Dos and Don'ts, all we need to know is the Bible; however, not all is covered explicitly. Discuss how Christians should act or what they should do when facing divorce, smoking, and other issues.

Why Lying is Always Wrong

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Why Lying is Always Wrong

    I think it is always wrong to lie (to state what one knows is not true). But my
    friend John Frame and a number of other theologians make exceptions
    in extreme cases, such as in war and to save life. The debate includes the
    classic moral dilemma that arises in the case where Nazi soldiers come to your
    door, asking whether you are hiding Jews.
    Recently Wayne Grudem argued in favor of never lying in the festschift to
    John Frame; and Frame responded briefly in the same festschrift.1 This exchange
    builds on earlier work by john Murray and John Frame.2 Taken together, these
    writings lay out the arguments on both sides. Neither side has succeeded in presenting
    an argument that would convince everyone on the other side. Frame
    indicates that he has “gone back and forth several times”3 on the issue, which
    illustrates the difficulty. Is there anything more to be said?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Great topic William.

    I think the cases of the midwives (Exodus1) and with the spies (Joshua 2) convinces me that at least when a human life/human lives are at stake the saving of life take priority over the command not to lie.
    Paul escaped in a basket through a window (2 Corinthians 11:33) but we don't know if those doing so were questioned about it later. So I think the two OT texts are the basis for such situations.


    Now this gets tough...what about people who work for the CIA or FBI. They sometimes have to take on a totally new identity - name, age, birthplace, work history, family etc etc. Aren't all of these "lies"?
    Now it gets tougher...I read awhile back that some cops doing undercover narcotics work were given the go ahead to engage in some criminal activity for "the greater good." In order for them to be trusted with 'people of the baser sort' they engaged in drug use and sexual activity with prostitutes. If they didn't they would immediately fall under the suspicion of being cops.

    Man, it's a dirty and insane world eh?
    Last edited by Faber; 07-18-2017, 06:02 PM.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by Faber View Post
      Greta topic William.

      I think the cases of the midwives (Exodus1) and with the spies (Joshua 2) convinces me that at least when a human life/human lives are at stake the saving of life take priority over the command not to lie.
      Paul escaped in a basket through a window (2 Corinthians 11:33) but we don't know if those doing so were questioned about it later. So I think the two OT texts are the basis for such situations.


      Now this gets tough...what about people who work for the CIA or FBI. They sometimes have to take on a totally new identity - name, age, birthplace, work history, family etc etc. Aren't all of these "lies"?
      Now it gets tougher...I read awhile back that some cops doing undercover narcotics work were given the go ahead to engage in some criminal activity for "the greater good." In order for them to be trusted with 'people of the baser sort' they engaged in drug use and sexual activity with prostitutes. If they didn't they would immediately fall under the suspicion of being cops.

      Man, it's a dirty and insane world eh?
      Agreed, and unfortunately "we" are faced with such insanity.

      As far as the spies in Joshua 2, was it the lies that Rahab told that God counted as righteousness or faith?

      Generally, such arguments that try to warrant lying are "framed" and have an amount of limited closed answers. In the case of hiding Nazis God may provide an opportunity before it is too late. A missed opportunity in other words may leave one forced to lie. But lets examine that.... Personally, I believe God will always provide an option as an alternative to sinning or violating the 9th commandment in this case Exodus 20:16. Not to mention, there is always the possibility of laying one's life down for their fellow man. I know, not everybody is equipped to do so. But lets think about the Nazis that put a gun to a person's head and says bury all these people alive by getting behind the controls of a bulldozer. Many would think that this is a futile attempt. If I disobey I'm dead, and they'll probably get someone else to do it, so I will. Imagine if the Apostles that suffered horrible deaths for the faith only had lied to save themselves. If only they recanted about their witness testimony they could live. Whether the case be about Nazis or Apostles, looking back at history and through the eyes of the survivors, the martyred memory and action may inspire others to revolt or stand firm and die honorably.

      Now lets examine your argument about the CIA and/or FBI. On the flip side truth is required, say for testimony protection is guaranteed. But if the CIA and FBI are non ethical could we count on their word? Likewise, say a possible informant or even a sex slave was caught in the vicious trade and wanted out, but a CIA or FBI member misrepresented himself or herself by engaging in such actions. Could the person wanting out trust the people demonstrating no personal integrity? Would you trust them and take their word for it?

