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November 14, 2012
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Is it amoral to lie about religion?

:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Specifically, is it amoral (or even anti-moral) to claim a belief system in order to make people happy?

Naturally the specific example I'm thinking of is all my relatives being like DO YOU PRAY and me being like UH SURE OF COURSE.

I'm curious as to your thoughts, both from the perspective of the individual and from an objective view or the view of an active practitioner of the religion.
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Devious Comments

:iconhotelchelseanights:
HotelChelseaNights Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
No, just self defeating.
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:iconknightster:
Knightster Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Isn't that the point of religion? Making people feel better about themselves and their inevitable demise?
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Considering that I was raised with a belief system that says the best possible thing that can happen to you is never be reborn again...nah.
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:iconknightster:
Knightster Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Well that's pretty counter productive for a religion to teach :P
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think it's more counterproductive to tell people that if they behave good for one lifetime, they get to spend eternity having morally appropriate parties. :shrug:
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:iconknightster:
Knightster Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
And yet millions flog towards it every year :/
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That's their problem.
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:iconknightster:
Knightster Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Indeed
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:iconruelariat:
ruelariat Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012
Hmm, this is an interesting question because I'm in pretty much the same position with my family. If they knew of my Atheism I think I'd be smited on the spot. However, I don't believe in morals in the sense that most people do. In my mind, it's more of a survival/this-makes-me-happy-so-it-must-be-good kinda thing; my idea of morals sort of goes back to the primitive, savage human (or so I've been told) before government and religion was invented (please pardon me if I insult anyone by saying this; this is not my intention). Hopefully I've explained that enough. So in my mind, I'm not being amoral or immoral or anything when I lie about my beliefs; I'm surviving so I'm fine with lying for the time being.
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:iconkimihro:
Kimihro Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If it saves you from anything negative, then yes. A question of religion that is likely to incite negative backlash if you don't give the answer they want is the beginning of a witch hunt.
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:iconcouchycreature:
CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
"my relationship with god is a personal matter."
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:iconmemmil:
Memmil Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
There is a lot of people like you. Some of the older generation are a little too much manipulated and simply stupid. Some of them just want to make everyone around them think that they're the best people on earth because they're following every word written in holy book. Or maybe they're just weak and need people around them who share their thoughts and beliefs because otherwise they might feel unsafe and lonely.

People shouldn't ask that kind of questions. Religions and beliefs should be highly personal. People who don't understand that are a bit crazy in my opinion. But it doesn't really matter what is your answer. Praying can be just thoughts about something better or that everything stays as they are right now. More important question should be: do you want to believe in (insert religion/god here)? I bet that most of us wants to believe in something as good as God but it isn't always easy. Im open-minded person and accept all beliefs and religions.

Best place is in the middle. Not clearly believing (because it might be lying to your relatives and yourself) nor atheist. People who stick to something specific and don't even want to think about any different religions etc. are stupid. We can form our own ways of thinkin... Does it really matter if someone else beieves different way than you?

Btw i have a bit same problem as you, but in Finland we're not that interested in other people's beliefs. Here it's personal thing and my parents aren't forcing us to anything. Sure it's sometimes best to do as others if you don't want to make it a big number. Maybe it is just better to go with "mainstream"? Everybody feels good as long as it doesn't start to bug your conscience. At least it should be safe to say that you don't know what to believe in. It's not that big thing but saying that you don't believe in any deity would be stupid. Im against atheism. We know so little about our world.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Just FYI, I am super disappointed no one has mentioned 'The Invention of Lying.'
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:iconangelxxuan:
angelxxuan Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
for the longest I pretended to be a religion I wasn't, until one day I woke up and stated that this is me, why am I lying to make myself less of a target. they don't even socialize with me anymore to those I came out to, but I really don't care. I feel better that I stopped pretending to be something I am not. for others, this might not be the case. there is location and family dealing with this situation. in some countries/families you could die or be disowned if you state you're something else. if you know the people you're dealing with, then act upon this as being better to fake or come out. it's not wrong, in my opinion, because you're either trying to save face, or you're trying to avoid conflict.
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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012   Writer
A question like DO YOU PRAY? only deserves one instant reply: DO YOU? Well, maybe two: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "PRAY"?

I've been in and out of so many "religions" -the main one mostly when I was a kid (twelve years of Catholic school, where they're good at teaching students how to do research but never really teach a "religion," so that many students find out how literally evil that church was [and can still be] and leave it the instant they graduate school) -that I can say some later years of bible study (a Protestant bible) is good for trivia games and the odd question someone might ask about something "unreligious"... Then others I looked into (whoa, what was I thinking?!) sent folks to dance in airports wearing robes but hid their real agenda (at first--and they're not very nice)--and don't even talk about L. Ron Hubbard (that was an instant "Let's get outta here!").

