INSIGHT BOOK, page 244-245: "LIE. The opposite of truth. Lying generally involves saying something false to a person who is entitled to know the truth and doing so with the intent to deceive or to injure him or another person. A lie need not always be verbal. It can also be expressed in action, that is, a person may be living a lie. ...."
My first question. Can we lie to a person if we do not feel he is entitled to the truth? Obviously we would have an intent to deceive - or we would tell him the truth. Who determines who is entitled to a true statement? What if we didn't understand the situation or ramifications - would it still be a lie, or not a lie, if we misunderstood? What about the person we lie to? Do they have a choice and would they have the right to be angry when they found out that we lied to them? If we told them that we felt that they were not entitled to a true statement, could they make a case that we lied?
The Insight book continues with many examples of many types of lying, ....."While malicious lying is definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not mean that a person is under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it. Jesus Christ counseled: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open. (Mt. 7:6) That is why Jesus on certain occasions refrained from giving full information or direct answers to certain questions when doing so could have brought unnecessary harm......Evidently the course of Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, and Elisha in misdirecting or in withholding full facts from nonworshipers of Jehovah must be viewed in the same light." .....
My second question. Who decides who is entitled to truthful information? Does our conscience lead us to ascertain if another person is entitled to truthful information? What if our conscience is wrong, or we have been given wrong information, are we then guilty of lying?
If we lied in Court, and get caught, could we use this Insight information to back us up? If we lied anywhere, could we use this information to say that is what we're taught - and we didn't feel that they were entitled to a true statement of truthful information, so we didn't maliciously lie.
The Insight book quotes Jesus Christ "Do not give what is holy to dogs,...... That is why Jesus on certain occasions refrained from giving full information or direct answers to certain questions when doing so could have brought unnecessary harm."
My third question. Is it lying to refrain from "giving full information or direct answers?"
Are we to use Jesus Christ as our example in lying?
Insight book, "Evidently the course of Abraham, Isaac, Rahab,and Elisha in misdirecting or in whthholding full facts from nonworshipers of Jehovah must be viewed in the same light ...."
My fourth question. Can we only lie to nonworshipers of Jehovah and it be alright? Can we lie to our brothers because we perceive they are not "entitled to know the truth and doing so with the intent to deceive....." Again, who decides?
WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY: "lie, verb, 1. to make an untrue statement with the intent to deceive. 2. to create a false or misleading impression. to affect by telling lies.
lie, noun, 1a. an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive. b. an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker. 2. something that misleads or deceives. 3. a charge of lying."
According to the dictionary, it does not matter whether the person is "entitled to know the truth." Nor does it matter whether we are "under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it."
According to the dictionary, there are different forms of lying, but they are all lying - and says nothing about an untrue statement not being a lie if we feel the other person is not entitled to a true statement.
We can accomodate these two similar, yet different definitions of a lie. Yes, a lie is the telling of an untruth (Insight and Webster).
But then, if the person is not entitled to the truth and we wish to deceive them (thus the reason for the lie), it's not wrong to lie. And Jesus is our example. (Insight book only)
We being Jehovah's Christian Witnesses, are free to use that example. But who determines who is entitled to know the truth? In my humble opinion, if a person chooses, he/she could determine just about anybody in any situation to not be entitled to know the truth.
I'm so glad my teenagers are grown up and never reasoned on the Insight definition.