Canon Ruth's TV challenge - can you go ‘A Week Without Lying’?

A BBC2 Horizon Special  broadcast on August 29 , 'A Week Without Lying: The Honesty Experiment’, has featured North Yorkshire parish priest,  the Revd Canon Ruth Newton.


Ruth was invited to take part in a TV experiment to see if she could go for a week without lying. However, according to the programme makers, Thoroughly Modern Media productions, the results were surprising.  They said ‘it turns out we all lie constantly… even priests, and lying is more important to us all than previously thought.’


Ruth who is Associate Priest at  St. John the Evangelist, Sharow near Ripon was one of a number of people who were monitored for a week for the ground breaking new BBC Two Horizon Special.


Over the course of a week she was rigged with innovative portable lie detection equipment, making it nearly impossible for her to lie undetected, and the results have caused scientists to rethink what they know about how we lie.


“I was nervous that I might be more dishonest that I think I am”, said Ruth before the experiment begins,


The team studied Ruth at work in the church, meeting parishioners and in her private life.


White lies were a constant issue for Ruth, despite her best efforts.  “I think that I find it difficult to tell people hard truths”, she admitted. “If people ask does my bum look big in this it’ll have to be really big before I tell them to go and change!”, she said.


It turns out we all have a less than perfect relationship with the truth, telling up to nine lies a day, with 80% of those being white lies. 


The programme revealed that lying is so deeply woven into our lives, society and relationships that a world without it would be a difficult place to live, causing huge rifts.


Ruth says she completely changed her attitude to lying during the honesty experiment.


 “I think it’s preferable to be honest but sometimes it may be necessary to lie. I can think of circumstances where I would lie and I would want someone else to lie”.


‘A Week Without Lying: The Honesty Experiment’ can be seen in BBC iPlayer (BBC2, 9pm 29.8.18)

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