The plaintiff takes his seat at the counsel table: the Psychiatric Examination Board of Upper Podunk, representing itself and “all similar psychiatric examination boards similarly situated.” The plaintiff is represented by counsel from Australia, or that is, from "down under": Bee L. Z. Bub.
The defendants enter: a Catholic bishop, a Protestant pastor, a Christian counselor, and a street preacher. They are representing themselves. They each carry in a Bible.
When the judge had urged them, in a pretrial conference, to retain counsel, they had said Jesus is their counsel. To explain, they had broken out into the section of the Hallelujah Chorus where the words go “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Handel had taken the text from Isaiah 9:6.)
Now the bailiff says “all rise”. Everyone stands. The judge enters, tells everyone to sit down (why can’t they make up their minds?) and sits down himself. No one stood when the Bibles were carried in.
In early America, the bailiff would carry in a Bible, holding it high, and everyone would stand in reverence. The judge followed, and sat down with everyone else as the Bible was placed on the witness stand. Today, the glory once reserved for God is transferred to a man,
The judge introduces the case. “This lawsuit arises from a claim by a counseling agency that God has not been properly licensed to advise His clients how they should live.
“The Bible has been separately charged as not even faithfully representing God. Defendants freely stipulate that it was written by ordinary men, but they allege God controlled the writing.
“The lawsuit alleges that defendants are thus in violation of Code Section 123456789, which authorizes a psychiatric examination board to bring suit against persons acting as counselors without proper credentials or certification.”
Turning to the plaintiff, the judge said “Counsel, you may proceed with your opening statement.”
Bub rose, the smell of acrid smoke wafting across the room. His wide tight smile exposed the most rotted teeth, which exuded the most horrible breath, that anyone can imagine. His voice crackled like a hot campfire.
“My clients will prove that defendant God has not been properly licensed to advise His clients how they should live. He has no credentials recognized by any psychiatric examination board certifying that He understands human nature, guilt, the desires that drive man, or man’s elusive Purpose for Life.
“My clients will similarly prove that the Bible does not even reliably represent God. It claims to be God’s counseling handbook covering how to live, be guilt-free, find meaning and fulfill life’s purpose, but it was written by ordinary men who likewise lack any proper certification recognized by our society or by our laws.
“We will show that this God, as the Bible claims Him to be, is not even devoted to the best interests of his clients; He is more focused on His own glory.
“You will hear defendants’ central claim for the authority of the Bible: that it tells us what happens to us after we die. But the Bible was written by men who had not died, raising the question, how could they know?
“You will hear defendants claim that the way they could know is that they talked face to face with someone they call ‘Jesus’, whom they claim died and came back to life. We will absolutely, positively prove that even if such a man ever existed, he certainly died, and he most certainly did not come back to life!”
Bub grinned, winked at the jury, and walked back to his smoking table, his shoes leaving scorch marks in the wood courtroom floor.
Turning to defendants, the judge said “Couns- er, you may make your opening statement.”
The street preacher, taking his turn by a casting of lots by the four in order that the decision might be God’s, rose.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, one way we could prove that God personally edited the Bible would be to spend weeks of testimony showing thousands of examples of what the Bible says that its authors could not possibly have known unless God told them, but which we today know is true.
“This includes thousands of specific prophecies which came to pass just as foretold. Many humans make good money predicting the future. What no human can do, apart from God, is predict things which then actually happen any more consistently than is produced by chance, educated guessing, or keeping the prediction vague enough that whatever happens may be stretched to ‘fulfill’ it.
“We could also subpoena hundreds of archeologists to relate how often places not believed to exist, though described in the Bible, were discovered by following clues from the Bible, and many details of those cities given in the Bible were confirmed.
“We could also subpoena scientists and astronomers to confirm the scientific validity of dozens of verses about things which their authors could not possibly have learned from any human source.
“But out of respect for your time, we will not keep you here for those long weeks. And fortunately that is not necessary. Because if we prove only one thing, that will prove the rest.
“We need prove only that Jesus, the Anointed by God, which is what ‘Christ’ means, died in a way that left no possibility of natural recovery, was buried, and three days later, rose again, appearing to and speaking with hundreds of witnesses.
“This fact, once proved, will in turn prove that Jesus was actually God in the flesh. The fact that He chose to let our ancestors kill Him when He could have freed himself, proves that God places our own best interests above His own. The fact that He appeared to many will prove that the authors of the Bible had that “direct line to God” which so many skeptics question.
“This one miracle – the resurrection of Jesus – is enough proof by itself, not only because it is greater than all the other information miraculously embedded in the Bible and all the other miracles reported in the Bible, but because it is the most relevant miracle to what we all care about. Most of us do not feel very much affected by whether the Hittite nation actually existed. But we all want, at least during difficult times in our lives, to know what happens to us after we die. Jesus’ resurrection addresses that question directly, not only confirming the accuracy of a series of answers to that question, but showing us Who will be waiting for us when we do, and with what love.
