View Poll Results: Should Athiests Be Allowed to Be Leaders?

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  • Yes

    43 66.15%
  • No

    19 29.23%
  • Don't Know

    3 4.62%
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Thread: Should Athiests Be Allowed to Be Leaders?

  1. #1
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Should Athiests Be Allowed to Be Leaders?

    WARNING REGARDING POSTING IN THIS THREAD:

    We took the decision to remove the previous thread regarding religion in Scouting, because it broke our rules on a number of fronts:

    • Posts were offensive
    • Posts were personal
    • Posts went way off topic.
    The topic is should Athiests be allowed to be Leaders? and the Religious policy. Nothing else. You must stay on topic

    We do not expect to see comments regarding seperate religions or personal attacks.

    If we come across these comments, they will be edited or removed and the person involved will get an infraction. A persistant offender WILL get banned.

    These are the conditions of posting in this thread and it will be tightly monitored.

  2. #2
    Account Closed weefatbob's Avatar
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    Censorship or the best decision for us all?

    Thanks for re-posting this Richard.

    However, as much as I hate to criticise anything you and your team do on Escouts, I do think that this was a bit of an over the top response.

    I agree that some of the posts went slightly off topic - but this is how normal conversation works, I would find it very difficult to have a conversation for a prolonged period of time which sticks rigidly to the thing we started to discuss at the outset.

    I also notice that a considerable number of posts now say "edited by" someone other than the person who posted that - whilst there are probably legitimate reasons for this too, it does seem to be quite frequent.

    Then we have moderators moderating posts which I think are perfectly fine, though they might cause offence to some people - it is impossible to write something which doesn't offend someone.

    Like I said at the outset, I think you guys all do a great job, but I think we might be going down a bit too steep a road which is leading to censorship of an open forum.

    With best wishes

    Bob

  3. #3
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weefatbob View Post
    Thanks for re-posting this Richard.

    However, as much as I hate to criticise anything you and your team do on Escouts, I do think that this was a bit of an over the top response.

    I agree that some of the posts went slightly off topic - but this is how normal conversation works, I would find it very difficult to have a conversation for a prolonged period of time which sticks rigidly to the thing we started to discuss at the outset.

    I also notice that a considerable number of posts now say "edited by" someone other than the person who posted that - whilst there are probably legitimate reasons for this too, it does seem to be quite frequent.

    Then we have moderators moderating posts which I think are perfectly fine, though they might cause offence to some people - it is impossible to write something which doesn't offend someone.

    Like I said at the outset, I think you guys all do a great job, but I think we might be going down a bit too steep a road which is leading to censorship of an open forum.

    With best wishes

    Bob
    We either moderate a number, or remove them all. By removing them all, we thought it was fairer.

    We do our best, we have a responsibility in that we are legally responsible for the content, according to some interpretations of the law.

    The written word isnt normal conversation.

  4. #4
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    First of all lets actually see the current Religious Policy of TSA so we know what we are talking about
    The Religious Policy

    The Scout Movement includes Members of many different forms of religion. The following policy has received the approval of the heads of the leading religious bodies in the United Kingdom.

    All Members of the Movement are encouraged to:
    * make every effort to progress in the understanding and observance of the Promise to do their best to do their duty to God;
    * belong to some religious body;
    * carry into daily practice what they profess.
    I do not believe it is possible for an Atheist to be a Leader under this religious policy as Atheists have an active disbelief in God(s) and religion. So if we were to allow atheists to become Leaders then the religious policy would have to be rewritten.

    IMHO anyone who is prepared to make the current promise including the word God (or suitable subsitution depending on religion) and is prepared include the Beliefs and Attitudes zone of the programme into their section's programmes should be eligible to be a Leader. If anyone feels that they can't make the Promise and more importantly include this part of the programme then they are not suited to being a Leader in Scouting.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  5. #5
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    Most Buddhists are atheists, and can specifically be members (there's even a factsheet pointing out how closely Buddhist values mesh with Scouting values). How good or moral a person is has, in my experience, little or nothing to do with whether or not they profess a religious or spiritual belief.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mang's Avatar
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    I have re-voted and look forward to reading this thread as it develops. I think Richard and co were right to pull it as I personally gave up on the thread some time before it was pulled.
    The Outdoor Traditionalist (a largely bushcraft blog). Have a look at this how to page for things to try.
    http://austinlill.blogspot.co.uk/

  7. #7
    aka "Old Battle Axe" tomahawk's Avatar
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    If an atheist is prepared to treat other peoples beliefs and values with respect, and to accept that faith (not religion) is a core part of the movement, then it is up to them and their conscience as to whether they join the movement.

    Balance, Tolerance, Respect.

    And thats all I have to say about that.

  8. #8
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    Shifty, Duncan & Tomahawk - I fully agree with you guys.

    Among the many friends I have in Scouting are 2 guys at completely different ends of the scale with regards to this issue. One of them is a clergyman in the Church of England and on the HQ Faith & Beliefs Team - the other has no active faith (by choice) and would not be offended if described as an Atheist. Both of them in their time have run successful Troops, Packs & Colonies and have ALWAYS ensured that the full programme is available to the YP they support.

    I know for a fact they have had frequent dicussions about this topic, and to the best of my knowledge have not had to resort to perosnal attacks or insults.

