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SMT224

God?

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Vicki!!!! Where have you been? I've dropped all kinds of sexist claptrap here and there but not a peep. I was starting to worry!

I guess it just takes another 'god' topic.....

 

Ed, Shortridge is correct I think. Why can't a person who essentially practices Buddhist philosophies without being Buddhist qualify for membership same as a Buddhist? Both would be atheist. The only difference is a label.

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We really do need a "Chaplaincy and Faith" department/forum.

 

I agree with those that espouse a wait and see atitude. The religious belief of the boy will come as it will. Please see BP's pronouncement and definition about Scouting and Religion from his Aids to Scoutmastering, cited elsewhere. I have not seen the matter stated better. If my experience is any judge, the boy , if he sticks with his TING stance, will resign from Scouting of his own accord. He will become concerned with the hypocracy of his belief/lack of and the Scout Promise and Law. If he finds his faith, then the Scout will become really loyal to the movement.

Something to point out: Many Scout associations around the world do not have any God mention in their promise or have a Reverence in their Law.

And... it is almost always the adults that get in the way of Scouting.

I just came back this weekend from doing IOLS, and talking about religion and "Scout's Own" services. Scouts can often work up a spiritual service that includes all their own faiths, Jewish, Christian, whatever, to the amazement of the adults and the

oh-hum of the Scouts.

My advice to SMT224 mirrors what has been said before: Wait and see. If you have some appropriater SMMinutes about faith and action, use them, but no need to single out the Scout.

I am reminded of the Amish adage "Hands to work, Hearts to God" Put your Scout's hands to good work, and see if the heart will follow.

 

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Let's take Buddhists out of the mix for this discussion. I know the BSA recognizes them and that is fine.

 

If the only reason a boy is going to church is to fulfill the 12th point of the Scout Law, that isn't reverent. And if the boy has no belief in the God the church is worshiping, going to that church just to fulfill the 12th point of the Scout Law then he is a hypocrite.

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"Let's take Buddhists out of the mix for this discussion. I know the BSA recognizes them and that is fine."

 

If you concede that BSA does not require belief in a god-head in the case of Buddists, what are we dicsussing? Whether those with beliefs other than Buddism should be allowed the same consideration?

 

"If the only reason a boy is going to church is to fulfill the 12th point of the Scout Law, that isn't reverent. And if the boy has no belief in the God the church is worshiping, going to that church just to fulfill the 12th point of the Scout Law then he is a hypocrite."

 

If the only reason a boy is acting cheerfully is to fulfill the 8th point of the Scout Law, and he really doesn't feel cheerful, does he fail that point? If seems to me that the one of the reasons to have a Scout Law is to get boys to do things they might not otherwise do. If they come to us already living the oath and the law, what do they get from the program?

 

Regards,

 

DWS

 

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evmori, the BSA doesn't say anything about "going to church to check the block doesn't count", because the boy doesn't even have to go to church in the first place.

 

Period.

 

The boy doesn't have to acknowledge the God of the church/religeon he chooses to attend with his family, for whatever reason he's attending.

 

Period.

 

Unless he flat-out declares himself to be an atheist or agnostic, the BSA has no issues with him not believeing in said God, no matter what he does.

 

Period.

 

Buddihsm is a moot point, because the BSA doesn't have a list of "approved religeons" the boy must choose be a member of.

 

Period.

 

What the BSA says is "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."

 

Absolutely and Nonsectarian.

 

The boy can quite frankly say anything he wants short of declaring himself to be agnostic or atheist (which are specifically banned) or denigrating others' beliefs. He can honor mother nature by following the Outdoor Code; as long as he also respects the practices and beliefs of others, he fulfills the spirit and intent of the Oath and Law according to the BSA.

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The scout just said he was an atheist. your gonna give him a pass to the next rank??????

 

 

atheist

   [ey-thee-ist] Show IPA

noun

a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheist

 

 

 

 

I am not sayin toss him out, you guys are silly with all the hair splitting.

 

I would just have a talk with mom and dad then revisit him at the SMC till his First class SMC, If he still believes there is no god, I would have a final chat with mom and dad, delay his First class. Give it 30 days and revisit it. He would not advance past 1st class professing he does not believe in god.

 

In thinking about it, I may ask him, If you don't believe there is a god then what do you believe in?

 

You guys are being weak not asking the tough questions. I am not saying minister to him, just ask the question to get him thinking.

 

 

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"The scout just said he was an atheist. your gonna give him a pass to the next rank?????? "

 

Nah, If your talking about the scout the OP mentioned... he said:

 

"...this kid said absolutely and definitively that there was no God."

 

This kid may believe in Allah, Shiva, Thor, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl,Rah , or who knows who else.

 

Just as Western Christains do not recognize any other god but God..this kid may not recognize God due to his beliefe in his god.

 

In that context, he could flat out deny that God exists, but still believe in a god, be completely respectful to, reverent to, and be 100% faithful to the diety of his belief.

 

And not believing in God , but believing in another god ...means you are not an athiest.

 

 

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did ya read my post......

 

I would ask if he doesn't believe in god then what does he believe in.

 

I am gonna bet it is nothing.

 

 

What happens if he say something like my Ipod or my DS?

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Yeah, I read it. But I'd ask him before I delay any advancement. It may turn out he believes in "a god" just not "God" of the western persuasion.

