Brian Appleyard, author of Understanding the Present and a journalist for the Sunday Times, has written an intersting article in the newstatesman: Religion: who needs it? He concludes:The same issue has an article by Lewis Wolpert: My evangelical son and me.
I would guess that at the Old Bailey we mostly swore by God because, in the face of all that sombre ceremony, we quietly accepted the demand - however unreasonable - that we belong to something larger than ourselves. I'd like to say it was a fleeting thing, scarcely worth mentioning: a mere habit, a reflex, perhaps even an embarrassment. I'd like to, but I'm afraid I can't.