Jump to content

Atheist / Agnostic Scout?

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 90
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Knowing that you're 14 I would suggest struggling with this issue a few more years before calling it quits. As such,I would suggest future studies in Comparative Religions, Philosophy (maybe Mills and Locke to start), Taoism, Mathmatics, and Quantum Mechanics for satori....

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Hi, I am currently a member of the BSA, and I also do not believe in god. I want to know if you think I belong in scouts or not. Please give a reason for your opinion."



I don't think you and the BSA are a good match.


Page 9 of the Boy Scout Handbook (joining requirements) states in part, "Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath." The Scout Oath begins, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God."

How can one agree to live by something he isn't willing to try to understand? How can one promise to do his duty to God when he believes there is none?

If you're looking for a reason to quit, tell your folks that you can no longer say the Scout Oath because you're not willing to live by it, and that you're not interested in trying. Your interests and beliefs aren't compatible with the those of the BSA, and I think you'd be happier elsewhere.

If and when you're able to fulfill the Joining Requirements, you'll be welcomed back (as well as respected and applauded by those who understand your current dilemma).

Best of luck to you.



Link to post
Share on other sites

"How can one agree to live by something he isn't willing to try to understand?"



I am trying to understand and understanding theism. Doing this is what lead to my disbelief.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah, see, Avery. You're approachin' your quest backward. Faith seeks understanding. Understanding will never lead you to Faith.


You believe in electrons because you trust other people. You trust books, you trust teachers, you trust scientists. And then over time, you seek more information and maybe by college or graduate school get to do experiments that might allow you to see effects from individual, quantized things which seem to have properties we call electrons. Same with History. Same with all knowledge. Yeh begin with Faith, and then yeh seek understanding.


Your worldview begins with your parents' lack of religious background, eh? You trust that, and it's a reasonable startin' point for your quest. In public school, that was probably reinforced. I think it's perfectly natural for you to begin from a position of not believing in God.


Now as you're growin' up, you're running into new ideas and views. In Scouts, maybe in other places, you're startin' to understand that other good people and friends do believe in something they call "God". Those new ideas might be uncomfortable, they might challenge the views you've grown up with. It's pretty natural to resist that, and to respond by sayin' "I don't believe in any of that stuff and so I'm going to quit."


I think you should stay in Scouts for a while longer, unless you're afraid of folks with different views who might challenge yours. I think you'd learn that what your friends and Scoutmasters call "God" is not da same thing you mean when you say you don't believe, because up to this point your knowledge and experience with religion has been so shallow.


Da question is whether you're up for the challenge, eh? To learn what other people really mean by religion before you dismiss 'em because of your own prejudice or upbringing. Not just their words, but what motivates a Scoutmaster to give a lot of time and money to make a program run for other peoples' kids, eh? What makes religions like da Catholics assume responsibility for carin' for 25% of the AIDS cases in Africa, which all governments would otherwise abandon? If yeh want to understand religion, begin with good people who you really like and trust and who are inspired to do good things, and find out what they mean by "God." Not just da words, but the deep meanin', eh?


Or yeh can run away and just be with people like yourself. Somehow, my guess is that you're better than that. I figure you're up for da challenge.






Link to post
Share on other sites

If Avery were a troll, his statements would have been a lot more combative than they have been. and I don't see the point in assuming so.


Avery, if you are looking for a reason to quit Scouts, there are better ways than making a case that you don't belong in Scouts because you don't believe in "god" or "God." You say that your parents want you to stay in Scouts, but raised you in a non-religious, non-theistic environment. Do they understand about BSA's stand on "Duty to God" as part of the Scout Oath? About being "reverent" as part of the Scout Law? Have you talked with them about this?


Are you saying that you do not feel reverence in your life for anything? As far as BSA is concerned, belief in God is not just the Christian God -- as has been stated, that includes non-theistic non-Christian gods. A belief in a higher power can be something other than "God" as defined in a Western, Christian point of view. A belief in Mother Nature as a higher power qualifies.


