't we want that?  If it's good enough for my church, why not my troop?

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4 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

 

OK then, let's play this game... What do you think is different about what an Atheist believes is "right and wrong" and what a Theist believes to be "right and wrong"?  "Big Picture" as you say, I'm pretty sure Atheists and Theists can both agree on right and wrong.  Just as much as a Protestant and a Catholic could, I guess.  

Most humans are followers, so societal influence sets the standard of right and wrong. That is either god or the human who holds the biggest stick. God doesn't change, but man elects leaders every 4 years.

10 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

Should we even bring up the Westboro Baptist Church?  Just so sad that you'd gladly accept a member of that "church" to join, but are opposed to my family joining.

Your generalizing doesn't advance an intellectual discussion. Shesh.

13 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

o if the Oath and Law are sufficient, why do we need religion?  

Religion puts integrity and commonality in the virtues of the Oath and Law. Without religion, the scout is subject to whatever the SM feels is right or wrong in the moment. Without the consistent standard of god, the program of building character could not have last 110 years. And it certainly wouldn't have lasted as just a youth camping program. 

16 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

How I fulfill my "Duty to God" is not your concern.  Is there a similar benchmark for Duty to Country?  Is simply not breaking the law sufficient?  Maybe only children of military veterans.  Or how about a point system where you get X amount of points for reciting the pledge of allegiance, marching in a parade, etc.  

In 99 percent of scouting, the scout sets the religious benchmark of his experience. The one percent is usually the bad acting by adults we discuss on this forum.

Barry

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I run a Webelos den for my local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We pray in every den meeting, we meet in the Church, we work on religious projects as well as Scouting ones. It would be easy for somebody to make the claim that by maintaining such an emphasis on our religion, we leave out boys who aren't believers, or even boys of other faiths.

Unless you come to my den meetings. 

I LOVE when boys of other denominations come to our meetings. I ask them to pray according to their own customs so that my group of predominantly LDS boys can be exposed to other faith traditions. I ask them questions about what their services are like, and love to attend them (I even have my own beautiful yarmulke, a gift from a dear friend, to wear at the many bar/bat mitzvahs to which I am invited). I invite boys and their families to bring prayer rugs and/or shawls with them during long activities if that is a part of the way they pray. I make sure menus accomodate any visiting boys who may have dietary practices to follow, just as I do (I am one of the few Scouters in my area who doesn't start my mornings with a cup of coffee). My den and pack are extremely devout - but that doesn't keep others from participating in Scouting with us.

NOW - what of the boy who visits my den (and this is not too uncommon) who isn't a believer at all? Well, first of all I explain to the parents that we are a Church-owned unit, and that religion will be explicitly taught at our meetings. They deserve to know that upfront. Second, I explain that Scouting is a religious organization but non-denominational, meaning I won't proselytize to their child, but he will be exposed to faith-building concepts. Then, I explain that to achieve ranks in Scouting, there will be religious requirements that will require their child to explore their spirituality, but always with a non-denominational, personal and private approach. If they are okay with all that, I welcome their child into the group. If the parents are not, I make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that their child will be LOVED and WELCOMED at our meetings, but that there will also be some parts of the advancement program that may prove challenging for the Scout if they are adamant in their unwillingness to at least investigate the idea of belief. That way, they can decide then and there is Scouting is right for them. If it is, great! If not, there are many other wonderful programs serving youth that might be a better fit for them.

Most stick with it. Others do not. But it's always their choice; my job is to inform them and help them make the choice about what's best for them - not to try and BE what's best for every child under the sun. I can't do that. But I can help.

In no way, nor at any point, are they being excluded. Rather I stand ready to welcome them into our group if they wish, but if we don't deliver what they want, we will gladly help them find a program that will. However, our program centers on belief, of whatever kind, and that does not change. And honestly, I have had many grateful families opt out of Scouting in an amicable, civil way, simply because we were honest with each other and helpful in making sure we help them get what they think will be best for their child. That's what we want for our children too. Maybe it's in Scouting. Maybe it isn't. Scouting is not the only program that builds character in young people. If you don't like that it requires faith of some kind, find a program you love that does.

And if you can't find one, make one! I for one would be glad to support it.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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17 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Understood - but my point holds.

For the sake of discussion, say our troop is very devout.  If a Scout who does not believe wants to join us and participate fully in our troop, why not?  He can stand there and absorb all kinds of religious goodness.  He may even convert in the process.

Wouldn't we want that?  If it's good enough for my church, why not my troop?

What if he doesn't convert. 

First Class requirement: 

  1. Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived four different points of the Scout Law (different from those points used for previous ranks) in your everyday life.

Will the scout be satisfied with experiencing only 7 of the 8 Methods of Scouting?

BArry

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13 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Most humans are followers, so societal influence sets the standard of right and wrong. That is either god or the human who holds the biggest stick. God doesn't change, but man elects leaders every 4 years.

