by Dr. Foster H. Shannon
“Every violation of truth is a stab at the health of human society.” ~Emerson
Lance Armstrong, winner of seven Tour de France Titles, celebrated as an
exceptional and stellar athlete, has for years been accused of doping with a number
of stimulating drugs to achieve maximum performance. Until last week he has
denied any use of performance enhancing drugs, and has virulently attacked those
who accused him of “doping”. It is a sad scene. Much, perhaps everything, that he
has gained has been lost. The adulation and respect that had been bestowed upon
him is gone. One wonders how much he would have gained—and how little lost had
he refused to use the illicit drugs, and had he been completely honest.
Lance Armstrong’s fall from fame and success raises a latent issue that has
been boiling underneath the surface for a long time. How widespread is lying, how
much is lying an accepted part of our culture, and how many people care little when
they resort to lying? Do not many argue that lying is acceptable if it is to protect
one’s reputation? How many of our politicians lie to us to attain or keep a coveted
Why should we avoid lying? Why should we be assiduous in telling the truth?
The basic reason is because lying is a sin and offensive to almighty God. John
8:31,32, “Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, if you continue in
my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will
make you free.” John 8:44b, “ When [the devil] lies he speaks according to his
own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Revelation 21:8, But as for the
cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and
brimstone, which is the second death.” We must add that there is not one of these
sins that cannot be forgiven, if one believes in the Savior and confesses the sin to
It has been said that truth is the coin of the realm. We cannot have
justice without truth. We cannot achieve wholesome and happy families without
truth. Governments must depend upon the truth to achieve justice and
righteousness. Truth is essential in personal relations if there is to be trust. The
most careful adherence to the truth was essential to the Mar’s Rover, “Curiosity”,
successfully landing and completing its mission. Any malfunction would bring
disaster. Truth is essential to the preparing of wholesome foods and building good
Deliberate or casual lying is not only counterproductive and damaging, it is
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Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note
Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is:www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.