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Formal Debate: The "Righteous" Lie (Lying is always a sin).

Discussion in 'Formal Debate Threads' started by MarkRohfrietsch, Mar 18, 2016.

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  1. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

    1. Title: The "Righteous" Lie (Lying is always a sin)
    2. Topic: The Bible teaches us that lying is a sin, and that there are no exceptions.
    3. Participants: @Lukamu will be affirming the topic; @ewq1938 will represent the opposing view.
    4. Number of Rounds: Three alternating rounds with Lukamu making the opening post.
    5. Post Length: Maximum Length; 1000 words per post.
    6. Time Between Posts: Two weeks maximum
    7. References: All reference material will be allowed, but quotes must comply with CF's copyright rule which can be found here: Community Rules
    8. Rules: All of the Community Rules continue to apply.
    9. Start Date: @Lukamu may begin any time, and @ewq1938 is free to reply as soon as Lukamu has posted.
    10. Two "Peanut Galleries" threads have been set up; one in
      Formal Debate Peanut Gallery thread -- The "Righteous" Lie (Lying is always a sin)
      (for everyone) and one in Formal Debate Peanut Gallery thread -- The "Righteous" Lie (Lying is always a sin). (restricted to Christian members only); for those not directly involved in this debate, but who wish to discuss this topic and the progress of the debate itself.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
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  2. Lukamu

    Lukamu Active Member

    Hello ewq1938 and any others who may be reading this debate.

    The Christian Bible is full of verses that clearly teach that lying is a sin. It comes as a surprise to me, then, that many Christians believe God makes certain exceptions for situations where lying could be considered the most moral thing to do. This debate focuses on the issue of whether lying is sometimes okay, or whether it is always wrong. My viewpoint is that lying is always wrong, and here are three reasons why:

    (1) God is holy, which means he is righteous and without sin. Throughout the Bible, it is clearly stated that lying is against God's nature: that lying is a sin. Here are some examples of scripture. In the Old Testament, Exodus 20:16 and Leviticus 19:11 lay down the principle. Proverbs 12:22 and Psalms 101:7 reaffirm God's view on lying. Jesus himself in John 8:44 tells of lying and the devil. In Colossians 3:9 and Ephesians 4:25, Christians are reminded not to lie. That's five direct verses that condemn lying as a sin found in both the Old and New Testaments, including the words of Jesus himself.

    (2) One theoretical question in particular points to the idea that lying is always a sin: "Would God ever lie?" If you can point out a single instance where God has uttered falsehood or would utter falsehood, then my viewpoint might be changed.

    (3) God values prudence. It is not always prudent to fully reveal the truth in every situation. In other words, while it is sinful to answer a question dishonestly, there are other alternatives to telling the truth in certain situations. Consider the story of Jesus when he is asked by the Pharisees whether or not he is the Son of Man. Jesus did not say "yes," which would be the truth, and he did not say "no," which would be a lie. Instead, he asked the Pharisees a question in return - whether or not John the Baptist was a prophet. The Pharisees were unable to answer this question publicly, so they left him alone. (Matthew 21:23-27) God gives us prudence and wisdom to know what to say in a difficult situation, but there is NO verse in the Bible where God gives us permission to lie in a difficult situation.

    Those are my three reasons for why lying is always a sin. First, it says throughout the Bible that lying is a sin. Second, there is no condition where God Himself would lie or has lied. Because God is righteous, this points to lying as being unrighteous. Third, God gives us wisdom and prudence to handle difficult situations where telling the truth would be inappropriate.

    Thank you for reading,

    - Lukamu
  3. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Edgar Allan Poet Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States

    Well, I will provide some things and if I make a good case then perhaps we will see an agreement from you.

    You are basically arguing against your own position here and I will continue the very concept you have begun:

    Not telling the truth is basically the same thing as lying. In court we swear to "tell the truth, the WHOLE TRUTH, and nothing but the truth." Not telling the whole truth is still a form of lying. It is merely indirect lying VS. direct lying but the truth is still avoided.

    Let's look at lying a little closer:

    A lie is to tell something untrue, to present something which is not correct.

    A lie is normally demonstrated as a verbal untruth, however it is not limited to this. Wearing a police uniform and presenting yourself non-verbally as a Police officer is a form of lying.

