The Ancient Art of Lying


We’ve come a long way since the Garden of Eden, the parabolic birthplace of deception. Because now you hear anywhere from 10 to 200 lies a day.

Lying—a trick that 90 percent of 4-year-olds have figured out—may range from a harmless white lie to grand White House lies, but most are told with the same intention: to make oneself look better.

A UMass study found that 60 percent of participants told two to three lies within a 10-minute conversation, from merely faking agreement with the other person to pretending to be the star of a rock band. While men and women lie at approximately the same rate, women tend to do so to make the other person feel good, whereas men lie to make themselves look better.

And online dating profiles are the Mecca of image-boosting tweaks. One survey revealed that 53 percent of people admit to lying on their profiles. Dropping a few pounds (32 percent), using an old photo (18 percent), or glamorizing a job (40 percent of men; a third of women) are among the most common fibs used on dating sites, though not entirely challenging to figure out within seconds of meeting.

Résumés have also proved to be rich with deceit. One recruitment firm estimates that about 40 percent of résumés aren’t totally truthful, which, in the past three years, have human resources departments dramatically increasing time spent toward checking out references. The most common lie on résumés involves playing with job dates, whether it’s to mask job-hopping, being fired, prison time, or—common among women—time recently taken off for family. Applicants also embellish accomplishments, increase previous salaries, swell GPAs and honors, fake language fluency (a bold move, no doubt), and blur “familiarity” with “proficiency” regarding computer skills. Fear of ageism tends to promote lying by omission, such as graduation dates. The easiest lie to check out? Diplomas and degrees.

6/19/2015 9:38:17 AM

One of the most damaging lies ever told was told by Moses. Numbers 31 ( ) has Moses telling the Jewish/Hebrew people of Israel that God wants them to commit genocide against their neighbor, the Midianite people. Moses gets very angry with the Israelite army when he realizes they did not kill all the women and children of the Midianites. Verses 17 and 18 have Moses ordering the Israelite army, "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Verse 35 states the number of virgin women children the Israelite army kept alive for themselves was 32,000! This shows how lies can bring about much misery and suffering for people. The fact that lies like the above told by Moses is still in "holy" books shows us that the Deist Thomas Paine was right when he wrote in The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition that we need a revolution in religion based on our innate God-given reason and Deism. This will do much to end religious violence and make a better world. Progress! Bob Johnson

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