Would you, a Christian, Tell a Lie in Order to Save a Soul?

Of course you would. That's because there is nothing worth more than a person's immortal soul, and you would certainly tell a lie to save someone from the eternal torture of hell. God would surely know your heart... He knows that your intentions were only for the best. Would He forgive you? Certainly.

Now, would I, an atheist, tell a lie to steer someone away from religion? No, I would not. There is nothing about someone else's intellectual integrity that is more important to me than my own ethical standards. Plus, my case is only made stronger by telling the truth-- I gain nothing by lying, and would set myself up for a great defeat should my lie be discovered. I don't need a lie. All I need is the truth.

Am I saying that all Christians are liars? Absolutely not. I have met some very honest ones. But I have met plenty of Christian liars. Being religious is no guarantee of morals.

Let's look at the root of Christianity: the bible. I don't accept the Bible as a moral guide because it sanctions lying and deception. In many cases, lying is commanded by God, or God himself makes people lie. In other cases, liars go unpunished, or are even rewarded.

"And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Where with? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also; go forth and do so. Now therefore, behold the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these, thy prophets." (1 Kings 22:20-23)

"If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet." (Ezek. 14:9)
"0 Lord, thou hast deceived me." (Jer. 20:7)

"Wilt thou [God] be altogether unto me as a liar?" (Jer. 15:18)

"God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie." (2 Thess. 2:11)

In regard to the forbidden fruit God said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:17) But the serpent said, "Ye shall not surely die." (3:4) Satan's statement proved true, God's statement proved untrue. So, according to the Bible, the first truth told to man was from the devil, and the first lie told to man was from God.

In speaking about the Promised Land, God says: "Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I aware to make you dwell therein . . . and ye shall know my breach of promise." (Num. 14:30-34)

God commands Moses to deceive Pharaoh (Ex. 3:18), he rewards the midwives for their deception (Ex. 1:15-20), and instructs Samuel to deceive Saul (1 Sam. 16:2).
"And the Lord said unto Samuel . . . fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take a heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord."

Would an all-powerful and honest God resort to using falsehood and deceit? Is this the example we should follow? We are told that the god of the bible can do no evil. But the God of the bible violates nearly every pledge he makes, breaks all of his own commandments, and instructs his children to do the same.

The heroes of the bible learned this habit of not telling the truth: they all follow God's example and instructions. Lying is practiced freely, without a thought to whether or not it is moral. Is this the evidence for making the case that the bible is a perfect moral guide? If not, why is it in the book?


Abraham tries to deceive Pharaoh and Abimelech (Gen. 12:13-19; 20:2); Sarah tries to deceive the Lord himself (Gen. 18:13-15). Abraham becomes the parent of a liar. Isaac said of Rebecca, his wife, "She is my sister." (Gen. 26:7) Rebecca in turn deceives her husband (Gen. 27:6-17). Jacob sustains the reputation of the family for lying. "And he came unto his father, and said, My father; and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau, thy first-born. . . . And he discerned him not, so he blessed him. And he said, Art thou my very son, Esau? And he said, I am." (Gen. 27:18-24)

Jacob's wives, Leah and Rachel, both lied when it served them. Leah deceived her husband (Gen. 29:25); Rachel deceived her father (Gen. 31:34-35). His twelve sons were all addicted to the same habit (Gen. 37; 42:7), and these liars became the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel, God's chosen people. David, Elisha, and Jeremiah, three of God's holiest men, were liars (1 Sam. 27:8-11; 2 Kings, 8:7-15; Jer. 38:24-27).

The following passages are from The Bible, by John Remsburg, circa 1901.
Speaking of the Hebrews and Bible writers prior to the Exile and the introduction of Persian ethics, Dr. Briggs says: “They seem to know nothing of the sin of speaking lies as such. What is the evidence from this silence? They were altogether unconscious of its sinfulness. The holiest men did not hesitate to lie, whenever they had a good object in view, and they showed no consciousness of sin in it. And the writers who tell of their lies are as innocent as they.”

The Ten Commandments do not forbid lying. The commandment 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor' forbids perjury; but mere lying is not forbidden. Christ taught in parables that he might deceive the people. "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." (Mark 4:11-12).

