There may be situations where you can't avoid either. Take, for example, the following situation which is based on a real one:
An English man who speaks only English, a Swedish Buddhist boy who speaks both English and Swedish, and two Swedish women who speak only Swedish and are valued employees of the Englishman, are travelling with a minibus through the countryside. During the journey, while the two women are talking to each other, one of them starts cussing, swearing and talking bad things about the Englishman in Swedish. When the group arrives in a village, the Englishman asks the boy: "What was that woman talking about?" And the boy says "She didn't say nice things, sir." And the man says: "I could feel that. Did she say bad things about me? What did she say exactly?".
Now, if the boy says "She said many bad things about you and even cussed you, sir. She said this and she said that..", then the boy would be engaging in slanderous speech. If the boy says "She didn't say anything bad about you, sir.", then the boy would be lying.
What should the boy say, and is it at all possible to avoid both wrongs in such a situation? Which is the lesser evil: lying or slander?
Last edited by Stiphan
on Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.