Lies Lies Lies

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What is Necessary

Have you ever told a lie? If you answered yes, you're not alone. If you answered no, you're probably lying.

My nephew sent me a quote by the Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "The lie is a necessary condition of life," oh really? I found that statement troubling because ironically that statement is a lie! A necessary condition of life would be the air that we breathe, not telling a lie!

That statement also got me thinking about lies, where they started and why people choose to tell lies. While perusing through the Bible, I found what I believe to be the origins of lying.

The First Lie

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The first lie is recorded in the book of Genesis. The Serpent told the woman that she would not die but would be like God if she ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:4-5)

The First Lie by a Person

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The first person to lie is also documented in Genesis. When Cain was asked where his brother Able was, he, knowing full well that his brother was dead because he killed him, responded, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9)

In addition, the Bible says that the lie is the "native language" of the devil. (John 8:44)

How to Spot a Liar

Reasons People Deceive

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Today, people don't seem to think lying is such a big deal. Folks even have a term for the lies they deem acceptable or harmless, white lies.  Also, some people don't consider the theory of lying by omission, they don't believe that it is a lie when they don't tell the entire truth. As the quote by Nietzsche states, people rationalize and convince themselves that telling lies is a (necessary) part of life.

The reasons for lying are as diverse and sometimes as complex as the people telling the lies. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • To Make Yourself Look Better
  • Afraid of Being Judged
  • For Gains, Monetary or Otherwise
  • To Escape Punishment
  • Avoid Conflict or Get out of an Unpleasant Task
  • Insecurity; Fear and/or Denial
  • Avoid a Painful or Embarrassing Situation
  • Unaccountable for Actions
  • The Person Doesn't Believe there is Anything Wrong with Lying

Worst Fibs

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With all the lies out there, what are the worst? The answer to that is subjective, and you may not agree, but I believe the worst lies are ones we tell ourselves. When we justify the lies we tell, we chip away at our dignity. We compromise our ethical and moral values until we lose our sense of right and wrong. Eventually, we become different people, lying without remorse.

The Truth Will Set You Free

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"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything" -Mark Twain

Each of us will decide for ourselves whether to lie or tell the truth. However, we must conclude that lying is not a necessary condition of life. Telling the truth is a preferable option, remembering the adage "If you can't say anything nice…"

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