    I'm all for changing the Association's Religious Policy - I'm a regular Churchgoer, but like those posters I've mentioned, I have no problem in working with someone who is adult and mature enough to support and respect the beliefs of others and ensures that the YP they work with get to see EVERY option.

    I personally don't like canoeing - but I wouldn't for a second think of stopping my Explorers from doing it. Why would people think that Atheists would do the same with the Faith & Beliefs part of the programme
    Richard Sams "Doughboy"

  9. #9
    is it senior or very old TRH's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this and was contimplating posting something similar to Bob. I realise the difficulty the Escouts team and the mods have and again praise them for doing an excellant job. There are rules, codes of conduct on the posts and varrying methods of sanctions. But to completely nuke the whole thread ???.

    To me the current SA religious policy definately needs to be re written. But how do you get round the rewording of the Promise. ....... to do my duty to God, or if an Ateist, I will promise..... doesn't slip easily of the tounge.

    Or do we throw the baby out with the bath water and drop any mention of God in the promise. I don't go to church, I don't favour any religion/faith etc but do believe in a God as a creator. Weither He (has to be a man, with so much wrong with the world) is proactive, judgemental etc is an other theological debate fo another time. The vast majority of members have some affiliation to a certain faith (not religion) so why should their promise be altered to suit the few.

    In the pole I did vote Yes to allow atheists as leaders but I am sure some wise person will come up with a form of words to include them in the promise. I am sure that some atheists are already leaders and do what Tomahawk suggests but how do we make that official?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    The topic is should Athiests be allowed to be Leaders? and the Religious policy. Nothing else. You must stay on topic

    We do not expect to see comments regarding seperate religions or personal attacks.
    Fear not Richard, I won't be posting. The issue cannot be considered without the freedom to discuss the issues openly.

    I had no intention of offending but I won't apologise for my beliefs. I will not have my honour and honesty questioned in such a way as it was.

    I think it would have been much better had you dropped this thread and not restarted it. To have removed it was one thing, to restart it with conditions is censorship and you know how I feel about that :-)

    Ewan Scott

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I do not believe it is possible for an Atheist to be a Leader under this religious policy as Atheists have an active disbelief in God(s) and religion.
    But that is the key question - can an atheist fulfill the religious policy? If you are saying no you need to justify why they can't. I can't see any reason why an atheist is necessarily unable to encourage other members in the way the policy states any more than a theist is necessarily able to do it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Fear not Richard, I won't be posting. The issue cannot be considered without the freedom to discuss the issues openly.

    I had no intention of offending but I won't apologise for my beliefs. I will not have my honour and honesty questioned in such a way as it was.

    I think it would have been much better had you dropped this thread and not restarted it. To have removed it was one thing, to restart it with conditions is censorship and you know how I feel about that :-)

    Ewan Scott
    As Ewan said:

    it's ok to say that Atheists don't do any good in the world, are dishonest and dishonourable in the scouts but it's not ok to say that Christianity is the cuase of much hatred and violence (far less personal an attack!)?

    Christianity has withstood 2,000 years... a thread on escouts will not dent it.

    If people have never had their views challenged and in far more probing fashion... (If you believe in God and somebody close to you dies horribly... that is a much deeper, more difficult attack on your faith than anything ES can conjure up) Ewan... although wrong! is far from unusual in his ideas. nor is he particularly vitriolic... i have heard worse and i have heard much more ignorant.

    He was starting down some classic anti religious arguments. No more shocking than an interview with pullman or dawkins. Religion is very personal, so a thread on religion will be personal. If I attack ewan's beliefs... he will know it is not a personal attack.

    If i point to some classic pro religion arguments (belief is hardwired into us, pascal's wager etc) he knows that i am not attacking him. On this level... it is banter, jousting, time killing...


    so... delete this thread. It is about religion, religion is personal and people will take it personally.

    Oh and yes to atheists as leaders. even Ewan

  13. #13
    Senior Member Biscit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I do not believe it is possible for an Atheist to be a Leader under this religious policy as Atheists have an active disbelief in God(s) and religion. So if we were to allow atheists to become Leaders then the religious policy would have to be rewritten.
    Well it is a policy. If we change our stance policies will have to be changed, it's not automatically a bad thing.

    No change is as bad as a change for the worst.

    We should not be afraid to re-examine our values, or interpret someone questioning our values as attacking them. If we re-examine our values and find no change is necessary, it is not a wasted effort as our values will be all the stronger for it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Oh and yes to atheists as leaders. even Ewan
    Just for the record, and as I said in my response that was deleted. I am NOT an atheist. I have a belief, I have faith, but I do not hold with organised religion.

    See, now this is where it gets difficult to discuss without looking at specifics. You have made presumptions. I guess you didn't see my response which answered all these questions, I thought civilly and with due respect to ALL other faiths. But apparently it is okay for some do denigrate another man's faith, but not to have one's own questioned, by some here. Anyway. I said I wasn't going to get involved again, and I'm out of this one.

    Ewan Scott

  15. #15
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Just for the record, and as I said in my response that was deleted. I am NOT an atheist. I have a belief, I have faith, but I do not hold with organised religion.

    Ewan Scott
    apologies... it was an easy way to end, unthinking... nothing more...

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