Why do people prefer to be dishonest rather then saying the truth?

25 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Why do people prefer to be dishonest rather then saying the truth?

I think this is a major problem that was used mainly to keep peace in an imperfect political/social system.
People are simply not free to say what they want in public without fear of persecution. (social pressure)

It is something that is as ancient as the human race.

Truth is never the path chosen in most of our lives.

What they say is:
It is better to say 1 less word then 1 too much.

Is it really like this in reality?
Well yes, since we live in an imperfect world where honesty is not valued but submission and inequality rein supreme.

I think this is the reason why most people if not all, are hesitant to be honest about what they think even if some things are proven to be true.

On of the most vivid examples is:

Why do we hesitate to call Theists as stupid persons? when in reality we all know they are. (at least on the on the theistic argument)
Stupidity: "Behaviour that shows a lack of good sense or judgement":


When one makes an extraordinary claim and not only presents no evidence to back it up, but willfully ignores all the contradictions that his own claim brings with it, he fits the definition of being a stupid person. Then to top it off he also claims that gullibility(faith) is better then critical/analytically thinking without supporting such an absurd claim.

I see this as clear "Behaviour that shows a lack of good sense or judgement"= Stupidity.

So why do we hesitate to call the stupid, stupid?
One has to note that stupidity is not fixed, but varies depending on the subject in matter. so we say stupid opinions instead of a stupid person.
So one person might be completely stupid in 1 argument and not so stupid in an other, but it usually reflects their critical thinking abilities.
So here is where it comes debatable.
Is a person that does not have good critical thinking at the moment and also arrogant about his claims considered stupid?
I say Yes, he is stupid because he fits the definition of stupidity at this point in time.
"Behaviour that shows a lack of good sense or judgement"
In time he might not remain stupid though since he could learn by experience if he chooses to.

Thus the only valid reason I found is that we are so accustomed to view the word stupid as an insult that we consider it as a non sensitive way of describing someone, thus an insult.

The problem with this reasoning is that we forget that it is only an insult if the person is not behaving like a real stupid person.

If I insult someone by calling him a rapist, I am making an insult(bad thing) since I am making an unsupported claim.
But if I present evidence that he is a real rapist, then I am just accusing someone in a pursue of the truth and justice.(good thing)
Does it matter if he views it as an insult?

I think that our bias regarding stupidity is effecting our judgment.

I think that if someone acts like a stupid person and fits the stupid definition he deserves to be called stupid.
And it is a good thing to call him so, so that this stupid behavior ends as soon as possible.(good thing)
+ The stupid person in most cases doesn't even realize that he is stupid, so in reveling this to him, you would be doing him a favor.
(although most people are not mature enough to accept it until something bad happens to them in result of their stupidity)

The sensitivity argument for me is a wrong argument that has no basis except that it is our culture to do so.

I am not saying to not be sensitive but being sensitive is a choice by the accuser and not a must by social pressure.

It is always best to first have a nice approach to the truth instead of a frontal approach, however one must still be honest and call the stupid for what it really is.

This idea that calling something nonsensical like Theism not a stupid philosophy because some people get offended is just as bad as not calling Hitler a mass murderer because he gets offended.

The truth is more important then who gets offended because with the truth one can have a better understanding of reality and thus make a better judgment for the future.

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Capt.Bobfm's picture
Watch "The invention of lying

Watch "The invention of lying" by Ricky Gervais.

Ellie Harris's picture
In the same dictionary under

In the same dictionary under the same word:Lacking intelligence or common sense.
Theism is not a true epistemology and description of the known universe and our place in it, yet pretending that our shit doesn't stink and that all atheist are the intelligentsia is a generalization of us.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
"In the same dictionary under

"In the same dictionary under the same word:Lacking intelligence or common sense.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/english/stupid "

"Dazed and unable to think clearly" is an other definition.

