by J Warner Wallace
At the numerous criminal trials where I have played a role, I’ve encountered many professional unbelievers. They’re known as defense attorneys. While the detectives and prosecutors believe the defendant is a murderer, the defense team works diligently as though he is not. From the perspective of the jury, it may appear the defense is filled with unbelievers (people who reject the guilt of the defendant), but I’ve discovered this isn’t always the case. As it turns out, even unbelievers believe in something, and in this case it isn’t always the innocence of their client. In my experience as a homicide detective, I’ve discovered three kinds of defense attorneys and all of them are “true believers”:
Some Truly Believe in the Defendant
There are definitely sincere criminal attorneys working in the profession who truly believe their client is innocent. I’ve worked with many who fall in this category. But I will be honest with you: I think these kinds of true believing attorneys are in the vast minority.
Some Truly Believe in the System
The largest group of defense attorneys (in my experience) fall in this second category: Men and women who respect the nature of our criminal justice system and the role they must play to assure justice for all, even when their client may be guilty. Everyone (including those who are guilty) is entitled to a proper defense, and if defense attorneys don’t do their job as well as they possibly can, justice is not served.
Some Truly Believe in the Money
Sadly, some attorneys simply believe in making as much money as possible and couldn’t care less about the guilt of their client (nor the condition of our criminal justice system). These folks are few and far between, but they’re out there.
I’ve written about these three kinds of “true believers” in Cold-Case Christianity because I think there are parallels between defense attorneys and the rest of us. Take for example, our unbelieving (atheist) friends and family. From outward appearances (and even based on their own proclamations) it may appear they simply reject the evidence for theism (or Christianity). But this isn’t always the case…
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