White lie is a innocent lie ?

A lie is the completing of what we know to be false with intention to deceiver. Note the two elements. A novel is not a lie for though it is fiction, it doesn’t meant to mislead, the ancient teaching that the earth was flat was not a lie because it was not then known to be false.

Can a lie ever be justified ? some would say never. But the question is not so easily answered; take a case like this. A friend in times of persecution and danger, takes refuge in your house and begs you to hide him or her. You take him or her in, and promise him that you will not reveals his hiding –place to his enemies. They come to your house in search of him or her, and ask you if he/she is there. What are you to do ? if you say yes, you break your promise and betray your friend, but if you say no you tell a lie. Difficult  is it or not ? probably most would agree that a lie in such circumstances would be what is called a white lie or it is known by innocent lie.

In this example there is a argument between two loyalties, between loyalty to the truth and loyalty to a friend and promise. The lie will be condemned or justified according to which of these two loyalties comes first in one’s mind.

But what are we to say about the white lies so common in polite society ? For examples, someone whom you heartily dislike pays you a visit. How do you meet him ? you tell him that you are delighted to see him (lie number one). When after a pleasant chat he rises to go, and you tell him you are sorry he cannot stay longer (lie number two), and that you hope will soon come again (lie number three). And so on. White lies of this kind are told every day by good and even religious people, people who would disrespect to tell a lie.

Well such white lies are also due to a clash between different loyalties. There is again loyalty to strict truth and loyalty to kindness and politeness. To tell the strict truth on all occasions may sometimes mean sinning against charity. It is better or be rude and unkind in loyalty to truth, or to scarifies truth to the law of kindness and politeness ? it is not easy to decide.          

 By Rehana khan(111/10)


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