Your generalizing doesn't advance an intellectual discussion. Shesh.

Religion puts integrity and commonality in the virtues of the Oath and Law. Without religion, the scout is subject to whatever the SM feels is right or wrong in the moment. Without the consistent standard of god, the program of building character could not have last 110 years. And it certainly wouldn't have lasted as just a youth camping program. 

In 99 percent of scouting, the scout sets the religious benchmark of his experience. The one percent is usually the bad acting by adults we discuss on this forum.

Barry

God doesn't change, just man's flawed interpretation of him?  How is that any different?

You accuse me of generalizing?  How do I generalize?  You're the one that's generalizing by saying atheist are somehow unable to determine right and wrong.  So again, I ask...What do you think is different about what an Atheist believes is "right and wrong" and what a Theist believes to be "right and wrong"?  

There is no consistent standard of god...standards vary by religion; even within the same religion there are wildly varying standards.  Also, again...why set a religious benchmark, but not one for duty to country?

Edited by Pale Horse

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14 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

 

God doesn't change, just man's flawed interpretation of him?  How is that any different?

If you are asking at the global level; history shows that the pendulum eventually swings away from extremist back toward god.

If you are asking the scout level; scouts control their interpretation of god.

16 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

You accuse me of generalizing?  How do I generalize?  You're the one that's generalizing by saying atheist are somehow unable to determine right and wrong.  So again, I ask...What do you think is different about what an Atheist believes is "right and wrong" and what a Theist believes to be "right and wrong"?  

Quote from previous post:

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?

18 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

There is no consistent standard of god...standards vary by religion; even within the same religion there are wildly varying standards.  Also, again...why set a religious benchmark, but not one for duty to country?

There is a consistent stand of god, just not a constant following. As for duty to county, there are many actions that support duty to country, one being service projects. Also respect of the political system, armed forces and so on. 

Barry

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1 minute ago, Eagledad said:

If you are asking at the global level; history shows that the pendulum eventually swings away from extremist back toward god.

If you are asking the scout level; scouts control their interpretation of god.

Quote from previous post:

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?

There is a consistent stand of god, just not a constant following. As for duty to county, there are many actions that support duty to country, one being service projects. Also respect of the political system, armed forces and so on. 

Barry

Since you can't answer the 2 questions posed, I'll consider this discussion over.

Due to lack of response, I submit that there is no difference in the views of Atheist and Theists in what is right and wrong.  Further, the establishment of a benchmark to determine an "acceptable" level of Duty to God without a comparable Duty to Country benchmark is hypocritical to say the least. 

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2 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

Since you can't answer the 2 questions posed, I'll consider this discussion over.

Due to lack of response, I submit that there is no difference in the views of Atheist and Theists in what is right and wrong.  Further, the establishment of a benchmark to determine an "acceptable" level of Duty to God without a comparable Duty to Country benchmark is hypocritical to say the least. 

OK

Barry

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35 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

NOW - what of the boy who visits my den (and this is not too uncommon) who isn't a believer at all? Well, first of all I explain to the parents that we are a Church-owned unit, and that religion will be explicitly taught at our meetings. They deserve to know that upfront. Second, I explain that Scouting is a religious organization but non-denominational, meaning I won't proselytize to their child, but he will be exposed to faith-building concepts. Then, I explain that to achieve ranks in Scouting, there will be religious requirements that will require their child to explore their spirituality, but always with a non-denominational, personal and private approach. If they are okay with all that, I welcome their child into the group. If the parents are not, I make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that their child will be LOVED and WELCOMED at our meetings, but that there will also be some parts of the advancement program that may prove challenging for the Scout if they are adamant in their unwillingness to at least investigate the idea of belief. That way, they can decide then and there is Scouting is right for them. If it is, great! If not, there are many other wonderful programs serving youth that might be a better fit for them.

And that is the model I am talking about.  Thank you.

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5 hours ago, Saltface said:

Do you want to allow atheists into BSA for the express purpose of helping them find God? Sounds like a great idea.

That was Baden-Powell's idea.  There is a quotation from him to that effect, which I cannot find right now.  

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1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

Since you can't answer the 2 questions posed, I'll consider this discussion over.

Due to lack of response, I submit that there is no difference in the views of Atheist and Theists in what is right and wrong. 

I can answer that, though an internet forum with strangers over the web is a poor place for a meaningful discussion about matters as profound as this. But there is a difference.

An atheist believes that right and wrong must be determined by mankind. As such, there can be no right and wrong until there are people to say they exist. The duty of man, therefore, is to determine what he believes to be morally acceptable or morally unacceptable, and to live his life according to what he perceives those ideals to be. What those standards are will vary from person to person according to their own experiences and judgements.