They both fit well Theism

I did not say anything about religion in general.
I am referring to the idea of a god that:
-Can do anything
-Knows everything
-Is loving/ just/merciful

These concepts are contradictory in nature which I have proven with pure basic human logic in other topics.

"Theism is not a true epistemology and description of the known universe and our place in it,"

Agree, so? Just saying what it doesn't do it says nothing on what it is.

" yet pretending that our shit doesn't stink and that all atheist are the intelligentsia is a generalization of us."

Are you assuming that I claimed that atheists are good people?
Atheists are practically every human being.
We all do not believe in some god that we never heard of, so in a way it is a generalization.
It is like saying that every human is or was a human.
You are born atheist, is a fact not JUST a generalization.

I never claimed that all atheists are intelligent though, especially not those atheists which are are also theists in a particular religion. So quite the contrary.
I am claiming that whoever prefers to be gullible for any reason, he is stupid.
There are situation that people prefer to be ignorant because of the pain of knowing the truth.
I call those people immature and thus stupid.
You cannot make the right decisions if you do not have the truth. You end up doing what someone that knows the truth wants and it may not be in your interests but to his interests.

Once a theist said to me that he believes in all the gods to try to dismiss my argument which is so stupid that I just left.
This level of stupidity is unbelievable but I swear that the guy claimed exactly that.

Ellie Harris's picture
"Why do we hesitate to call

"Why do we hesitate to call Theists as stupid persons?"-
Again because being one doesn't make one inherently unintelligent and its a generalization.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
"Lacking intelligence or

"Lacking intelligence or common sense." does not exactly mean "inherently unintelligent" though it can mean that if placed in the right context.

If someone cannot see that gullibility is worse then critical thinking then he is "inherently unintelligent"= stupid when it comes to this argument.

First of all intelligence is a general term which describes a part of the brain better qualities.
There are a lot of attributes that make up intelligence and people have different levels in those attributes.
Thus one can have people which are both intelligent and stupid at the same time on different subjects.

Also the inability to use his normal critical thinking(one of the main attributes of intelligence) like any normal sane person makes him unintelligent compared to others.
"Having or showing a low level of intelligence"

It is a generalization because it is common sens, unless you show that there is a possibility that gullibility is better then critical thinking there is no reason to even consider such nonsense. Who ever claims such nonsense without evidence is either "Dazed and unable to think clearly"= stupid.

However their stupidity is because they have been brainwashed and not that they were born stupid.
There is a difference which people tend to omit.
When you are brainwashed it is like a piece of your brain stops functioning when you talk about the brainwashed subject.
Thus you are stupid when expressing related claims.
Brainwashing has this effect of not letting you analyse a subject rationally.
Your own critical thinking is so lowered down that you won't even be able to see that you are gullible anymore. Thus you start inventing words like 'faith' and how more faithful can you be.

When in reality a normal sane person see this as how stupid can you get.
I can go and quote papers regarding intelligence about this but if a sane person does not know that gullibility is bad for you then he is just as stupid/unintelligent.

You need to support your claim that critical thinking is worse then gullibility to be able to claim that it is a false/bad generalization.
There are generalizations which are true.
Your bias in assuming that generalizations are all bad is an other issue which you seem to repeat.

All humans are born atheists is a generalization which i can support with evidence, can you prove me wrong? Is there a shred of evidence anywhere to say otherwise?

Same here:

All humans that think that gullibility is better then critical thinking "lack of good sense or judgement" = stupid

It does not mean that they cannot be intelligent on any subject but they are most likely less intelligent then people who can see the obvious stupid claim of theism.

Zaphod's picture
I personally find the truth

I personally find the truth to be easiest with practice you get better at being nice while remaining truthful . To me its mush easier to keep track of the truth than it would be to make things up or flat out lie. Even being misleading leads to unnecessary troubles . But weight must be given to what people say to give it more merit and not sidetrack from the point.

