April 18, 2008

White Lies

Do you believe in white lies? Some people believe that white lies cause no discord because this type of lies doesn’t have any intention to harm anyone.

An example of white lies would be when John tells Peter that he bought a new Corvette, when he actually didn’t. If you come to think of it, this lie doesn’t cause any harm to Peter. But what John didn’t expect is that Peter, who cannot afford the price of the Corvette’s tires, might suffer from a blow to his self esteem as a result of this lie. So, he’s now harmed. And therefore, this lie is no longer considered a white lie. That’s what I think.

But what if our lies won’t harm anyone? Why don’t we all white lie? It could be because our mothers always taught us that lying is wrong. And we learned from the bible that lying is a sin in God’s eyes. Yes, it’s a sin that is as wicked as murder and adultery. The ninth of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 reads “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. Bearing witness is lying, and all people are “our neighbor”. So if we deceit people, then we’re sinning. That’s how bad it is. The New Testament also tells us "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices" in Colossians 3:9. However, I’m still confused about the rightness of white lies. If you lie to make someone feel better, is it really wrong? If a guy lies to a girl (who he thinks is far from good looking) and tells her she’s good looking, I don’t think he’s made a mistake. As a matter of fact, he made her feel better about herself, which is a good deed. Though, it won’t be considered a white lie anymore if things got more complicated than anticipated when the girl starts thinking that he likes her. Uh-oh! Faux pas, Monsieur. Leading a girl on is a bad thing to do.

OK let's fix the scenario! Say you're complimenting an ugly straight friend of yours of the same sex on their looks. Is it right or wrong?

I don’t know. In my humble opinion, white lying that offers benefit to the liar or the hearer (or both) is definitely better than other forms of deceptions. But my argument on whether it is bad or not is still debatable.


Rain said...

I think lying gets you nowhere that's good, whichever colour you use for it.

I don't believe there's a lie that would offer benefit to someone. If you say someone is good at singing when they actually suck, they're going to sing more in public and that will make other people make fun of them. If you say someone is smart, when they're not, they'll start depending on their own decisions instead of going to smarter people for help. They will make wrong decisions and eventually harm themselves.

In my humble opinion, I believe the bible said you shouldn't lie for a very good reason. It wasn't "Don't lie except if it's a beneficial white lie" for a good reason as well :)

MaximEyes said...

You made a lot of sense and I partially agree with what you said.

I just didn't agree with the statement: "I don't believe there's a lie that would offer benefit to someone." I think lying could offer many benefits - like I mentioned in the post - to the liar and the person being lied to. Again, I'm not defending any form or colour of lying. I'm just stating a fact that lying could be beneficial.

The two examples that you gave support my point of view. We all agree that lying that causes any sort of disorder is morally wrong. But what I'm trying to get to with this hypothesis is to see whether "lying that causes no harm whatsoever" is wrong or not.

For example, if you could foresee the future, know the unknown, and know for a fact that your lie won’t do any bad. Is it still wrong?
And my other question is: Can complementing someone on their looks be unfavorable if you know this compliment won't lead them on?