Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why Lie. The Role of Lies in Theology, Culture. Artful Dodges, Faking Certainty, Half Truths, Misleading Emphases. Expedience.

Updates:  Lying as artful dodge is a recurrent current media topic.

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Make Your Bed and Lie in It
The Art of the Artful Dodge
Forms of Lying and Why 

Don't ask, don't tell
A good fare-thee-well

Why We Cheat, Even in our Questions

The artful dodge. As lawyers, we are taught to ask when a witness is caught in an inconsistency:  Were you lying then, or are you lying now? There can be no answer.  Each response is damning because the question was phrased in terms of the ultimate shock and awe:  a LIE. You can just hear your parent catching you in a whopper. Thee is a liar.  The asker knows the ploy -- that there is no answer. Is the asker ethical?

But does that simplistic analysis lead to a truth that is helpful to resolving the issue of responsibility.  No. Pursuing a lie can be a false exploitation tool.  An easy fix.  Prove the lie and you win. No. 

So: examine the reasons for the lie. The mere fact of it tells us nothing.

Some justifications, or excuses, as you decide:

1. You just don't want to be there, and want to get out of being in the spotlight as fast as you can.

Is that lie not really culpable, in terms of affect on others, because you just want out.  Just leave me alone.  That is a no-account question anyway.  Nobody else will be held responsible because of the ducking answer.  Did you make that shrimp dip?  Yeah. Ok.  Leave it alone. Don't follow it up. Raise an eyebrow maybe, when it comes in a plastic case that just fits; and ask about it later, in private, on your own.

Maybe recourse to small talk at some points in time is just so obnoxious, at the time, that the person regrets even coming. There is a point there. I came all this way, and that is what we are supposed to talk about that?  Start the discussion there, not about shrimp dip.  Point there.

2.  You have something serious to hide, that affects whether others are held responsible for what you are really responsible for.

Culpable. Different from #1.  The fate and perception of a third party is at stake.

But, did you make the shrimp dip that sickened everybody to death?  Then the answer makes a difference in terms of a lie.  If you say, not me.  I got it at the supermarket, and it was your stale stuff, bad idea. Obligation to come clean. Others' health is at stake in the future.

3.  Lie because there is no certainty either way, and lie becomes the assertion of certainty.

There is no way of proving what did happen, and the sources are tainted with age, unless you believe "inspiration" and God's hand at the umpteenth translator's typewriter.  So the lie becomes: we are indeed certain, and don the little red shoes.  No.  We are not.  Some may believe because of the inspiration business, others take a more pragmatic, enjoy the myth and follow the good precepts in life approach.  Not creedy.
 
4.  Lies don't last.  Intention do.

What does church say.   If I lie, I can repent. Gain the current benefit, and hope for no payback later. Everyone still remembers Peter. Lied because otherwise he would have been caught and ....  Flaw! But being sorry mitigates, especially if the lie stops.

5.  Lie for power's sake.

Saul-Paul.  No proof whatever of a "vision".  More like epilepsy.  But the vision idea set the stage for an entire religion takeover by those of Roman lockstep militarisma -- continuation of the Empire, re-employment down the road of all those left unemployed when the old pagan Empire fell.

Then go on with Paul and poor hapless Peter. The politically minded Paul eclipsed poor simple Peter in the power plays.  Most people who think of themselves as "Christian" are really "Paulian."  There are more alleged words of Paul in the commonly accepted Bible than words of either Jesus (the Vatican Library has the rest and they aren't letting them out for us to see, is that so?); or the brother of Jesus, James. James, the one who Knew,  because he was there, got discredited early by the Interloper Paul, and the Jewish-Roman problem took over his efforts; and Peter got dumped on after all.

The term "Christian' is a lie if it is to mean dominated by actual words and philosophy of J, as close as we can find -- with most records and fragments carefully hidden away, mystically concealed, secret knowledge idea conveniently shunted to history's dustbin.  Modern conservative evangelical Christian?  No dots to follow back on that one.

