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well as morality; – the other is to read that other wonderful old book, the Book of Nature, and to see and study all you can of the wonders and beauties that she has provided for your enjoyment. And then turn your mind to how you can best serve God while you still have the life that He has lent you. B.-P.’s concept of God does not on the whole diverge from the Christian tradition, but the aspect of “love” (caritas) is often stressed: God is not some narrow-minded personage, as some people would seem to imagine, but a vast Spirit of Love that overlooks the minor differences of form and creed and denomination and which blesses every man who really tries to do his best, according to his lights, in his Service. In the definitions Baden-Powell gives of religion he fully catches the two dimensions of a religious person of the Christian tradition: the vertical dimension (human being/God relationship), and the horizontal dimension (human being/human being relationship), the second being related to the first and finding its justification in it. A text written by him in July, 1924 establishes a relation of this “fundamental ethic” with the passage of Matthew 22, 37-40: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind. The second most important commandment is like it: love your neighbour as you love yourself! The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments”. We even get the impression that the commandment B.-P. prefers is the second, especially in view of the following well-known quotation: It is something to be good, but it is far better to do good. The explanation B.-P. gives of the first point of the Scout Promise on duty to God strikes the same note: The Promise that a Scout or Guide makes on joining has as its first point: “To do my duty to God”. Note that it does not say, “To be loyal to God”, since this would merely be a state of mind, but “to DO” something, which is the positive, active attitude. It is here, in this conviction (once again, no doubt, inspired by Christianity) that man has to make a constant effort to go beyond himself and to forget himself for the other. In this spirit of service, we find the essence of Baden-Powell’s philosophy: The only true success is happiness. But: The real way to get happiness is by giving happiness to other people. 8

Two points of B.-P.’s religious conception deserve to be recalled. First, the openly religious

CICS Interreligious Dialogue 2007  

International Catholic Conference on Scouting (ICCS) Interreligious Dialogue 2007 http://www.cics.org/?wpfb_dl=21

CICS Interreligious Dialogue 2007  

International Catholic Conference on Scouting (ICCS) Interreligious Dialogue 2007 http://www.cics.org/?wpfb_dl=21

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