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SMT224

God?

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Scoutfish writes:

"The BSA's stance, taken from what their representatives have said under oath, is that six-year-olds who are atheists can't join."

 

Is that an exact qoute

 

There IS no quote in what I wrote above. A quote usually has quote marks to mark the quotes. That's why they're called quote marks. They mark quotes.

 

or did you put it in your terms Merlyn?

 

Don't run from the question.

 

Like everyone is running from whether this kid is an atheist? That kind of running?

 

Or maybe how you didn't answer my question: "How clear can the BSA make their policy, anyway?"

Do you think the BSA allows youth who are atheists?

 

Go ahead, look up the testimony from the Powell case. BSA officials stated that Remington Powell couldn't join if he was an atheist.

 

Check Larry Otto's (Scout Executive for the Cascade Pacific Council) deposition. The ACLU cites that here: http://www.aclu-or.org/sites/default/files/Lit_Pow_rview_pet_12_02.pdf

"Persons who state that they are atheists or agnostics are not eligible to join the Boy Scouts at any level, including Cub Scouts. (CR 78, Otto Depo. at 50.)"

 

"If, for example, someone was insisting they aren't breaking the "no atheists" rule by using very contorted arguments to justify allowing a kid who has very clearly stated he's an atheist..."

 

What? How do you figure? When and where did the boy "CLEARLY " say he was an athiest?

 

Who? You mean my hypothetical example? Do you even know what "if, for example" means?

 

Where did you get that Info?

 

What info? It's a hypothetical example.

 

Not bthe OP who said ( and I quote) :

 

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

 

But you know, a person who truely believs in Quetzalcoatl, Shiva, and Lakshmi do not believe in "God" either. They will tell you that our god does not exist.

 

Because to them, our "God" is not any god at all, just a false prophet or just a case of senility on our poart.

 

So a boy can very definantly say there is no God, but be the furthesat thing from an athiest there is.

 

 

And that's where BSA's policy on being non secular does in fact welcome that boy completely!

 

Which is why there's nine pages of argument on whether he does, in fact, meet the membership requirements?

 

Oh wait, you were using some sort of made-up, hypothetical example, of someone who believes in gods from 2 other religions, yet gives no hint of that and instead states "absolutely and definitively that there was no God." Odd how you couldn't detect my hypothetical example.

 

Scoutfish, I hope your spine is OK from all this bending-over-backwards you're doing. Is there any way a kid could convince you he's an actual atheist? Not that I can see.

 

(This message has been edited by Merlyn_LeRoy)

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"Scoutfish, I hope your spine is OK from all this bending-over-backwards you're doing. Is there any way a kid could convince you he's an actual atheist? Not that I can see." WEll, first, he'd have to actually say that he is an athiest."

 

I hate liver, I hate tripe. I hate hog brains. I will not even knowingly eat elephant, horse, cats, or seals. I will not eat sushi or any kind of squid or conch. But that's not the same as saying I am a vegetarian.

 

Yeah, you are arguing a hypothetical case.

 

Well, what if in a hypothetical situation, the boy was an alien from Mars? What if he was an actual Hindu god. He could still say he doesn't believe in God, but he sure wouldn't be an athiest.

 

Point is, you see everything as either Believing in "God" or athiest. Nothinmg else. But that's your flawed logic.There is so much more in between. People are not constrained by how you think. And BSA recognizes that . People are not constrained in the way I think, BSA recognizes that too. That's where the whole Non secular thing comes in.

 

By saying that, they recognize that people might be reverent to and believe in a higher power without believing in a single "God" .

 

Spine? Are you kidding me? I have not waivers oine bit inmy arguements to you. Yet you swing back and forth and argue hypotheticals and use what the ACLU and other athiets say as proof as to what BSA thinks.

 

You say BSA thinks this or that, yet the people from BSA tell you otherwise every time.

You do not have teh spine to admit the world is more than your thoughts and opinions and you do not recognize that there is ALOT of grey in between.

 

Me and my big ole spine realize not everybody thinks or feels like I do. They do not use the same reasoning and do not use the same logic I do.

 

But me and my big ole spine don't care if people feel or believe different from me and me and my BIG SPINE do not fel the need to take issue with them for it.

 

My spine is so big that I am not threatened by theirs or your beliefs being diferent.

 

My big spine doesn't feel the need to classify everybody outside my opinions as only this or that - because I know there is so much more.

