One of the guys had to witness to an employment tribunal, and as a Jew, was happy to swear by Almighty God, to tell the truth, etc. One of the other witnesses was a bishop in what my friend called a 'sub-sect of Christianity', and yet he refused to swear by Almighty God upon the Bible, instead choosing to 'affirm', which is most commonly worded as follows:
‘I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’Which, to me, just sounds like the legal equivalent of a child saying: 'I really, really promise not to lie. No, rrrreeeeeaaaaallllllllllyyyyyyyy.... pinky swear!'
But that aside, what are the implications for people of all faiths? For instance, the guy sitting next to me last night would probably describe himself as atheist. He, however, saw no issue with swearing on the Bible as, well, if you don't believe in it, follow your convictions through because it doesn't really matter, does it?
I think it's important that people get the chance to feel like they are making a promise before God - this may salve their conscience of having to tell the truth, however painful. But I'm not sure I'd be more honest if I swore on the Bible. The Bible is a book that I regard as the word of God, not a straightjacket with which I feel I have to tell the truth because I swore by it.
In a related note, the discussion of the club social activities came up. As you can imagine, a lot of this involves pub crawls and considerable drinking. Now, I have not the desire, inclination or money to participate fully in those kinds of events, yet I want to be social, to make friends and to be the best Jesus possible to these people.
I'm thinking of going teetotal. Any better ideas?