Kamrin’s Corner: The Invention of Lying

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

By Kamrin Duncan

Cover of The Invention of Lying, featuring photos of the stars and impolite true statements.

This is an older movie, but if you haven’t seen The Invention of Lying I would highly recommend taking the time to do it now. The Invention of Lying has been a hit amongst atheists and criticized by Christians since it made its debut back in 2009.

The premise involves a world in which nobody can tell a lie, until one day, the main character Mark, realizes he possesses the ability to tell lies. Of course, no one recognizes that he is lying because no one has ever told a lie. Mark begins to use lies for personal gain. He pursues his dream job, money, and the woman he wants to marry through lies. Now the interesting part of this film is when Mark decides to invent a lie to explain the afterlife, unknowingly creating “religion.”

The film pokes fun at religion and despite being a romantic comedy, the film makes several points that are relevant to atheism. The whole premise of religion being invented by a lie is humorous in itself, but there are deeper things to reflect on during the film. In one scene Mark tells his dying mother that she will go to heaven after she passes even though he knows this is a lie. He does this to comfort her and to give her peace as she dies. Many of us have told a lie to protect or comfort someone. It’s easy to see how people can fall prey to the idea of an afterlife. In a way it is a lie people tell themselves, maybe as a way to cope, to avoid responsibility, or to hope for better things. Regardless of how a lie benefits one in the moment, there are always consequences.

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