There are plenty reason not be offensive besides being nice or considerate of the feelings of others for example, there often times come a point when you wish to convey something to someone and with a little self editing you can avoid insulting them while still making your valid point leading to a much more productive conversation. Needlessly offending a party in a conversation can quickly lead to deterioration of productive converse. All that said, sometimes the only thing left to say is that a person is being an idiot and there is no nice way to put it besides being direct and to the point.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Agree with zap here, it is

Agree with zap here, it is always best to have a productive conversation.

What I was pointing out is the bias that has been built during the ages, that negates the right to call the stupid for what they are, stupid.

If You can support your claim it is totally your choice if you say the truth or twist it for some reason, and not someone else choice.

That was my main point here.

Zaphod's picture
Okay, I see what your getting

Okay, I see what your getting at. I am a firm believer in my words my choice, your words your choice I think everyone should should have the right to freedom of speech it's just that with freedom comes responsibilities with our rights we have the burden of using them properly or otherwise paying the consequence or consequences. Sometimes what we say can cause more trouble than what we don't people any body can exercise the right to call things as they see it but we run the risk of generalizing,stereotyping, offending, degrading conversation, or even showing ourselves in a less than desirable light. Any of these reasons should be enough to give a person pause.

Side note; I used for a few years in my teens i would go about introducing myself as an honest asshole. People would ask what I meant and I would reply you might not like what I say but its true to the best of my ability so at least i'm being honest. One of the smartest people I've ever met responded instantly with "So, you have no tact." this was enough to stop me dead in my tracks and make me re-evaluate how I was going about things.

CyberLN's picture
Z, I think this is one of the

Z, I think this is one of the most reasonable, emotionally intelligent, wise posts I've read in this forum in a long time. Thx for it.

Nuts Silk's picture
May I try a bit of

May I try a bit of clarification on the terminology...? Just because I am going to need it myself to follow this discussion.

First of all, I'll confess that is a little hard for me to translate from latin directly into english, so I'll accept that the meaning of what I'll be saying might be, very well, unstable in some ways. The classical definition of the word "Stultus", from which "stupidus" derives, was not originally meant to be an insult, and it was closer to what we probably would understand today as "ignorant", without any negative meaning again, simply thinking of someone that doesn't know something in particular.

The definition, properly, was meant to make reference to someone that was "incapable (indocilis; not docile, headstrong) of falling within the rules of, or unaware (nescius, ignorans) of what, is dictated by common sense (sensus communis, that which we all already have agreed to be the truth)".

I'll try to explain that with an example: the word "stupidus", in the meaning of that definition, was introduced, during the middle ages, by secular and religious congregations, without meaning an insult, just to define those members of the congregation that were unable to read in latin, thus unable to participate of that "sensus communis", the shared knowledge of that given congregation or group. It didn't meant that the person was stupid, or an idiot, just that the person was incapacitated to form an intelligent opinion since he lacked the necessary information for that.

An example closer to our times and more well known: when criticizing the works of Kant, Nietzsche said that "Kant is like a fox that, once smart enough to free itself from its cage, goes back into it by mistake"; Nietzsche was making reference to the fact that, although Kant's logic reaches the point of making the idea of divinity obsolete, Kant still reintroduces the concept of divinity, not moved by his own logic, but rather by his sense of moral obligation. Nietzsche doesn't call Kant stupid (he's calling him a "fox"), but still considers some of Kant logic to be stupid and in need of correction.

Now, going back to this discussion, I think that I understand what Jeff means. Please, Jeff, correct me if I am understanding you wrongly, but I think that what you're trying to say is that people doesn't necessarily have to be stupid to fall into stupid notions, or follow or defend those stupid notions out of simple misinformation or stubbornness.

In other words, what you are saying is that we can consider or regard a person as intelligent, and still recognize and feel obliged to point any stupidity in that person's ideas or the arguments which support those ideas. More basically said, that you don't mean to call people stupid, but rather call their ideas stupidities, as long as those ideas are supported by nothing rational, just the moral compulsion to defend them.