 

But you feel the need to stop, squash and destroy those who do not feel or agree with your own beliefs. You cannot stand people to be diferent or be happy with their own ideals or opinions.

It scares you!

 

Now tell me who has spinal isseus!!

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Scoutfish writes:

WEll, first, he'd have to actually say that he is an athiest.

 

So you don't accept saying absolutely and definitively that there is no God? He has to use a specific (albeit misspelled) word?

 

Even that restrictive requirement doesn't help, since the BSA is a bit more flexible in who they kick out; indicating that you don't believe in a god, even if you don't use the term "atheist", is enough.

 

Well, what if in a hypothetical situation, the boy was an alien from Mars? What if he was an actual Hindu god. He could still say he doesn't believe in God, but he sure wouldn't be an athiest.

 

Are you claiming that no aliens from Mars are atheists?

 

Point is, you see everything as either Believing in "God" or athiest. Nothinmg else.

 

Wrong; there are also polytheists.

 

However, how would you classify someone who states that absolutely and definitively that there is no God? A theist?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

Think they MIGHT be an atheist?

 

But that's your flawed logic.There is so much more in between. People are not constrained by how you think. And BSA recognizes that . People are not constrained in the way I think, BSA recognizes that too. That's where the whole Non secular thing comes in.

 

Non secular? Don't you mean non-sectarian? Which isn't the correct term, either.

 

By saying that, they recognize that people might be reverent to and believe in a higher power without believing in a single "God" .

 

Spine? Are you kidding me? I have not waivers oine bit inmy arguements to you.

 

Your deteriorating typing and spelling say otherwise.

 

Yet you swing back and forth and argue hypotheticals

 

You just used one too, hypocrite.

 

and use what the ACLU and other athiets say as proof as to what BSA thinks.

 

No, I use what BSA officials have said in court. Like Larry Otto's deposition.

 

You say BSA thinks this or that, yet the people from BSA tell you otherwise every time.

 

People who don't set policy.

 

By the way, do you agree that official BSA policy is that atheist youths can't join?

 

You do not have teh spine to admit the world is more than your thoughts and opinions and you do not recognize that there is ALOT of grey in between.

 

There's plenty of gray, but calling bright chartreuse "gray" is too much. If a kid states absolutely and definitively that there is no God, and the BSA requires that members believe in (at least one) god, he doesn't seem to qualify.

 

But you feel the need to stop, squash and destroy those who do not feel or agree with your own beliefs. You cannot stand people to be diferent or be happy with their own ideals or opinions.

It scares you!

 

No, I see a bunch of people refusing to enforce the BSA's odious membership requirements.

 

Now tell me who has spinal isseus!!

 

You're the one getting bent out of shape. I'm stating the bleeding obvious:

1) a kid who says absolutely and definitively that there is no God is an atheist

2) the BSA doesn't allow kids like him to be members

 

You just don't have the spine to enforce the rules. But you also don't have the spine to admit you're deliberately ignoring the rules.

 

"I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution."

-- U.S. Grant

-

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I love it when people answer questions with questions. Usually means they don't have an answer to the question they were asked.

 

There IS no quote in what I wrote above. A quote usually has quote marks to mark the quotes. That's why they're called quote marks. They mark quotes.

 

So the answer would be no then hey let's have an English lesson!

 

 

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Merlyn, here's the simple test:

 

Can the boy absolutely, positively not believe in the God of Christianity/Islam/Judaeism (i.e., the God of the church he is attending with his parents) and yet not be an atheist?

 

There is a reason the BSA says "God", not "the God".

 

There is a difference between not believing in God (as the term is used socially) and being an atheist.

 

If the SM wants to press it he can find out if the boy just doesn't believe in the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent white-bearded old man living in heaven, or if he doesn't believe anything exists at all.

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That's funny, qwazse, there are quite a few atheists who were forced to attend church when they were 10 years old, because they were 10 years old. ... How many 10-year-old atheists do you know, anyway?

 

And there are quite a few believers who were denied church as children because their parents were athiests. And lots of folks in between.

 

I agree with you that there's no point in mincing the kid's words (like scoutfish is). The OP is clear that his scout's statement was athiestic. And I've known several kids who made statements like that.** But, on the flip side I've known kids to make statements of religious faith but effectively lived their teen years as if God was nowhere to be found. Should I drum them out too because their actions speak to their true belief at the time?

 

Or, should I give it time? Give the parents notice of what the kid is thinking. Give the kid a chance to self-select as he realizes that the ideals of scouting stand in increasingly stark contradiction to his belief.

