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A majority of Americans would likely offer at least mild support for the BSA's officially non-sectarian, religious requirements, just as they support the recitation of prayers at every presidential inaugural. To qualify as a Boy Scout or, it seems, as president , you have to swear a loyalty oath to God as well as country.

Atheism vs Religion (Pt. 2) - David Silverman & Paul Provenza - SPIRITUALITY - Rubin Report

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. Reciting that prayer annoyed and alienated but didn't harm me.

Christopher Hitchens: The Last Good American Atheist

In fact, it helped shape my commitment to rights of speech and silence, which perhaps made me a better citizen, although not in ways that the drafters of the prayer intended. Eventually, in , the Supreme Court found New York's mandatory prayer unconstitutional: It violated the rights of students not to pray.

But private associations are more like private individuals than public schools, and they have their own First Amendment rights to require declarations of belief in God. Are there or should there be legal limits on the Scouts' right to discriminate? Yes, of course. Despite its allegiance to God, the BSA is not a religious organization, much less a church, and it is or should be barred by state and federal law from engaging in religious discrimination against employees.

But atheists or agnostics who are barred or expelled from membership in the Scouts cannot and should not look to the courts for help.


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Atheists who want to join associations that disdain them have to change the culture, not the law. Like gays and lesbians, they have to challenge popular notions of sin and immorality. And they have to sever the connection between godliness and patriotism, especially if they want to join the Scouts. That international study found the same effect to be true in the United States.

Did religion make them happier, as previous studies had shown? Absolutely, according to the data — but they still were worse off than the contented residents of more affluent states, where religion mattered less. Scientists are now discovering that non-religious communities of like-minded people can offer individuals the same kind of happiness-inducing social support as religious communities.

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A peaceful, cooperative society, even in the absence of religion, seems to have the same effect. Picture two priests bending over a coffin. Inside reclines a yellow round icon — no body, no hands; just round ball — with a smiling face. Religion at times, creates an aura of happiness within a structural confine like a church or a synagogue or mosque…but what happens to that happiness syndrome when the structural supports are gone?

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Emotions in all their diverse applications can produce something that satisfies temporarily…or deep within the human psyche is something else that speaks to us that creates numerous emotional and intellectual reactions and we feel a certain sense of satisfaction in the knowing; happiness whatever? Two mallards were resting in our garden this morning; shelter from the cold lake winds I suppose. Happy ducks? Enough already — happiness is fleeting more than a stationary state of mind that cannot be realistically analysed in one study…even two?

Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the coiled form of superstition — then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity.

Once people cross the point or remain on the primitive side of the point, there is a drastic difference in interpretation. Primitive mankind saw the flat earth and the recovery of the sick as miraculous, because they were unable to grasp the scientific reality reasonableness. Where religion represents a smorgasbord of possibilities, I suspect most people choose their religions based on their own personality attributes especially their personality deficits and dysfunctions. Naturally disgruntled people tend to find expressions of faith which provide for them reasons for their disgruntlement and thereby, reinforce their current state rather than leading and guiding them toward better psychological and spiritual balance.

Sadly, in the most rigid expressions of religion conservative and liberal, both , the particular set of personality deficits and dysfunctions exhibited by the historical and current leaders of those religious groups and institutions tend to be regarded as normal and desirable,…. More flexible faith expressions tend not to lock the youngsters being raised among them into such molds and are, thereby, able to assist each youngster to make the most of the person God designed them to be.


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  5. Therefore, the more rigid expressions of faith tend not to point their adherents beyond themselves and their institutions, institutional ideals, historical texts and dogma toward the God they claim to be the inspiration for those things,…. I fear that, when God seeks to inspire the members of our most self-righteously religious organizations whether liberal or conservative to move beyond the dictates and dogmas of their churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.

    God meets massive resistance, since those people will generally resist and reject the changes God is constantly seeking to bring into the world through those whose emotional balance and spiritual health make it possible for them to notice and respond to the inklings God nudges into their hearts, their minds, their imaginations, and their intuitions whether they recognize their source or not. Addendum to Happy Ducks story: Neighbor dog just passed by.