Re: Goodness vs. Expediency

Making the question specific. I have a co-worker who is a Deacon in his church and tries to be moral and obey the commandments. He told me that he tries to refrain from lying to the point of avoiding answering a question if it means he has to not be completely truthful. Me, I technically lie quite frequently, especially to friends and loved ones who ask my judgments in matters that would cause them discomfort if I told them how I really feel. "Yes, mom, I love the way you look in those capri pants; I agree, they make you look ten pounds thinner." Or, "thank you for your thoughtful birthday gift of ten romance novels; I'll be sure to bump them up to the top of my reading queue." I also lie to people (usually casual acquaintances or strangers) who I perceive might react with apoplexy if I were to be honest about a broad range of my beliefs. The cliche, "When in Rome..." is emblematic of my choosing such expediency. I believe that lying about feelings is qualitatively different from lying about actions (and not as easy to verify), but my co-worker sees both as the same violation in principle. He did not want to tell the secretary who booked his hotel room that it was the worst place he'd stayed in since his army service, but he couldn't lie to her either, so he evaded the question. I didn't have the heart to conjecture that perhaps he had committed a sin of omission.

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