Is it possible to lie to oneselves so much that you can get sent to Hell for it?

Scenario: Perfect law-abiding, Christian citizen - doesn’t cheat, virgin until marriage, goes to church, believes faithfully, is honest with other people*, heals the poor and sick, etc. In other words, a textbook example of the sort of person who would have a golden ticket into Christian Heaven.

But: They keep lying to themselves. How they lie to themselves… well, I’ll leave that up to you as I don’t want to taint my scenario with preconceptions**. But this person does lie to themselves, constantly.

Can they be sent to hell for telling themselves lies?

*Just go with it.

**I mean, the last thing I want to do is have this thread get bogged down in minutiae and hypothetical fighting. Not here, not at the Dope! :wink:

Public poll, as always!

Can they? Well sure, anything is possible, but it doesn’t seem likely, and as a Catholic I can’t see it happening. Your Scenario describes near-sainthood. No Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic(and probably mainstream Protestant) theologian would even say that anything in that Scenario is required to be done unfailingly to gain salvation.

I vote for the third option.

Plus, Purgatory is a good thing. :slight_smile:

It seems to me that at least one possible interpretation is that the rich man was lying to himself about what he really valued/wanted, and that this was indeed standing between him and “entering the kingdom of God.”

Yeah, that’s why I didn’t want to load the scenario with too much detail - it’s the general thrust of the question that interests me, not whether my hypothetical person could actually exist. :slight_smile:

Yes! If they don’t accept Jesus in their heart as their Lord and Savior and the only way to receive eternal life.

Satan is really, really good at helping people deceive themselves and others.

I don’t really understand what is meant by “lying to yourself”. But taking the hypothetical at face value, especially “believes faithfully”, then No. Faithful belief is all it takes.


Hell is separating yourself from God and her mercy. Since we don’t know how that works, we don’t know who is in hell and what it takes to be there.

Anything is possible so I went yes. But since anything is possible one of the choices should be for pie.

I don’t know what “lying to themselves” means. Can a person truly “lie” to themself? Is not a precondition of lying that one must first know the truth, and then suppress it?

I guess people do sometimes suppress the truth inside themselves because it may be too difficult or uncomfortable to deal with; so eventually, they could begin to believe the lie.

In that case, it becomes a matter of how culpable that person is for lying to themselves. What was their motive? Were there very influential outside influences?

Pride is a sin.

So, if you lie to yourself that you are the most special person because of your saintly behavior, and that there is NO WAY God could ever smite you, and he’d be a fool to smite you, consider yourself smited. God hates hypocrites, and being proud of doing what you’re expected to, rather than doing it just because, is hypocritical.

Did they ask for forgiveness and accept jesus as the son of god who so loved the world he gave his only begotten son? Then they’re in. Hitler is in heaven if he fulfilled these two conditions sincerely.

I was taught that the commandment was to not bear false witness against thy neighbor. The prohibition was on spreading lies, or telling lies about things. Telling lies to yourself seems to be not mentioned at all.

Unless the lie he tells himself somehow implies one of his other good works was not actually what it seems, I don’t see how it would change anything. At any rate, if that is the problem, it’s not about the lie, but about the other failing being the thing that prevents passage to heaven.

DIfferent theologies would provide different answers. I’m a Universalist, so no one ends up in Hell.

I guess from a traditional perspective, Christ says in Matthew

I fail to see how lying to oneself violates either of the commandments which effectively sum up the ‘law’ so I fail to see how it’s sin and certainly not a mortal one.

The answer is no, because there’s no hell to get sent to, because there’s no afterlife at all.

But that’s fighting the hypothetical, so instead I voted yes. The notion of hell presupposes a really draconian god, so it seems probable that thought crimes aren’t off the table.

“I love God and am faithful! (No I don’t, and I’m not.)”

I’ve known a number of people who Protest Too Much that they have faith.

My take on it is they are now (by being saved) a child of God. It is God’s responsibility to deal with that issue within His child, and God will do it as He sees fit.

Now that does not mean this chap will not spend time in Hell, but Jesus overcame that so it’s not eternal, just corrective.

I think it should be assumed that the person also accepts Jesus Christ as their savior, and we’re dealing with a theology where you can opt out of salvation by sinning too much.

So the question simply becomes “Is lying to myself a sin?” I do not think so. My logic is this: the way to deal with sin is repentance, and repentance requires you to be aware that you are sinning, otherwise you could not claim not to do it again. If unknown sins count, then no one can be saved, and that makes the whole entire sending of Jesus to be pointless.

That is, unless “lie to yourself” means “I know this isn’t true, but I keep telling myself this anyways as an excuse.” While I can’t see anything in the Bible that specifically forbids this as a sin, I find it hard to conceive of a way this could happen regularly without lying to yourself about a sin you know you committed. And you can’t repent of that sin if you refuse to accept that it happened.

And the latter is the reason to ask God to help you realize it, because there can be a fuzzy line between the two situations.

As you’ve told us nothing about what “hell” is, nor the requirements for being allowed in, this question seems far too vague to get a useful answer.

Even Christians can’t agree on what hell is or what gets one sent there.

I feel that this is like asking “what is the entryway to Atlantis made of?” – we don’t even know if Atlantis exists, let alone what the specifics are.

That’s a valid viewpoint. Again, however, I’m more interested in the general discussion than defining a specific condition and then asking “in this case, can this occur?” If you think there are certain conditions which need to be pre-defined before you can answer the question, feel free to lay them out. :slight_smile:

I will say the question does pre-suppose that violations of the 10 Commandments are severe enough to be sent to Hell over, that is true. If you think otherwise, that’s fine as well. Nobody is going to upset the OP by taking a position on this question, trust me.

I imagine it depends on the denomination. And I personally don’t think even should some hell exist that it would be so picky. But, given the other various stupid shit that only harms oneself which can supposedly send you to hell, I voted yes.

Also, even from a purely secular, psychological, “hell is a state of mind” sort of view point, self delusion or denial is a major source of various psychological issues.