Taking oath on Bible as a court witness, but do not believe in God

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posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by grainofsand
 





I would say it is encouraging me to pretend in publically recorded open court that I have faith in a religion.


MEH, who cares, you think it will make world news?







posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by Stormdancer777
I think I would do whatever it took to balance the judgement in your favor, if you really Believe not swearing on the Bible might cause you a problem.

I believe there is the chance (no matter how small) of a situation where not choosing the religious oath could prdjudice a magistrates subjective opinion on my character and validity as a witness.


I don't see how swearing on one can hurt you, and if it helps your case, go for it.

I agree, I would not suffer any harm, but a not-guilty verdict in this case would create a risk of future harm to the victim of the defendant.
If I'm forced to declare my views in open court about religion prior to testifying, then I am drawn towards pretending to share the same belief as any potential religiously zealous magistrates who may be on the bench during the case.

The forced choice should not exist in my opinion. Religious faith is irrelevant to truth and it is unfortunate that witnesses are forced to make beliefs public before giving evidence.



posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by Stormdancer777
reply to post by grainofsand
 





I would say it is encouraging me to pretend in publically recorded open court that I have faith in a religion.


MEH, who cares, you think it will make world news?





Haha, actually did laugh out loud then!
I'm sure my sell-out will not be spoken about by our childrens children, but the principle bothers me nonetheless.



posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 11:27 AM
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reply to post by grainofsand
 





Religious faith is irrelevant to truth and it is unfortunate that witnesses are forced to make beliefs public before giving evidence.


I understand, think of it as a personal act of integrity, just a formality.

"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘"You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’" But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one (Matt. 5:33-37).



posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by Stormdancer777
reply to post by grainofsand
 





Religious faith is irrelevant to truth and it is unfortunate that witnesses are forced to make beliefs public before giving evidence.


I understand, think of it as a personal act of integrity, just a formality.

"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘"You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’" But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one (Matt. 5:33-37).

Although I do not believe in the words of the Bible as anything more than a work of fiction, I do concede that the sentiment of 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no,' 'no' is wholly sensible and would avoid any prejudicial subjective opinions being made when witnesses are forced to reveal religious views.
A simple change to the law could provide a non-religious declaration of truth for all required to give testimony in court. This would certainly give more credence to the idea of an unbiased judicial system.



posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 11:44 AM
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reply to post by grainofsand
 


I think at one time the taking of an oath gripped people with the fear of divine retribution if they lied.

Not so much today.



posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 11:54 AM
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Originally posted by Stormdancer777
reply to post by grainofsand
 


I think at one time the taking of an oath gripped people with the fear of divine retribution if they lied.

Not so much today.


I would imagine in the days of little scientific understanding and mass indoctrination by established churches there were many people who feared the wrath of God. The change probably developed gradually as people realised there was no evidence of any divine punishment resulted from lying on oath, but plenty of evidence to show the benefits of a not-guilty verdict in a criminal court.

Another reason perhaps demonstrating the outdated nature of a religiously loaded promise to tell the truth.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 04:44 PM
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reply to post by grainofsand
 

Pseudo compliance is the way forwards.

Why allow the belief system of another to affect the out come of a decision

which will have possible serious consequences on some one else's life.

Magistrates are just people

And as a previous poster has demonstrated

Zealots of any kind can not be trusted to be rational.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by marvinthemartian
reply to post by grainofsand
 

Pseudo compliance is the way forwards.

Why allow the belief system of another to affect the out come of a decision

which will have possible serious consequences on some one else's life.

Magistrates are just people

And as a previous poster has demonstrated

Zealots of any kind can not be trusted to be rational.


It does appear that until more of our society is comfortable with people who do not believe in any gods, it is sensible to err on the side of caution if the situation is serious enough.
If I were serving on a jury I would 'affirm' but the smallest risk of a religious zealot being one of the magistrates draws me towards pretending to believe in the (established) Church of England's version of a god.

I've been searching hard for any statistics on the numbers of witnesses who affirm instead of taking the religious oath. So far nothing, but it would be interesting to see the figures, then compare them to the ratio of jury members and defendants who take the oath, cross referenced with the last census figures on people with no faith.

For example, 32% of my own UK home nation (Wales) declared no religious beliefs in the 2011 census.
It would be very interesting to see the proportion of witnesses who chose to affirm instead of taking the oath in Welsh courts. I would imagine less than 32%.



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 02:50 PM
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reply to post by grainofsand
 


The thing is we live in a world where most people don't think that deeply.

I think most people just want to get in and get out again cause court freaks them out.

But the more you think about it the more i see your point

Magistrates are just people but they are considered to be piillars of the community

which leads me to think there is probably a high proportion of church goers in their ranks

now being a church goer doesn't make you a zealot but

a percentage of them will be.



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:49 PM
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Sorry for the late reply, this is not intended as a 'bump' just more of a follow up post to provide a conclusion to the issues in the OP.

The violent criminal who I would have testified against has chosen to plead guilty so I am no longer required to present my evidence in the criminal court.
I am of mixed feelings about this because I know the guy has only gone for a pre-hearing guilty plea as under British justice this will result in a reduced punishment. I am pleased to be in the situation where I do not have to choose to take the religious oath on a bible or the non-religious affirmation to tell the truth though.

In the 2 months since I've last posted here I can honestly say that I had still not decided if I was going to be truthful and choose the affirmation, or deceptive and take the religious oath to avoid potential discrimination in the event of the magistrates being hard-core Christians who might have their opinions clouded by thoughts of my lack of faith.

I will say though, I am still passionately of the mind that in modern day UK it is a scandal that anyone giving evidence is forced to reveal this single aspect of their character in advance of testimony, by being forced to choose a religious or non religious promise to tell the truth in open court.
What is wrong with a simple promise?

The sooner religion and coercion to declare faith (or lack thereof) is removed from the UK justice system, the sooner we will have a more fair and transparent system for all, defendants and witnesses alike.





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