IF I got Jeff correctly, then I'll say I agree with him. In the sight of what we consider to be sheer and plain stupidity, we have to call that for what we think is it: a stupidity; and we have to be loud about it in order to force a debate, to raise a discussion, because that's the only way in which others stupidity, or our own stupidity, might be corrected at some point.

Mardze's picture
There are reasons behind

There are reasons behind every action and thought of people. Deeper understanding will help us understand why they do things that are not nice. Whatever their reasons are, we should first mind our own mistakes.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
yea, tact is a way to be

yea, tact is a way to be liked better in society, what I am pointing at here is that if we had the right society we would not need tact.

Now in this society tact is a necessity because honesty is less valued then truth.
People are mostly not honest with themselves and others. They tend to be effected by their own bias and selfishness everyday,
They so much lived and survived in this environment that they see it as normal and a good thing.

Now, I am not saying that having tact is not a good thing, I am just saying that we are so much used to using tact that we end up hesitating in saying things we should say to improve society.

Btw about generalizing.

I think it is the guy who claims that a theist can be intelligent is generalizing.

First generalization is to assume that he is a real theist, that believes that critical thinking is bad for you.
Second generalization is to think that achievements= intelligence.
Third generalization is to think that what you hear about someone is the truth.

I only consider what I can confirm myself and judge accordingly. Up until now there was no theist that has shown any good level of intelligence.
To be honest, the only intelligent aspect of a theist I have experienced is patience.

So until I speak or hear a smart theist speech making sens there is no amount of data or people statistics that will convince me otherwise. Today propaganda and money can make people believe that a man can walk on water.

So when you claim, that I am generalizing you are actually saying that from my 100% of all experience I had with theists arguments, I have missed the good ones.

Which i say to whoever dares to claim this, to please support his claims.

Up until now I have seen only stupid arguments from theists which I conclude that up until now all real theists do not display good level of intelligence, thus i consider them stupid people that choose to stay stupid because they like it.
Any body that thinks that gullibility is good for you is stupid in my opinion.

There is no amount of tact that will change my mind on this.
I might not say it to someone's face in a conversation(because I have tact) but that is what I think, though I won't let my bias of what I think about real theists effect my judgment in any argument either.
Though I would say it in public if i saw that it would help improve society.
Saying it to the wrong person won't achieve anything anyway.

Zaphod's picture
If your going to respond to

If your going to respond to the topic rather than the reply it may be a good idea to reference the poster your talking to.

I assume your talking to me because I brought up tact and you used it in your into as well as conclusion. However, I never said you were making generalizations but rather gave it as one of my examples as to what risk people run by speaking with reckless abandon. Elli mentioned it in response to a conclusion he drew from a question you asked saying that being a theist does not make one inherently unintelligent and to assume it does is to make a generalization.

You make a lot of good points and ask good questions, I even agree with a lot of the things you say, however I would like to point out that you do not have to be dishonest or untruthful to use tact.Sure lying can make being tactful easier but Its entirely possible to say what needs to be said being 100% honest and still do so with tact. Sometimes it just take a little more thought to do so but with practice one can not only get good at telling the truth and what needs to be said quickly but they can do so in a way that make them come across better than if they didn't.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
I did not think you mentioned

I did not think you mentioned that i was generalizing anything, I am sorry if I appeared that I did.

I just read a bunch of replies, analysed some of the most interesting points and formulated my reply accordingly.

Yea tact was one of the points I wanted to address, I did not reply to you directly because I agree with the use of tact in today's society.
I think it is a must in most situations.

