One step forward, Two steps back
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
I have always wanted to be a lawyer and to be given the opportunities to defend the innocent at all costs. However, once I completed high school and began preparing for the CLAT entrance exam for Law, I found myself face to face with the stark realities of our legal system; where the scales of Lady Justice are tipped towards the privileged and the powerful, regardless of the nature of their crimes. For many naïve years, I bought into the utopian idea that law was about defending the innocent and convicting the guilty. In fact, when I first read the famous legal maxim “Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea”, which in Latin, roughly translates to - “An act is not necessarily a guilty act unless the accused has the necessary state of mind required for that offence. The maxim states that, generally, a person cannot be guilty of a crime unless two elements are present: the 'actus reus' (guilty act) and the 'mens rea' (guilty mind).” Essentially, unless it can be proven that a person is guilty of the crime, he or she is innocent until proven otherwise.
What a harsh wake-up call I was in for. Today's moral reality is about compromise. As a human race, we have been compromising for centuries on our ethics, morals and standards, growing blunt to the injustice of it all day by day. Wars, genocide, hate crimes, racism, blackmail, corruption and so on are slowly being justified by the perpetrators and participating bystanders under different forms, connotations and names, to soothe their filthy consciences, all while toting the banners and flags of world peace, pseudo-spirituality, secularism and political correctness. It’s all topsy-turvy these days, where the innocent are falsely implicated and persecuted, while the guilty publicly walk free, as if in mockery of the judge and jury for their judicial incompetence. In all actuality in 2021, it seems as if the key authority on what is right or wrong are the armchair keyboard warriors on social media that have the power to sway public thoughts, emotions, and opinions based on rumours or feelings, rather than facts, thus playing the part of judge, jury and executioner.
But that’s the irony of it all. If the roots of our ethics, morals and standards are being corrupted by those in power and continue to stay on that course, every individual, industry & discipline that tries to defy the odds will soon come to realise the vanity of their efforts, like an ant trying to stay afloat on a sinking paper boat.
Well, it’s 2021 now and as a human race, we have all survived a deadly global pandemic together. We have braved the storms of boredom, economic recession and mental stability together during the nationwide quarantine. We came together with other nations in the race to discover and engineer several vaccines for Covid-19, despite the deadly ticking time constraint and the obstacles in the global pharmaceutical trade industry. We cried together when we heard of the deaths of many famous personalities, as well as the daily rising death count in the wake of the first few waves of Covid-19. We cheered for our nation’s athletes together at the Tokyo Olympics, proud of their feats of strength, skill and stamina. We learnt how to master the art of working from home together, despite a lack of technology and resources that are usually only available at our respective offices. And what about before the pandemic? We have survived 2 world wars, not to mention several other domestic and international battles that have taken and continue to take millions of lives. We have battled against several other deadly diseases, infections and ailments. We witnessed the evolution of technology that has taken us from rural trades to urban conglomerates and tech giants. We fought global and domestic financial crashes and recessions that have threatened world economies. And this has not even scratched the tip of the iceberg that is our history, which begs the ultimate question of whether it has all been in vain?
Truth be told, it has. We degrade our morals every day when we force our supposed brothers and sisters to adhere to the same standard of intolerance, bigotry and compromised value system that we have grown to love. We wage wars in the name of religion and persecute anyone who does not agree with our course of judgement. We spread hate in schools and on the playgrounds to young children, breeding a future generation devoid of wisdom or righteousness to match our underlying agendas. We have created weapons of mass destruction, capable of wiping out entire cities at a time (Hiroshima and Nagasaki being prime examples) if deployed. We have perverted the Feminist movements that started out with the goal of creating gender equality, into a hypocritical, power-hungry, agenda-driven and gender discriminating movement that resembles the Nazi philosophy more than it does with the attainment of constitutional rights for women. We have perverted the concept of love and turned it into lustful indulgence, that has taken out the elements of mutual respect, sexual purity, selfless sacrifice and marital loyalty, and replaced it with meaningless short-term relationships, broken homes, perverse sexual gratification, sex without commitment and skyrocketing divorce rates.
And as a cherry on top of the rotten cake; although we claim to value the inherent worth of individual human beings, we have severely compromised on the matter of abortions, creating our own definitions of what age we could consider an infant as a human being. We took the word fetus, which is the Latin word for ‘offspring,’ and redefined it to dehumanize the unborn. We did this by essentially convincing mothers that a fetus is a lifeless blob of tissue that suddenly forms into a human being just seconds before it exits the womb. In doing so, we were able to assert that, in the issue of abortion, there is only one person’s human rights to consider, and that terminating the lives of their babies — was a woman’s right.