There were so many "religions" I got nosey about that now I just say, "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual." That seems to puzzle people enough to stop that topic cold. What's 'spiritual'? is a question few seem willing to ask. Don't ask me why. :B I even have an answer, deep inside. *rummages around in there for future reference*
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
They definitely pray. I mean, not even a question in this case. Like I didn't say above (but really I should have), it's super cultural. I mean, they even say a quick prayer in Hindu temples and we are not Hindu.

Man, some of those...yeah. I think the problem is usually with the practitioners, though.

Haha, that's awesome!
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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012   Writer
Ah.

Definitely.
Good! Happy Thanksgiving! :iconheartsignplz:
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You too!
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:icontetchist:
Tetchist Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
that kind of depends. if it's between you saying you believe in the banana god or the banana people will kill you, it would be moral to state your beliefs as being with the banana god.
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:icondragonsnapalm:
DragonsNapalm Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
It's a bit dishonest, I'm not sure I'd describe it as "immoral". To make someone else happy, it'd be much better to come to an agreement with somebody else where they understand why you believe/don't believe or do/don't do certain things, though I know by my own account some people just can't be reached in this aspect.
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:iconkausawolf:
kausawolf Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Does it feel wrong? Then dont lie.
If it doesn't feel wrong to you, keep on doing it.
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:iconbergholtz:
Bergholtz Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Professional General Artist
I think that your relatives are being rude for asking you such personal questions. But then I live in a country where your religion is nobody elses buisness really.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
They don't generally ask whether someone believes, but I think that's because the question never comes up. Religion is cultural for them :o
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:iconi-am-a-retro-lass:
i-am-a-retro-lass Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
lol. living up to the expectations of ones family and friends etc is not possible usually. As far as religion goes, I always answer: "Who is right and who is wrong? The catholic or the protestant, the christian or the muslim?" or maybe "Who does god love the most out of those just mentioned and who amongst them has the right god? and which prophet is right, was it Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed or Krishna?" xx
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Questions with more questions, I like it :P
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:iconoh-cherie-cherie:
Oh-Cherie-Cherie Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Student General Artist
Well, are your relatives going to give you shit if you admit you didn't pray last night?

And them thinking you did will make them happy?

Yeah, that isn't wrong
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
It's amoral if you believe lying is wrong, but even then it's so far removed from more serious offenses that it's pretty far in the "who gives a shit" category.

I don't believe lying is bad by definition. Stuff like this is the sort of thing that doesn't harm anyone and keeps things from becoming unnecessarily hurtful or complicated.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not against lying. :B
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
Ok then :bucktooth:
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:iconsilvercelestt777:
SilverCelestt777 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
I don't know. I don't lie about it though. I don't even mention my religion in real life unless asked.
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:iconmatthewmatters:
MatthewMatters Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Professional General Artist
Duh.
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:iconsyncallio:
SynCallio Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I guess I don't know what you mean by "amoral". I'd say it's not a good idea for several reasons.

--Deceiving people is hard on your psyche, especially when it's about something important, like your religious beliefs.
--Some people will figure out you're probably lying and will be suspicious of you.
--If you decide to answer truthfully in the future, it will be harder to do, and people will be hurt that you lied earlier.

I mean, yeah, it stinks that there are people who think they can browbeat you and judge you because you don't follow whatever it is they think is Normal and/or Right. But that's not your problem. If they're seriously going to make your life miserable because you don't agree with them, you reserve the right to withdraw, and that's their loss.

Though if there's a way to sidestep the issue, I wouldn't hesitate to take it!

And who knows? It's possible some of them may decide that it's not that big a deal, or that clearly you're not going to change your mind so they might as well stop bothering you.

(I say this as a conservative Evangelical Christian who spends copious time online in communities where the majority are atheists, agnostics, and people hostile to my convictions. Some of them are my dear friends. But believe it or not, I feel your pain!)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Amoral = not a moral dilemma ;p

To me, religion isn't very important. Also, don't people change their beliefs over time?

Okay, that's true: you don't know if it's gonna be a big deal until you come out and say it. Although, to put it simply, the family last name is the damn religion so it's a pretty big identifier.
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:iconsyncallio:
SynCallio Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Gotcha on the definition of "amoral." always good to be on the same page!

People do change their beliefs over time. They don't have to change religions to do it, though some do. I'm the same "religion" I was twenty years ago, but my beliefs have deepened and expanded according to my life experience and to the theology I've studied.

The core of a person's identity is always going to be important to them, and it seems to me that the majority of the world puts "religion" at the very foundation of who they are. There always seems to be a disconnect between people who consider a thing essential to their being and those who don't, with neither side really comprehending the other. I'm not sure how to deal with that, myself.

