The philosophy of truth and deceit; part IV
Part IV – “The Bible through the image of lies.”
Each one of us is a liar regardless of our origin or religion. Some of us lie in a good faith, for example to save someone while others give a false statement about other people what leads them to a tragedy. Different religions approach truth and lies in completely different ways. For example Christianity condemns it to the fullest extent while Islam encourages lying and justifies deception, provided that it serves Islam.
In Part IV of my article “The philosophy of truth and deceit” I do not intend to investigate neither Christianity nor Islam and I’m not going to undermine any of their teachings. I’m only going to concentrate on what the Bible has to say about lying and in the next article I will do the same with the Koran. Someone might say that my judgment would not be fair because an article written by a Catholic would be unjust towards Islam and for that reason I will only try to rely on the evidence contained in those two books. On the other hand being fully objective is also a great challenge, that’s why before my readers judge me they should ask themselves; what if that article was written by a Muslim or an atheist or a Jew?
The Bible on lying
The Bible is clearly against lying and against deceit because Jesus is the truth and the light and Satan is fake and he’s the father of all lies. This means that everything what is honest and noble comes from God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit, and those who engage in lies and give false statements about others does not deserve the eternal life.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Gospel according to St. John 14:6
Meanwhile about Satan:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Gospel according to St. John 8:44
From the above we can see that the Bible condemns lying and God cannot lie. Therefore taking into account that humans were created in God’s image it is clear to me that God does not want people to hide deception and darkness in their hearts. On the other hand is it the God’s plan sometimes to use people to lie in good faith and if it is, can such lies be viewed as sinful? In my understanding according to the Bible only those lies are sinful which give false statements or push others to tragedies, but those lies which are used to protect ourselves or others perhaps are not condemned at all or at least they are not condemned with such severity.
In this moment I’m thinking of prophet Abraham who was walking with his people and his beautiful wife Sarah to Egypt:
“Now there was a famine in the land and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt he said to his wife Sarai:“I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you they will say,‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
When Abram came to Egypt the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her they praised her to Pharaoh and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants and camels.
But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram: “What have you done to me?”, he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they escorted him on his way, with his wife and everything he had [to the border]. “
The Old Testament (the Book of Genesis 12: 9-20)
From the above quotation it seems to me that Abraham and his wife Sarah were a pair of crooks, despite the fact that they were guided by God. The biblical quote also shows that the Pharaoh was the victim of the scam and yet he was the one who was punished by God with plagues, even though he didn’t do anything wrong. This seems very odd considering that “God is the truth” (John 14: 6) and what makes me feel that God should be also “the justice”. Moreover, the Pharaoh was so generous that despite the harm done to him, he let go the couple of crooks with their people and their belongings given by the Pharaoh himself and he escorted them to the Egyptian border with protection (Genesis 24:20).
The above quote shows that God sometimes allows lying for the greater good, and in this case it was for the sake of others. Abraham led his people from Canaan through the desert to escape hunger. This means that although Abraham did wrong by lying God in his mercy forgave him and kept leeding him further, because all animals and things given to him by Pharaoh fed people of Abraham and saved them from misery or even death, what in turn meant greater good. On the other hand, at that time Egypt was a great civilization flowing with milk and honey and to the Pharaoh himself just a few animals and valuables were a symbolic expense.
I however still condemn Abraham and his wife because they planned the deception to enrich themselves on generosity of another man. In my understanding it is not my business if someone has one pound or a million pounds and I do not have any claim to other people’s money just because someone has them. Abraham acted very badly and luckily at least something good happened out of his dishonesty. Importantly, God wasn’t a partner in crime and he condemned Abraham but then forgave him because of the greater good.
“There are six things that the Lord hates and seven that are an abomination to his soul: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.“
The parallel passages 6: 16-19
We experienced completely different kinds of lies during the trial of Jesus. I blame the whole Jewish nation with a mortal sin for making a false statement against Jesus, because it was Jews who viciously demanded his death. During the trial the prefect of Roman Judea Pontius Pilate could not see any faults in Jesus and that’s why he asked Jews if they wanted to set the king of Jews free. Clearly Pilate realized that the Jewish priests accused Jesus falsely and of pure jealousy.
Jewish priests gave false statements against Jesus because he had a lot of followers what meant that he was a huge threat to them. Jesus already undermined their authority and could even take them out of power. Pilate himself didn’t see any fault in Jesus but his sin was also based on a lie. Pilate had weak character and that’s why he gave false judgement, because by sentencing innocent Jesus to death he made the bloodthirsty Jews very happy and he assured good relations with the conquered nation. Pilate’s judgement and the very presence of Jesus on a trial for unfounded accusations meant that Jesus did not always respond to all the allegations and he didn’t always want to defend himself. Jesus acted that way because the fury of evil Jews and the behaviour of the Roman prefect didn’t flow from their pure hearts but came from the devil.
The Trial of Jesus before Pilate (John 18.28 – 19.16) – (as an example of giving false statement)
18.28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters so that they would not be defiled but could eat the Passover.
18.29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
18.30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”
18.31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” (Jews didn’t want to have blood on their own hands)
18.32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. My Kingdom Is Not of This World
18.33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
18.34 Jesus answered,“Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
18.35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
18.36 Jesus answered,“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
18.37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
18.38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
18.39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
18.40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
19.1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him.
19.2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe.
19.3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
19.4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
19.5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
19.6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”
19.7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” (Jews gave a false statement. Their law is killing)
19.8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
19.9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
19.10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”
19.11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
19.12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Cesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Cesar.” (Jews blackmailing Pilate)
19.13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgement seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.
19.14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
19.15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Cesar.” (Jews lying again)
19.16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Satanic Jewish nation, vicious and insidious didn’t want to kill Jesus with their own hands so they killed him with the hands of the Romans. The question to which I will never find the answers is; whether Jews who had been healed earlier by Jesus also shouted “kill”?
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”