“Psychiatry would like to dismiss the question as irrelevant in the sense that we can’t know the answer so we shouldn’t base our decisions on speculations. But when circumstances bring it forefront in our lives, it is the most urgent of questions, driving some of our most important life decisions. In those difficult times, when this need is greatest, psychiatry’s silence is deafening.
“The miracle of the resurrection, once proved, will prove that God Himself has more power, wisdom, understanding, and intelligence than any man or group of men, far exceeding the credentials of any examination board – which has never raised anyone from the dead – and that the authors of the Bible, with a pipeline to that knowledge, wrote a document with more authoritative criteria for the qualifications to understand human nature than any licensing laws. Therefore, this evidence will show, we defendants are more qualified to review the credentials of the psychiatric examination board, than they are to review ours.”
The street preacher took his seat.
Bub fidgeted as the street preacher’s statement progressed. His client was composed until the last sentence, but now was furious.
The judge, half inclined to mock and the other half to smile, took a deep breath.
“Counsel”, he said, nodding to Bub, “You may present your case.”
Bub avoided looking at the defendants to avoid being blinded. He winked at the jury.
“Guys and dolls of the jury, even if this imposter Jesus ever lived, he is dead as a door nail now, and the alleged God he served, which the defendant insists that he was, doesn’t care one tiddly about you or me. All He cares about is His own glory.
“As for the preposterous claim that some guy called Jesus rose from the dead,” Bub said as he walked over to the jury rail, put his hand on it and leaned over it so far that his greasy nose hairs tickled the faces of nearly every juror, “I don’t believe it!”
Bub said it slowly and quietly, for emphasis. Then he stood back in triumph, having just unleashed his strongest argument. But to clinch it, to drive it home, to dress it with a coat of irrefutability, he added, “No one is ever going to convince me!!!”
The faces of several jurors showed their concurrence. They nodded at Bub, and looked at the defendants with contempt for imagining anything they had to say could seem credible or relevant to anyone outside their quaint buildings.
Bub was on a roll. Bravely suppressing his own laughter, he addressed the defendants, even looking at them for a nanosecond before his hand shot up to shield his screaming eyes: “And don’t try to confuse me with the facts! My mind is already made up!”
Bub’s clients stood up and applauded.
Strutting back to his table like a victorious rooster, Bub announced, “The plaintiff rests.” The courtroom erupted in cheers and whistles.
But as Bub was about to sit down he saw the papers that had slipped his mind. “Pardon me, Your Honor, may I add one more brief point I had nearly forgotten?”
As smoke rose from the trail of scorch prints left by his every step, Bub walked to the defendants’ table to leave a paper made of the only material that could survive his handling: asbestos, while keeping his eyes averted, and then to the judge.
“Plaintiff’s exhibit one. This is a statement about how this God is going to force us to say He is right, even if that requires that everyone else be declared wrong. It says ‘Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.’”
The defendant pastor, curious, looked it up in his translation, which said “No, even if everyone else is a liar, God will always do what he says. As the Scriptures say about him, `That Thou mayest be declared righteous in Thy words, and mayest overcome in Thy being judged.'” [Good News Bible, combined with Young’s Literal Translation. Bub read from the King James.]
“Plaintiff’s exhibit 2”, Bub announced as he picked up another paper. He read from the paper he gave to the defendant and to the judge. “’Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.’ You think this God cares tiddly for any of his clients? Or for any of you? The only reason He created you was for His own pleasure! What gives you or me pleasure means nothing to Him! it’s all Him, Him, Him!”
“Plaintiff’s exhibit 3. ‘1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ There you have it! If you think the greatest thing you can do in life is serve this God, He tells you how: build up His poor, fragile ego with every thing you do! What kind of counseling credentials do you think this God can qualify for, whose self esteem is so low that he depends on mere men to build it up so He can look himself in the mirror in the morning?!
The courtroom was ecstatic. People were screaming, fainting, cheering, clapping, and stomping their feet. The judge didn’t put a stop to it; he led it, jumping up and down on his desk. There were many toasts as Bub passed around the champagne.
Sensing the mood of the courtroom was against them, the defendants waited respectfully for the commotion to die down. But after it was quiet again, the defendants expected the judge would turn to them and invite them to proceed to present their defense. But the judge just smiled broadly, watching Bub, oblivious of any further duties in the case. Finally one of the defendants raised his hand, hoping to get the judge’s attention. Failing that, he started waving. Modestly at first, then wildly.
Finally the judge noticed, turned to him with irritation, and said, frowning, “Whaddya want?”
“Judge, may we present our defense now?”
The judge, still more irritated at not being addressed “your honor”, grunted something that sounded a little more like “yes” than “no”.
The defendant stood whose turn was next.
The Protestant pastor’s opening word amused the jury but not the judge.
In accordance with the verses just quoted by Bub, the pastor was determined to give honor to God.
To give a mere man so much honor as to actually call him “honor” seemed more than any man merits.
To Be Continued