    A spy is also a type of liar because they are intentionally pretending to be someone they are not...someone an enemy can trust so they can act as a spy and gain intelligence etc.


    Jos 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

    And God approves of the use of secretive spying.

    Let's further look at the definitions:


    A primitive root; to walk along; but only in specific applications, to reconnoitre, to be a tale bearer (that is, slander); also (as denominative from H7272) to lead about: - backbite, search, slander, (e-) spy (out), teach to go, view.

    BDB Definition:
    1) to go on foot, spy out, foot it, go about, walk along, move the feet
    1a) (Qal) to be a tale-bearer, slander, go about
    1b) (Piel)
    1b1) to slander
    1b2) to go about as explorer, spy
    1c) (Tiphel) to teach to walk
    Part of Speech: verb
    A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
    Same Word by TWOT Number: 2113

    Jos 2:3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
    Jos 2:4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:
    Jos 2:5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

    Rahab lies to the men! Does God shun her or punish her for sinning? No, she has protected spies that ultimately are working for God for the benefit of Israel and she and her family are rewarded by being allowed to survive. God approves of her lying because it helped his spies survive and do their job.

    In Numbers 13 Moses does much the same as Joshua, sending in spies to a land to scout out how strong they are because Moses wanted to invade.


    God has rewarded people that have lied!


    God deceives and sends lying spirits:

    While God himself is not guilty of lying, he does use deception and lying spirits to achieve certain goals:

    1Ki 22:23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

    2Ch 18:22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.

    Jer 4:10 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.

    Jer 20:7 O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.

    Eze 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

    2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:


    Lying can be a good thing if it serves a righteous purpose! If you lie and say your neighbor stole from you when they have not, it serves no righteous purpose and is simply wrong and sinful. But, if a man is trying to murder your neighbor and you know he is hiding in your garage and this evil person asks you if you know where he is and you answer, "No, I have not seen him at all today." You have lied but it is not a sinful lie. You have lied for a righteous purpose like Rahab did.


    If your daughter has a bad form of cancer and you tell her not to worry and she will be just fine, it is a "white lie" designed not to harm but give hope even if the parent knows the child is likely to suffer and die from this disease.

    So, if you lie for a righteous purpose, it is not wrong.
    But, if you lie for an unrighteous purpose, it is wrong.
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  4. Lukamu

    Lukamu Active Member


    First, it is easy to cherry pick verses out of the bible and underline a few words to try and prove a point. However, upon further inspection, none of the verses that you have chosen to support your argument hold any water. Allow me to go through each verse, as I hope you will do with the seven verses that I have shared in my first argument, if you can. After all, it is the word of God that should guide our beliefs, not our personal opinions or the opinions of weblog and magazine authors.

    1 Kings 22:23 and 2 Chronicles 18:22 - This passage describes the evil king of Israel, Ahab, and Jehosephat of the faithless Samaritans. 400 prophets are telling the king that a raid on Ramoth Gilead will be successful. When a true prophet of the Lord, Micaiah, tells the truth of what will happen, he also describes what happened in heaven - that a lying spirit came before the Lord and offered to fill the mouths of the 400 prophets and thus send the king to his doom. The Lord allowed the lying spirit to do as it had suggested. Notice the similarity between this story and the story of Job where God allows Satan to torment Job (Job 1:12). God has given both us and the spirits a free will. Just because He allows sin to happen does not mean that sin is righteous.

    Jeremiah 4:10 and Jeremiah 20:7 - In these passages, Jeremiah is lamenting. Thus, he uses "deceived" figuratively. After all, the Lord clearly says that Jerusalem will have peace as long as she follows the Lord's commands. And he very plainly spells out Jerusalem's destruction if she does not follow the Lord's commands. Jeremiah has prophesied the end of the nation, and is lamenting in chapter 20 also. "Deceived" is a figure of speech: nowhere did the Lord actually lie to Jeremiah about the safety of Jerusalem or the popularity of being a prophet.

    Ezekiel 14:9 - This passage describes a man who openly sins without remorse, yet still feels priviledged enough to approach a prophet for a blessing from the Lord. The Lord says if such a man goes to a prophet, then the prophecy will be a curse for his destruction, not a blessing. In fact, the KJV uses "persuades" rather than "deceives" - again, the Lord is not actually lying to the prophet, but persuading him to prophesy the truth: that a man who sins willfully is doomed to destruction.

