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Is it okay to lie sometimes?

  Author:  60162  Category:(Debate) Created:(5/17/2003 12:17:00 AM)
This post has been Viewed (4396 times)

I was just wondering if you think lying is completely unacceptable all the time of if you think its okay to lie under certain circumstances... we are studying it at College for ethics and I would love to hear what you guys think.

Is it okay to lie to not worry someone? Or to save someones life? Or is it bad to lie because then those who deeply trust you wont anymore?

Can you think of a time when you lied and it was justified?

I think its okay under circumstances that are difficult or when the truth might hurt someone so deeply that its better if they dont know.

Cant wait to read what you guys think... thanks...


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Date: 5/17/2003 1:10:00 AM  From Authorid: 51393    Although lying is considered a sin, it doesn't stop men and women from telling untruths -- some innocent, others more consequential. We all lie -- mostly for our own benefit -- whether it's to avoid a speeding ticket or to get a better deal on a product. But when do we start to separate the habitual liars from those that merely fib?
It's no surprise that both genders lie to the same extreme, they just do it differently and sometimes for different reasons.

So find out why your woman may be telling white lies, and you'll know the truth about your relationship
Date: 5/17/2003 1:11:00 AM  From Authorid: 51393    It's safe to say that women pay more attention to detail. Try watching a romantic movie with your girlfriend, and you'll find that your reactions will be pretty different. While she continues to talk about the feelings of the love-stricken couple, how it made her feel, and how aesthetically pleasing the scenery and costume design of the movie were, all you remark is that the movie was funny and the main female character was hot.

And when you talk about a sex-filled night of passion, you're more likely to high-five your friends and say "you nailed her real good," while she tells her friends about the foreplay, the main event, the intermission, and how good cuddling the next morning was.

The point is that women are more analytical, and therefore tend to pay more attention to minor details. And don't say that you also remember what she wore to your brother's engagement party last year because she can probably list what your whole family and the guests wore. So when it comes to white lies, women can turn little lies into elaborate tales, and you probably wouldn't remember the details of her intricately-sewn untruth.

It's this attention to detail that makes women better liars, and in turn, more likely to catch men in their lies. And even if you do sense that her deception doesn't add up, are you really going to investigate the minute details in order to crack the case? Please, the only time men play detective is when they fantasize about being James Bond - and it has nothing to do with the "man of mystery" aspect of it.

You now know how women lie, but when exactly do they tell white lies?

Date: 5/17/2003 1:13:00 AM  From Authorid: 51393    To make you feel better
If you could strap your woman to a lie detector, I think the questions most likely to fly her way would be something to the tune of: "Am I big enough for you?"; "Am I the best lover you've ever had?"; "Do you find me better looking than my best friend?"; and "Do you always orgasm when you say you do?"

These are the equivalent of: "Do these pants make me look fat?"; "Are you sure you like my haircut?" ; "Am I better looking than your ex?"; and "Are you going to call me tomorrow?"

Now unless you're a brave soul (or have just never experienced the fury of a natural disaster), you won't answer these questions truthfully, that is, if the truth is not necessarily what she wants to hear (she never wants to know that she looks fat, or that your ex would make Tyra and Gisele envious).

The truth is (and the truth may hurt) that if she says "no" to the aforementioned questions you ask, it would reduce your ego to the soles of your Hugo Boss shoes, as she stomps you with her Gucci heel.

These little white lies don't hurt anyone and are only meant as reassurance every now and then; it's therefore okay to tell the person what they want to hear. If the person is so insecure that they feel compelled to ask these questions all the time, then they won't always take your positive response as the absolute truth.

If you and your girlfriend are close enough, then you come to a point where you can each squirm your ways out of these questions, by responding to, "Do these pants look okay?" with, "I think your outfit would look better with your black pants."

She must feel very close to you to truthfully answer these questions without hurting your feelings, but don't hold it against her if she tells these white lies -- her answers are only meant to satisfy your ego, whether they're truthful or not.

To save herself
Her lies can also be self-serving. She may downplay her emotions, and lie to you and herself that the two of you are "just friends" in order to avoid placing all her cards on the table and getting hurt. She may also lie and say that she went out last Saturday night (while still in the courting process), when she was really sitting on her couch with the phone in her hand, awaiting your call.

