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SMT224

God?

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Perhaps this thought should be spun off but maybe it's relevant to this discussion.

 

I think we all assume that the BSA requires a belief in God, or in A God, or in a higher power. But I wonder if that's true by definition or true by truism.

 

I've been reflecting a bit on the DRP, Scout Oath and Scout Law today. The DRP requires an obligation to God. The Scout Oath requires a Duty to God. The Scout Law requires reverence to God (and a tolerance of other folks beliefs).

 

But here's where I pause. It seems obvious that in order to have an obligation, duty, and reverence to God, one needs to believe in God - but no where is it specifically spelled out that one must actually believe in God in order to have an obligation, duty or reverence to God. It seems to me it's just an assumption - but can't it be said that someone who shows respect for other's beliefs is showing a reverence to God - perhaps not their own, but to a God? And can't it be said that someone who fills sandbags for their neighbors is showing a duty to thir neighbor's God, even if they, themselves, don't believe in their neighbor's God?

 

Just something to ponder.

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Yah, I've met this young fellow, eh? Several times. ;)

 

I think it's very telling that the lad who is being raised to attend church all the time is the one who is rebelling. Doesn't surprise me one bit. A lot of things we church-goers do are just plain ridiculous in the innocent eyes of the youth. It's stuff that's more about religious identification than it is about God.

 

So I like young fellows like SMT224's new scouts. I think both of 'em show potential for a wiser, deeper faith than many an adult I know. That's what we're here for, eh? To be friends and guides to such lads, to help 'em, in the words of Luke's Gospel, "grow in wisdom, age, and grace, before God and man."

 

Yeh give the lad his scout badge, SMT224. And yeh look forward to many future Scoutmaster conferences with a twinkle in your eye and a smile in your heart. We silly humans can't do everything, eh? Sometimes we're just sowing seeds, and lettin' the Almighty's soil and rain and sunshine do their thing. That takes time, and patience. But it's da only way there is to grow good fruit, eh? ;)

 

Beavah

 

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Speaking from experience of having s 10 year old...sometimes kids this age can be sticklers for detail.

 

Not, not because they really stick to detail, but because they are trying their onw shot at wit and sarcasm.

Maybe this boy does not believe in God, but believes in Jehovah, Allah, or Shiva.

 

You know how they can be be. They will be runningbehind and making YOU late for..whatever. They say they cannot find theiur shoes. They could be standing about 3 feet from the shoes they are looking for...will look around the entire room, but refuse to look down.

 

 

 

It's like they are trying to prove a poiny somehow.

 

 

But at 10 years old..their views can change weekly, monthly or daily. This week he wants to be an astronaught when he grows up. Next week, he might want to be a veternarian. The week after that, a SWAT sniper.

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Got home this evening after an exhausting day at work, cooked diner, fixed the kitchen faucet, picked the kids up from band, sat 'em down for homework, and then finally fired up the computer... to discover all this great wisdom! I really appreciate all your comments!!

 

I concur with the "take it slow" approach and let him find his sunrise. He did get his Scout badge and seem quite happy about it. We'll see how he does as a Scout and what guides his actions.

 

As others have wisely said, the most consistent thing about kids, especially teenagers, is that they are always changing.

 

If he is steadfast in the belief that there is no God as he continues on the Scouting trail, I will be concerned, but for now, I'm just surprised.

 

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I'd definitely take it slowly, and I would have explored his statement a bit. I think the membership application does say that all members have to recognize they need to do their duty to God.

 

I would tend not to dig too much into this, as the more you dig, the more likely you are to create an issue. The worst case would be where the boy starts telling other boys that he doesn't believe in God and he told you so. Then, boom, there's an issue where you didn't want one. The parents are much more likely to make this an issue than the other Scouts are.

 

Good luck with this one.

 

 

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You know, Scouts don't automatically come to us at the beginning fully understanding or working the points of the Oath and Law. They are likely not to be very kind, thrifty, or obedient etc... either. We shouldn't look for fruit on seedlings. The points of the Law and Oath are, in my opinion, there as goals to be worked on constantly. We never arrive at perfection in all of those areas.

I would say that it is likely this Scout in question will eventually find an adequate resolution to his Duty to God over the next few years.

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Interesting! I think the best advise is to talk to the parents and see if they even know what their son is professing. You might find out they are Atheists or that they had no idea there son feels this way.

 

I am wondering if just attending church is being reverent toward God if you don't believe there is a God? Can you be reverent if you don't believe?

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when you are 11-12, what is reverent? Not breaking up in hysterics during a scouts own because someone "breaks wind"?

 

I am not saying keep the youth forever, neither send him packing

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I'm sure you can split hairs all the way down through every sect of every religion, but here are some broad pejorative categories that I've heard bantied about ...

Clearly folks who have no religious life and mock everyone else who does are irreverent.

Folks who promote their religion to the exclusion of others are overzealous. (Unless they're right, then they're just zealous.:)) By definition, folks who hold themselves up as religious yet live their life in opposition to their religion are hippocrites.

Folks who think religion is above or beyond them, so they just stay home and muddle through are merely unchurched.

Those who have profound doubts yet still subject themselves to religious teaching and practice? None of the above seem to fit. Some contemporary evangelists have used the word "seeker" (a term I personally find annoying). Regardless, at least in Christendom, some of the greatest writings in favor of faith ultimately came from such folks.

 

I think that's why it's important to ask the boy, "what does it mean for you to be reverent?"

Not a bad question to ask ourselves from time to time either.

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>>I am wondering if just attending church is being reverent toward God if you don't believe there is a God? Can you be reverent if you don't believe?

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Or to follow up on Barry's post, Let God find the boy and reach into his heart and allow that boy to receive his own path and blessing. It amazes me how many adults want to cram or forcefeed religion down a young persons throat, usually because that is the way it was done to them. Studies have shown that between the ages of 12-18 all young people go through a crisis of faith/belief and serious doubts about God, yet through life experiences and maturity develops their own faithwalk that is individually unique to each one.

 

No forcefeeding of a particular doctrine or tradition brings a child closer to God, but instead may actually drive them away. If we adults would only allow our youth to discover their own path to faith by providing them the unique opportunities and gentle guidance that programs like scouting can provide then it has been my experience as both a scout leader and a minister that "God" will do the rest.

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I don't mean to put words in Trevorum's mouth - but I think the answer is pretty simple.

 

"God" in the BSA's point of view is a generalized, generic term that covers both the monotheistic Western religions (such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam), religions that include multiple deities or spirits (such as Hinduism and Shinto) and belief and practice systems that do not necessarily include belief in a deity or deities (such as Buddhism).

 

Requiring Scouts and Scouters to "believe in God" in the strictest sense of the singular noun would restrict membership only to followers of the monotheistic religions. Which it clearly does not.

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Well, shortridge, how can you be reverent to something you don't believe in?

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