Here is what the writer and publicist Lev Usyskin writes about this using a domestic example:
“What has always seemed incomprehensible to me is the military oath and the serious importance that was and is being given to it in the USSR / Russia. That is, the oath is still an important legal fact, it is recorded in military records, etc. It seems that there was even an incident in the USSR when representatives of a certain religious minority were repressed only because of their unwillingness to swear (God does not order us to take oaths) - - despite the fact that they did not refuse to serve in the army and even with weapons in their hands.
But wait... or am I missing something? Service in the army is determined by laws and contracts (if it is contractual). They are all written about duties and responsibilities. A person who violates these laws or the terms of the contract is subject to sanctions, as described in the laws and in the contract. An oath is not required for this. How you do not need an oath to drive a car. You have been trained, given a license, and you drive until you violate traffic rules and other laws - and when you do, you fall under sanctions. Let's imagine for a moment that after obtaining the rights from the new driver they would demand some kind of oath... Ridiculous!
The military oath also does not really apply to initiation rites - for they exist on their own and out of connection with it.
As for tradition, in the old days the oath was quite a meaningful thing. When the state was not secular, the oath had the character of an oath before the face of the Lord, and this made sense, since it created a new responsibility, in addition to contractual and legislative: whoever violated the oath before God, firstly, was punished by God after death (or maybe before?), and secondly, the state punished as for blasphemy. But in a secular state, nothing like this occurs. Why fence a garden?
However, the military oath is not the only paradox. Commentator Boris Lvin recalls the existence of another, no less wild:
“You will also ask why, when you try to touch the banner of a military unit, the sentry is obliged to shoot you. And this is so. It's not even surprising that the sentry is obliged to shoot you. And the fact that, according to the charter, the loss of the banner entails the mandatory disbandment of the military unit.
That is, purely symbolic, ritual rubbish is elevated to the status of something super-important. In fact, this is just a wild pagan superstition and nothing else. In fact, it turns out that an ordinary sentry, placed at the banner, has the ability to actually paralyze a military unit at the time of its disbandment-reformation, simply by breaking the glass and running away. That is, if a soldier steals a tank, blows up an ammunition depot, or even shoots a commander, he will be caught, judged, etc., but the part as a whole, as a combat unit, will continue to exist. And if he takes a lighter and burns a rag, he will stop.”
The most interesting thing is that military and other types of oaths are also taken in civilized countries, as, for example, in Israel, as Alexander Shulman writes:
“For an example - the text of the oath of the Israeli army:
"Swearing allegiance to the State of Israel, its laws and authorities,
I swear and undertake to unconditionally and unconditionally comply with the requirements of the discipline of the Israel Defense Forces, carry out the orders and orders of the commanders and give all my strength and even sacrifice my life for the defense of the Motherland and Freedom.
The ritual of taking the oath is very solemn, it takes place in memorial places - paratroopers at the Western Wall of the Temple, tankers in the Masada fortress, etc., with waving banners and burning torches, with relatives and friends gathering. Violation of the oath, especially in combat conditions, is fraught with a military tribunal and various penalties, up to the death penalty (but it has never been applied). This is a solemn ritual for driving into the brains of 18-year-old slobs their status in the army and instilling in them a sense of responsibility - in case of violation, the army can become an evil stepmother for them ... "
The oath is also taken in the bastion of world liberalism - the United States, reminds American resident Mikhail Nosonovsky :
“We have an oath when obtaining US citizenship and when entering the state service. The latter is about the same for all positions, from the President of the United States to a postdoc at the Institute of Standards and Technology at the Department of Commerce. Something like "I undertake to fight against the enemies of the US Constitution, internal and external, God help me" ... As far as I understand, it has legal force (it can be prosecuted for violation) ... The president has not sworn in yet - not the president, he takes the oath on the day of the inauguration at noon ... The military is about the same as civil servants. By the way, I was interested in the legal side, I was told that the obligation to "fight the enemies of the US Constitution, internal and external" applies only to work. Like, if at work someone violates the Constitution. That is, having left the position of postdoc long ago, 15 years later, when traveling to Russia, I am not obliged to fight against the enemies of the US Constitution (of whom there is a lot of water).»
Sergei Didro summed up the discussion in a peculiar way:
“Of course, the oath, like the state, exists only because someone believes in them. And that is why it is used. If the natives did not believe in the power of these spells, then they would not waste time on them. But people believe. People wear millions of honestly earned rubles to various crooks who mutter something and dance with a tambourine. People believe that if they go and put a piece of paper in the urn, they will influence something. It's full of it everywhere. As long as it works why not use it…”