      I do not know if the PDF attachment is showing because of your location. But lemme include a clip:

      Situations of military conflict in the Bible confirm rather than undermine
      the intuition that verbal communication has a unique character. For example,
      Jehoash gives a speech trying to dissuade Amaziah from entering into battle
      (2 Kgs 14:9-10). The speech can only hope to persuade Amaziah if the latter
      perceives it as a genuine communication rather than a fake. Similarly, the
      Rabshakeh makes a speech as part of the military encounter between the
      Assyrian army and Hezekiah (2 Kgs 18:19-35). A letter comes to Hezekiah later
      with a similar thrust (2 Kgs 19:14). Both messages rely on normal covenantal
      speech commitments, even in the midst of a highly charged military conflict.
      In a similar way, Jesus speaks of a king who seeks terms of peace (Luke 14:32),
      and of a legal accuser and defendant who discuss terms on the way to court
      (Matt 5:25-26; Luke 12:58-59). Military conflict, legal conflict, and potential
      battles—situations of extreme alienation—sit right alongside speech that can
      be completely truthful.

      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post


        Now lets examine your argument about the CIA and/or FBI. On the flip side truth is required, say for testimony protection is guaranteed. But if the CIA and FBI are non ethical could we count on their word? Likewise, say a possible informant or even a sex slave was caught in the vicious trade and wanted out, but a CIA or FBI member misrepresented himself or herself by engaging in such actions. Could the person wanting out trust the people demonstrating no personal integrity? Would you trust them and take their word for it?

        I don't think this part works.

        You're supposed to not lie in order to get them to believe you...
        However, the only reason you're considering lying to begin with is because you know they won't believe you, or won't do what's necessary even if they did.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post

          I don't think this part works.

          You're supposed to not lie in order to get them to believe you...
          However, the only reason you're considering lying to begin with is because you know they won't believe you, or won't do what's necessary even if they did.
          Christianity is based on truth. I can only imagine the impact it would have on many people if we suggested that lying can be righteous when proclaiming the gospel. For example, I read that Muslims consider misleading the infidel for the sake of Islam is righteous. Do we need to convey doubt about our Missionary's messages? The witness of the Apostles or of anyone else in Scripture?

          Then we must also remember, God has caused people to fall under confusion 1 Kgs 22:19-23 and 2 Thess 2:11. Though God can use a lying spirit to his advantage 1 Kgs 22:22 or bring people under Satanic deception 2 Thess 2:9-10.

          This is why I am hard pressed to suggest that it is okay for a Christian to lie under any circumstance. Note, this does not mean that lying is unforgivable. But I think it needs to be emphasized that lying is always a sin and violates the 9th commandment. Sometimes silence has consequences, but it might just mean the difference of saving one's life or another as a possible alternative. Now if someone stood before me and said, hold your tongue and I'll take it from you, well that's a sacrifice I may have to make. I can only imagine if the argument was made more personal, for example, someone suggesting they'd murder my loved ones until I spoke of the whereabouts or gave them pertinent information.

          Lots of POWs however, or even those captured in our previous example of the CIA or FBI, I am certain faced horrible consequences because the refused to supply information to the enemy. I can only imagine that silence was their best bet. Being caught in a lie by their captors may lead to more torture in order to verify the truth from a liar's lips.

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by William View Post

            Christianity is based on truth. I can only imagine the impact it would have on many people if we suggested that lying can be righteous when proclaiming the gospel. For example, I read that Muslims consider misleading the infidel for the sake of Islam is righteous. Do we need to convey doubt about our Missionary's messages? The witness of the Apostles or of anyone else in Scripture?

            Then we must also remember, God has caused people to fall under confusion 1 Kgs 22:19-23 and 2 Thess 2:11. Though God can use a lying spirit to his advantage 1 Kgs 22:22 or bring people under Satanic deception 2 Thess 2:9-10.

            This is why I am hard pressed to suggest that it is okay for a Christian to lie under any circumstance. Note, this does not mean that lying is unforgivable. But I think it needs to be emphasized that lying is always a sin and violates the 9th commandment. Sometimes silence has consequences, but it might just mean the difference of saving one's life or another as a possible alternative. Now if someone stood before me and said, hold your tongue and I'll take it from you, well that's a sacrifice I may have to make. I can only imagine if the argument was made more personal, for example, someone suggesting they'd murder my loved ones until I spoke of the whereabouts or gave them pertinent information.

            Lots of POWs however, or even those captured in our previous example of the CIA or FBI, I am certain faced horrible consequences because the refused to supply information to the enemy. I can only imagine that silence was their best bet. Being caught in a lie by their captors may lead to more torture in order to verify the truth from a liar's lips.

            God bless,
            William


            I'm not arguing for or against lying.
            I'm saying the argument in the quote is illogical; that reasoning doesn't work.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post



              I'm not arguing for or against lying.
              I'm saying the argument in the quote is illogical; that reasoning doesn't work.
              And what is illogical and what reasoning doesn't work? I simply am arguing that you can't take a liar's word for anything. If you can't take a liar's word for anything, then why would you believe them about the Gospel? Likewise, if we teach that Christianity conveys lies which are counted righteous, whose to say that the book itself does not contain many lies?