The only advice I feel I can offer is to encourage you to make it clear to your family that you understand how important their religion is to them, and that by rejecting their religion, you're not rejecting them. (It's very common for people to assume otherwise.)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod:

Oooh, good point. And yeah, there's not that much of a good way. Although if people value actions more than words, and you still participate in all the things....

Hmmmm. May try that the next time I go there, thanks ;p
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:icondayandevarlo:
DayanDeVarlo Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
I tend to lie by omission. I don't know why would I be supposed to feel guilty for a lie that is either for my own physical safety (yes) or just for general peace. Same reason why I lie about sexuality and political views.
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:iconstripedpower:
StripedPower Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012   Digital Artist
I don't lie, I'm more intelligent than that. I simply tell the truth in a different way, or omit parts of it. That way, I don't feel bad and people hear what they want to hear. And everyone's happy. :B
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
'people hear what they want to hear'...yeah, I use that a fair bit ;p lying by omission ftw.
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:iconstripedpower:
StripedPower Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012   Digital Artist
It technically isn't "lying". That's why it's better. :la:
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Professional Writer
No. I'm Wiccan, and sadly it is right there in the tenants of our belief that to announce one of our brothers or sisters in faith is basically a mortal sin.

However, one of the tenants of Christianity is to never deny your faith. So, it depends.

I'm pretty open-minded about religion. I'm disabled, so people are all the time telling me they'll pray for me and that Jesus still performs miracles, etc. Part of me is annoyed that they just assume that everyone is Christian like them, but mostly I find it touching that they care, and I appreciate it, because any positive spiritual energy makes a difference. I tend to answer them that yes, I believe in miracles and I do pray, etc. I just don't mention that I pray to Hecate. ;)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Really? Why so? (I'd never heard this before.)

Hahaha, good call.
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Professional Writer
Well, in older times being outed as a practitioner of Witchcraft could open you up t violence. It still can nowadays, especially in certain parts of the country. It can cause people to be afraid of you, not like you, etc. I mean, my mom is a Wiccan and was a teacher for a long time. She couldn't really be open about her faith because so many of her students were Christian. People are pretty prejudiced against us, mostly because so many people are uninformed about magick practitioners. So it is considered that if you intentionally reveal this secret without said person's permission, it is a deliberately harmful act.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I figured it was something like that, but I wasn't sure. Also, it must be nice growing up Wiccan, you don't have to try to figure everything out on your own...? :O
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:icontdroid:
tdroid Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Well, I'd say it depends. It seems, from this very limited insight you provide, that it is to avoid the conflict that goes along with not being religious(or follow another religion than the majority religion). This in itself isn't something I object to, as long as people don't take to the position of being an enabler(that you don't question things you think are wrong because they give faith based reasons and just go along with it etc.).

If you're an enabler, I'd say you're doing it wrong. If not, I don't really see a problem with it. Naturally, I think it would be good if all non-religious people in highly religious nations like the US were open about it, so the religious could get a better idea of what being an Atheist actually means, instead of making up fantasies(not all do this, but it seems a lot still do), but that is for another debate.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The notion of enabling is interesting. But isn't part of the lie accepting certain behaviors?

Also, the US is not religious at all. More so in the South and small towns, but still.
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:icontdroid:
tdroid Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
In theory the US is secular, but when you look at debates abiut things like homosexual marriage, abortion and the teaching of evolution in the classrooms you can see that the religious institutions of the land have a lot of power still.

Yes, part of keeping the lie is to accept certain behaviors. However, there is nothing about keeping the lie that should make anyone support things that might infringe in the rights of others. A fine line to use here is "Would Jesus do this?" or "What would Jesus do to those who disagree with him?", followed by a few of the bible verses where Jesus talks about turning the other cheek, "do not repay evil with evil" and "do onto others what you want others to do onto you". It should be rather easy to stay a morally good person, even if you keep up a lie about being christian with the perception of Jesus being this awesomely good and kind person.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
There's a reason they're 'debates', though--there's two sides ;) And religion is just not culturally pervasive here in the same way. Some aspects of Judeo-Christian thought are, but people aren't always doing them in the name of religion.

Fortunately, the religion I'm supposed to be is first and foremost about not harming people.
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
I think you mean immoral. Amoral is an absence of morality (eg a stone is amoral). It's not immoral to claim you hold a belief if it's to prevent others making your life difficult. What is immoral is others putting you in a position where you feel you need to lie to protect yourself or not hurt their feelings.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
No, I mean amoral. I used antimoral instead of immoral in the OP, though.
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
I guess it could be considered amoral too.
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