So, we are Paulians. Because poor, simple Peter lied, to save his skin, and then someone with political skills took over.

6. Cultural lies. Don't ask don't tell.  Can't be done.

If it is asked, go beyond the answer, to what the context is. If the purpose of the question is to exclude someone from any activity without further inquiry, it is wrong to ask. You are ruled by Category.   If the purpose of the question is to understand, and find ways to accept regardless of an initial shield-answer, is that human?

The lie.  Not simple. Not worth dismissing someone over.  Native Americans.  Put yourself in someone else's moccasins.  Who knows.

Leave the Institutional Church?  Your choice. Do you go because you are continuing a lie?  Do you leave because you are unwilling to continue a lie?  If you leave, where do you go when you are also devout, but not as to dogma.

Lie.  Let sleeping dogs lie.  But do not let sleeping dogma lie.  Is that so?  Now back to the real world.

Paulian not Christian.  James. Martin Luther had issues with a James. Martin Luther and Jimmy

James?  Brother of. The idea of James will not die. Even Charlemagne had a vision (so he said) of James. Shrine of St. James. St. James -- pilgrimage to Compostela, see ://www.rps.psu.edu/may99/compostela.html/  Perhaps a truer path lies (lies? Lies??) through James. James the Just.  Rewind! Rewind!

Bring him back. His ideas went East, didn't they? Find the Orthodox Liturgy of St. James, the most ancient of Christian liturgies - see ://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/lit-james.htm/  Eastern Orthodoxy. Need to know more. Why was it beaten out? Who is so certain? Who thought to "improve" and why? Did it? Who lied about James? Anybody?

7.  Never lie.  Never never never.  Zarathustra.  Zoroastrianism.  Basic precepts -- as pragmatic as we can find --

Good Reflection
Good Word
Good Deed

Herodotus is quoted discussing the Zoroastrians, at section 138 (which text?) -- need to look up the original -- "They do not utter dirty words and they believe “lying” is the worst in the world, next to lying, the put ‘borrowing,” because they believe debtors may be sometimes made to tell a lie."

More on Zarathustra, Zoroaster, at FN 1.  The section on the lie was most relevant here; and somewhat different from the Judaeo-Christian not bearing false witness -- that sounds like the only prohibition is only when one is a witness, saw something. Is that so, or too narrow?

Zoroastrianism was the "main religious system of ancient Iranians," and for several centuries, central to the culture. The system was not a formal religion, Zarathustra never claimed to be a prophet and no miracles were ascribed to him, but he urged the following of a Path: Fair use quote --
"Zarathustra, never ordered his followers to perform certain activities, but he recommended them to try to know the creator of the earth and heaven and adopt good manner, on the basis of their wisdom.  Therefore, Zarathustra was neither a prophet, nor we can call his spiritual path a “religion,” rather he was a thoughtful benevolent who recognized his God on the basis of his wisdom and never said he had been missioned to bring any message from God to human beings."
See ://www.zoroaster.net/indexe.htm/  Zoroastrians are known as Parsis in India. The philosophy originated in the Iran area, but was moved aside and became persecuted as pagan, unbelievers, with the conquests by Arab Muslims and supporting scripture, says the site.

One set of texts remain after the book-burnings and persecutions, this text known as the Gathas. divine songs so to speak, quoted at the site and available online. Lifetime:  birthdate and even the era are unknown because of the destruction, varying from 600-1000 BC to farther back -- an eye-popping 6000 BC.  See discussion at site. Where? Something like the Khorasan cities, and some are named that are unfamiliar so far. One thrust:  no support for Mithraism, a prominent religion of the time: In Mithra, there was no "oneness" of God, and other practices were disapproved.  See site, and Mithraism, Religion

Primary ideas for life. Noone is to be made dependent, noone is to be dependent. What about leveling a playing field for past abuses?  Not clear.  Zarathustra on lying.  Could any of us go one day without a single lie in act or omission? Criteria?  Come back, Zoroaster.

No wonder his ideas were so distorted, the path he advocated so destroyed.  He advocated no church, no building.