When is lying justifiable?

Jeremy at Parableman has posted a very interesting essay, inspired by the 30th anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation, on the subject of Lying.

In this political season, we’re hearing a lot about lying. Did President Bush lie about his motives for declaring war on Iraq? Did candidate Kerry lie about his secret missions to Cambodia while serving in Viet Nam? Is either candidate telling the truth about what his agenda will be once he’s elected to office?

What about God’s perspective on lying? Is there ever a situation where lying is justified?

My wife, who sets the bar very high when it comes to truth telling, says that “a lie is an attempt to deceive.” In other words, words are not necessary. Silence, diversion, a specific look of the eyes, all of these things might in fact be used to lie, even if a false word is never spoken. Here is a similar example from Jeremy’s essay:

When Athanasius, great defender of orthodox beliefs during a time when heresy was gaining force, was being hunted by those who would kill him, he was approached by some people looking for him. They asked if he knew where the traitor Athanasius was, and he replied “not far”. They continued on their way, not knowing that he was Athanasius. He told the truth, but he deceived them.

Go read Jeremy’s article, and then answer these questions: What standard does our post-modern culture hold to with respect to lying, and what standard does God demand?

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