What do you enjoy about Scouting? What do you dislike about Scouting? Do you have other activities at school and elsewhere that you are more interested in than Scouting? If you want to quit Scouting, look at what else you have going on in your life than has moved you to this point aside from this issue. If you are looking for a reason to quit Scouts, is this the only reason, or is there something else? Look at your own Scouting experience and ask what you have gained from it. Do you think Scouting has value for you in other ways?


I agree that at age 14, you should give it some more time. Even if you do not believe in a Christian God, that does not mean that you cannot be reverent and do your duty to some God other than a Christian God.


But again, if you really don't want to be in Scouts, and you have other reasons -- conflict with a sports team or other extra-curricular activities like music or the school play -- you should talk to your parents about why you are more interested in those activities, rather than saying you don't belong in Scouting. We all have to set our priorities, and sometimes Scouting does not come first.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether Avery is a troll or not is irrelevant, imho - the scenario he poses is interesting enough in and of itself.


I agree with several previous posters that Scouting is not for Avery. But not for any religious reasons. He says, "I want to leave the scouts." Evidently, he does not enjoy Scouting (for whatever reason) and he is merely looking for an excuse to convince others of his decision.


We all know and accept that Scouting will not appeal to every boy. Some fellows just don't like fires and bugs and knives. Some fellows never get into the Game of Scouting of forming their own patrol and finding outdoors adventures.


I find it tremendously sad, however, that there are boys out there who DO want to join in the adventure, but whom we snub by saying they're not the "best type" of person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely agree with Trevorum.


Trevorum: "I agree with several previous posters that Scouting is not for Avery. But not for any religious reasons. He says, 'I want to leave the scouts.' Evidently, he does not enjoy Scouting (for whatever reason) and he is merely looking for an excuse to convince others of his decision."


"We all know and accept that Scouting will not appeal to every boy. Some fellows just don't like fires and bugs and knives."



Another serious reason I want to leave the BSA is the large amount of homophobia I have seen from the other members of the troop. No one in the troop knows this, but I am bisexual. And based off of past experiences, I do not think this would go over very well with the boys, as well as some adults.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Fourteen is certainly not a mature age to make the conclusions this person is presenting to us."



I never claim to have come to a conclusion. It is impossible for me, or anybody, to know everything, to know all the evidence for or against something. At this time in my life, the evidence I have seen for and against theism is leaning toward non-theism. But that does not mean it always will. I am completely open to the possibility that in ten years, I could be a strong believer.

Link to post
Share on other sites


Excuse me for a moment while I address two indivuduals who felt it appropriate to attack me (and you).


evmori and Its Me,

"Troll" is rather judgemental, and not appreciated. This young man was asking a legitimate question, for which I was giving my opinion (it was asked for). Your replies have nothing to do with the subject matter, and I don't feel they are welcome. I was expecting some diasagreement perhaps, but not name-calling. Am I to take it from your comments that you disagree with my opinion? If so, what's yours? Please share your opinions with Avery. He's reaching out for your wisdom, and he deserves better than this.



Not coming from a church-going family, your only brush with religion might be the likes of what we see in the media: Osama, the LDS cult in Texas, televangelists, praying nuns on cable TV, the Pope, suicide bombers acting in God's name. To say religion is confusing is a gross understatement. Scouting may be the place for you to learn more about yourself and about religion. If this interests you, stay. If you've reached your decision, and are choosing to use religion as your ticket out, then go. Understand that seeking God is a life-long journey. You'll encounter many speed-bumps along the way. What you do about that has everything to do with your character. We in Scouting are here to help you on your character development journey. Good luck in that journey. You're doing the right thing by asking questions of people you trust. The people you are asking here are strangers, and we'll do the best we can to share what we think. I hope you're asking some trusted adults you know at home. Scouting provides those kinds of people for you. Others might be teachers and pastors. If you don't have a relationship with people like that, your only source of information is other kids and what you choose to watch on the screen... you can do better.

Again, good luck with your decision. The people here mean well, even if they occasionally attack each other. Try to ignore that, and listen to those who are giving advice. Life is a journey. Faith is a journey. Education is a journey, and so Scouting. All will have speed-bumps. Just slow-down, deal with them, and move on.

Good luck,




Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...