Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Question - Why Do Christians Swear?

Trey Smith

We've all watched the dramatic courtroom scene -- both real and theatrical -- in which the witness raises their right hand and the bailiff asks, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" Once the witness says, "I do," the examination begins.

But why do Christians swear when Jesus is purported to have told them not to? It's written very clearly in Matthew 5:33-37.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
It seems to me that Jesus is urging people to be honest in everything they say, so that "swearing to tell the truth" would be superfluous.

Now we all know that humans can be dishonest when it suits our purposes. So, it easily can be argued that the act of taking an oath is a strictly legal instrument that can be utilized to indict us, if it is later discovered that we were lying. While that may be true, Jesus specifically says not to swear by heaven and, by extension, of God himself. Yet, for as long as I can remember, in the US, this so-called Christian nation has added the words "so help me God" to legal oaths.

Doesn't this addition explicitly contradict the words of the savior?

To see what other questions I've asked about the Christian Bible, go here.

1 comment:

  1. The Amish and Mennonites do not swear oaths for this reason. Simply be truthful in everything you say. I'm not sure if any other Christians refuse to swear oaths; perhaps the Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses?


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