Pretending vs Lying: Is there a difference?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by nick, Dec 8, 2013.

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  1. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    Is pretending that something is real the same as lying?

    Does the age of the person and timeline of when the "truth" is revealed play a part? What about motives?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  2. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    My favorite 'lying' example was given by Mrs. Lillian Carter when her son Jimmy, was president of the USA. A NY Times reporter had come to interview Ms Lillian shortly after her son President Carter had told the American people, "I will never lie to you." Ms Lillian greeted the female reporter cordially and the interview began. Somewhere along the line the reporter asked, "Does Jimmy ever lie ?"

    "White lies," Ms Lillian replied. "What are white lies?", the reporter asked. Ms Lillian responded, "Well you know how I greeted you saying how happy I was to see you, and how lovely you look ? Those are white lies." :)
  3. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I removed the embedded video. Frankly, I'm not happy about seeing all the bikini-clad announcements for other video pranks at the end.

    My only other comment is that the driver in that video violated the 6th Commandment by operating a video camera while driving.
  4. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    Removed that part altogether. YouTube forces the related-videos at the end, regardless of how "related" they are. The ones that show up at the end of mine are additional "prank" videos.

    Oh, and I agree about the 6th commandment... didn't even think about that.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    If the context makes pretending obvious, then it's not lying. The essence of lying is intent to deceive, to get some gain by persuading a person to believe a falsehood. Untruth is not necessarily lying. It can be play or cultural misunderstanding, amongst other things.
  6. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    This is a subject that crops up repeatedly on the PB. Are we ever allowed to lie in any and every circumstances? Do a PB search for "Are we ever allowed to lie?" or "Is it always a sin to lie/tell a lie?" or "Rahab" or "the Hebrew midwives", "Jews Gestapo Nazis Dutch Reformed", "axe-wielding madman" etc, etc.

    Some Reformed theologians like John Murray have held that it is always wrong to tell a lie, whereas others have held that it is justified in narrow circumstances e.g. protecting life, because of certain biblical examples that appear approved.

    Re pretending, I believe that, AFAIAA, all Reformed theologians would allow for innocent pretence, depending on the motive. E.g. Are you pretending in a game with a child or adult? This could come under the law of love as good. Are you pretending because you wants to rob a bank by a pretence? This is sin.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
  7. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks. I'll do that. Most of those I've heard before, as they seem to deal with deception with the intent for the other party to "never" know the truth. Maybe this does fall into the same category, I'll do the searches.
  8. Matthew Willard Lankford

    Matthew Willard Lankford Puritan Board Freshman

    ​I believe God requires of us in the 9th Commandment to have truthfulness, sincerity and integrity in our whole life. Such was Christ's perfect example (and we should imitate Him cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1) and his affirmation of Nathanael, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (John 1:47) Matthew Henry observes that David may suggest that his feigning himself to be a madman before Achish (see 1 Sam. 21:10-15) was sin, when in Psalm 34 he warns us that we speak no guile. Henry wrote, "Perhaps David, in warning us that we speak no guile, reflects upon his own sin in changing his behaviour. They that truly repent of what they have done amiss, will warn others to take heed of doing likewise." ​It is Satan who disguises himself to be that which he is not, even as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14) and by his subtlety deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3) and so his children do likewise (2 Corinthians 11:15; Ephesians 4:14). "As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?" (Proverbs 26:18-19)

    Below are some quotes that may be of good information:

    ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Form of Godliness Without the Power

    ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon, THE KING’S WEIGHINGS

    ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Child Of Light Walking In Light

    ~Thomas Manton, An Exposition of the Epistle of James

    ~Christopher Ness, The Crown and Glory of a Christian

    ~Thomas Watson in Farewell Sermons Of Some Of The Most Eminent Of The Nonconformist Ministers Delivered At The Period Of Their Ejectment By The Act Of Uniformity In The Year 1662.

    ~Thomas Watson, Wise as Serpents—Harmless as Doves

    ~Thomas Watson, The Knowledge Of God

    ~Pulpit Commentary​ on 1 Samuel 21:10-15

    Also read an interesting sermon by Frederick B. Cowl "Old Shoes Clouted" on JOSH. ix. 5, "And old shoes and clouted upon their feet." from Digging Ditches: And Other Sermons to Boys and Girls, p. 100 And check out Charles Spurgeon's sermon on the useless disguse of Jeroboam's wife, "A Hearer In Disguise."
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  9. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior


    I understand that the video in the op has been removed. That may have provided all the needed context, but as your op now stands, I am unable to grasp just what you are after.

    I know that much has been said here now, but I wonder if it addresses what you were asking.

  10. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    The context was simply in having fun (usually on the part of the pretender at first). Some examples:

    Joking around: Approaching a stop sign with your wife in the car and "pretending" that you are going to run it (while taking into account surrounding vehicles, etc).

