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Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Chose to Lie

I found a stray dog yesterday near my house in Minneapolis and brought it to the nearest animal shelter which is in St. Paul.

When they asked me if I found the dog in St. Paul I said "yes" without hesitation because I knew that if I said "no" they would send me away. I needed to get to work and didn't have time to drive across Minneapolis to the other animal shelter.

So my mind quickly weighed the options regarding the welfare of the dog and of my job and I chose to lie.

Back when I was a hard-core christian I would have either answered the question truthfully or currently be racked with guilt about lying. While, I don't feel guilty about my decision it still feels slimy to admit that I chose to lie. However, I really do think that sometimes it's OK to lie - am I a bad example perpetuating the stereo-type of the immoral atheist?

The truth of the matter is it's not about truth. It's about morality. And sometimes lying can be the moral thing to do or, at the very least, not immoral. And frequently it's a wash. Yesterday, the moral thing to do was to rescue the dog. Was it moral to lie to the animal shelter about where I found the dog? Perhaps. My other choices were to let the dog go loose again (to me not a moral choice) or be late for work and potentially lose my job (not a option I was willing to choose).

Frequently, there are times when the morally or socially correct thing is not to tell the truth. Look no farther than answering common greeting of "How are you?" For more examples, here is one blogger's list of the 15 most common white lies.

This blogger argues that all lies are immoral in response to a Today Show psychotherapist's list of when its OK to lie. I disagree entirely with him. The slippery slope argument is, as usual, ridiculous and none of the lies I have told have "plant[ed] a seed of corruption that will eat at [my] very soul."


Blogger tina said...

HaHa! I agree with you.

28 November, 2007  

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