However dishonesty comes when you have an opinion of someone and are forced to say the opposite or shut up because your message has better chances to get reached if you do so.
Well maybe dishonesty is a too strong word for it, but when you are forced to not be honest is what I mean. Untruthful fits better.(thanks)

For example, you have a comment about woman attitude of some aspect, even if you are right, you still feel uneasy to say anything if the listeners are woman. You would rather have your wife say it or say something similar.
The reason is obvious, if you are honest about what you think, the listeners are most likely not mature enough to see past their bias and analyse objectively your argument because they fall on the defensive or think you are biased.
(and vice versa)

The same thing happens in society where theist have their bias so built into them that there is no way that they will be objective in analyzing your argument.(like the congress in usa)

Let us take for example, one of the most patient theists I know, Beneames, he cannot get past his bias that the old testament god can be different then the new testament god. He is simply not able to see a piece of text and analyse the context objectively for what it says, but he has the context already known to him and he just needs to make the words fit his own context.
If he cannot, he most likely thinks that, it is his fault that he cannot find the answer and not that his first assumptions were wrong(god is love, etc...)
He does this constantly, to the point where he reads black and white direct contradictions and just ignores them or tries to sugarcoating them and fails(against me at least).

Now imagine going to a society with this kind of bias in mind and try to reason with them that they should value evidence and not gullibility/faith.
If you cannot reason with them you must show them that they deserve ridicule, like we do with all the other insane people.
Brainwashing your son in anything(not only religion) is wrong and deserves to be addressed, but because of theists we still haven't been able to even discuss it seriously.
You can teach your son things but you cannot force him to learn things that he is not ready yet to understand, like theism where not even adults understand it well.
Teaching your son to be gullible is the most stupid thing you could do and it needs to be shouted in their ears sometimes because they are not sane enough to realize it.

"If you don't want to be ridiculed start using your head and not someone else head in the name of your god." is the only message some people understand.

Like when they were ridiculed for being so mean to gays, that time it worked, Where they were brought to court and forced to see that gays are humans and not some demons.
Today in most countries(not strong theist countries) whoever says that gays are inferior is faced with ridicule and considered stupid or a racist.

The same thing needs to be done with child brainwashing (which is not even in the bible), that the church invented since it is easier to control stupid people that have less critical thinking. "Don't dare question god" Doing it to kids it is easier then to adults since the poor kids already have the environment to obey their parents without question.

"Its entirely possible to say what needs to be said being 100% honest and still do so with tact."
hmm, that is an extraordinary claim but let me see how can you apply tact to what I want to say.

I want to say that whoever thinks to know what god thinks today is displaying how stupid can he be since we know that god changed his mind several times in the bible.

i want to say that whoever is gullible to anything not just religion is being stupid.

How would you apply tact to those?
How would you include the word stupid and make it sound nicer?

You can change the words and make some sugarcoating but you would not send the message that they appear to be very stupid when they think like that.
If a theist says that a gay needs to be killed because the bible says so.
If you omit what you think that these guys are so stupid to believe what a 2000 year old book says without question you are simply not being honest.
Is it delusion, drugs/brainwashing which is making them appear stupid is not the argument here. If you don't tell them what you think about them if asked you are simply not being honest.

I simply do not see how can one person be honest and at the same time he has to change his honest opinion to appease the listeners.

"Sometimes it just take a little more thought to do so but with practice one can not only get good at telling the truth and what needs to be said quickly"
Yes I agree, in most situations this is the better option by far.

"but they can do so in a way that make them come across better than if they didn't."
In most situations I would agree but with real theists it is a different situation.
If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?
--Sam Harris.

Man I had a guy that said that he believes in all the gods(even the one he never heard of)just to dismiss my claim that we all are atheists in at least some religions.
Tact works hand in hand with logic and theism is the enemy of logic, it claims that logic is not as important as Faith is.

Some theists claim they are theists but they would not know what the theistic theology means and when faced with the right questions they start to think about it for the very first time.
However, I see no other way then ridicule and court with real theists because they are that far gone in their stupidity.
And it is those people that hinder progress.
EG: William Lane crag which thinks that the termination of innocent children is a blessing.