              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by William View Post

                And what is illogical and what reasoning doesn't work? I simply am arguing that you can't take a liar's word for anything. If you can't take a liar's word for anything, then why would you believe them about the Gospel? Likewise, if we teach that Christianity conveys lies which are counted righteous, whose to say that the book itself does not contain many lies?

                God bless,
                William
                Now lets examine your argument about the CIA and/or FBI. On the flip side truth is required, say for testimony protection is guaranteed. But if the CIA and FBI are non ethical could we count on their word? Likewise, say a possible informant or even a sex slave was caught in the vicious trade and wanted out, but a CIA or FBI member misrepresented himself or herself by engaging in such actions. Could the person wanting out trust the people demonstrating no personal integrity? Would you trust them and take their word for it?
                I realize in the immediate context you're talking about physical acts rather than lies, but we can easily apply it to that. And obviously so, since that's why you gave this example.

                The FBI agent wouldn't lie to this person unless he can reasonably assume (and for sake of argument, let's say he not merely assumes but knows) that person won't believe the truth or won't act appropriately after knowing the truth.

                Thus, being known as a truth teller isn't going to work; it doesn't achieve the goal you want. Again, he's lying because the truth won't work. Thus, keeping in line with the truth won't help; it doesn't make that person trust you or want to do what needs to be done.

                ------

                Again, I'm only addressing this usage. I'm not arguing for or against lying; and I'm especially not arguing that we should lie to draw people to christ (!!)
                Comment>

                • #9
                  I've heard an account of a person who was hiding people from the Nazi's -- the person was caught and told the truth. He was , in fact, hiding a Jewish person -- the person in hiding was taken and put on a bus or train supposedly going to a gas chamber. As it turned out -- that particular vehicle was heading Out of the Country to Freedom.

                  Lying ruins a person's credulity for the future. The person has to remember the lie they told in order to get out of trouble?!

                  There are those who will take lying / stealing and find all sorts of supposedly legitimate rational reasons why it would be acceptable / situational ethics. And there Are times when a person Can be telling the truth but in a questionable way. "Is this person 'here'". "here' as in in this room? or in the house? The person - upon seeing someone he really needs to avoid -- can step out of the house or room and really - honestly - not be 'here'. Or you can be totally honest and say, yes, but I have the Police on 'speed dial'. As you can see, I'm calling them Now.

                  We're told 'thou shalt not lie" for a reason.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
                    I realize in the immediate context you're talking about physical acts rather than lies, but we can easily apply it to that. And obviously so, since that's why you gave this example.
                    I gave the physical example because I was emphasizing compulsion to do something that a person did not want to do. And then I gave the second example which was being verbally compelled to do something an Apostle did not want to do. Perhaps I should of worded it better.

                    Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
                    The FBI agent wouldn't lie to this person unless he can reasonably assume (and for sake of argument, let's say he not merely assumes but knows) that person won't believe the truth or won't act appropriately after knowing the truth.
                    So are you suggesting that it is ok to lie if you assume or personally know (if that is even possible) that the truth will not be believed? That seems to be your whole premise?

                    Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
                    thus, being known as a truth teller isn't going to work; it doesn't achieve the goal you want.
                    And are you suggesting that it is ok to lie when you know the truth will not have the desired result you want?

                    Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
                    Thus, keeping in line with the truth won't help; it doesn't make that person trust you or want to do what needs to be done.
                    So it is okay to violate the 9th commandment when?

                    Originally posted by William View Post
                    Then we must also remember, God has caused people to fall under confusion 1 Kgs 22:19-23 and 2 Thess 2:11. Though God can use a lying spirit to his advantage 1 Kgs 22:22 or bring people under Satanic deception 2 Thess 2:9-10.
                    And you haven't addressed God's intervention or the most obvious possibility which is for a Christian not to put themselves in such a predicament in the first place (CIA or FBI).

                    God bless,
                    William
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sue D. View Post
                      I've heard an account of a person who was hiding people from the Nazi's -- the person was caught and told the truth. He was , in fact, hiding a Jewish person -- the person in hiding was taken and put on a bus or train supposedly going to a gas chamber. As it turned out -- that particular vehicle was heading Out of the Country to Freedom.
                      That's what I was attempting to convey in my first post, Sue. Often these arguments are framed with no possibility other than truth will bear dire consequences.

                      God bless,
                      William
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by William View Post

                        I gave the physical example because I was emphasizing compulsion to do something that a person did not want to do. And then I gave the second example which was being verbally compelled to do something an Apostle did not want to do. Perhaps I should of worded it better.



                        So are you suggesting that it is ok to lie if you assume or personally know (if that is even possible) that the truth will not be believed? That seems to be your whole premise?



