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Five Proofs of Christianity
A Circuit Court Judge Looks at His Life
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You and I are going to have a friendly argument. I am bold to say that Christianity is inescapably valid. For you and for me. Not that I wish it to be so, or that I think it is so, but that I know it is so. I know it from these five proofs and from personal experience--a sixth proof, a personal one, and so not immediately relevant to you.
The five basic things I want to tell you about are completely accessible and relevant to you. Do with these five things what you want. The five proofs will come in an order, because prose is linear, but the order means nothing. There is no ranking.
Opinions are the product of intelligence guided by reality. These five proofs are grounded in my experiences, and are consonant with reality as I know it at age seventy-three.
This is a topic which can put you off. I accept that and undertake it anyway. It is for my good to set these critical matters out plainly, and for your good, whether you agree with me or not. At the very least, you will have some things for future contemplation. Perhaps I will plant a seed in your garden.
The way I will handle the topic can be off-putting as well, because I will not be pious and polite. I may offend you by being jocular, colloquial, even crude about a matter so important. I figure you’ve heard enough radio preachers. This is the straight skinny. I hope to change those of you living without faith to an enthusiastic adoption of Christianity.
In 1984 I went to Reno for four weeks alone, a student at the National Judicial College, the place where baby state judges go to learn the trade. It seemed to me a good time for solitary reading, contemplation, a time to figure out where I stood with Christianity. So I read the three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are the story of the life of Christ, and then the gospel of John. It was my goal to figure out what was going on with this guy Jesus.
I had been raised in the church, sort of. Like the Geico Insurance commercial says: “If you're in the Bible Belt, it's what you do.” But I got little out of it--some aphorisms, some Bible stories, exhortations to do better, mostly a whole lot of noise. Until college my church attendance was putting on a shirt and tie and trying to think the ninety minutes meant something.
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About the Book
This is a serious book, but it is full of whimsy. A veteran trial-court judge writes about his faith life, which ought to be boring, right? Far from it. You are in for a joyous ride.
About the Author
Bill Swann graduated from Harvard College in 1964, was a Fulbright scholar to Austria the following year, and received his PhD from Yale in 1971 in Germanic languages and literatures. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1975, clerked for the Tennessee Court of Appeals, and was in private practice until 1982. In that year he was elected Circuit Court Judge for the Sixth Judicial District of Tennessee, an office he held for thirty-two years. He has written two weekly newspaper columns for a number of years, as well as articles in legal publications, and he has published poetry in English and German. He currently tries cases statewide as a retired designated judge when needed by the Administrative Office of Courts.