See the tact here, especially with the speed he says the word terminated. :P
Is anybody going to say that this guy is not stupid? How can a loving and omnipotent god not find a better way to bring his son on earth rather the killing innocent Canaanites, including woman and children?
This guy is nuts and incredibly stupid and yet he doesn't know it.
Though his philosophical studies were somewhat displayed in his other speeches.
This can only be explained with the idea of theists are viewing their own fantasy world which is similar to this one where their logic works perfectly but it appears nonsense for sane people of this real world.
One can argue that maybe their world is the real one and ours the fantasy.
Well this world is the real one because their fantasy worlds are all different from each other while this one is coherent with logic.

Theism does not only make people conclude stupid claims but makes people think in a stupid way. That is the true horror of theism.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Better link for William lane

Better link for William lane Craig:

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
"In other words, what you are

"In other words, what you are saying is that we can consider or regard a person as intelligent, and still recognize and feel obliged to point any stupidity in that person's ideas or the arguments which support those ideas. More basically said, that you don't mean to call people stupid, but rather call their ideas stupidities, as long as those ideas are supported by nothing rational, just the moral compulsion to defend them."

Not exactly,
I agree with your interpretation of what I said but I went further then this.
I am saying that the stupid idea of theism is effecting the level of intelligence of humans.
It is in effect making people appear stupid to a person that was not brainwashed by this theology.

people are becoming that stupid that if you call them for what they really are they get offended instead of analyzing the reasons why you consider them stupid.
If you are called a rapist, you would demand evidence for such a claim.
but if you are called stupid, you simply reject the idea without demanding evidence.
It makes people think they are special because god chose them, no wonder they won't accept that they are stupid.
They also claim that they are humble when they do not display humbleness in their claims at all.
They think to know what god thinks, can you get more stupid then that?

This is the problem, the society is effected by this theism theology that stupidity cannot be proven and thus rejected immediately as an offence.
It really is evident when you see how much the church promotes Faith/gullibility and attacks critical thinking.
An other evident example is the promotion of indoctrination as a right of the parents to choose to rape the child's mind with what they want.
Sane people see this as child abuse but are not really free to say it publicly.
If you teach your child to kill humans as a good thing, then it is abuse.
If you teach your child that whatever gods says is good then it is a good thing.
(so now we are left with bishops to interpret that how they want)
Like go and kill your son like Abraham is now a good thing because god said it.

This is obvious brainwashing that has been proven by history that it leads to evil.
It takes away the morality of a person to replace it what what the church wants it to be.

This is artificially making people more stupid and they even invented a name for it; Having Faith.

Lmale's picture
Well i cant say for other

Well i cant say for other people but i dont lie because i wont remember the lie lol

mysticrose's picture
Because there are people who

Because there are people who love to be imprisoned. Imprisoned from lies is their comfort zone so they prefer to hide the truth. I wonder how they feels like...

Lmale's picture
Jeff your good at research i

Jeff your good at research i wonder if you could discover the earliest known lie id be interested to know what it was.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
"you are beautiful"?

"you are beautiful"?

It is what usually is the first lie one experiences when he is a baby filled with all that blood at child birth.

I'm not a prophet or have a time machine in my closet to know that lol.

CyberLN's picture
I gave birth to two of my

I gave birth to two of my four kids. First, they aren't covered in blood at birth. Second, I did think they were both beautiful and said so. It wasn't a lie. And they've stayed that way into adulthood. Well, maybe not when the were hormones-with-feet at 12, 13, and 14 years old! :)

As they say, beauty is in they eye of the beholder.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
yea the first lie was by the

yea the first lie was by the doctor not the mother, lol

Zaphod's picture
The first lie was probably

The first lie was probably invented by a man and likely came into existence sometime in or around teh stone age when a man was asked by his wife if she looked good in her leopard loincloth. To which he simply responded yes.

Lmale's picture
Apoligies i was unclear, i

Apoligies i was unclear, i meant the earliest recorded lie.

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.