When we successfully dehumanize a person, it soothes our collective consciences enough for us to remove his or her status as a human being, as our constitutional rights would no longer apply to them. I once read a book that compares this technique of dehumanization to the fundamental technique that Hitler had employed to convince his German comrades to see the Jews as an inferior race, like rats, which motivated them to exterminate 6 million Jewish captives like vermin. And history repeated itself when the British came to India to dehumanize and equate us to uncultured and lowly savage natives, allowing them to brutalize us without any conviction of wrongdoing, and the list continues into the historical instances of the African slave trade, the brutalities and terror spread during the North Korean dictatorship, and so on. Logically speaking, all the persecuted human societies and communities that have faced the brunt of dehumanization, wrongful persecution, racial hatred and brutality should have become the greatest defenders of the unborn on the planet because we know what it’s like for society to redefine us so that they can destroy our races. Instead, we side with the unjust and continue to exterminate our own kin, and don’t even realise its implications.
Only the names have changed, but the plot of the murder novel that is our reality remains the same.
If you have read thus far, you are probably as ashamed of humanity as I am. Perhaps you might even feel guilty about buying into the lie that we can change or are capable of perfection, as did I. We cannot do anything by ourselves, but bring about our own destruction. We are evil from birth and anyone who argues otherwise must ask themselves if they could survive the judgement paradigm (as I like to call it). To present this paradigm to you, I would like you to place yourself on the defendant’s stand in a courtroom (you stand accused of committing murder 10 years ago). Now, the Judge (assumed to be just and fair) asks you whether you are guilty of the murder, to which, you could present the defence that the act was done in self-defence or that it happened too long ago to be considered relevant or even the argument that if your act was compared to current day crimes like rape, racial attacks or even terrorism, yours seems rather harmless in comparison. You could even lie and say that there is no evidence to convict you of the crime and present a false alibi to throw everyone off your scent. However, in a sudden plot twist, the judge reveals that authentic footage has been discovered, which has captured you committing the crime and is indisputable evidence that you are guilty and have also LIED while under oath. Now, if the judge is indeed just and fair, which one of the following verdicts would he choose in regard to your case?
1) Will he let you go scot-free because the crime was indeed committed 10 years ago and is, therefore, too far back to punish you today?
2) Will he accept your claim that the crime was done in self-defence and exonerate you of your crime completely, with no legal repercussions whatsoever?
3) Will he pronounce you innocent because compared to the heinous crimes committed by other felons, your crime is relatively less intense or bad?
4) Will he pronounce you guilty of the crime and increase your sentence for lying under oath?
If you look at the above points, the prima facie conclusion is that the 4th point is the most logical outcome, as we consider the judge to be just and fair and therefore must sentence you for your crimes to uphold justice. However, note that there is a potential possibility of being released on payment of bail if the Judge allows it.
Now, comparing this legal metaphor to our reality, where the ONLY perfect Judge is God, as no other judge fits the requirements of righteousness, purity, omnipotent knowledge and justice as God does, making him the only Judge that has no flaws. So, let’s put you in a new scenario and see how well you fare here? You have recently died after being hit by a fast-moving ambulance (comic irony) and have come face to face with your Maker. Now God, having full knowledge of everything you have ever done, asks you if you are truly righteous and if you have ever lied, stolen, hurt anyone (either emotionally or physically), mistreated your family, looked at a married man or woman with lust, committed adultery, murdered or raped someone, cheated someone financially, worshipped other idols, as well as all the other sins that a righteous and fair God CANNOT overlook. Now, if you can honestly say that you have never committed a single one of them (I know I am guilty of many), then you, my friend, are a rare gem. But we both know that we are guilty on multiple counts. Now, based on the above instance, which one of the following verdicts do you think God would choose in your case?
1) Would He allow you to walk away scot-free because some sins you had committed happened years ago, which therefore entitles you to His forgiveness?
2) Would He accept your claim that you repaid an eye for an eye when people messed with you and, therefore, they should be punished for starting the issue rather than you?
3) Would you expect Him to avoid your punishment because compared to the terrible sins and crimes committed by other folks, yours are less serious and warrant His forgiveness?
4) Would He pronounce you guilty and sentence you to eternal damnation in Hell, which is fully warranted given that you lived an unrepentant life by your own rules?
