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Professionally speaking as an ordained minister, I think this is a real slippery slope for any scout leader to question any boys religious beliefs in any depth.


1) Most if not all scout leaders are not properly trained to make a knowledgeable in depth evaluation of a boys belief system, even if he states he is an atheist you can not know if that is truly what the boy believes.


2) A young boy has a very difficult time seperating his concept of "GOD" from the religious institution he and his family may attend.


3) The reality is that over the next few years this boys understanding and belief in a higher power will continue to change and develop, as it does with all youth.


4)Another pitfall the scout leader will encounter, but rarely admit, is his/her own personal understanding of "God", which may be lacking or incomplete, full of personal biases, too Christian-Judeo oriented to honestly and fairly determine the true nature of any boys own personal spirituality, which may be very different from our own.


There is an old saying in Christianity, "Let go and let God". We only kid ourselves if we think that we are the ones who bring someone to becoming a believer when in actuality it is the Supreme Being who touches a persons heart and begins the mutual relationship. Why do we think we can do a better job?

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My son decided he no longer believed in God around the age of 11 too. After the initial shock wore off and I had a few discussions with my dad, a minister, I allowed my son to question his faith in his own terms and his own time. At 13, he is an acolyte at church, was baptised last summer, listens to the sermons and enjoys going to church. He just needed time to find HIS faith!!


Those who question and at the same time are exposed to church often find their questions result in a deeper and more personal faith than those who never question. By expressing his disbelief to a figure in authority may also be a way of feeling out his boundaries, or it could be a way of rebelling.


Perhaps the new patrol could work on a religious emblem or the prayer patch (http://www.praypub.org/dutytogod.htm) with a scout friendly pastor as a way of helping all the boys see the importance of their "duty to God". More boys may have the same questions, doubts, concerns but are not comfortable discussing them. It's a dicey subject.

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Your comments on the existence of Satan are irreverent. Some of us have religious beliefs that hold that Satan does exist. It is irreverent to call them a myth. Think what you want, but I don't think it's appropriate to broadcast those kinds of views in a Scouter forum.

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A lot of it is. Check out what Father Reginald Foster, senior Vatican priest has to say about it..."these are all nice stories, you know."

Of course I also have to wonder at a claim that Christianity depends on a belief in Satan. Are you sure you want to make that claim?

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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."


Nah, completely on point.


A rose by any other name is a rose. Amber, yellow, sienna...


The Boy may not believe in "God" but belive in god - by a different name.


I watch people argue the about what kind of fish Talapia is. WEll, it isn't. It's many different kinds of fish used under a common marketing name because "Bottom dweling mud sucking algea eater just doesn't sound appetizing. But wether you call talapia or mud fish..it's still the same fish.


The only difference might be the name.


I also see people gush over Maui maui being a great food, but they wouldn't eat a dolphin fish. Same thing different name.


People will try Calamari and say it's great, but puke at the thought of even trying a tiny piece fried squid.



Or..the best example I can give to show my point:


I called out my wife's name once( April) and my then 3 year old son says to me: "Dad! Her name is mom, not April!"



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There are almost a hundred different species, all called 'Tilapia'. Moreover, they are herbivorous and not normally thought of as mud sucking, nor are they normally bottom dwellers unless the pond is very shallow. They tend to stay up where plants grow. Incidentally, there's a pretty good chance that Tilapia were the fish that were caught by Jesus's disciples (clever tie-in to the topic) out of Lake Tiberias (aka Sea of Galilee and today Lake Kinneret).


I like Calamari (and therefore tip my hand at not being Kosher) but I also like the gooey, slimy stuff as well as the flavoring for fried batter. Mollusks are quite tasty...well, some of them.


But your point is about the application of the term 'god' to pretty much anything someone chooses to worship...I suppose even 'the devil'. OK. I understand that people do that, I guess even mainline Christians...go figure.


Aleister Crowley had quite a following at one time. He and his followers held that his excrement was holy. In some rituals it was actually eaten. Would that count for reverent? Me, I'll stick with the Calamari.

Incidentally, I have read claims that The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones all "are/were Crowley disciples." H'mmmm, I always suspected.....

C'mon, Where does all this end?


It ends when we stop trying to control what other people choose to believe or to punish them if they don't believe what we do. As long as we continue to 'examine' beliefs of others...beliefs that we can never fully understand anyway, we are always going to come back to the situation where 'we' are right and 'those others' are wrong, or bad, and should be excluded. None of this is necessary.


Edit: Scoutfish, your 3-year-old is right.;)(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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The Oath asks that we do our duty to God. The Scout Law asks that we are reverent. To be reverent is to revere. Now, some feel on may revere someones excrement, Satan, Santa, God, god, Gods, or the girl next door and comply with the 12th point. Others feel one has to be reverent in a spiritual sense (for most, the revere or worship God).


To earn the Scout badge, one has to understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath and Law. If I were this Scout's Scoutmaster, I would ask him what the Scout Law is, question him in such a way that I could understand his understanding of the Law and then simply ask him is he agree to live by (his) interpretation of the Scout Law and Oath. If he says yes, fine. If he says no, tell him the implications.



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Can I just point out (once again) that the Scout Oath starts out with, "On my honor, I WILL DO MY BEST..."


It doesn't say "I will do what my Scoutmaster decides is best", or "I will do whatever everyone else does".


This is a personal oath - it's about the individual. It's not about comparing Johnny Scout with Benjamin Scout, or for that matter, requiring a Scout to live up to our interpretation of Best, or even some potential we have decided for a Scout - it's about asking the Scout to do HIS best.


Frankly, I would really love for the BSA to just quietly do away with the whole ban on agnostics and athiests. I'm afraid that when it comes right down to it, folks of religion are no better than athiests at living a decent life - and heck, one could even argue, given that there are more Christians in prison than athiests, that folks of religion do worse.


Then maybe we could start arguing about things like what does Thrifty mean? Is buying a $30 kitchen knife set at Target thriftier than buying a $250 set of Wusthoff kitchen knives?

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I've heard it sensibly argued that "Thrifty" is an outdated value - our responsibility in the modern economy is to consume as much stuff as possible so that other people can keep their jobs making that stuff.

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