We’re back with the last two of the Ten Commandments. Today’s column expands on the ninth one, namely, do not lie.
Lying is pervasive in our society. It cuts across all walks of life, social stratas and cultural boundaries. It may be the most violated of all the commandments thus far.
I’m sure we have all lied in one form or another. That form could look like any of the following: deception, exaggeration, whopper, or embellishment; or it could be a fib, falsehood, fabrication, or flattery. Sometimes it can be what we say; other times, by what we don’t say.
Lies can be expressed through the abuse of select adjectives, adverbs, or superlatives. They can be rationalized through the use of ‘white lies,’ partial truths, by stretching the truth and misleading statements.
We are very familiar these days with the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘false advertising.’ It’s a very sad commentary on our vital information sources.
If news that comes across our desk every day can’t be trusted, what can be? News that isn’t truthful undermines the news that is. After a while, we don’t believe anything.
Again, the failure to obey this commandment is much more extensive in all walks of life.
Part of the problem is that it expresses itself in so many varied and subtle ways. We can be guilty of lying without really being conscious of it, allowing for both intentional and unintentional lying.
We laugh at high-profile people for their inability (even unwillingness) to tell the truth. Or maybe they do have the ability, but choose to mislead us.
Celebrities (actors and singers, in particular) are likely the worst. They voice lines that aren’t their own, say things they don’t mean and project values they don’t embrace. Politicians are often guilty of the same practice.
There are many careers that involve some form of lying and I need to be very careful not to lump the ethical workers with the unethical ones.
I’ll let you come up with your own list of retailers and industries that project one thing but deliver another.
I have always wanted to be part of a certain profession and ironically it is one of the worst.
I am speaking of ad agencies. Spectacular results, slick pictures and guaranteed satisfaction are the order of the day, or so they say.
As I read and listen to their ads, I wonder “are the beaches that great?” “Is the hamburger that big?” “Is that deal really that good?” “Is that purchase than fun?”
Probably not, so don’t get duped into thinking it is. You should read that something called the ‘fine print,’ a disclaimer for that purpose.
Again, the premise for this series is not to impose a biblical set of rules (the Ten Commandments) on a secular population.
It’s simply a question of whether or not a society that embraced these rules to live by would be better off than we are now.
The only answer, of course, is “yes.”
But so long as we continue to reject the Judeo-Christian foundation that our freedoms, laws, economics and families are based upon, this will never happen. And the further we drift (or is it ‘dash’?) from these roots, the worse off we’ll be.
Most of us would never see ourselves as liars and fair enough. However, have you ever thought about your lack of transparency as a form of lying? It’s far more complicated than that, to be sure, but I think we all struggle with exposing our weaknesses and hurts to anyone and everyone.
I’ll leave you dangling on that one! More next week…honest.