    2 Thessalonians 2:11 - Simply read the preceding verses, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10. The lawless one with his lying wonders has deceived the people, that they would no longer believe the truth that God offers. God does not lie to them; He simply provides enough information that they further entrench themselves in their lies.

    Second, I am glad that you mentioned Rahab and the Hebrew midwives. The problem with the Rahab argument is that nowhere in the Bible does it say that "God blessed Rahab because she lied." What the bible does say is that "God blessed Rahab because she had faith" (Hebrews 11:31). In other words, God is not condoning her lies, He is condoning the attitude of her heart - respect and fear of the Lord. We find the same idea in Exodus 1:19-21. The Hebrew midwives are blessed by the Lord because they feared Him. Nowhere does it say that they were blessed because they lied. Even John Piper, whose article you have quoted, says, "in neither of these cases (nor anywhere else in Scripture, that I am aware of) does the Bible explicitly approve of lying itself (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god.../21429-is-lying-ever-okay#Q1WFkX2YDlvY9bPe.99)." In other words, the argument for a righteous lie is not found anywhere in the Bible.

    Having refuted all of your biblical arguments, I would like to mention that you have not refuted a single one of the seven that I have provided in my initial argument. If you are unable to refute any of these seven verses, then the Bible does indeed declare that lying is always a sin, and any further argument is superfluous.

    As I have one final round to post the remainder of my argument, I will leave it here for now. The word of God is the foundation of our faith (John 1:1, 1 Corinthians 3:11), and based on what I have provided so far, I hope that you are changing your opinion on the "righteous lie."

    - Lukamu
  5. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Edgar Allan Poet Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
    That's not what cherry picking is nor did I do that. Cherry picking is to pick verses out that have no relation or context to the subject. What I provided are verses and passages and examples that prove righteous lying is not a sin.

    I agree with what they say. All those verses address the negative type lying not the positive types of lying. I disagree with your one sided interpretation of them.

    Unless they use the Word like I did to prove some lying is perfectly fine.

    Allowed means God approved and was the one who wanted it to occur. That support of lying! God used a lying spirit which means he supported and instigated the use of LYING which you claim is always wrong. You are only proving my position to be correct here.

    I disagree. Jeremiah is not wrong or lying or anything. The Lord deceived him by allowing false prophets to tell him and Jerusalem lies. Lying spirits at work!

    No, that is false.

    KJV Eze 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

    God directly admitted he deceived someone.

    Again, what you say does not match what the verse says:

    2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    God sends the delusion not anyone else.

    That's called the argument from silence fallacy. I don't need exact words to prove that God blessed her because she lied to help God's spies. The story and context shows this is a true statement and conclusion.

    He condoned the actions her faith inspired which was to lie to protect the spies.

    He is contradicting himself. Like with Rahab, God is happy with the result of the lies told.

    Only unrighteous lying is a sin. None of your verses are saying "any type of lying is wrong" because I presented many many scriptures that prove some types of lies are good.

    As I said at the end of my last post:

    So, if you lie for a righteous purpose, it is not wrong.
    But, if you lie for an unrighteous purpose, it is wrong.

    This is what we find in scripture, not this one sided "lying is always wrong" theory.
  6. Lukamu

    Lukamu Active Member

    Hello ewq1938,

    In your "righteous purpose" argument, have you put yourself in God's place? Only God is perfect; only God knows all things. Yet you assume that when the time comes to choose between lying and telling the truth, you will be able to know the future outcome of your actions. But you wont, because only God knows the certain future. This is why we should let God be God and let His righteousness be His righteousness, rather than trying to impose our own sense of what is right and wrong on every situation.

    Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." NOT "Thou shalt only bear false witness against they neighbour when you think it is the right thing to do."
    Leviticus 19:11 "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another." NOT "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie to one another unless you think it is the right thing to do."
    Proverbs 12:22a "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord." NOT "Sometimes lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."
    Psalm 101:7 "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight." Not "He that worketh deceit can dwell within my house if they worketh deceit for the right reason: he that telleth lies for the right reason may tarry in my sight."
    Colossians 3:9 "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;" NOT "Lie to one another when it is the right thing to do..."
    Ephesians 4:25 "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." NOT "Wherefore putting away lying some of the time, speak every man truth with his neighbor unless ye would rather lie."

