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Cathleen Kaveny September 17, 2009 - 10:16am
Given his own work on the subject, but this new movie on lying by Ricky Gervais looks pretty funny.
This reminds me of a science fiction story entitled "Grandma's Lie Soap". After being caught in a fib, the narrator has his mouth washed out with grandma's special soap and finds himself unable to tell an untruth.He eventually puts the secret ingredient into products like toothpaste, which become quite popular. Soon everyone on earth becomes incapable of lying. Since no one can lie, the millenium arrives and peace reigns on earth (remember, this is science fiction). The story ends with the narrator's ominous speculation that invading extraterrestrials might now find the earth to be easy pickings.
For sure a lot of Christians lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Neocons and some born again Christians. The real problem with those lies is that a lot of people died and are still dying over it. Not to mention the preemptive war which is not allowed in any Catholic just war theory. Then there is John XXIII not giving a second thought lying about the baptismal certificates given to Jews during the Nazi rampage. King James (of the King James bible fame) was upset about the Sabine women who lied, more on grounds that they lied to authoriities than anything else. And did Cathy lie when she reference Augustine on lying or did she just suppose that everyone had access. (Smile) At any rate here is a more accessible url on Augustine. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1312.htmBe sure that you are well rested before you read it. Poor Augie. He wasn't sure whether to include it in his retractions. Then again that made for great controversies about what Augustine said. Even heretics love him not to mention secularists. Who's sorry now.
There's talk that Gervais' atheism might be a major plot point: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctmovies/2009/09/the-invention-of-lyin...
That's a real bummer. Gervais is smart--and interesting. To reduce religion to the equivalent of "the dog ate my homework" . . . or the opiate of the people . . . .not so smart.
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.
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