    Things that are not real, but kids think so: Taking your young kids to a place like Disney World to "meet" Mickey Mouse. (Santa could be lumped in here, but he has a lot more baggage than just being some imaginary character)
  11. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Right. I was pressed for time before heading off for Lord's Day services and decided to pull it simply because of the "trailers."

    The video showed a husband driving on a freeway, with young son in back, talking to his video recorder (presumably a smart phone). He was following a semi being towed backwards so it looked like it was facing him. He tells us he is going to scare his wife who is sleeping in the front passenger seat.

    So he yells to his wife to wake up, "a truck!" She wakes up and lets out a yowl--husband laughs and tells her it was a joke.

    Towed semi then switches lanes so we see there was never a danger.

    I've never like these kinds of pranks, and this one alarmed me a bit more than usual.

    First, as I mentioned, the 6th commandment violation really troubled me. The guy is videoing himself while driving on a freeway with a young son in back and a wife next to him. He looks away from the road so he can tell his story to the youtube audience. Hairs on my neck went up just thinking about this. He is so interested in what his youtube audience will find amusing that he apparently doesn't even think of the potential risk of harm he is undertaking.

    Second, causing someone to wake from a sleep by pretending a life-threatening event is occurring is plain dumb. The wife might have reflexively reacted by grabbing the steering wheel to avoid what she thought was an imminent head-on. Then the result of the prank would be disaster.

    Finally, what kind of humor are we enjoying at the expense of others? It's only funny to those not being pranked. Is that honoring your wife? I think it is more along the lines of dishonoring abuse.

    Anyway, those are my quick thoughts on the matter....
  12. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    The video referred to has other ethical problems.

    Jesus on the road to Emmaus pretended to be a stranger in Judea. He deceived the two people, causing them to believe a falsehood. But His purpose was utterly benign. Thus also with white lies, such as "I'm glad to meet you."
  13. Matthew Willard Lankford

    Matthew Willard Lankford Puritan Board Freshman

    I would take issue with the idea that the Lord Jesus pretended to be a stranger to the two men on the road to Emmaus. I don't believe He deceived the two disciples, but rather He had power over their eyes. Luke 24:16-31 and Mark 16:9-20 are the relevant texts (however, some argue Mark 16:9-20 was not originally part of Mark's Gospel). These are the two most relevant verses:

    Luke 24:16, "But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him."

    Mark 16:12, "After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country."

    Luke explains that the men's eyes were prevented from recognizing Christ. Mark doesn't suggest otherwise and should be seen as in harmony with Luke's account. Henry notes that Christ "had really his own countenance, appears by this, that their eyes were holden, that they should not know him; and when that restrain on their eyes was taken off, immediately they knew him, Luke 24:16-31." The issue is that God prevented the men's eyes from being able to recognize Christ.

    Calvin explains:
  14. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    No, pretending that something is real is not lying. A simple example: when you read a novel, you know that the characters are not real and the story is not real. For the sake of being entertained, however, you willingly enter the novelist's literary world and accept what he tells you. When you've finished the novel, back into the real world you go. The novelist is not lying, in the ordinary sense of that world. He's just telling a story. You know it's not true going in.
  15. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    When Jesus was asked the question whether he were a stranger and hadn't heard the news,, He answered, "What news?" While not an outright falsehood, He implicitly confirmed their supposition that He was a stranger. Thus they were confirmed in their false belief. Their eyes not recognizing him was temporarily before this. That refers to their not recognizing His face and perhaps not his voice in greeting.
  16. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Senior

    For the 9th Commandment, I find Ames helpful (though I don't know whether he is correct: Perkins, for example, seems to include intent to deceive in the notion of lying) for providing categories of thinking concerning the difference between pretending and lying. However, I'm not sure whether it could be extended to "misleading" statements or "I'm glad to meet you" statements, which are under discussion just above.

    "18. A lie is properly a testimony, whereby one pronounceth otherwise than is in his heart. Acts 5. Whence is that phrase in Scripture of a double heart, of a man that is a liar. Psalm 12:3.

    19. But because a thing pronounced, doth not consist only in outward words, but chiefly in their sense; therefore the same words which are true in one sense, in another sense become a lie. Matt. 26:61.

    20. Ironies, fables, jests, repeating also of false things, and the like are not lies, because they are not testimonies; and they are not testimonies because they are not confirmed by the credit and authority of the speaker.

    21. An intention of deceiving, although it do almost always accompany a false testimony, yet it is not of the essence of it, neither is it necessarily required to a lie; for although one knows that he with whom he hath to do cannot be deceived by his lie; yet if he have an intention in speaking to affirm that which is false, he lies no less than if he had hope of deceiving.

