The first article is the originating piece that prompted the follow-up article by Godfather Politics.  There are some great arguments made proving why the Godless among us will never be satisfied...much less the gay community.  They will continue to push and try to force their beliefs and ways of life upon us, all the while never finding true peace and happiness amongst themselves.  Those of us who live according to the teachings of Christ have found much peace and happiness and they can't stand it.


 

Good Boy Scouts don't need God: Column

Tom Krattenmaker

12 May 2013

USA Today

atheist boy scouts

(Photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)

Who said people can't be moral without religion?

Depending on what happens at the Boy Scouts' national meeting this month, gay Scouts might soon be accepted into the venerable organization. Even then, there will remain a large and growing group of Americans still barred by the Boy Scouts.

When will the Boy Scouts accept the non-religious?

The Boy Scouts of America recognizes an impressive range of religious affiliations that qualify one as "reverent" and, thus, eligible to participate. Two dozen varieties of Christianity get the nod, plus Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Bahai'ism and more. However, the non-religious are not welcome, and that poses a problem the Boy Scouts should address in addition to the sexual orientation question drawing so much attention.

Undergirding the Boy Scouts' ban is the dubious premise that people cannot be moral without religious belief. It's an assumption that non-believers are wisely challenging as the public face of atheism moves away from angry anti-religious diatribes, typified by the late Christopher Hitchens, toward a positive expression of non-belief summed up by the pithy phrase "good without God."

Can atheists be good Scouts? Neil Polzin's story suggests a resounding "yes." Polzin, now 29, contributed to a successful life-and-death rescue operation during a Boy Scouts backpacking trip when he was 13. He later became an Eagle Scout and an aquatics program director as an adult. In 2009, as he tells it, a rival who wanted his job made an issue of the fact that Polzin is an atheist. Hoping to clear the air, Polzin notified his regional council of his atheism — and was unceremoniously booted.

One would think that his long track record would have proved his skill and moral worthiness by that point. But all the years of good Scouting and service were erased by a single dreaded word: atheist.

Margaret Downey, president of the Freethought Society (and the mother of a young man who was barred from the Scouts as a boy), is leveraging the new focus on Boy Scout inclusion policies to prompt a fresh look at its ban on atheists. Downey welcomes the new momentum for inclusion of gay Scouts. Even so, she asks, why no consideration of non-believing boys, too? "There is no question that people can be good without a god belief," Downey says. The Boy Scouts offer a great program, she adds, "yet their bigoted membership policies are harmful."

Welcoming non-believers might seem a difficult bridge to cross for the Boy Scouts and traditionalists who defend current membership requirements. Wouldn't acceptance of atheists force revisions to the Boy Scout Oath, which pledges duty to God and country? Why should a private, voluntary organization have to do that, particularly when most Scout troops are chartered by churches?

These and other obstacles can be navigated through nuance, common sense and mutual respect. Let the churches that charter Scout troops adopt the attitude that churches usually adopt when it comes to non-believers: Welcome them in the hope of having a positive influence on them. Require atheist Scouts to respect the religion of their fellow Scouts, leaders and sponsors, with the assurance that their non-belief will be respected in kind. And, as Downey suggests, an additional "o" can go a long way; let the atheist Scout pledge his devotion to "good" rather than "God."

Ultimately, it would be self-defeating for the Boy Scouts to forfeit the chance to spread Scouting skills and values among the population of people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise not religious. More and more youths are growing up in non-religious homes; why would the organization squander the opportunity to serve and influence these boys?

Yes, as a private association, the Boy Scouts have a right to decide for themselves who's in and who's out. But just because they can exclude atheists doesn't mean they should.

"There are millions of young, secular Americans committed to civic duty, community service and personal improvement," says August Brunsman, executive director of the Secular Student Alliance. "They're looking to serve their country alongside their religious friends, and it's long past time for the Boy Scouts to wake up and let these admirable young men serve."

It's the right thing to do. And here's the bonus: Once the Boy Scouts open up to non-believers, they're going to discover they have a lot to contribute — just as they've been contributing all along.

Tom Krattenmaker is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors and author of the new book The Evangelicals You Don't Know.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors.



 

Can the Boy Scouts Be Good Without God?

15 May 2013
 
 
 

Tom Krattenmaker says that atheists can be good without God. His article in USA Today (“Good Boy Scouts Don’t Need God,” May 13, 2013) attempts to make the case that atheists are good people. They don’t believe in God and yet they perform good deeds. No they don’t and they don’t do bad deeds either.

If there is no God, there are no morals for anyone. There is neither good nor evil. Whatever a person does cannot be evaluated in moral terms. Evolution knows nothing about morality. Let me be clear. I am not saying that atheists are immoral people. Most atheists do not murder, steal, and rape. But if they did, given the nature of the atheistic worldview, if they were truly consistent with their materialistic operating assumptions, there wouldn’t be anything morally wrong with killing people for whatever reason, or raping to advance the species, or stealing to grow the evolutionary model.

The atheist borrows morality from the theistic worldview. He does the same with logic, love, and laughter.

Atheists admit as much, even though they are not consistent with their operating assumptions. Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1886–1961) wrote:

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.”[1]

A materialist can measure the temperature of a corpse, determine the approximate time of death, and how the evolved entity’s life was extinguished, but there is nothing inherent in the atheist’s worldview that can say that there is any moral difference if the bullet to the meat bag was murder, self-defense, or suicide. Death is death, and there’s nothing beyond the cold corpse. The after death future of the world’s greatest philanthropist is no different from that of the world’s greatest genocidal maniac.

The atheist has to go outside his matter-only worldview to find any moral light. An atheist cannot find moral certainty in the atoms of matter-only worldview.

Atheist William Provine, historian of science and of evolutionary biology and population genetics, has concluded that “modern science directly implies that there are no inherent moral or ethical laws.”[2]

 

In a debate with Intelligent Design (ID) advocate Phillip E. Johnson, Provine admitted that there are “no ultimate foundations for ethics.”

Christian philosopher Norman L. Geisler states:

“How would you know that the Holocaust is ultimately wrong unless you knew what was ultimately right? If you don’t have an absolute standard for right, you can’t say that [the Holocaust] is absolutely wrong. That’s just your opinion, and somebody else’s opinion could be, the Holocaust was the best thing in the history of mankind.[3]

This is why an atheist must act in a clandestine way as an “interloper on God’s territory. Everything he uses to construct his system has been stolen from God’s ‘construction site.’ The unbeliever is like the little girl who must climb on her father’s lap to slap his face. . . . [T]he unbeliever must use the world as it has been created by God to try to throw God off Hs throne.”[4]

Robert Bork, in the Preface to Herbert Schlossberg’s book Idols for Destruction, recognizes the “borrowed capital” principle:

“Some few years ago friends whose judgment I greatly respect argued that reli­gion constitutes the only reliable basis for morali­ty and that when religion loses its hold on a society, standards of mo­rality will gradually crumble. I objected that there were many moral people who are not at all religious; my friends replied that such people are living on the moral capital left by generations that believed there is a God and that He makes demands on us. The pros­pect, they said, was that the remaining moral capital would dwindle and our society become less moral. The course of society and culture has been as they predict­ed, which cer­tainly does not prove their point but does provide evidence for it.[5]

Atoms, electricity, gravity, DNA, mud, sand, or whatever cannot supply the basis for even the category called morality.

If the Boy Scouts give up God, there is no basis for goodness or badness. Atheism is like setting one’s sails “for the island of nihilism. This is the darkest continent of the darkened mind — the ultimate paradise of the fool.”[6]