Answers in Genesis, always an interesting site to read if you’d like to remind yourself just where sticking your head either in the sand or up your bum can lead you, has an answer to a question from ‘a reader’ (identified only as M.H.) who asks the seemingly simple question: is it ever acceptable to lie? The example which M.H. gives is
if the Nazis are looking for Jews, and you know where they are, it would not be wrong to lie, in order to protect them, nor would this be bearing false witness “against” someone.
Now, don’t forget, that according to the
loonies folks at Answers in Genesis (AiG) The Bible is God’s word and contains nothing but the truth even where it manages to contradict itself. If facts get in the way and are at variance with what it says in The Bible then it must be the facts that are wrong. The Bible cannot possibly be wrong because it is God’s word and the evidence for that is to be found in The Bible because … and so on.
But I’ve managed to get sidetracked. The question is answered by AiG’s Bodie Hodge (head of the Answers Department no less). The problem for Mr Hodge is that to the great number of people the answer to the question is so self-evidently ‘of course it’s OK to lie’ that to say otherwise will make him seem like an inhuman zealot. Unfortunately, as he goes on to explain in great detail, The Bible quite clearly sets out that it is always wrong to lie in any circumstances whatsoever. I’ve no doubt at all that other Bible ‘scholars’ would disagree with Mr Hodge but he is quite firm in his opinion1. The Bible says it’s wrong and so it is. God has already done the thinking so that you don’t need to do it for yourself.
Unfortunately, this can lead to people meeting an untimely and, in the case of the Jews mentioned in the question, rather nasty end. This doesn’t really concern Mr Hodge at all. All he’s concerned about is that Biblical edicts are adhered to. Of course, he understands that other people may be a trifle concerned about his answer. No matter, he has a response to this too: since we’re all going to die anyway it doesn’t matter at all. God may well have a plan which means that you’ll have to die sooner than you expected but, hey, that just means you get to join Him and his Son all the sooner and you should rejoice in this. Oh, sorry. It’s not you who is going to die is it? It’s those pesky people you’re wondering whether you should protect from the Nazis. Don’t worry about that: God has a plan for them and it’s not for you to question it. Problem solved!
My answer to the original questioner is simple. Avoid religions, especially the Abrahamic religions2, like the plague. If you have to ask yourself whether it’s OK to lie then it probably is. Think for yourself instead of relying on a prepackaged set of morals and false certainties.
1 Mr Hodge almost certainly won’t agree that this is his opinion. Rather he would almost certainly say that The Bible quite clearly says this and is not open to interpretation.
2 That’s Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Others may differ but all of them, or nearly all, are about control. Nearly 2000 years ago Seneca the Younger said
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by rulers as useful. That’s still true today.
Posted 15 November 2009, 02:34 GMT