These are the harmless lies that women (as well as men) use to make themselves seem more desirable in the other's eyes. There's a difference between lying about the fact that she has a villa in Milan and a yacht, and fibbing about the fact that she worked as a chambermaid in a hotel for a month (when it was really six).

Date: 5/17/2003 1:14:00 AM  From Authorid: 51393    And then there's every man's favorite question: "How many men have you slept with?" Even if the number is astronomical (can't be counted on both her hands and feet, in addition to your digits), she is still liable to tell you how many partners she has had.

This kind of lie -- even if it seems as white as the sheets she claims to sleep on -- can be grounds for breaking up, especially when unprotected sex and STDs come into play.

To avoid arguments
How many times has your woman uttered, "nothing" along with a pouting face, to the question, "what's wrong?" She's clearly lying since there is something wrong, but she's only doing so because she doesn't want to open a whole can of worms (a web of lies isn't necessarily better, since talking about issues is encouraged). Use your judgment about whether or not you should pursue the truth in this case.

If she knows that you're jealous and incredibly possessive, then she may feel obliged to lie by telling you that she went to the movies with her high school crush who lives across the street and her friend Suzie. This isn't always the best solution since it only makes it look like she has something to hide, but depending on how you react to such situations, lying is left to her discretion.

Date: 5/17/2003 1:15:00 AM  From Authorid: 51393    okay, you caught me

White lies are not always the best way to go, and in no way is it encouraged. No matter how good a liar she is, it can always backfire on her, and she has to ask herself whether the consequences are worth it. I am a firm believer that the truth always manages to make its way to the surface. And as I said earlier, lying -- as innocent as it sometimes is -- could make it seem like she really does have something to hide.

But if the little white lie makes you feel better at the end of the day, and so long as your relationship isn't based on deception, then it's the truths in your relationship that make all the white lies worth it.