 

What my religious convictions tell me I should *not* do is offer a kid a reward for acting faithful. The worst action at this point: tell an 11 year old that he has to believe in God to be a scout and the scout say "Okay, I'll believe then..." Second worst is the boy say "okay, I'll leave" decide to believe the next week (or whenever he reads Mere Christianity or some convincing text from another faith) but miss out on scouts.

 

 

 

** It's not just kids. I met a young man at a coffee shop who first said he was an athiest, but he then said "I'm counting on when I die, that if any God worth worshiping will cut me some slack for coming to the wrong conclusion. At least I've tried to be a decent fellow."

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"The worst action at this point: tell an 11 year old that he has to believe in God to be a scout and the scout say "Okay, I'll believe then...""

 

It's deja vu all over again...that's almost exactly the exchange I had with the nice scowling lady at the NC voter registrar after I had moved to a new town back in the 1970's. She REALLY wanted me to swear on a Bible and I decided I didn't feel like it. So she informed me that "in North Carolina you can't vote if you don't believe in God". So I said, "in that case, heck yeah, I'll believe in anything to able to vote." For some reason she proceeded to try to disqualify me from registering anyway, heh, heh, until I had a chat with her supervisor. Didn't help that scowl much either.

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Again, I would give him some time, Speak with his parents, Give him his scout patch and then see what develops. At first class if he still says there is no god. I would let the BOR know to ask about his religious beliefs, let them handle it.

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Faith is not only an intangible it is also unique to each individual, even those that belong to the same religious tradition, so to argue for its exsistence or not is simply an exercise in futility. People need to understand that the belief in "GOD" is either there or not and you will never be able to convince a person otherwise through any type of debate. The debate about hell and Satan with someone who does not believe in the exsistence of either is equally a fruitless waste of time.

 

What usually forms the basis of a persons faith or lack of faith is simply the life experiences that person goes through. You can not beat faith into a young or older person, they need to be open to and experience it firsthand for themselves. To debate GOD between a believer and an atheist usually winds up becoming nothing more than a namecalling and juvenile attack fest, with virtually nothing being accomplished.

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Scouting can contribute hugely to a boy's spiritual growth through its outdoor program. It is very difficult to deny something greater than ones self after a few nights spent under a dark night sky, or sitting on a rock overlooking the majesty of mountains rolling down to the sea or towering above with snow capped peaks. Hopefully most scouts will have the opportunity to simply sit quietly in mostly unblemished outdoors and simply absorb the experience.

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Arguing at cross purposes is futile. I freely admit that I have not followed court cases closely, but what I have read agrees with Merlyn's posts. To continue arguing the developmental characteristics of faith does not negate the fact that the BSA does not look kindly on atheists of any age. Nor does it negate the fact that we fuzz up the target considerably with our "let him get older" approach.

 

While I don't like the scorched earth approach, I do like Merlyn's US Grant quote.

 

If we enforce the letter of the policy, smt's crossover is out. Not that I'm arguing for that, just calling it like I see it.

 

Vicki(This message has been edited by vicki)

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Packsaddle and Vicki, I think you're missing the point some of us were trying to make:

 

The scout doesn't have to believe in God (as we colloquially use the term); he just can't declare himself to be an atheist/agnostic. They are two seperate things. If he has a belief system of any kind at all (even if it doesn't include God), he's not an atheist.

 

IMHO the BSA made a mistake by not coming out and saying that the term "God" does not mean the monothestic judeo/christian/islamic God we all grew up with, but rather it's merely the name for one's personal belief system. Instead, they said "absolutely nonsectarian" and left us to our own devices.

(This message has been edited by jrush)

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This remains a good read, with lots of interesting input. However, things are getting a little heated, lets stay friendly, and remember we are all on the same team here. The issue has been over complicated by loosing focus. Ultimately, the question is, whats best for this young scout, and how can the Scoutmaster best deal with this situation. In the long run the young man will be making decisions about faith, and practices, but at this time those choices are made by his parents. This program is designed to foster citizenship, and install values the program cant help a boy who is no longer a part of it.

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Pack, I don't feel like we missed the point do you? Assuming you and i agree on this one, which i think we do. Basement posted the definition of an atheist a few pages back. Would seem the kid thinks he is an atheist. Hairsplitting won't change that, and rationalizations as to why we shouldn't follow policy are fine, but let's recognize them for what they are and not shoot the messenger.

 

Vicki(This message has been edited by Vicki)

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