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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend told me this morning that he never lies and that he never goes back on a promise. I posed two situations to him:

1. The Church taught at one time that the sun revolved around the Earth. It was an accepted truth at that time. We know now it is a lie. Did the Church lie when it taught this? At what point, if any point, does a once accepted truth become a lie?

2. Suppose you promise a friend that you would assist him to commit suicide in the event of a terminal illness. Ten years pass. In this time you come to believe that assisted suicide is akin to murder and that murder is wrong. Now, your friend asks you to honor your promise. Which principle do you uphold? Never go back on a promise or murder is wrong?

What are your thoughts?
 

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The first example is a bad one. A lie is a deliberate falsehood. Ignorance basically means it's not a lie. As an example, Newton didn't become a liar because Einstein modified his laws.

As for the second, You can still do a wrong thing, because you promised it. You could condemn your soul to burn in hell for all eternity knowingly and willingly to keep your promise.

I don't really see the problem here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To clarify the first example: my friend holds that I lie because an answer I give him at one time is no longer true. On a personal level, I spoke truth as I understood it at the time. As I have changed, so has my truth. My friend claims that what was true for him a year ago is still true, even though he has changed. This statement led to the question on promises.

Does this change your responses?
 

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I'm with Filo on #1, as for the second I wouldn't make such a promise as it's something I've already contemplated. You never know what the future holds. If someone begged me to make a promise for something in the far future such as the proposed then something is obviously on their mind and it would need further discussion.
 

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Things change. Saying 'I have red hair' was true before and isn't now. Personal things can be the same. Ignorance, as Filo said, is not a lie.

One of my principles is never to make promises I cannot keep. But if I were stupid enough to make the promise in the first place, I would keep it. It's their life - their values are what matter, not mine. Although I might ask if there were someone else who could help, ask to be released from the promise. If they said no or there was no one else, I would do it.
 
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