Atheist Quickie #3

From Person with Name

I am an atheist, and I am also currently a Boy Scout. I have thought about leaving for a while, but it is a lot of fun. Please help me decide if I should leave or not.

I don’t know why, but I just loooove the sound of my own keyboard, so I have to respond:

I can’t give you too much advice – I am far less qualified than your friends or family who know you and your situation better. But, since I love giving advice, I’d point out that the Boy Scouts of America is a huge organization with some very frustrating problematic leadership on the National level, but which on a local level has at least some de facto autonomy. If your local groups are accepting and positive, you should support and join them. It’s a bit more complicated if they feel that your lack of a religious view is an issue, or you feel that they will and you have to remain quiet about it. In that case, it’s worth deciding where that line is for you. It’s easy in some senses to walk into the room with a tee-shirt that says, THERE IS NO GOD and see what everyone does. But there are many times where religion is out of context – and while I have no problem saying what I believe, I feel that it’s just as obnoxious to bring that out up out of nowhere as it is when believers do. If they’re fine with you, and your lack of belief isn’t an issue, AND you don’t feel a strong need to share it with them – a lot of ands – I think you should just go for it. If, however, you feel uncomfortable, especially if they are bringing up their religious beliefs, then you might carefully and respectfully state your views and gauge their reaction before you make any decisions. Now, finally, you might have been wondering if it’s problematic to even be associated to a group that doesn’t technically support what you believe – that’s a different story. It is – and you are by extension supporting an organization that is sometimes hateful and often bigoted. But it’s equally unfair to the local Boy Scout group to assume that they are like that, and you have the right to factor in your own happiness. Either way, what you do will be right.

Hope that rambling helps you think through your decision.

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