 

If you delayed him just for not believeing in our ( guessing we share the same one) God, then having a questionable character is ours to explain.....not his.

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This is the sort of nonsense that allows a young man get to Eagle BOR and profess he has been an atheist all his life.

 

I am not saying black balling him, but I am not saying rubber stamping him thru either.

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Fish,

Off point perhaps, but note that Allah is the SAME deity as the Judeo Yahweh and the Christian Jehovah. Different names for the same God.

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by trevorum)

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This is the sort of nonsense that allows a young man get to Eagle BOR and profess he has been an atheist all his life.

 

I am not saying black balling him, but I am not saying rubber stamping him thru either.

 

I'll ask again, what's the worse outcome:

 

1) letting a boy who says he doesn't think there's a God but otherwise lives up to the Scout Law stay in Scouts for several years on the chance he changes his mind (nah, young men never do that...) only to have him profess his atheism at his EBOR

 

or

 

2) run him out* ASAP at 10 1/2 and tell him there's no place for his kind in Boy Scouts, go find something else to do with his life?

 

* - giving him grief or constantly badgering him about what he believes will likely run him out and leave him with the impression "we don't want your kind around here."

 

Yes, I know, the DORP says a belief in a higher power is essential to a young man's development, and "reverent" is part of the Scout Law. But if someone thinks it's a bigger tragedy to pin an Eagle on a teenager who fails one of the 12 points than it is to deny him the opportunity to develop the other 11, they would certainly be welcome to their opinion, but I would not share it. The Scouts we are mentoring are potential, not finished products. Unless he's is actively degrading the program for the other boys, I think we should err far, far on the side of keeping him in.

 

Oh, and regarding:

 

I would ask if he doesn't believe in god then what does he believe in.

...

What happens if he say something like my Ipod or my DS?

 

Since it's not a Scout leader's place to question the validity of a Scout's religious beliefs, what better happen is you better be just as respectful of his beliefs as you are of any other Scouts. You better not scoff or tell him to be serious. You ask the question, you live with the answer. I'm pretty sure that if BSA wanted us to be religious instructors or to adminster tests, they would word the DORP much, much differently. And lose half the membership.

 

Maybe it's better to leave that particular question unasked. Ask him what he thinks "reverent" means instead if you feel the need to ask him something. Or better yet, in my opinion, don't ask him any questions about that just yet. Use SM Minutes or reflections or other opportunities to demonstrate and discuss reverence instead. A few folks have already pointed out some youngsters will use a statement like "there's no God" to provoke a reaction. It's an immature thing to do, but then, hey, they're not yet mature! No need for us to go all batwit crazy over it. I kinda think being respectful of other people's beliefs ought to extend to being respectful of their development process too.

 

If any of us Scouters feel the need to try and "correct" a young man's relgious beliefs, then we're in the wrong organzation. We should joing the Youth Program at our church instead.

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We should joing the Youth Program at our church instead.

 

Of course, like as not, unit scouting IS a youth program at a church, eh? ;) The BSA may be non-sectarian, but that doesn't mean da CO or its scouting program is.

 

I think it's fine to do what Basementdweller suggests, and engage the boy in friendly conversation. Challenge, debate, question, encourage inquiry! I wouldn't confine it to the lads who profess atheism. Oft as not, it's the boys who possess a shallow and untested religiosity that are more in need of this kind of mentoring.

 

Our role is to help 'em grow and deepen their own understanding.

 

So that's a good question for BD: Do yeh also hold a boy back from first class who attends church, but can't give anything more than a hem and a haw when asked what Duty to God means to him?

 

Beavah

 

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Does it strike anyone else as odd that we never hear these complicated debates over the other 11 points in the Law? I'm sure specific situations might present a gray area here and there, but its pretty easy to tell whether a Scout is generally trustworthy, obediant, cheerful or thrify, right?

 

I got to wonder, what is so different about "reverent" that causes all this grief? Is it because the BSA is using too vague of a term to convey the actual quality they mean? Or because us unit-level Scouters don't take the time to fully think through what reverence really is, relying on what we would like it to mean, rather than what it really does mean? Is the BSA contradicting itself by trying to be non-sectarian, but still having the Oath refer to "God" in the western, monotheistic, Judeo-Christian sense of the idea? Is the BSA in the wrong for asking Scouters to take on the responsibility of evaluating this trait at all?

 

Food for thought. As I've said before, I really don't see why Scouting needs to include the whole religion/spirituality/God/higher-power thing at all. But, given that they do, it would be nice if they would help us define it in more of a black-and-white sense, in the same way that "trustworthy" is defined, to some extent.

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Basementdweller, the boy didn't say he was an atheist.

 

He said he didn't believe in God.

 

They are 2 different things.

 

According to the BSA, he can worship his ipod or DS.

 

Have you still not read the BSA's legal ruling on the matter? I'll post it, again, since you seem to have a hard time grasping it:

"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."

 

The BSA does not say what is and is not a valid religeon, only that the boy be reverent. Just because a particular religeon has a religeous award with the BSA doesn't put them on an "approved list". He can be a wiccan, or worship oak trees or idols or satan. None of those are specifically banned.

 

Atheism and agnosticism are banned. Anything else is okay as long as the Scout respects the beliefs of others and follows the Oath and Law.

 

(This message has been edited by jrush)

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