    Or perhaps you would like to rewrite the words of the Bible so that they line up better with your own conclusions?

    People who are unfamiliar with Christianity and the Bible often assume that if something is mentioned in the Bible, then it must be good! You have made this same mistake by thinking that if something is recorded in the Bible, if God allowed it to happen, then God must approve of it!

    So if allowing means the same thing as approving, what are the implications of that? Lets look at a few. God didn't stop Eve from disobeying him, so he approves of disobedience. God didn't stop Cain from killing Abel, so he approves of murder. Do I need to go any further? God allows bad things to happen because He gave us free will, not because he approves of them. Bad things happen because the world is full of sin. God didn't stop a lying spirit from entering the false prophets, and somehow you take that to mean that God approves of lying. Do you also think it okay to murder, steal, and disobey God?

    Thank you for correcting me, I meant to say that the NKJV uses "persuaded". Strongs Concordance for 6601, the word in question, also translates as allured ("to powerfully attract or charm"), enticed ("attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage"), or prevailed ("prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious"). In other words, you are making an argument on the translation of a word which can be translated more than one way. The passage in question is not about God tricking someone to believe something that is not ture - it shows how God pressures a prophet to bring about destruction on a double-minded person.
    In case you aren't sure what delusion means: "an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder." In other words, the people in this passage have refused to believe in God (a specific belief that is firmly maintained despite being contrary to popular belief). The "lie" in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 is not the "delusion," it is referring to the lies of Satan. This would be a Biblical example of a literary technique known as irony.

    You have misinterpreted the scriptures and presented them in such a way that supports your own conclusions, rather than the righteousness of God.

    I would agree that truth and lies are opposites. However, I do NOT agree that not telling the whole truth is still a form of lying. For example, you might ask someone, "What did you have for lunch today?" They might respond, "I had a ham sandwich." Now suppose that they actually had a pickle to go along with that sandwich, and a glass of milk. Did they lie by not telling the whole truth? Of course not! In fact, you probably don't want to know every single detail, and they might not be able to give you all of the information. What brand of bread was it? Where did the ham come from? No, a lie is an intentionally false statement, not an incomplete answer. There are many more choices than just "lying" and "telling the whole truth." Is refusing to speak the same as lying? By your definition, it is, because it is not telling the whole truth. By my definition, it is not, because it is not making an intentionally false statement. Is telling some of the truth the same as lying? Again, it is to you and it is not to me. In the court of law, it is the attorney's job to ask the right questions to uncover enough of the truth for the jury to make a verdict. Lying indicates that the question was answered falsely, not that information was left out.

    To conclude this final post, I would like to point out the religious implication of the "righteous" lie. If it is sometimes okay for God to lie, then how can we ever know for sure if he is telling the truth? How do we know that he created the heavens and the universe? How do we know that Jesus has paid the price for our sin? How do we know that he has made a place for us in eternity? Take faith! We know that God never lies because lying is condemned as a sin.

    - Lukamu
  7. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Edgar Allan Poet Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
    Of course not. I have presented examples that there are righteous lies. How would that possibly put me in God's place? This sounds like a red herring argument and it's a little on the personal side to be honest. It's always better to stick to the topic and not accuse anyone of personal wrongs else it makes your position look weaker.

    I have already addressed those verses:

    Most of the examples I provided show that God does approve of what happened. Some show God being the one responsible for the lying/deceiving. This is not a matter where God just looked the other way.

    That's a poor translation. The KJV translated the word best according to the context.

    I don't agree with that nor did you show that I misinterpreted anything.

    It is a form of lying.

    Yes it's still a form of lying but it carries no punishment because it is non-harmful. If you testify in a court case you you don't tell the whole truth you are doing something sinful.

    Because if he deceives or fools or deludes someone it is his enemies not those he loves.

    I will end this with yet another example of the concept of a righteous lie/deception:

    1Sa 21:13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

    Here another form of non-verbal lying is being used by David to feign or pretend that he is crazy when he in fact is not. It's not true that he was "mad" but it served a good and righteous purpose because it saved his life and assured all that God had planned for him would come to pass.

    So, if you lie for a righteous purpose, it is not wrong.
    But, if you lie for an unrighteous purpose, it is wrong.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  8. God's Child

    God's Child Psalm 23 Supporter

    Debate is complete. Closing thread.
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