Paul used deception and boasted of it. He says: "Being crafty, I caught you with guile." (2 Cor. 12:16) "Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews." (1 Cor. 9:20) "I am made all things to all men." (1 Cor. 9:22) "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" (Rom. 3:7)

The primitive Christians, accepting the Bible as infallible authority, naturally regarded lying for God's glory not a vice but a virtue. Mosheim in his Ecclesiastical History says: "It was an established maxim with many Christians, that it was pardonable in an advocate for religion to avail himself of fraud and deception, if it were likely they might conduce toward the attainment of any considerable good."

Dean Milman, in his History of Christianity says: "It was admitted and avowed that to deceive into Christianity was so valuable a service as to hallow deceit itself."

Dr. Lardner says: "Christians of all sorts were guilty of this fraud."

Bishop Fell writes: "In the first ages of the church, so extensive was the license of forging, so credulous were the people in believing that the evidence of transactions was grievously obscured."

M. Daille, one of the most distinguished of French Protestants, says: "For a good end they made no scruple to forge whole books."

Dr. Gieseler says they "quieted their conscience respecting the forgery with the idea of their good intention."

Dr. Priestley says they "thought it innocent and commendable to lie for the sake of truth."

Scaliger says: "They distrusted the success of Christ's kingdom without the aid of lying."

That these admissions are true, that primitive Christianity was propagated chiefly by falsehood, is tacitly admitted by all Christians. They characterize as forgeries, or unworthy of credit, three-fourths of the early Christian writings.

The thirty-second chapter of the Twelfth Book of Eusebius's Evangelical Preparation bears this significant title: "How far it may be proper to use falsehood as a medicine, and for the benefit of those who require to be deceived." Bishop Heliodorus affirms that a "falsehood is a good thing when it aids the speaker and does no harm to the hearers." Synesius, another early Christian bishop, writes: "The people are desirous of being deceived; we cannot act otherwise with them." That is what most modern theologians think.

With Dr. Thomas Burnett, they believe that "Too much light is hurtful to weak eyes." That the methods employed in establishing the church are still used in perpetuating its power, a glance at the so-called Christian literature of the day will suffice to show. Read the works of our sectarian publishers, examine the volumes that compose our Sunday-school libraries, peruse our religious papers and periodicals, and you will see that age has but confirmed this habit formed in infancy. Every church dogma is a lie; and based upon lies, the church depends upon fraud for its support. The work of its ministers is not to discover and promulgate truths, but to invent and disseminate falsehoods. In the words of Isaiah, they well might say: "We have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves."

The church offers a premium on falsehood, and imposes a punishment for truthfulness. With a bribe in one hand and a club in the other, she has sought to prolong her sway. The allurements of the one and the fear of the other have filled the world with hypocrisy. In our halls of Congress, in the editorial sanctum, in the professor's chair, behind the counter, in the workshop, at the fireside, everywhere, we find men professing to believe what they know to be false, or wearing the seal of silence on their lips, while rank imposture stalks abroad and truth is trampled in the mire before them.

Every truth seeker is taunted and ridiculed; every truth teller persecuted and defamed; the scientist and philosopher are discouraged and opposed; the heretic and Infidel calumniated and maligned. In proof of this, witness the abuse heaped upon the Darwins and Huxleys, see the countless calumnies circulated against the Paines and Ingersolls.

I refuse to accept the Bible as a moral guide, because it sanctions cheating and the use of dishonest methods in obtaining wealth and power.

"And Jacob sod (boiled) pottage; and Esau came from the fields, and he was faint; and Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint. . . . And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall this birthright do me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him; and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and rose up and went away." (Gen. 25:29-34)

This transaction, one of the lowest on record-- not giving food to Esau until he was on the point of death-- receives the sanction of the Bible. Where is the charity here? Where is the godliness? Any atheist would have given the man something to eat without asking anything in return.

Jacob, with God's assistance, by using striped rods, cheated Laban out of his cattle: "And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. "When the cattle were feeble, he put them not in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacobs. And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle." (Gen. 30:41-43) "If he (Laban) said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled; and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstreaked, Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father and given them to me." (31:8-9) Thus, by defrauding his uncle, his starving brother, and his blind and aged father, the biblical patriarch Jacob, beloved by God, reveals himself to be the prince of cheaters and the patron saint of thieves.

