The God-Oath In Court
This is a great site. I don't have time to read all the letters, but I read a few and just had to shake my head and chuckle.
Theists have such a hard time grasping the concept of non-belief.
Maybe you, or one of your readers can help me out. I heard, or read, a little quote that I really like. It goes something like "If ten million people believe a lie, it's still a lie." Do you know who said it? And, if you know it's origin, could you reprint how it goes exactly?
Also, I have a question, that I've never seen debated on an atheist board. If you were summoned to give testimony in court, and asked to place your hand on a bible and give truthful testimony "so help you god",.. what would your response be? My reaction would be to explain that I'm an atheist and that in order to tell the "truth", I must refrain from swearing to a god which does not exist. Of course, any testimony I might give after that would probably be considered a lie anyway. It's kind of a catch22. Have any of your atheist readers been faced with this? I'd like to hear from them. Buz
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Monday, February 21, 2000 6:22 PM
Also, I have a question, that I've never seen debated on an atheist board. If you were summoned to give testimony in court, and asked to place your hand on a bible and give truthful testimony "so help you god", what would your response be?
I appeared before a Grand Jury to testify against a car theft suspect, and told the District Attorney (beforehand) that "even though we atheists are second-class citizens in the United States, most of us do have our principles -- so whatever you have to do to work around the God-oath is fine with me." She allowed me to "affirm" rather than to swear to the Christian God.
Indidentally, a member of the Grand Jury knew me from my forced participation in the Twelve Step program, and thus knew that I am an atheist (as I had refused to keep my atheism a secret during the Twelve Step meetings). He winked at me during the affirmation fiasco, obviously respecting me for self-consistency -- even before the Grand Jury!
A particularly humorous story along these lines, related by The Realist publisher Paul Krassner, lives at:
It goes something like "If ten million people believe a lie, it's still a lie." Do you know who said it?
I don't know who said this, but it's true. Someone also said that if we keep repeating a lie long enough, the people will eventually accept it as truth. This is why we work tirelessly to oppose Pat Robertson's "Christian Nation" lie.
Thomas Paine once said that a man can tell the truth a thousand times, but will unravel his reputation with a single lie. This is why Positive Atheism advocates a personal ethic that says: I do what I say; I say what I do; I keep no secrets.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.