A young man who earned his Eagle Scout last year is making headlines. He’s been told that he must leave the Boy Scouts of America unless he renounces his atheism. How did this happen?

Darrell Lambert, 19, said he became an atheist in ninth grade, “when he concluded that science had disproved the accounts of creation given in the Bible,” according to the Associated Press.1

National Public Radio (NPR), USA, was so astonished by the story that it interviewed the young Scout to find out why he had become such an outspoken atheist, willing to sacrifice everything for his new convictions.2

NPR host Robert Siegel: “Mr Lambert, do you describe yourself as an atheist?”

Darrell Lambert: “Yeah, I have no belief in God. So yes.”

Siegel: “When did you figure out that you are an atheist?”

Lambert: “I was always agnostic before, and wasn’t really sure, and then in ninth grade I started getting more into science classes, and you know, more and more as I get into high school and in college, evolution just seems to fit better.”

Siegel: “How did this come up with the Boy Scouts? How did this subject arise?”

Lambert: “I was talking with our district committee chairman…. He said that in order to be a good citizen a Scout must believe in God. … I disagreed with him.”

One of the 12 points in the Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law is that a Scout must be “reverent.” But Lambert argues that the Scout leaders are being unfair in making this a test for membership. He notes that they awarded him the rank of Eagle Scout last year in spite of his public acknowledgment of atheism, and they don’t generally “boot out” Scouts for violating other points in the oath, such as refraining from tobacco.

The Scouts are not very demanding on the “reverent” point, either-in fact, it’s sufficient to believe in any Supreme Being, including “Mother Nature.”3 Yet Lambert is so convinced in his atheism-which he learned from his science classes on evolution-that he refuses to bend even on this hollow requirement.

The significance of the story-that the teaching of evolution and millions of years undermines faith in God and the Bible-should be obvious to Christian leaders and youth workers worldwide. A supporter of Answers in Genesis, who works with youth, had this to say:

Dear AiG,

It is not too often I find articles that are so timely. He [Darrell Lambert] rejected his belief in God because science had disproved the accounts of creation given in the Bible.

Thank you for your great work. I consider myself better equipped to do my part in defending the truth of God’s Word largely due to the efforts of your ministry. I do not want to see any youth from my church offer the same excuse as this lost young man [emphasis added].

Keep up the good work!

Now that his evolutionist teachers have converted Mr Lambert to staunch atheism, it seems unlikely (from a human perspective) that he’ll ever return to belief in God. Yet many Christians are praying for him-and writing him-in hopes that God’s light will shine through the darkness. After an incident like this, it would be dreadful to hear some Christian leaders continue to argue that the evolution/creation debate is a secondary issue, not worth fighting over. No, it’s an eternal life-and-death issue that’s determining the fate of millions of young people.

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Footnotes

  1. Johnson, G., Atheist says he’s been booted from Boy Scouts, Yahoo! News (<story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021105/ap_wo_en_po/us_atheist_scout_2>), 4 November 2002. Back
  2. Atheist Boy Scout, interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, 4 November 2002. Back
  3. “Mother Nature would be acceptable [as a Higher Power],” says Brad Farmer, executive of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts. Atheist scout given a week to declare belief, CNN.com (<www.cnn.com/2002/US/West/10/31/atheist.scout.ap>), 31 October 2002. Back