Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Excuse Me! When Did Lying Become Morally Acceptable?

Lying Not Acceptable I’m the type of person that treasures truth. Therefore, if I learn that a person has lied to me, I tend to lose all respect for the person. My husband and I discussed this very topic early on in our courting relationship. After 38 years of marriage, I can say that being truthful with each other is what held us together. There have been times when the truth was painful, but my husband knew that lying would result in worse consequences. So, it is in the sharing of truth, that we have stayed together, through the good times and the bad.

Lying Breeds Mistrust

It is through the sharing of the truth that trust is built. A marriage without trust is not a good marriage; just as any relationship, without trust, is not a good relationship. It takes a lifetime to build a relationship based upon truth and trust. Yet, it takes only five minutes and one lie to smash it all to smithereens!

Lying is Prevalent in Our Society

With truth as the foundation of any relationship, I must ask: When did lying become morally acceptable? And what does this say about the condition of our relationships and our society? I have witnessed lies in the workplace, on television, and definitely in politics. Lies are intended to deceive. They result in the liar’s loss of sincerity and credibility. Nothing good ever comes from a lie – that is why we consider lying to be intrinsically evil. Yet, it is so prevalent in our society today; so much so, that we are becoming numb to it. We seem to be accepting it!

  • We witness a co-worker or manager lie, and we do nothing because we don’t want to make waves.
  • Television shows ooze with lies and deceit and we become fans of the programs.
  • Politicians spin the truth to accommodate their positions, or outright lie. They come clean only when a journalist “outs” them. We simply dismiss the lies and don’t hold our politicians to accountability.

Folks, this is not good! Lying is never morally acceptable. It’s time to wake up and demand more of ourselves and others. Value truth and truthfulness, as God is Truth. Move away from lying and embrace the truth. We deserve to hear the truth, because our human dignity demands it.

Seeking Truth

So, going forward, don’t look the other way when you witness lies. Instead, hold people, especially politicians, accountable to telling the truth. Boycott products that falsely advertise. Boycott television shows that promote lying. That’s just for starters. I’m sure you can come up with additional ways to seek the truth. If you would like to share your ideas, add a comment to this post.

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, then click here.

6 Responses to Excuse Me! When Did Lying Become Morally Acceptable?

  • Thanks, Ginny, for this good word. Truth matters! Sometimes Christian poets and writers pass along misconceptions without realizing it, simply because they didn’t take time to check for accuracy.

    Prayer helps too. As Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” May He give us discernment and a hunger for scripture, so we can recognize and accept the freeing truth of God’s forgiving love.

  • Agreed. A good reminder, and good advice. I would add that lying or telling the truth can be done in many ways.

    For example, I probably should not tell another person that he or she is doing something “idiotic” or “crazy.” It might be true, in the sense that the person is engaged in an action which is obviously self-destructive. But framing the true statement as an insult could easy have the opposite of its intended effect.

    As for when lying became acceptable, I don’t remember seeing a serious study of that. My guess is that someone could trace the current assumption at least as far back as Machiavelli’s famous – or infamous – “The Prince.” (Shameless self-promotion: I talked about that in a (non-political) discussion of climate change and assumptions: “Climate Change, Attitudes.”)

    Long before Machiavelli, The presumably-idea society of Plato’s Republic would have been run by philosopher kings who kept those below ‘gold soul’ level in line by – – – alternatively-truthful? – – – statements. Plato’s Republic also tacitly advocated eugenic screening and culling of the unfit. For the good of the Republic, of course. Infanticide was a standard practice in many cultures, sadly, for what we would call eugenic motives.

    I think we do learn: but that it takes time.

    • Interesting points made Brian! Thanks for sharing. It all goes back to relativism, based upon what you added to the discussion: How we choose to “perceive” truth, rather than acknowledging objective truth as truth. – Thanks and Peace, Ginny

  • Any information, and perhaps your own opinion on, “Mental Reservation”, possibly a short definition of what it is, and when it can, and cannot, be used? I do realize one cannot use, “Mental Reservation”, when one is under Oath, one example of which is when one is testifying under Oath in court. Also, when does one not have an obligation to tell the truth, as in the individual, or individuals, have no right to know the information they are asking of someone. Thanks.

Leave a Reply