I was a young lawyer struggling to ‘make it' in the world. Our first child was about 6 months old and my wife was determined our baby should be baptised.
Hatched, matched & dispatched
We were married (matched) 3 years before. At our funerals we’ll be dispatched. We’ve both been baptised (hatched). Now it was our baby’s turn.
As I recall 44 years later, Jan’s then belief (unbiblical and no longer held) was the apparent Catholic teaching that if an infant was not baptised within 6 weeks of birth and died, it would not go straight to heaven. She wanted our daughter protected against that possibility.
I agreed to what I nevertheless thought was religious mumbo jumbo. It wasn’t for me. I preferred the logic and excitement, the cut-and-thrust of the courtroom. I wanted the real deal, the drama and argument where logic, the force of a well-reasoned argument and the careful choice and use of words would eventually bring thrilling victory for the client.
Why does Christianity appeal to lawyers?
Not all lawyers of course but from later extensive reading I noticed that over the centuries many famous judges and practising lawyers had been attracted to it. I learned that to be an effective advocate one must anticipate and consider the opponent’s likely argument(s), to know both sides.
I eventually concluded that the grounds supporting Christianity are mature and an intelligent fit with the staggering complexity of reality (including planetary), are ideology-free and are more reasonably persuasive than is the groping stop:start unscientific wishful-thinking of evolution about which it is admitted there is no evidence. Only bias, assumption, inference and misinterpretation.
One of the fundamental rules of natural justice is the requirement to ‘hear the other side’. Failure to observe this is often found in general life but fortunately is elemental in our legal system. Imagine this scenario.
Your day in court
You’ve made an appointment and attended your solicitor’s office after that fateful car accident. You’re nervous. This is going to cost you. Your butcher says lawyers have sharp pencils when it comes to drafting their bill. You and your solicitor go over the ‘facts’ numerous times. The big day arrives. Your wife has engaged baby sitters and you’re off to court. You wait. Nerves intensify. You wait and wait. At last your matter is called.
The prosecutor calls the crown’s witnesses. The judge listens and takes notes. They’ve finished and it’s your turn. But the judge rules in favour of the prosecution, finds you guilty, enters a conviction and fines you thousands of dollars. You now have a record.
But what about my side? This one-sided scenario might happen in China, parts of Africa or the Middle East where the rule of law (well-defined publicly proclaimed laws and a respected independent judiciary) may not apply, but that rule of natural justice does apply everywhere in Australia. Litigants, including governments, obey (and may appeal) court rulings.
Contrary to popular belief the brilliance of cross-examination, being vital to the search for truth, was not invented by British lawyers. God proclaimed it in about the 10th century B.C. The first to present his case seems right till another comes forward and questions him. (Proverbs chapter 18 verse 17).
It records truth
I had read many eyewitness accounts of real-life happenings. As I read the New Testament gospel records and the Old Testament history it became clear I was reading truth.
Recorded there warts and all is the whole spectrum of human emotions and behaviour that we become more aware of with age. Does not long life bring understanding? (Job chapter 12 verse 12). God did not sugarcoat any distasteful aspect of human nature. It was the good, the bad and the ugly. Because human nature hasn’t changed one jot the Bible is as relevant today as the day it was written.
The lifelong effect on me…
of my wife wanting our baby baptised? I became convinced beyond reasonable doubt about the truth of what I now eagerly read. Beyond reasonable doubt is the standard of proof borne by the prosecution in a criminal trial such that after all the evidence ‘is in’ any doubt still entertained is unreasonable.
Two key verses: The message they heard was of no value to them ‘because’ they did not ‘combine’ it with faith, (Hebrews chapter 4 verse 2) and: How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Hebrews chapter 2 verse 3).
(1) the corruption of the world ‘caused’ by evil desires. (2 Peter chapter 1 verse 4). Satan’s unwitting prey: despise God’s authority. (2 Peter 2:10),
(2) the trap of the devil. (2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 26). God desires that all who oppose or, through indifference and complacency simply won’t intellectually engage with us, will finally acknowledge the truth of Satan’s trap, his unsuspecting victims not even realising it exists until it’s too late, and
(3) God’s condemnation. Jesus challenged His opponents: How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew chapter 23 verse 33).
At one time I too ignored Him. Because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath (Romans chapter 2 verse 5), ‘you’ being His: enemy ‘in your mind’ (Colossians chapter 1 verse 21).
To our lovely (atheistic) friends God does not exist. No need to consider His reality or standards, enquire about, seek, respect, honour or fear. Just a blank look. Spiritually dead, a corpse.
How to escape?
Through His promises everyone can escape by: knowing Jesus. (2 Peter chapter 2 verse 20). Don’t: turn away from Him who warns us from heaven. (Hebrews chapter 12 verse 25).
It’s time to awaken.
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html