Dark isn’t it? The very thought that we are already sentenced to damnation since we can never atone for our past sins or prevent the occurrence of future ones? That is where other world religions differ from Christianity. You see, ALL the other world religions posit that if you are good to people and try to attain some standard of righteousness during your life, you might end up in heaven. However, this contradicts the very idea of God because, by this logic, their god/s is/are willing to sit from afar and watch us commit horrible crimes, and then at the time of Judgement, they are willing to overlook and forgive a lifetime of selfish and evil acts if the relative level of good done by a person outweighs the level of sins committed??? How can God be fair and just if He allows this contradictory standard of relative and subjective judgement? Simply put, if God is all good, then he cannot be evil >> If God is not evil, then He can not simply forgive our evil acts as that would not be fair and righteous justice >> and if God cannot overlook our sins, then where does that leave us?
By stark contrast, Christianity does not sugarcoat our potential fate. It blatantly says that from birth, Man by nature is evil (Check Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:3, Romans 5:12, Romans 3:23, Genesis 6:5, Genesis 8:21, Ezekiel 18:20, Hebrews 4:15, Psalm 58:3, Genesis 18:25, Romans 2:14-15, Job 14:4 and much more). Without intervention, we are destined for damnation and if we try to justify our innocence, to quote the book of Job, our own consciences shall condemn us. Before you go to listen to “As the world caves in” on repeat, wait up. I have not finished my point. God is also Merciful, as He has also given us the ‘bail’ option to get a clean start, except the twist is that someone else already paid it for you. Too good to be true?
Well, that is the reason for my hope. That is the only reason I can breathe a sigh of relief even as the world around me crumbles into self-destruction. Jesus paid the bail, my friends, when He died in the place of our sins on the cross. It makes perfect sense. See, the ONLY way we can be saved is if something or someone perfect and without blemish was paid as bail as the role of the 'sacrificial lamb' to pay for the punishment that we deserved. And we, by ourselves, have nothing to offer God. Knowing this, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to come to earth as a mortal being to live the blameless life that we could not live and give us a reason for our hope, although we ended up torturing and crucifying Him because He said that He was the Son of God, which we mistook as blasphemy, only to be taken by surprise 3 days later when Jesus was Resurrected (exactly as he prophesied about earlier) and appeared to over 500 people healthy and very much alive, which led to the start of the Early Church. However, since God is omnipresent and created the laws of Time that we are bound by, He obviously knew that we would succumb to our natures and kill His Son, which was actually part of God’s plan of allowing Jesus to take the brunt of our punishments on the cross instead of us on Judgement Day, which is the most unique and intense form of Love and Mercy that we have ever known.
“When we look at the cross, we see the justice, love, wisdom and power of God. It is difficult to decide which is the most luminously revealed, whether the justice of God in judging sin, or the love of God in bearing the judgment in our place, or the wisdom of God in perfectly combining the two, or the power of God in saving those who believe. For the cross is equally an act, and therefore a demonstration, of God’s justice, love, wisdom and power. The cross assures us that this God is the reality within, behind and beyond the universe.” ~ John Stott
So is there hope for you too? Yes, there is. All you have to do is accept the free gift of His sacrifice by accepting Him as your Lord and Saviour. See, only if you believe that He is the Son of God and that He died on the Cross for you, do you qualify for bail that would set you free when it’s time for you to kick the bucket. There are no two ways about this, and you either accept Jesus or make the choice of living life on your own terms, as you have free will. But in the second option, you have to accept that it is, therefore, by your own choice that you rejected God’s son and are fully liable for the life you lived, with no hope of bail. And God has not left you hanging on just my word in my articles, but His promises in the Bible. Do you really think that it is mere coincidence or our 'lucky stars' that the Bible is the most historically validated book of all time, amongst secular and non-secular literature that has withstood the test of time, public scrutiny and the archaeological, scientific, and historical validation of many of its claims and events, unlike any other piece of religious scripture that we possess today?
So, if I might ask, what are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose by objectively investigating the claims of the Gospel, as we have centuries of verifiable & unique history buried in the 66 books that make up the Bible and a promise that today, you have a way to be certain of your salvation by accepting Jesus into your life. I write this article, dear Reader, because I have known of existential hopelessness and considering where my research has led me to today, I can no longer in good conscience, stand by while I watch the people I care about gamble their lives away on fragile theories that play no part in validating their existential questions. If my earlier soliloquy on humanity’s evil trends has moved you as it has moved me, then you know that the only reason I am stressing the urgency of understanding why you need salvation is the terrible alternative of self-driven, eternal damnation. Because I care about you, I have dedicated this article to share these harsh realities if you have not already accepted Christ, as I would absolutely hate for you to find yourself on the wrong side of Pascal’s Wager and realise too late that you bet your life on the wrong horse.