1. Chris

    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

      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.


  2. 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.

    • Thanks for the comment

  3. […] Fact Four – Despite not really having a religion so to speak, I will still say “to God and to the Queen” because it was the promise that I was first invested with and therefore I feel it is my promise (More on that here) […]

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