The right to lie

A couple of threads touched on the idea of lies. An opinion (of religious leaders) was that regardless whether “they” believe it to be true, the evidence (standard of) doesn’t support the belief and they are lying, irregardless.

It’s one thing to say “I don’t know” … it’s another to claim “truth of a matter” (usually via interpretation, low standards of evidence, power/control/money motivation, etc). When others adopt or buy into the “sale of a story of what is true”, that belief becomes their action (personal decisions, identity expression and interaction with others) and emotional makeup.

My interest in religion or politics are motivated by really examining “how close to true” is the claim. Perhaps :thinking: it becomes a hot issue because both are based on “belief” (the old adage, never to discuss religion or politics at the dinner table). AND both tend to get merged into self-identity.

Given that both really have an effect on human society, are there “lines” in the sand that shouldn’t be crossed by either - OR should both be viewed as “show” to fill some human emotional need? AND what is that need? A deep seated fear to have “something” in control of the chaos?

What is the level of falsehood that is acceptable in both?

As it is very ;late at night down here I will not, afetr a good intake of shiraz/cabernet attempt to be erudite on this matter.

Falsehoods are essential to day to day survival. Call them “manners” “politesse” “etiquette” “white lies” our lives are predicated not on truth but on the small lies we accept every day.

It is no wonder that we, as social hominids, are conditioned to accept the bigger lies as they are presented as necessary to our social well being.

last sip od S/C, enough real thought for this evening

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A government or religion based on lies is flawed and hollow. I would lose respect for either quickly, nor would I obey their leaders.

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Are these though “lies” or are they;

“I don’t knows/care/none of your business” responses (eg: “hi! Haven’t seen you in awhile, how are you? … “Great, things are about the same, and you?” … blah blah blah). OR

Subjective latitudes …“Do I look good in this?” “Am I fat?” “Damn! Do I look balder to you?”
Responses are dependant on relationship, personal style preferences, body attractiveness (to you), etc.

NOW yes - some wiggle room. “Are you busy this weekend?” “Yes” (busy doing puzzles and relaxing without helping you move). HOW far we push “social grace into lies” also is dependent on the person.

Sometimes … telling the truth can be detrimental to a happy life.


The “dangerous” category is all subjective, pre-judgemental, passive/aggressive non-sense.

Trust me - those type of “truth” questions (limited by fact based only on a presumed opinion) would be met with the negative response they deserve.

Signed - woman

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@Whitefire13 Here, have some wine. :wink:

Seriously though, we all lie in our day to day lives. Almost all are to allow us to glide through our lives avoiding major embarrassment and or conflict. Personally, and for me, the most important thing is to internally recognize I am telling a lie, understand why, and own up to the fact I was dishonest.

Many years ago I had an acquaintance who continually lied. I was close to him and knew him for over ten years. But I came to realize that since he continually told lies, he started to believe in some of them.

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So, with social graces and our own internal dialogue (that can be dishonest OR honestly acknowledging the fact we are lying)… I was thinking more along this line.

Take for example the Ark Encounter. It’s category… a theme park. BUT surrounding the “fun” of imagination based on a myth is the idea it’s sold as true. Believed by many to be true. Taught to children as true.

So is there harm? Is this just another “right” (the idea to sell a lie as truth).

Disneyland exists in the same way, but I don’t know of the common idea (exceptions for the few) sold to children that the theme is truth.

I think you’ve asked a great question. I guess the difference I would draw between Disney and the Ark Encounter is… well, Disney probably doesn’t cause harm to people or kids, but the Ark Encounter does. Answers in Genesis is going to teach them a bunch of hateful nonsense on top of the silly flood myth: homosexuality is wicked, premarital sex is evil, things like that. I also know they encourage kids to make fools out of themselves in school by “speaking up about their faith,” which never went well in my experience.

That’s the distinction I would draw.

I think you need to be specific as to harm.

From, say a fundamentalist POV (based on their idea of what is true) they would argue that it does. That Disney teaches magic, witches, ghosts/spirits - teaches rebellion, encourages a Satanic “spirit”, which is harmful to society.


That’s a fair point. They would probably say it misleads children, sure, and will ultimately lead them into sin, which will result in hell.

I guess that’s future harm, though, isn’t it? Not to mention unverifiable harm. Their harm is more like a threat of what will happen, even if it doesn’t happen now. The harm I mean is immediate: shame, self-loathing, etc.

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Interesting perception.

A skeptic and cynic, it is my observation that politics has one and only one guiding principle; “the end justifies the means” (Two if you count the eleventh commandment; " Don’t get caught")

Take a look at the US Declaration of Independence. In my opinion it is perhaps the noblest political document ever written, and the same time, possibly the most cynical: It declares " that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" What it actually meant at the time is “all slave owning white men”

Along with many other Aussies, I have a healthy contempt for professional politicians. I consider myself fortunate that their self interest does not noticeably conflict with mine all that often.

It is not my belief that religion was initially based on lies. Rather on delusion and a couple of common logical fallacies, such as . “I lack the knowledge, imagination or wit to think of anything else, therefore god(s) did it” and "after this ,therefore because of this’ (ergo propter hoc) Eg : In the Paleolithic, a man dances around the fire praying to the gods/spirits for rain… It begins to rain. Obviously it was the dance and prayers which caused the rain. Even followers of the great religions today are still guilty of that fallacy especially when crying “miracle!”.

It is also my opinion that organised religion becomes corrupt as soon as it creates a hierarchy, when it becomes the singer not the song. For Christianity I think that happened as early as the first century.