    22. An intention of hurting doth indeed increase the mischief of a lie: but it maketh not the nature of it: for if a man out of jesting or a desire to please and be officious, confirm that by his credit which he knows to be false, it is a lie: pernicious of its own nature, if not others, yet to the author himself: as it is in those who are given to flatteries or boastings, or are delighted in confirming monstrous fables or fictions unto others.

    23. An intention to speak that which is false, makes a lie, although that which is spoken be most true.

    24. The asseveration of a thing uncertain for certain, is accounted with a lie although we think it to be true.

    25. Also that secrecy whereby one doth not speak the truth when Justice or Charity requires it, doth partake of the nature of a lie.

    26. But when neither Justice nor Charity requires to give testimony, then the truth or part of it may be concealed without sin. Jerermiah 38:27.

    29. That dissembling which consists in deeds or signs, and not in words, is not properly a lie: unless the same either of their own nature, or by some certain appointment, have the force and use of speech: as, 1 Sam. 20:20-22, Matt. 26:49. Because such deeds and signs that are not verbal, have no certain and determinate signification, so as they can have the force of a testimony.

    30. Therefore such dissembling is sometime lawful, as in warlike stratagems. Josh. 8:31. But it is made unlawful when in respect of the end or manner, it fights with religion, Justice or Charity." (William Ames. The Marrow of Sacred Divinity)
  17. Loopie

    Loopie Puritan Board Freshman

    I do not think Jesus was being deceptive in any way, shape, or form. He often asked questions in order to bring about certain responses, such as statements of faith. When the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus' garment, he asked "Who touched me?" He certainly was not ignorant of who touched him, and he was not trying to deceive anyone. Rather, he was bringing forth a confession of faith from the woman. The same could be said when Jesus asked Peter "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus knew who he was, and was not trying to feign ignorance or deceive Peter. Rather, by asking the question he was bring forth a certain response from his disciple.
  18. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    I don't see the humor in trying to terrorize your spouse. Perhaps you could explain the punch line to me so I won't think I'll of you.
  19. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    As someone mentioned earlier, I think the line between pretending and lying is the intent to deceive. My son enjoys some Disney shows/characters and at two years old, I think it's certainly possible that the lines of fantasy and reality may be blurred in his mind. However, never have I, nor do I intend to, try and deceive my son into believing that the Disney characters are real.
    Now take Santa for example ...this is not the case with most parents and Santa. They do attempt to convince their children that the Santa Claus character is in fact real. Parents concoct elaborate stories to perpetuate the lie of Santa! At this time of year, many adults are quite ridiculous in the ways they deceive children into believing something that is simply not true.
  20. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I dread the day my son's pretend mouse and piggy disappear for good. While I don't have much patience for all the psycho-bable and child rearing, I do think imaginative play is generally harmless and potentially beneficial.
  21. GloriousBoaz

    GloriousBoaz Puritan Board Freshman


    I was going to bring up Luke 24 and the road to Emmaus but not Jesus looking different, or him asking about what happened in Jerusalem but this one little phrase: "and he made as though he would have gone further." verse 28. It seems there is a bit of acting going on like there.

    (Interesting note, I believe it was when I was reading Kuyper he hit on why puritan's outlawed card playing (chance), dancing (he didn't give a reason), and acting/theater (because they actors never got to work on their own character because they were in a constant state of flux pretending to be a new character each week or month and they saw this as dangerous.)

    Also I wanted to know your guy's opinion on Rahab and also what about magic tricks from honest gospel magician's that explain it is all skill based sleight of hand and illusion who say things like "it appears it is in this hand" instead of "the coin is in my right hand" when it really isn't (and who stay away from other dangerous elements like mentalism and hypnosis).
  22. Matthew Willard Lankford

    Matthew Willard Lankford Puritan Board Freshman

    I think it is important to read verse 28 and 29. "And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them." (Luke 24:28-29)

    Gill explains:

    Henry agrees:

  23. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    That's in the category or terrorizing your spouse? I don't think there is much I can do for you not to think ill of me. I'm glad my wife and I share the same sense of humor.
  24. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    It's slightly more complex than this, since in His humanity Christ was not omniscient, omniscience being an attribute of deity.

    So sometimes when Christ expresses lack of knowledge in the Gospels, it is genuine. We mustn't deny aspects of Christ's humanity in order to preserve His deity, when the Gospel writers didn't themselves, being also another evident token in Scripture of its divinity.

    See the relevant threads on the PB, as this is too big a sub-topic.

    In the case of the woman, in his humanity Christ may well have not have known about this lady. In the case of Peter, Christ knew and believed in His human soul that He was Divine and the Messiah.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  25. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    This will make for some good Lord's Day discussion this coming Sunday.
  26. Matthew Willard Lankford

    Matthew Willard Lankford Puritan Board Freshman

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