Date: 5/17/2003 1:18:00 AM  From Authorid: 51393    This is based on this site and explanation about white lies--->http://www.askmen.com/dating/heidi/40c_dating_girl.html  
Date: 5/17/2003 1:48:00 AM  ( From Author ) From Authorid: 60162    So you think most white lies are in exaggeration and definately within sexual encounters? Thats interesting. But are white lies harmful? I get the impression you were basically saying no in moderation but to be careful that they do not become habitual etc.. What if a woman and a man were trying to hard to have a baby, the man loved the woman so much but they were unsucessful in getting a child. Lets say she has one night of "mistake" with a man from work and falls pregnant. Her husband is absolutely over the moon, he rushes out and buys baby clothes, has a party and just cant stop talking about his up coming child.... do you tell him what happened? Do you tell him how it happened? You know it was a mistake and you would never do it again but he is just so happy and you love him so much... would you ruin it all, risk it all and tell him? (Me, personally, I would) but these are the sorts of dilemmas I mean, people are faced with every day. This scenario came from a Law and Order episode I watched. I am just really interested to see what peoples "invisible line" is and how far they would go to hide something or lie about something to protect someone. And is it justifyiable or is it always a lie no matter what? You had some great points Linda, white lies are largely used in every day life.  
Date: 5/17/2003 2:38:00 AM  From Authorid: 3125    A lie that is a lie is a lie. There's no such thing as a little lie or a big lie. There are lies which may not cause as much damage as some others, but they are all lies. I would say that in an extreme dangerous situation that it is understandable as to why someone would tell a robber that no one else was home when their child was in an upstairs bedroom, or to tell him that you have a gun, but to tell someone a lie so as not to hurt their feelings is being dishonest for a small reason. I would not lose respect and trust for someone who lied because of a dangerous situation, but I would lose trust and respect for someone who lies just because they did not want to hurt someone's feelings. Speaking of lies..My ex sister-in-law lies so much that she actually convinces herself that she is telling the truth. I hate talking to her. I don't like trying to pick out the truth from her lies.  
Date: 5/17/2003 5:00:00 AM  From Authorid: 61901    It Only Ok to lie when telling fishing stories.  
Date: 5/17/2003 9:22:00 AM  From Authorid: 17204    don't lie to people who deeply trust you...when it comes to life or death sitations, by all means I would lie my butt off, lol.
I used to lie to my parents all of the time....but recently i got caught. since then I have been honest, sometimes maybe even too honest. however i have more freedoms now that i tell them the truth.
Date: 5/17/2003 9:37:00 AM  From Authorid: 15394    I think lying is wrong... it is one of those pet peeves of mine ... I DETEST A LIAR!... I don't care if you think it will hurt me dearly, DO NOT LIE TO ME!.. to lie says that you do not trust another person with the truth... you are then taking power away from another, and what gives you the right to do that ??? ... truth allows EACH person the opportunity to learn something. To lie is to take away the life/learning of another soul and to me that is wrong.. so I am a NO lie ever kind of person.. tough to do, but I have found it directly correlative to the esteem of a person... to live true, helps you have a good feeling about YOURSELF... imho   
Date: 5/17/2003 11:40:00 AM  From Authorid: 10915    Nope. Lying isn't ok.  
Date: 5/17/2003 12:35:00 PM  From Authorid: 51393    [quote]I don't care if you think it will hurt me dearly, DO NOT LIE TO ME!.. to lie says that you do not trust another person with the truth... you are then taking power away from another, and what gives you the right to do that ???[quote]First of all Jungabel ,thats good you are one unique individual.Are you sure you are not from another planet?Now when white lies has been spoken it is a matter of TACT not because they want to lie to you.Let me give you and example.Let say i ask you .Am i fat?What is your answer even thoe you know she is fat .Would you then tell her she is fat ?Let see more to a LIFE longing tales in our lives.What if i ask you .How do you feel about being an abused child ?What is your answer ?Would then tell me the thruth or dodge away from the thruth and tell me other things other wise.Yep i have every right to say white lies if i know it will protect you from hurting your self.Do not confused WHITE LIES to PATHOLOGICAL LIES.It makes a difference yea know HELLO!  
Date: 5/17/2003 12:56:00 PM  From Authorid: 15157    Its bad to lie...that means in all aspects of life such as your personal and business. Like peeps like to add alittle more to their income block on credit decisions. That is considered lieing too!...a Lie is a Lie...and remember you gotta lie in that lie!...So don`t lie.  
Date: 5/17/2003 2:05:00 PM  From Authorid: 54532    Well all I can say is that everyone does it. And yes I think if the time calls for it or its appropriate then you can lie and it isn't wrong.  
Date: 5/17/2003 6:41:00 PM  ( From Author ) From Authorid: 60162    I am not supporting lies Diana... if that "HELLO" is directed at me. I am just asking what everyones opinions are.  
Date: 5/17/2003 6:43:00 PM  ( From Author ) From Authorid: 60162    I like you robber example Deer... thats a good one for justifyable reasoning. Thank you!  