That the early church became downright evil in the fourth century. IE when emperor Theodosius 1 (1) made a specific sect of the religion called “The Way” the state religion and (2) permitted and encouraged that sect to murder any persons who disagreed with them (heretics). That practice continued for another thousand years, including through the Protestant Reformation.

There is no doubt that there were indeed many cynical men and women who believed none of it. But that a person was greedy and corrupt as say the Borgia and Medici popes during the Renaissance ,does not necessarily mean they were deliberate liars in terms of their religious beliefs. Nor is there any way for us to know.

The pious humbug has always been with us. A good part of that reason is that we human beings can and do rationalise literally any behaviour. IMO, hypocrisy is a part of the human a condition. To label people such as say evangelists Ken Ham or Ray Comfort simply as liars is I suspect a smidge simplistic.

PS IMO perhaps even the majority of the priestly caste have always been sincere. Or not, how can we possibly know for sure?


You have the right to lie with anyone you want to. You are a big girl now. Just remember to use protection, at least until after the tests and until you agree to be mutually exclusive.


I agree with your general perspective, although you know my views on where organized religion started (I won’t rehash that here). Ken Ham and Ray Comfort strike me as sincere buffoons, to put it neatly. That may not be kind but it’s true to how… adamant they are about their faith. People who preach in open squares like Ray Comfort, or make video series, or host museums, have profit in mind but are profiting off belief. They put themselves on the line, I guess I’m saying, and I don’t think they would do that unless they believed at some level. They’re too public with their views for me to believe that they don’t mean them or embrace them.

Back to the idea of harm.

I “lie” to my kid about Santa.
I “lie” to my kid about evolution.

What are the differences? Where is the harm?

Here’s how I see it.
I share an imaginary folk figure that brings gifts. Society “plays” along. Imaginative fun. The kid learns at a very young age that it was part of Christmas :christmas_tree:pop goes the magic. At this age they have usually left behind monsters in the closet, wanting to be Spider-Man when they grow up, etc. They’re starting to development a more “realistic” worldview. They also learn there are mundane answers (reasons) for an extraordinary claim.

NOW … compare this to the “creation” lie.

Interesting position.

My parents lied to us about Father Xmas and the Easter Bunny. I realised father xmas was not real at 8. I continued to pretend I believed for another 2 years lest the presents ceased. Yeah, I was a sneaky, Machiavellian little cunt.

That famous childless expert, Germaine Greer has said “it’s despicable to lie to a child”. I disagree; everyone lies. The sooner a child realises that the better imo.
We tell ‘white lies’ constantly… The claim is that this to protect another person.
My observation is that as often as not, the person being protected is oneself


An aside; it is permissible for a Muslim to lie to a kafir (non believer) for any reason. Traditionally this rule was used to protect Muslims from being killed. Unlike Christians, it was perfectly Ok say for a Muslim to pretend to convert to Christianity to save his life. I find that perfectly reasonable, I even did something similar once.

When conscripted, I had to allow myself to be inducted into the Australian Army. The alternative was to go to prison for 2 years. I was made to swear allegiance to “Queen Elizabeth the second, her heirs and successors”. I told myself that because that oath was made under duress, I was not bound by it.

My loyalty was always to my comrades, never to the unit or my country. Even then there were few things for which I was willing to die. Today it’s even fewer.

No such country exists where politics and religion can be unquestionably honoured and revered. You must be an international bad arse anarchist, Joelinbody. I think I could get to like you.

Politicians, whether they begin with the noblest intentions or with the most darkest of agendas, will all inevitably wrap themselves in lies and somewhere along the way, a flag and where it would help, a religion.
Religions are vaunted edifices of lies starting with “a god exists that has power to make your life good if you behave”, and finishes with promises of “eternal and peaceful life after death”.
Neither deserves respect; circumspection is more appropriate.

Only for mutually beneficial laws, individual rights, freedoms and legitimate forces of protection, I obey selected rules. I drive on the appropriate side of the road and resist yelling “I have a bomb” in crowded venues.
I mostly ignore the religious until they impinge on my rights under those social laws I have chosen to obey.

But neither tells lies that compel me enough to fight, kill or die for whatever reason. I bravely assure myself I would die to save family and other worthies, but not for flags or improbable theologies. There are heaps of people motivated by various intense passions supporting both, ready eager to do so, for flag, honour, worship, martydom, eternal rewards, either in heaven or history. Pro deo et patria are attractions that charm and mesmerise the majority. I save my sacrifice for the practical and meangful.

The thing is that most people either really believe both or at least tolerate the obvious lies of either. We still vote for men in suits who we know mislead us or fail to live up to their own vaunted standards. Others hang on the words of exalted but all too human shamans or silent gods at best. It’s proof of how irrational we all are. “Homo sapien irrationablis” would describe us well.

Of course, atheists never tell lies, squawk.

added later…I got carried away with do or die examples above and neglected issues connected with intolerance, discrimination, and persecution, for which politics and religions are enormously famous.

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Frankly I think both religion and politics should have to carry “disclaimers” of sorts in regard to the product they are selling.

After all it is advertising and the public is the consumer.

Truth in advertising.

Not sure how to take that. Im flattered you think that I’m that popular. I post subversive art sometimes, that’s how radical I get. Anarchy is a philosophy. It shapes my actions but not towards violence, which accomplishes little.

Interesting perception.

My view is based on conflict theory. This was pithily observed by Mao Tze Dung ;
“power grows from the barrel of a gun”. I’ll go further, violence is implied with any real power.

This is not my ideal, simply an observation of how the world actually works.

On a micro level, as expressed by George Carlin : " It’s amazing how much can be achieved with a simple baseball bat"