A believer holds that right and wrong have always been and always will be, and that they are revealed to mankind by a Creator who sees more than we see and knows more than we know, and so is in a legitimate position to make judgements that will benefit humanity. Concepts of morality are not created by, but rather given to, man, and so there is an absolute standard to which he dedicates his life, living according to his faith in that Being or Power.

There is a great difference. But the difference is not as important as that what we share is that we want to do what is right. How we define that, and just what "right" is, vary, but we can work together to ensure that we all do our best, and that we are forgiving when we fail. That's humanity at its best, whatever you believe. Scouting does it one way. Perhaps you want to do it in another. Let's try to help and uplift one another, rather than try to tear each other down. 

Edited by The Latin Scot

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1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

I run a Webelos den for my local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We pray in every den meeting, we meet in the Church, we work on religious projects as well as Scouting ones. It would be easy for somebody to make the claim that by maintaining such an emphasis on our religion, we leave out boys who aren't believers, or even boys of other faiths.

Unless you come to my den meetings. 

I LOVE when boys of other denominations come to our meetings. I ask them to pray according to their own customs so that my group of predominantly LDS boys can be exposed to other faith traditions. I ask them questions about what their services are like, and love to attend them (I even have my own beautiful yarmulke, a gift from a dear friend, to wear at the many bar/bat mitzvahs to which I am invited). I invite boys and their families to bring prayer rugs and/or shawls with them during long activities if that is a part of the way they pray. I make sure menus accomodate any visiting boys who may have dietary practices to follow, just as I do (I am one of the few Scouters in my area who doesn't start my mornings with a cup of coffee). My den and pack are extremely devout - but that doesn't keep others from participating in Scouting with us.

NOW - what of the boy who visits my den (and this is not too uncommon) who isn't a believer at all? Well, first of all I explain to the parents that we are a Church-owned unit, and that religion will be explicitly taught at our meetings. They deserve to know that upfront. Second, I explain that Scouting is a religious organization but non-denominational, meaning I won't proselytize to their child, but he will be exposed to faith-building concepts. Then, I explain that to achieve ranks in Scouting, there will be religious requirements that will require their child to explore their spirituality, but always with a non-denominational, personal and private approach. If they are okay with all that, I welcome their child into the group. If the parents are not, I make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that their child will be LOVED and WELCOMED at our meetings, but that there will also be some parts of the advancement program that may prove challenging for the Scout if they are adamant in their unwillingness to at least investigate the idea of belief. That way, they can decide then and there is Scouting is right for them. If it is, great! If not, there are many other wonderful programs serving youth that might be a better fit for them.

Most stick with it. Others do not. But it's always their choice; my job is to inform them and help them make the choice about what's best for them - not to try and BE what's best for every child under the sun. I can't do that. But I can help.

In no way, nor at any point, are they being excluded. Rather I stand ready to welcome them into our group if they wish, but if we don't deliver what they want, we will gladly help them find a program that will. However, our program centers on belief, of whatever kind, and that does not change. And honestly, I have had many grateful families opt out of Scouting in an amicable, civil way, simply because we were honest with each other and helpful in making sure we help them get what they think will be best for their child. That's what we want for our children too. Maybe it's in Scouting. Maybe it isn't. Scouting is not the only program that builds character in young people. If you don't like that it requires faith of some kind, find a program you love that does.

And if you can't find one, make one! I for one would be glad to support it.

This by far the most reasoned and well thought out response I have seen concerning this topic.  If everyone felt the same and acted accordingly, this would not be such a contentious topic.

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2 hours ago, FireStone said:

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.

That's just speculation, and I don't think it's correct.

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5 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

I can answer that, though an internet forum with strangers over the web is a poor place for a meaningful discussion about matters as profound as this. But there is a difference.

An atheist believes that right and wrong must be determined by mankind. As such, there can be no right and wrong until there are people to say they exist. The duty of man, therefore, is to determine what he believes is morally acceptable and what is morally unacceptable, and to live his life according to what he perceives those ideals to be. What those ideals are will vary from person to person according to their own experiences and judgements.

A believer holds that right and wrong have always been and always will be, and that they are revealed to mankind by a Creator who sees more than we can see and knows more than we know, and so is in a legitimate position to make judgements that will benefit humanity. Concepts of morality are not created by, but rather given to, man, and so there is an absolute standard to which he dedicates his life.

There is a great difference. But what we share is that we want to do what is right. How we define that, and just what "right" is, vary, but we can work together to ensure that we all do our best, and that we are forgiving when we fail. That's humanity at its best, whatever you believe. Scouting does it one way. Perhaps you want to do it in another. Let's try to help and uplift one another, rather than try to tear each other down. 

Thanks for attempting, i'm not looking for the theoretic rationale on how we think each other thinks though.  I'm more interested in an example of what an atheist believes is an example of right and wrong that varies from what a Theist believes.  

 

But as @Eagledadmentioned in an earlier post, something "big picture", something meaningful, not that eating meat on Friday is wrong, or working on a particular day of the week is taboo. 

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