dezembro 29, 2010 § Deixe um comentário

OPPOSING VIEWS, 24-12-2010




Today I learned something rather startling.  Apparently, according to the
assessment tool currently in use by the US Army to measure mental fitness, I am
deficient in the area of “spiritual fitness” and I need to “work hard” to
improve my scores in this area.
Here’s some background on the test.  The Army has a new program called the
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program that is supposed to “create an Army of
balanced, healthy, self-confident Soldiers, Families, and Army civilians whose
resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in an era of high
operational tempo and persistent conflict.”  This quote is extracted directly
from the Army’s official blog at
http://armylive.dodlive.mil/index.php/2009/12/csf-global-assessment-tool/. The
mental health components of this initiative are Emotional Fitness, Social
Fitness, Family Fitness, and Spiritual Fitness.  All soldiers were required to
complete the Global Assessment Tool (GAT) that was designed to measure these
components of fitness and this requirement will soon apply to Army civilians as
well.  As a civilian employee of the Army, I have access to the test, and after
receiving several complaints, I decided to take the test and check this out for
myself.  According to the test website, individual results are not reported to
commanders by name, but commanders will receive an aggregated report of all the
responses in their unit so that they can identify potential issues and conduct
interventions and corrective training if issues are identified.  However, since
I did have to complete the test using my official Army login, it is a certainty
that my individual results are a part of my electronic personnel record and I
have no clear picture concerning what use these results could be put to in the
I have no real way to know if the assessment is exactly the same for soldiers
and civilians, but according to the complaints I received, at least some of the
questions are the same. Here’s a sample of some of the questions I had to

I am a spiritual person.
My life has a lasting meaning.
I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all
the world.
The job I am doing in the military has lasting meaning.
I believe there is a purpose for my life.

I basically answered the questions in the following way, which is the way a lot
of atheists would answer them.  I am not a spiritual person, I don’t believe my
life has a lasting meaning, I do not feel connected to all of humanity and the
world, and I don’t believe my life has a defined purpose.  What I do believe,
and what’s not possible to address using this assessment, is that although there
are no such things as spirits or spiritual connections and human lives have no
preordained meaning, we can make meaning for ourselves which doesn’t require
calling on anything spiritual.  I also believe there is no such thing as being
spiritually connected to humanity but that it is possible to honor and respect
humanity and all life, and that while there is no preordained purpose to my life
other than what I create for myself, there is nothing wrong with that.

Here’s what the test had to say about my responses:

“Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a
sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make
sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel
connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs,
principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There
are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving
your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the
relevant self-development training modules will be helpful. If you need further
help, please do not hesitate to seek out help from the people you care about and
trust – strong people always do. Be patient in your development as it will take
time to improve in this area. Still, persistence is key and you will improve
here if you make this area a priority.”

Wow, what a bunch of hooey.  To say the least, I found this evaluation to be
utterly offensive.  There is NOTHING wrong with me or my beliefs that needs to
be fixed and I firmly believe that any strong atheist like myself cannot
honestly answer the questions in a way that allows them to pass the test.

This morning, American Atheists dispatched a letter to the Secretary of the Army
that alleges that the assessment is flawed and discriminatory and will give
commanders a misleading and false assessment concerning the state of their
units’ fitness and readiness.   We further stated that this assessment violates
the provisions of Army Regulation 600-20 by discriminating against atheist
Soldiers due to their lack of spiritual beliefs and we requested the Army
immediately cease using this assessment until these flaws are fixed and Soldiers
are no longer subjected to a religious test to assess their overall fitness for

Here are the First and Second pages of the letter I sent.

I am interested in your thoughts on this and would especially like to hear from
you Army folks who have taken this assessment. [i]


[Notem as perguntas que fizeram e que o teste que a jornalista fez a reprovou(!)
dizendo basicamente que ela era (basicamente) débil em se relacionar com os


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