God and Queen

To God and The Queen

So the 1st January 2014 has now passed and we can now as scouts, “uphold our scouting values” in line with the alternative promise

God_Buddy_ChristI am not a person who would say they have religion, or that they have a belief in God. I am probably an atheist, however I am not a fan of that term because of the loons that are often associate with it.  If asked I always tend to say I don’t have religion but I do have faith.

So as someone who does not have religion, and is a part of UK Scouting what promise will I say?

Well I will say

On My honour, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen
To help other people
and keep the Scout Law

But why it mentions GOD?

Well because it is MY promise, it is the promise that I was first invested into the Scout Association with and I know what those words mean to me.

I don’t say the word god and picture a white dude with a beard, I don’t picture an actual person sat some where with angels doing his every beck and call. I don’t picture a student of Tony Hart, spend seven day with a packed of plasticine his parents gave him for Christmas building this world.

So the word god, in my scout promise has never really refer to a “person” it has always referred to my faith in myself to have integrity, to have respect for other and for items, to care and cooperate with the people I meet on the journey of life. It referred to my faith in my family, my faith in fellow scouters to guide and support me as I try to do for them and my faith that if there is an omnipresent person upon high he/she/they will have faith in me to make my own choices and allow, respect and support the choices made by others.

So for the best part of 30 years the word god in my promise has meant something to me, I therefore don’t feel the need to change that.

Finally I have been saying a set of words for 30 years, And they roll off my tongue with out thinking. I have tried saying the alternate version and it just does not scan right in my brain.

However enough about me what about you, will you be clambering to use the alternate promise when you next have to say it?

Let me know in the comments

TTFN Kiff

©ChrisMeadows2014
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5 Comments


  • To start I should also note that I class myself as an atheist; although I can understand why one would not want to use that label as it often springs the image of a ‘militant atheist’ into the mind. I am not a militant or aggressive atheist in any sense, I believe and respect that all people should be allowed to believe entirely what they like – whether it is no god, one god, two gods, or more. So long as everyone respects the views of others, you won’t find me kicking up a fuss. (Isn’t it a shame that I feel the need to precursor my point with this clarification? Not all atheists want to see the total demise of religion y’know!).

    Now that’s out of the way…

    I have been a Scout from the age of 6, and up until the age of about 16 I had no qualms about saying ‘Duty to God’ in my promise as I didn’t really think about what I was saying/promising. This, within itself, is an issue that I think needs addressing – alas, that is for another time. However, since I was 16 I have been one of the numerous Scouters who recites their promise with their fingers crossed behind their backs (either physically or metaphorically).

    I can completely understand your position that, after years of saying the same promise, you have been able to quantify the meaning of ‘God’ in respect to your own personal situation. For me, however, that isn’t possible. Firstly, because I am lucky enough not to be quite as old as you Kiff(!), and so it isn’t quite so engrained. Secondly, because to me the word God has too strong a tie with organised religion.

    Like yourself, I consider that I am a faithful man. I have faith in the beauty and power of nature; faith in the ability of man to prosper and grow together for the common good; and – in a Scouting sense – faith in young people to develop to their true potential. For some reason, society has got to the stage where having this level of faith is not quite enough, unless you fix a bearded deity on top of it all. My the view is quite the contrary, you can be faithful without being religious.

    I am looking forward to the next opportunity that I have to take my promise; to be able to say it whole-heartedly and without my fingers metaphorically crossed. It will not change how I approach faith and religion in Scouting; I will still explore the development of young people’s ideas about faith and religion in the ways I always have. However it will allow me to do all this in the knowledge that I have taken my promise honestly. Up until now, it has been a terrible truth that just after making the promise to do my best, I have lied.

    Chris


    • Chris

      Thanks for your comment, it almost did not make it past the approvals committee with the dig at my age ( Note to self maybe next post should tackle ageism in Scouting)

      I am very happy that you now feel you are able to take your promise without perpetuating a lie.

      In my mind there what no lie because, I think that God was a good idea that was ruined for a large number of people by religion. Then again maybe there is a White dude with a long beard and we will all be damn.

      K


  • What they say ↑

    As an occasionaly church going Christian (I’m CofE so being a bit woolly is traditional) I agree with you both. Live and let live. If you’re religious, fine, if not, fine. Just please don’t expect me to think you are ‘right’! I may not be!

    I think the SA have got it right by both ‘doing’ God and giving people the alternative and that we’ve not gone down the Guides’ route and cut out religion entirely. The Guides have upset a lot of people by removing faith totally from their promise.