Friday, July 22, 2016

The Reverent Atheist

It is very gratifying for a mom to have an adult son who lets her know he thinks she knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

Currently the discussion revolves around politics. And boy scouting. Rich was a boy scout for several years. He's taken a lot of his values system from that experience. How it comes into play right now is in a Facebook discussion with a Trump supporter, anathema to Richard. This  person is also a former boy scout, in fact an Eagle Scout, a rank which requires a lot of work to earn. Rich is trying to use those values in his discussions to persuade this guy how opposite to those scouting values the guy he supports is. Occasionally he emerges back into the analog world to pick my brain.

We've had several long discussions. As part of them, Rich tells me he's picked up most of the scouting values himself as ones to live his own life by, at least as well as he can.  Nobody's perfect, we all know. But he tries.

There is just one area where he can't see himself following the scout rules: reverence. Loyal, thrifty, brave, all the rest he has no problem adopting. But he sees reverent as an issue because he considers himself an atheist.

We examined that for a while. The oath itself doesn't say a boy scout is Christian. Nor Jewish. Nor Muslim, Bhuddhist, Taoist, Shinto, Hindu, Wiccan, or a member of and believer in any particular theology. The word is specifically "reverent." Not even "religious." Just "reverent".

He agreed.

I had a couple more questions for him. Did he respect the world around him and the things in it? You know, trees, mountains, birds, clouds, all that?

Yes, he did. Of course.

Did he feel a sense of awe at how the world was all put together along with the universe it inhabited?

Oh yes, it was overwhelmingly awesome.

Well, that's reverence.

You've got it.