Date: 5/17/2003 6:44:00 PM  ( From Author ) From Authorid: 60162    I agree with you Junabel, I am not a liar either and I am soooo bad at it when I do lie because I feel so bad about it. Thank you for your comment. Kiki and Girlie, you are right. LOL at X  
Date: 5/17/2003 9:32:00 PM  From Authorid: 47218    So you should never tell a lie? Things aren't always so black and white. What if, say, you were living in Nazi-ruled Germany, and they were going around hunting Jews to send to concentration camps, and you knews that some neighbors of yours were harboring a jewish family. If the Nazi party came to your doorstep and asked if you knew of anyone hiding jews, would it be ethical for you to say "yes?"  
Date: 5/17/2003 10:11:00 PM  From Authorid: 54987    Not only is it accepted practice in this world, but it is also impossible to avoid. Think about it... if we all told the truth what do you think life would be like?  
Date: 5/17/2003 10:24:00 PM  From Authorid: 37872    No action is essentially wrong. It's a matter of cause and consequence. Can you live with the consequeces of the lie? Can you lie without facing any detrimental circumstances? All of this is relative...relative to how much you care about other's feelings, relative to you're own perceptions, beliefs, understanding and relative to you're own grasp on reality. A lie is an act of deception, a means to hide the truth. The truth is absolutely relative, which means you have to be understanding to what other's see and believe. I personally dislike liars and believe being truthful is the best path and yet I've been in many situations where truth is percieved as a lie. The truth is: is that a lie is only a lie when the person on the recieving end of the lie knows that is not the same truth that you percieve; and that, for most is a pretty difficult task.  
Date: 5/17/2003 10:27:00 PM  From Authorid: 16069    White lies are acceptable. I give them out and surly I get them right back at me. This makes me wonder, how often do I lie?  
Date: 5/17/2003 10:41:00 PM  From Authorid: 16069    One simple lie ushually turns into a handful of lies. They grow and grow. Be careful about what you lie about. For those of you who hate liers, can you sit here and honestly tell me that you never tell lies? I find that impossiable to believe.  
Date: 5/18/2003 5:58:00 PM  From Authorid: 55967    There is no color for any lie. Can you give me an instance where actually lying will save someone's life?  
Date: 5/18/2003 6:33:00 PM  From Authorid: 53052    it's ok to lie to save someone's feelings from needlessly being hurt(basically white lies)  
Date: 5/19/2003 10:34:00 PM  From Authorid: 37900    Ah, situational ethics: constructing hypothetical situations so that it seems that only one answer is correct. I remember sitting in a class where the professor asked if there is absolute truth. Only one hand went up and the student answered that lying was always wrong. The professor offered a hypothetical scenario: If a terrorist burst into the classroom asking if a particular student was present, and the student was, would it be right to lie to protect the pupil? Many heads nodded, apparently unaware of the probability of a terrorist successfully crossing a campus of 11,000, entering a crowded building undetected and selecting and reaching the sixth floor either by climbing the stairs or by riding the elevator with a loaded weapon. Rusure's example of a robber follows the same one-dimensional thinking: are we to believe that a robber will knock on my door and ask me personal questions? ["Hello, I'm a robber. Is there anyone else in the house with you? Also, do you have a gun?"] IMO, hypothetical situations do not reflect reality and decisions about what is proper behavior should not be based on them. Good post!  
Date: 5/20/2003 5:51:00 AM  From Authorid: 47218    you're wrong alfrowl. Extreme situations do occur. Usually under extreme circumstances. My example, for instance. During the holocaust, people harbored Jews, helped them to create fake papers and passports, helped smuggle them out of the country, all the time, thus lying to their government. Were they in the wrong? And consider the recent situation in Iraq, where American soldiers were taken hostage and interrogated. If questioned by the enemy about some sensitive piece of intelligence that could result in the death of American soldiers if the enemy got ahold of it, should the captive soldier tell the truth, or lie and say they don't know anything about it? Anyhow, the whole point is, regardless of probability, the fact that one can come up with plausible scenarios where almost every person would be compelled to lie where, in fact, where nearly everyone could admit that it would be wrong to tell the truth demonstrates that a rigid argument that it is always wrong to lie (a black and white argument, mind you) is problematic.  
Date: 5/20/2003 7:54:00 AM  From Authorid: 3125    Alfrowl..I strongly disagree with you. I have heard of an incident where the mother told a robber that she was alone. The robber shot her but she survived. On the news the mother said she was so thankful that her son did not come down the stairs. The son had heard the fighting and the gun shot and he hid in a closet. The robber proceeded in robbing the house and didn't look in the closet where the child was hiding. Another time, I had been receiving harrassing and obscene phone calls. One day immediately after my hubby went to work, sure enough a man called and was saying terrible things to me and threatening me. He also knew some personal things about me. He ask me if he could come over. I told him "Sure..Come right on..By the way..The police will be here anytime now." I then said in a very threatening voice.."Besides, I know who you are and if you think you have me scared, I would advise you to be very careful when you walk out your door." Yes..I lied..I had three small children at that time to protect. You know, that man never bothered me again. I do believe the caller was a man who lived a few houses away.  
