Dear Faculty, Do truth-telling and integrity matter, or just winning? - Theophilus
That is a great question, and it is especially relevant during a presidential election. Truth-telling and integrity always matter, regardless of a person’s worldview or religion. However, they are especially relevant if you are a Christian and believe in the Bible.
Christians believe that God’s Word provides a standard of absolute truth for those of us who embrace the Christian worldview. Throughout both Testaments, God provides the reader with His principles for establishing the rules of moral and ethical behavior. According to the Bible, it is always wrong to commit murder or assault, to rape, steal or tell lies, and the list goes on. To learn more about God’s standards, all one needs to do is read the Bible. Set aside a time to read the Bible every day. The principles of the Moral Law still apply to Christians and are taught throughout the pages of the New Testament.
Competing Standards of Moral and Ethical Behavior
The relevance of this question is that it does not seem that anyone wants to follow the principles of moral and ethical behavior taught in Scripture. The moral and ethical principles of Scripture restrict our choices and prevent us from doing what we want to do. Therefore, there are ethical dilemmas; we want to do what seems to be the most comfortable choice, not what the Bible teaches. The ethical dilemma arises because we know the right thing to do, but we do not want to do what the Bible teaches. However, we want to feel good about our choices, even when those choices are opposed to Scripture. Because we want to think that our actions are morally and ethically acceptable, competing moral and ethical philosophies have been created that allow choices contrary to the principles of Scripture. This makes it easy for us to ignore what Scripture teaches and instead do what we want to do.
Moral relativity teaches that there is no one standard of moral and ethical behavior for all of humanity. Moral and ethical behavior are culturally-based and subject to an individual’s choice. Therefore, we often hear statements like “what is true for you may not be true for me.” However, if a person (or culture) decides that theft is an acceptable practice, does that make it morally and ethically acceptable? According to the Bible and Christian belief, it does not. Even people who believe it is morally acceptable to steal will feel violated when they are victims of theft themselves.
Situational ethics teaches that the correct moral and ethical behavior depends upon the situation. This ethical philosophy teaches that, under certain conditions, a normally unacceptable behavior — even murder or lying — could be the most moral course of action. In politics, this could translate into a lie being acceptable if the lie will help the candidate get elected.
Benefits of Telling the Truth
There are benefits to always telling the truth. The most important benefit is that you will not get caught in a lie. If you always tell the truth, you do not have to remember your lies; you merely need to remember the truth. Additionally, if you only tell the truth, you will build trust and respect with your friends, colleagues, voters and employers.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.