1/06/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S. ~
Recently, in the United States, national media has focused on the experiences of a man who spent 25 years in prison because of a wrongful conviction for murder. At the crux of this injustice was the fact that essential EVIDENCE was withheld which would have proven him innocent. Who knows how many have been imprisoned, are still in prison, because of the same reason?
It isn't only the innocent who are deprived of rights because of withheld evidence. Those who are obligated by law to judge the guilt or innocence of the defendant are also involved. Justice is not served without full disclosure of the details as these directly apply to the cases. Strictly speaking, without evidence, there is no case, but merely hearsay, accusations, and even implications of guilt targeting the individual.
The poet Ogden Nash commented, "There are two kinds of sins: those of COMMISSION and those of OMMISSION." The "committed sins," we are continually reminded of in daily life. However, the “omitted" ones can also be grievous, such as withholding evidence (even outside the courtroom) which can prove the innocence or guilt of another. Without all sides of the issue being heard, very serious searches for the truth are denied their “day in court.“
Several times before, I have compared courtroom procedures for determining the truth or falsehood of claims to procedures used for FAITH claims. I am not the ﬁrst to do this. Once again: if a matter is of serious concern, such as in life or death issues, or wrongful conviction, or of powerful demands as to how one must live one’s life, everything must be on the table to be questioned and must be challenged. Yet, religions claim to be EXEMPT from cross- examination! There is NO justice in this tradition, and no respect for truth.
Let us not speak now of a person wrongfully spending 25 years in prison, but of individuals spending lifetimes fearing fabricated damnations, of individuals persecuted, deprived of rights, even killed, as a result of clerical authorities WITHHOLDING evidence of their traditional lying, or having no evidence for their claims at all, no "case" to justify getting away Scot-free, unquestioned. Let us speak now of millions of people held in the bondage of illiteracy for over a thousand years because clergy insisted those people believe whatever they were told was in those holy books, rather than allowing them to ﬁnd out for themselves. Let us speak of the cover-ups religions partake in. And what of their SECRETS unrevealed, the children damaged, the lies perpetrated on the gullible who are taught that “Take our word for it" is synonymous with being virtuous?
An apologist of the early Christian church (Tertullian?) stated that, "A lie is permissible if it advances the kingdom of God.“ What about many lies, you might ask. What if every claim of religion is a lie? What if the truths have been eroded away by the acid of lies so that lies are all that is left? What if the truth has been not only WITHHELD, but entirely OMITTED? How can one know the difference without evidence? These are profound concerns.
On "telling a lie to advance the kingdom of God," one writer remarked (also profoundly), that once such a lie is committed, it might never he retracted, but perpetuated. Thus, we might conclude that once a lie becomes dogma, it MUST become just another traditional "revealed word of God," unquestionable and unexamined. Doubting all claims without evidence, we MUST cross-examine.
Also see: Crimes of Christianity and Lying for God.