Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Do you know if you have to swear on the bible in court in Britain?

I have heard you still have to do this in most cases. But what really is the point if your an atheist or of another religion. Also if you are Christian it is wrong to swear upon the bible.

"Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned." (James 5:12)

So anyone who ever swore upon the bible will be condemned am I correct?

14 Answers

  • Paul
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I agree with your point 100% and James 5:12 (parallelled in Matthew 5:36-37) which is why I refuse on principle to swear on the bible. Even as an agnostic I think it is extremely hypocritical to swear on the very book which commands not to swear.

    In courts of England you must make a statement that you take the court very seriously and are not making a light statement that you could revoke on a whim. There are three options the courts give you:

    1. Swear on the Holy Bible.

    2. Swear on some other holy book.

    3. Make an affirmation.

    An affirmation is merely a statement carefully worded saying you affirm that you will not be lying but will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (or some similarly worded statement).

    When I was called up for jury duty I went for option 3.

  • Jimbo
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    You're right that it is weird that there should be a culture of swearing on a book that condemns people for swearing oaths within Christianity. My dad, a Mormon, would never swear on the Bible, when he was in court (as a policeman), but mainstream Christianity seems to miss this hypocrisy.

    Of course the idea is pretty old, but in the modern world it is ok to make an affirmation. If this is true, why maintain the swearing on the holy books at all? Indeed, why bother with the affirmation? Just tell people that if they are found to have lied, things won't go well for them.

  • 5 years ago

    1) answer to original question, No you dont. You will have to sear ( vow / promise ) some sort of oath but it doest have to be on a Bible.

    2) as far as being a Christian goes, you "shouldnt swear on the bible" , so make some other type of oath affirmation. Its just a legal way to make you recognize the seriousness of what you say. If you lie to me your a liar, and you probably dont care anyway, lie to a court and its perjury and carries jail time, and you will care :)

  • Yes, as a Christian, your word should be sufficient without having to say "I swear to God", "I cross my heart and hope to die", or put your hand on the Bible.

    Jesus also talked about how anything beyond simply letting your yes be yes and your no be no comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

    Thus, technically God's desires should be held higher even than those of our governing authorities. We are to submit to them except where they are in conflict with God's requests, so it would be the "most" correct thing in a court of law where they asked you to swear if you quickly referenced this truth from God and your strong conviction thereto as a believer and simply gave your word that you would not lie, which should be sufficient.

    I haven't ever seen anyone with enough courage to do this, but it would be very refreshing.

    Also, I'm not sure if the "condemned" the scripture is talking about is by "man" or by "God". People who are constantly swearing that they are telling the truth tend to lose credibility as you wonder why they feel the need to swear if they are sooo trustworthy. Thus, a defendant in a court of law who continued making comments about swearing that it happened the way he said would likely lose enough credibility with a jury to be "condemned".

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  • 1 decade ago

    Taking an oath on the Bible does not involve using swear words, it is something along the lines of "I swear to judge the facts set before me fairly and without prejudice...." with one hand on the Bible.

    If you are not a Christian you may affirm, which is basically making a promise to judge the facts fairly etc. without any holy book being involved.

    Source(s): I've been a juror in the UK
  • valvo
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Christians are to no longer swear. US courts admire this so we could respond with a confident or no as scripture facilitates. Mat 5:33 ¶ lower back, ye have heard that it hath been mentioned by using them of old time, Thou shalt no longer forswear thyself, yet shalt carry out unto the Lord thine oaths: Mat 5:34 yet I say unto you, Swear on no account; neither by using heaven; for that's God's throne: Mat 5:35 Nor by using the earth; for that's his footstool: neither by using Jerusalem; for that's the city of the super King. Mat 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by using thy head, by using fact thou canst no longer make one hair white or black. Mat 5:37 yet permit your verbal substitute be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for in any admire is extra beneficial than those cometh of evil.

  • 1 decade ago

    There is an opt out of this requirement for people who find this requirement unacceptable to their faith. I know for definite that Jehovah's Witnesses will not swear on the Bible but I am unsure about any other faith

    I am sure that if you feel strongly about it you atheists can opt out too.

  • You have made a very interesting question, but then again the bible says not to judge people but christians do that all the time so they are going to hell for that either way

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    'Swearing' doesn't mean saying rude words or means promising to tell the truth. People usually don't like telling lies on something sacred to them. Atheists could probably swear 'on the life of my child', a Muslim could swear on the Koran, a Jew on the Torah etc. Once you've sworn an oath....if you're then found to have told a lie you could be prosecuted for perjury.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You take an oath using the Holy book relevant to you or if you do not wish to use religious item you simply affirm to tell the truth. You don't actually swear or even blaspheme.

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