What is a lie?
It's a fairly straight forward question, at its root. It is a request for the definition of a term or word used exceptionally frequently in our common parlance. Webster stirs up a mote of dust and from the confines of its now digital storehouse of definitions of words historical, nonsensical, and fictional it drudges these phrases:
- 1a : an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker or writer to be untrue with intent to deceive -He told a lie to avoid punishment.b : an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker or writer -the lies we tell ourselves to feel better -historical records containing numerous lies
- 2: something that misleads or deceives -His show of remorse was a lie.
- 3: a charge of lying (see lie)
- -Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
So then, following these, and similar phrases to be found addressing the use of this word in our vernacular, we arrive at the stab of my thoughts:
Do lies exist?
I realize, having just defined the matter and even referring to it grants it at least a hypothetical existence. But what you can see in the definitions above, is that a lie finds its existence purely through intent or circumstance, a lie has no existence beyond that it is told. This has lead to the most profound of cultural and rhetorical debates: Do lies exist.
While it is not expressed in such forthright terms, that is what the debate often boils down to. Moral relativism, higher-criticism, aesthetics, and every anti-dogmatic mood swing of our culture all have this question at there core. If the truth, in any of its interpretations such as true art, theology, or morals is subject to the cultural mores and preferences, then it follows that the inverse of the truth, a lie, must be so also subject.
But then we have to return to those definitions, we know that mankind hasn't stopped acting in ways intended to deceive, or that a mis-recorded date, place-name, or event is somehow true now, even if it was false when recorded. So how is it that lies can be objective, recognized in their intent or ignorance, and subjective, constantly under the influence of the pervading winds of society?
This, then, is where my own foibly thought process began.
Lies don't exist
But not for the reason people like to think.
It is not that lies can't exist because all things are relative and there is n absolute truth, for this defies our very existence. If indeed we think, therefore we are, then that is an objective truth. Similarly we are going to suffer a physical death.* Oh, we may postpone it indefinitely, but the universe is ending and I'm pretty sure it would take us with it.
*Barring the end of days and the return of Jesus
Anyone who argues for absolute relativism is arguing in a circle. To state that everything is relative insists that there are things in relation, which means they hold existence of some kind, which means they are objectively real.
However, if something is true does the inverse have to hold true that there are false things?
A falsehood is a paradox, the existence of something which finds its definition in not existing
The existence of lies is the only lie. Or rather, the only lie is that there is anything other than the truth. There are no alternative facts, no probable explanations, no half-truisms, only the truth and the lie. Every lie has to contain elements of the truth, even if only minuscule fragments, in order to have any existence. A lie does not have an independent, objective existence because it can only be rendered using things that are true.
Truth does not share this quality. When you open the box the cat will either be dead or alive regardless of whether or not you know the answer. The lie of the inverse of the Truth, the possibility that only exists because we base it off of the reality. The knowledge of Good and evil did not add to man's knowledge, it only removed his ability to always see the Truth, the Good. Mankind has always had freewill, but now he cannot determine which decision is of the Good, the True, and the Helpful, but rather his will is caught in a quagmire of confused and confounded reasoning.
Or perhaps, if you prefer, if Truth is not the only objective reality, then it is all in vain. There is no point to life, love, hope, or any emotion or thought.
You may prefer that, but I will premise my life on the Corner Stone that is rejected by the constructs of the logical and regarded as foolishness by the wise.
For that Corner Stone is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. In Him is found no deceit. He exists without contradiction, without admitting a lie into His existence. True God and True Man, the only True Man, bearing the image and likeness of God perfectly, not dividing the Godhead, nor confusing the substance, for to do such would be to create a contradiction within the Truth.
God gave His only Son, born of the Virgin, born under the Law to redeem those who were under the Law, those who cannot hold the truth in ourselves of our own will. He sent His Helper, the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all Truth. Without this Paraclete there would be no knowledge of the Truth in our world of relative truths and half-truisms. To us, who by rights belong to out father the Devil, the father of lies; with whom we joined in willful rebellion when we first allowed for anything other than the express Truth, when we decided to make for ourselves a truth.
Every sin is the perversion of good things, the taking of something we have not been given but that has been given. There are no victimless crimes, no innocuous lies, no happy mediums for peace. Compromise is premised on disagreement and all it does is deny inconvenient truths.
Thanks be to God that he does not treat us as our falsehoods merit. That even as we tell lies to ourselves, suppressing our consciences to hide from our own guilt, the Truth within us, God's Law written on our hearts, God still clothes and feeds us. He provides us with whatever it is that we require, even though we cannot always and fully understand the good that they do us.
So, that's where those thoughts wound around to end up plastered on the screen before you. I hope you enjoyed perusing them.