Now let's consider the following situation: Suppose your son worked for an employer, and that employer cheated him of his wages. Would you advise your son to borrow the company car from his employer and then not return it, in order to obtain compensation? Forgetting the fact that he would probably be caught by the police, is this what we teach our children as moral behavior, especially when we have the ability to be compensated by lawful means? Yet we find just such a story in the bible:

The Israelites steal the Egyptians' property by similar false pretenses. "And I (God) will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall come to pass that when ye go, ye shall not go empty; but every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment; and ye shall put them upon your sons and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil (rob) the Egyptians." (Ex. 3:21-22).

"And the Lord said unto Moses, . . Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold." (Ex 11:1-2). "And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment; and the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required; and they spoiled the Egyptians." (Ex. 12:35,36). Here we see clearly that the acts of obtaining valuables under false pretenses and embezzlement are commended and assisted by God himself.

Some pious Christian or Jew might claim that the Egyptians had wronged the Israelites by enslaving them. If the Egyptians ever did enslave the Jews, then indeed it was wrong. But was the only way God could obtain justice for them through treachery and fraud? Instead of an honest God taking the Egyptian masters by the collar and saying: "You have gotten the labor from these men and women; pay them for it!", instead he encourages these slaves to lie and steal. Is this a perfect moral example? Is this what you would teach your children? I was always taught that two wrongs don't make a right.

In the Mosaic law we find the following perfect commandment: "Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself; thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it, or thou mayest sell it unto an alien." (Deut. 14:21) "Anything that dieth of itself" is diseased, plain and simple-- diseased flesh is poisonous. Would you feed diseased meat, from an animal that died by itself, to your children? Upon finding an animal dead in your yard, or in your field, would you take it home and make dinner for your family?

To authorize the sale of infected meat is immoral. Suppose that a family of good Christians had a hog die of some disease. What should they do with it? Eat it? No, their Bible told them this would be wrong. They should dress it nicely, take it into an adjoining neighborhood, and sell it to strangers. Is this right? The Bible says it is. With the widespread influence of a book instructing such lessons in dishonesty, what must be the inevitable result?
I refuse to accept the Bible as a moral guide because it sanctions theft and robbery. Its pages are filled with accounts of theft, and in many cases God planned them and shared in the spoils.

He instructs Moses to send a marauding expedition against the Midianites. They put the inhabitants to the sword, and return with 800,000 cattle. Of this booty God takes 800 head for himself and 8,000 head for his priests. The remainder he divides between the soldiers and citizens. They are so grateful to God for his assistance, that they give God a gift of 16,000 shekels of stolen gold (Numbers 31).
When Joshua sacked Jericho, "they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein; only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron they put into the treasury of the Lord." (Josh 6:19-24)

When he captured Ai, "the cattle and the spoils of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua." (Josh 8:27)

Yahweh gets the spoils of Jericho, and Israel those of Ai. David, a modest shepherd lad, is placed under the tutelage of Yahweh only to become the cruelest robber of his time. On one occasion, purely for plunder, he despoiled three nations and "saved neither man nor woman alive to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us." (1 Sam. 27:8-12) What a shining example, and this from the royal ancestor of Jesus.

Jacob's wives, Leah and Rachel, were both thieves. Leah appropriated the property of her son; Rachel stole her father's jewels. Neither act was condemned in the bible.
"When thou comest into thy neighbor’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure, but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. "When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn." (Deut. 23:24-25) "Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry." (Proverbs 6: 30). Grand larceny is condemned, but petty larceny is commended.

Christ seemed to teach that we all should submit to robbery: "Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again." (Luke 6:30). Jesus also instructed the apostles to take a colt and an ass without bothering to first get the owner's permission, resulting in the theft of the animals. (Matthew 21:2) Some have argued with me that they were to tell people that the animals were for the Lord, if anyone bothered to ask them. That's like telling your friends to go to the next block, and there you'll find a BMW. Take it and bring it back. If any body asks, just tell them it's for the pope. The point is, when the owner of the car walks outside, his car is gone. That is theft, plain and simple.

Jesus also broke the law by walking into someone's cornfield and stealing ears of corn on the Sabbath. (Mark 2:23) Is this the example we should follow?

Is the bible a good, clear and perfect moral example? To anyone who can still think for themselves, NO, it is NOT.

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