This is a commandment that I actually agree with. I’ve heard atheists argue that this can be a problem because occasionally telling a lie is the right thing to do, such as if you were hiding a Jewish person in your attic in Nazi Germany. This is one of the few cases where I tend to agree with the Christians instead of the atheists. I would make a few exceptions for if you’re lying to a government entity or a selfish corporation, but I believe that it’s never okay to lie or deliberately deceive an individual a person.
However, I find it truly ironic that atheists tend to be the ones who keep saying there should be exceptions to this commandment, then they turn around and follow it nearly perfectly. On the other hand, Christians tend toward the opposite: they believe wholeheartedly in the absoluteness of this commandment, then make up all sorts of excuses to avoid following it.
And sometimes it blows my mind just how common and acceptable lying really is in our society, and it makes me angry, to the point where I wish people would shout about this commandment more often.
Too often we don’t even stop to think about a blatant lie or even consider that it might be morally wrong. For example, in my state, bartenders are legally required to flat-out lie to people’s faces when they ask what time it is, telling them that it’s fifteen minutes later than it really is. Instead of recognizing this as a direct violation of one of the Bible’s commandments, we simply call it “bar time”.
Then we lie to our children, and for the lamest reasons too, such as convenience, or because we think it’s cute. We tell them about Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny as though they’re real, without bothering to care about how that distorts their ability to perceive reality or how it teaches them that lying is acceptable if it makes someone feel good temporarily. Then many adults (admittedly not all) occasionally lie to children simply to mock them and laugh at their gullibility. I remember my first-grade teacher did this on a regular basis.
Recently a friend had a problem with her son’s behavior. The kid had clearly been wrong for what he did, but she was so desperate to find an immediate and absolute solution that she told him that whenever he was bad she would always find out, no matter what, that adults always know when you do things like this and you’ll always get caught. As I heard this, I was watching the kid’s face and could see his complete lack of respect for her bold-faced lie. Kid’s aren’t idiots and they know that they can get away with stuff, because they’ve gotten away with stuff in the past. Saying things like that simply encourages kids to distrust everything their parents say and teaches them how to lie themselves.
Lies, lies, lies. For some reason people only seem to see lying as wrong in our society if it’s happening to them.