Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. Verse Tool: show

Christians and lying

Discuss topics raised by callers on the radio program

Re: Christians and lying

Postby TK » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:59 am

Timios wrote:
A person should not lie to save someone's feelings.


I would agree in many cases this is very true. An alcoholic should be told to quit drinking; the person who hogs all the discussion in a Bible study should be told to listen once in a while, etc etc. There are thousands of situations where we should not spare a person's feelings by being untruthful.

But there are also many situations where, out of love, it is not wrong to tell an untruth. In our ongoing example, what good would it serve to tell my dear mother that her dinner was awful? She'd be upset and I'd be upset, and it would not change the fact that the dinner was awful.

One more quick observation: We must be careful that "speaking the truth in love" is not simply a tactic to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.

"Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person." ~~Oswald Chambers
User avatar
TK
 
Posts: 1381
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:42 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Christians and lying

Postby Timios » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:33 pm

TK wrote:Telling an untruth to a murderer in order to protect or hide his intended victim is not a sin.


I wrote:True, but only because there is a moral conflict. Saving a life where possible is higher on the scale or morality than refraining from lying.


But I went on to say that lying for other reasons where there is no moral conflict (such as sparing your mother's feelings) is morally wrong, and that in the case of your mother's bad food, there is not only no moral conflict, but also the fact that you can spare her feelings without lying, by commending her for her hard work in food preparation.

Now some are bringing up the matter of Rahab lying to those who pursued the spies as if this somehow disproved my position. But it doesn't. Rahab didn't lie in order to spare anyone's feelings. Rather her action was just another example of lying to save lives, the lives of the spies as well as that of her own, another case in which saving lives takes moral precedence over refraining from lying.
Timios
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:57 pm

Re: Christians and lying

Postby Homer » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:43 pm

Timios,

You wrote:

Now some are bringing up the matter of Rahab lying to those who pursued the spies as if this somehow disproved my position. But it doesn't. Rahab didn't lie in order to spare anyone's feelings. Rather her action was just another example of lying to save lives, the lives of the spies as well as that of her own, another case in which saving lives takes moral precedence over refraining from lying.

I'm not sure of your position. The "conflicting absolutist" would say that all commands of God are absolutes and a person sins any time he breaks any of them. You obviously are not in this category. The "conflicting absolutist" would say that in the case of Rahab she faced two choices, to lie and save the lives of the men or tell the truth and see them die. In either case she would sin, but she could beg Gods forgiveness.

The "graded absolutist" (or hierarchicalist) would say that Rahab chose mercy over truth telling as obedience to the higher law. Thus she did not sin but is a hero.You appear in that camp. Decisions can be hard in the graded camp. I'm curious where you would draw the line. For example, could a Christian be involved in a "sting operation" where someone poses as a minor on the internet in order to lure a child molester into a situation whereby the molester would be arrested?

In the situation regarding an answer to a host regarding whether you enjoyed a meal, and the situation would result in no personal gain to you and no harm to anyone, could mercy trump truth, which is no more than an opinion?

If we are away from home overnight and leave a light on to deter a thief, isn't that a form of lying? Is a thief entitled to the truth?
User avatar
Homer
 
Posts: 2406
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Christians and lying

Postby Si » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:56 pm

I don't see the situation I described as merely sparing feelings, I see it as honoring my Mother and loving her.
Si
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:03 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Christians and lying

Postby Timios » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:02 pm

Homer, as you describe "hierarchicalist," I would say that that is what I am. I believe it is morally right to lie in order to save a life.

In the situation regarding an answer to a host regarding whether you enjoyed a meal, and the situation would result in no personal gain to you and no harm to anyone, could mercy trump truth, which is no more than an opinion?


Often people think that lying has no negative results when they consider only the immediate circumstances. But if you make it a practice, you will not be trusted. Or even if you don't make it a practice but it becomes known, you will not be trusted. So if you do it at all, you are likely to be harmed in this way. So "white lies" may not be so white after all.

However, lying to save a life can be justified in that saving a life overrides refraining from lying.

If we are away from home overnight and leave a light on to deter a thief, isn't that a form of lying? Is a thief entitled to the truth?


If lying is defined as "deception" then that would seem to be lying. How ever if lying is defined the way it is in most dictionaries, "making a statement that is intended to deceive" then that would not be lying. You might have left the light on with the intention of deceiving any prospective thief into thinking you were home, but you would not have lied unless you said to him, "We are going to be at home tonight."
Timios
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:57 pm

Re: Christians and lying

Postby Homer » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:17 am

Timios, I don't think we are far apart.

Often people think that lying has no negative results when they consider only the immediate circumstances. But if you make it a practice, you will not be trusted. Or even if you don't make it a practice but it becomes known, you will not be trusted. So if you do it at all, you are likely to be harmed in this way. So "white lies" may not be so white after all.

It is interesting that you mentioned being trusted. In his book "Mere Morality" Lewis Smedes writes "Truthfulness, for God, is equivalent to trustworthiness" and points out that Paul, in Romans 3:3-4, equates faithfulness vs. unbelief with truthfulness and lies:

Romans 3:3-4 (NASB)

3. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4. May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,
“That You may be justified in Your words,
And prevail when You are judged.”

Smedes contends that lying is not limited to words but can be done by any form of communication, even a gesture. And lying includes deception.

What are we to make of God's instructions to David to deceive Saul?

1 Samuel 16 (NASB)

16. Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” 2. But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’

Seems to be in the same category as a police sting operation.
User avatar
Homer
 
Posts: 2406
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Christians and lying

Postby Timios » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:22 pm

Homer quoting 1 Samuel 16:
1.Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” 2. But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’


Yes, that seems to be an example of God telling Samuel to lie in order to save a life (his own). Yet, we read in Titus 1:2 that God does not lie (or "cannot" lie as some translations have it). Does this suggest that telling a falsehood to save a life does not qualify as a "lie"?
Timios
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:57 pm

Re: Christians and lying

Postby TK » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:55 pm

Does this suggest that telling a falsehood to save a life does not qualify as a "lie"?


It does suggest that. Just as exaggeration and rhetorical language may not be lying(since Jesus used such devices). And I would argue that an untruth out of love to keep the peace or spare feelings is not (in some cases) lying so as to be a "sin."
User avatar
TK
 
Posts: 1381
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:42 pm
Location: North Carolina

Previous

Return to Radio Program Topics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron