Lying and Christian Ethics
This book defends the controversial 'absolute view' of lying, which maintains that an assertion contrary to the speaker's mind is always wrong, regardless of the speaker's intentions. Whereas most people believe that a lie told for a good cause, such as protecting Jews from discovery by Nazis, is morally acceptable, Christopher Tollefsen argues that Christians should support the absolute view. He looks back to the writings of Augustine and Aquinas to illustrate that lying violates the basic human goods of integrity and sociality and severely compromises the values of religion and truth. He critiques the comparatively permissive views espoused by Cassian, Bonhoeffer, and Niebuhr and argues that lies often jeopardize the good causes for which they are told. Beyond framing a moral absolute against lying, this book explores the questions of to whom we owe the truth and when, and what steps we may take when we should not give it.
- Electronic book text
- 31 Mar 2014
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
Table of contents
General editor's preface; Introduction; 1. What is lying?; 2. The Christian case against lying: Augustine and Aquinas; 3. The Christian case for lying: Cassian, Bonhoeffer, and Niebuhr; 4. Moral absolutes; 5. Integrity, sociality, truth, and religion; 6. Justice and the right to truth; 7. The casuistry of truth-telling and deception; 8. Lying for a good cause; Conclusion.
'... the book offers a serious and sustained theological look at the real consequences of lying from the viewpoint of Catholic moral theology ... Recommended.' A. W. Klink, Choice
About Christopher O. Tollefsen
Christopher Tollefsen is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. He has also been a visiting Associate Professor of Politics and a visiting fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and Christian Bioethics. His most recent book is Biomedical Research and Beyond: Expanding the Ethics of Inquiry (2010).