Date: 5/20/2003 11:26:00 PM  From Authorid: 37900    Thanks for your response, Mollycat. I understand that it is sometimes necessary to violate the dictates of a morally corrupt government to do what is right. My point is that it is wrong to lie about it. Suppose I was sheltering Jews in the Netherlands in the early 1940's and some Nazi thugs came to the door and asked if I were protecting "enemies of the state." I believe I could tell the truth and keep the Jews safe; I could say, "You're welcome to check my house." Regarding American soldiers held captive, our military prepares soldiers for capture by telling them to endure as long as they can, but not to feel as if they have betrayed their country by giving the information they have. It seems to me that a soldier is not obligated to say anything in such cases: one is not lying if one says nothing. I think it's possible, and right, to tell the truth, even in difficult circumstances.  
Date: 5/20/2003 11:39:00 PM  From Authorid: 37900    Thank you for your response, Rusure. I suggest that the woman would have been shot whether she told the truth or not; the robber was intent on neutralizing the greatest threat to his actions. Concerning your experience, It is unfortunate there are moral Neanderthals so close to you. IMO, it was your confident tone of voice that frightened him, not the words you used. I think if you had told the truth, you would have had the same results.  
Date: 5/21/2003 5:56:00 AM  From Authorid: 47218    nonsense, Afrowl, you couldn't keep them safe! Once the Nazi's knew the truth, they would take the Jews and whoever was helping them-- i.e. you-- and put them in a concentration camp. Don't be so naive.  
Date: 5/21/2003 10:10:00 AM  From Authorid: 3125    Alfrowl, The point of this post is not whether the woman would have gotten shot or not, or if there was another way out, but the point is whether or not it is acceptable to lie sometimes. What I am saying is that though I do not believe in lying whatsoever, I can understand lying under certain circumstances. This has been going on since time began and though it is not right, people will lie. Take Peter for instance. Mark 141, Peter denied even knowing Christ three times out of fear for his own life. BTW..Some immoral people can lie and con their way into even the best of neighborhoods.  
Date: 5/21/2003 10:10:00 PM  From Authorid: 37900    Thanks for your responses, Mollycat and Rusure. I suppose I am naive, but it seems to me that our lives begin a downward spiral when we believe that the preservation of life is more important than the truth. As I understand it, the essence of this post is whether there are circumstances that justify lying. I have to say no; not because I haven't lied to protect others or myself, but because some principles are greater than my convenience. I believe it was William James who wrote, "The greatest use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it." The people of history who seem to provide us with the most inspiration are those that have placed enduring principles ahead of temporal convenience. I would like to be among those of the 21st-century that live the same way.  
Date: 5/22/2003 5:47:00 AM  From Authorid: 47218    forgot about your own life, Alfrowl. The point is-- other people's lives. You would risk other people's lives to preserve this egocentric image of yourself as one of the great crusaders who put principle above all else? What if it was the life of your own child? I think not.  
Date: 5/22/2003 5:58:00 AM  From Authorid: 3125    Alfrowl..I agree with you. I believe in honesty. Two of my main pet peeves are liars and thieves. My point is that even a person who is normally honest may lie when put under extreme duress. They may regret the lie afterwards but they still lied. I do not believe that lying is ever justified but I can understand a person easier who would tell a lie while under pressure. There is a difference in a person who lies and never gives it another thought and in one who believes in honesty but was caught up in a dangerous situation and lied out of fear, even though neither way is justified.  
Date: 5/22/2003 10:10:00 PM  From Authorid: 37900    Thanks for your response, Mollycat. I apologize if I sounded egocentric; I am not a great crusader that always puts principle above convenience. I have lied to protect myself and to avoid further questioning. My point is that lying is always wrong because the truth is more important than another minute of life. What would I do if the life of my child were on the line? Honestly, I don't know. I know what I'd like to be able to say: the truth is more important than an individual. IMO, it was people like that that made this country great; they still do. Living in America, I feel protected because there are men and women that put principle above convenience. Valuing truth above immediate gratification seems to work best for me.  
Date: 5/22/2003 10:12:00 PM  From Authorid: 37900    Thanks for your response, Rusure. I agree with your comments.  
Date: 6/21/2005 10:23:00 PM  From Authorid: 61977    False truths are a part of life, does it make it right no it doesn't. Yet we do not live in a perfect world either.  

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