                        And are you suggesting that it is ok to lie when you know the truth will not have the desired result you want?



                        So it is okay to violate the 9th commandment when?



                        And you haven't addressed God's intervention or the most obvious possibility which is for a Christian not to put themselves in such a predicament in the first place (CIA or FBI).

                        God bless,
                        William


                        Again, I'm only addressing this usage. I'm not arguing for or against lying
                        You're missing this.

                        Again, I'm only addressing this usage. I'm not arguing for or against lying
                        I'm just saying that specific argument doesn't work; it has a faulty (if speaking in absolutes) order of events.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          This is how I'd argue in support of your position: it's wrong to murder, it's wrong to fornicate, etc... In any of those cases, we're not to deny our values even at the threat of death. We obey God, and trust Him for the results. It may mean death for us, or someone else - but it's in God's hand, not ours. He will do right.

                          I question if God expects an exception in the case of lying/death, but like you: I find that people make a big assumption; just because God blessed them after the deed doesn't mean he blessed them because of the deed. (Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.)
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
                            You're missing this.
                            I am quite aware of you suggesting that, but the point is your argument whether intentionally or not has an undesirable outcome. Can you answer the question, if your statement is true, then is it ok to lie under given circumstances?

                            Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
                            I'm just saying that specific argument doesn't work; it has a faulty order of events.
                            But it is your premise that I am now questioning. You're suggesting that my faulty order does not work, but I see your whole logic being built on faulty premise. You stated that a person can know whether the truth or a lie will have the desired outcome. And you thus based the following logic on that premise.

                            You stated:
                            1. A person can reasonably assume or know whether the truth or lie won't be believed and will have an undesirable outcome.
                            2. Thus, being known as a truth teller isn't going to work; it doesn't achieve the goal you want.
                            3. Thus, keeping in line with the truth won't help; it doesn't make that person trust you or want to do what needs to be done.

                            As to point 1, it seems no matter if a person is in a situation as an CIA or FBI agent or just a compulsive liar that this will fit his rationale.

                            As to points 2 and 3, I am just saying people are not like a light switch. A person can't lie and then tell the truth and expect any credibility whatsoever. Ironically, this is an issue the CIA and FBI face at the moment. All credibility is being brought into question. Given that CIA and FBI agents are known to lie in order to acquire the desired outcome: whether Elections, Russian collusion, or hiding evidence in order to attain a conviction or to set someone free of any allegations in order for desired information as in the case of Benghazi.

                            Without straying far off topic, I think this is related. The issue is to who said agency has loyalty towards. In this case, I think it no doubt that the agency has a loyalty to Country first, and then possibly God. This complicates matter and makes a complex situation for the person that has loyalty to God first and then Country.

                            God bless,
                            William
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by William View Post

                              I am quite aware of you suggesting that, but the point is your argument whether intentionally or not has an undesirable outcome. Can you answer the question, if your statement is true, then is it ok to lie under given circumstances?



                              But it is your premise that I am now questioning. You're suggesting that my faulty order does not work, but I see your whole logic being built on faulty premise. You stated that a person can know whether the truth or a lie will have the desired outcome. And you thus based the following logic on that premise.

                              You stated:
                              1. A person can reasonably assume or know whether the truth or lie won't be believed and will have an undesirable outcome.
                              2. Thus, being known as a truth teller isn't going to work; it doesn't achieve the goal you want.
                              3. Thus, keeping in line with the truth won't help; it doesn't make that person trust you or want to do what needs to be done.


                              As to point 1, it seems no matter if a person is in a situation as an CIA or FBI agent or just a compulsive liar that this will fit his rationale.

                              As to points 2 and 3, I am just saying people are not like a light switch. A person can't lie and then tell the truth and expect any credibility whatsoever. Ironically, this is an issue the CIA and FBI face at the moment. All credibility is being brought into question. Given that CIA and FBI agents are known to lie in order to acquire the desired outcome: whether Elections, Russian collusion, or hiding evidence in order to attain a conviction or to set someone free of any allegations in order for desired information.

                              Without straying far off topic, I think this is related. The issue is to who said agency has loyalty to. In this case, I think it no doubt that the agency has a loyalty to Country first, and then possibly God.

                              God bless,
                              William

                              To your first question: I have no answer. I'm doubtful on the issue; I tend to think lying is never okay.

                              -------

                              It sounds like this is being brought down to a question of effectiveness.

                              Because, if we assume lying is more effective, then phrasing things in that order doesn't help..
                              However, if it is, or even might be, less effective - then phrasing things in that order does or might help.

                              I have no reason to debate effectiveness, I don't know the answer. I can say that humans adapt (behavioral psych 100), and they tend to do what works - even if it's immoral. So, it probably is more effective.
                              Comment>
                              Working...
                              X
                              Articles - News - SiteMap