Truth or Dare
Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?
We’ve most of us at least heard of Pontius Pilate, who said ‘What is truth?’, then washed his hands of the whole affair and nicked off before anyone could take him up on it and start a philosophical debate on a question to which there is no definitive answer.
If he hadn’t, the whole cornerstone of Christian belief – that Christ was crucified for our sins and rose again on the third day to save us all – would never have got off the ground, which raises a whole lot of interesting possibilities, among them the thesis that Christian faith is based on one of two things: either a monumental lack of backbone in Pontius Pilate, or human inability to grasp the fact that very few things in this life are absolute.
Which brings us back to honesty, which is all about telling the truth. Provided we know what it is.
There are, of course, numerous situations in which honesty is blessedly black and white.
Have you done your homework?
Then bring it here and show me.
But there are even more situations in which honesty is a matter of perception and opinion, coloured by culture, creed, upbringing, education, social mores and even fashion. And possibly above all, personal preference. So to claim absolute universal honesty on all occasions would be a touch arrogant, wouldn’t you say? The best you can hope for is honesty as seen through the screen of your own standards and beliefs.
And if you insist on unvarnished honesty in all situations, you’re probably excruciatingly tactless.