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What would be the antonym of the phrase "Gospel Truth" be?

Consider the usage in the sentence: "Don't consider articles in the newspaper as the gospel truth" what would the opposite be?

Specifically I'm looking for some sort of evangelical/biblical references which would depict falsehood.

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Wouldn't it be an actual Gospel Truth? –  mgb Jul 3 '11 at 3:52
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Damned lies. –  Mitch Jul 3 '11 at 19:46

8 Answers 8

The antonym of "gospel truth" would be "utter falsehood", or if you wanted a colloquialism, "bullsh*t." From your example it seems you don't want an antonym, but an alternative. That is "don't consider articles in a newspaper gospel truth, instead -blank-." For that, I'd suggest the idiom "take with a grain of salt."

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Absolutely - falsehood is the opposite of truth, which gospel simply emphasises as irrefutable. So maybe slightly better is demonstrable falsehood. But I like the fact that you've concisely addressed OP's probable requirement, as well as his exact question. –  FumbleFingers Jul 3 '11 at 4:43
    
I wasn't looking for something specific. But, any biblical references which could depict falsehood? –  timonti Jul 3 '11 at 4:46

If you're after something with a biblical flavour, how about "heresy"? Wiktionary definition:

  1. A doctrine held by a member of a religion at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from Roman Catholic dogma.

  2. A controversial or unorthodox opinion held by a member of a group, as in politics, philosophy or science.

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It is "Fiendish Lie."

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I take it you're trying to pair off Biblical allusions, "Gospel truth" versus something-Biblical-sounding.

My first thought would be "diabolical lie". "Diabolical" comes from the Latin word for devil, so that would have some theological "feel". And it's a phrase used often enough that you wouldn't have to explain it. (I'm assuming here that by opposite of "Gospel truth" you mean an extreme lie, as opposed to a questionable truth.)

There are plenty of cases in the Bible of people lying: Ananias and Sapphira lying about their generosity, Potiphar's wife making false rape allegations, Abram claiming that Sarai was his sister, Samson and Delilah lying to each other about the source of his strength and why she wanted to know, etc etc. (Pause here to allow atheists to interject that it's all a pack of lies.) I don't know of any stock phrases alluding to such incidents, though. You could always spin a phrase, "You can't trust Mr Jones boasts about his charitable contributions any more than you could trust Ananias" or something like that. If you're looking to be readily understood, such an allusion would simply confuse anyone not familiar with the Bible story. But if you're trying to make more colorful writing, it might be workable.

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A biblically flavored antonym for "gospel truth" would be "speaking with a forked tongue".

This post in Foreign Policy Journal, "The U.S. is Speaking with Forked Tongue" cites an exclusively Native American origin. However, there is an association with deceit from the passage about the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis. The serpent speaks with a forked tongue to Eve, and that is what gives the expression "speaking with a forked tongue" the powerful connotation of falsehood. This provides the full passage from the Book of Genesis that refers specifically to Adam and Eve and the snake.

Both PsychCentral (secular website), and Spirit Community on Christian Dream Interpretation (non-secular website in a pantheist sort of way) attribute dreams about snakes and speaking with forked tongue to the biblical snake whose lies were Eve, and Adam's, undoing in the Garden of Eden.

EDIT
Additional detail from source PsychCentral about "forked tongue and deceit" as the opposite of Gospel Truth:

Snakes are associated with transition and evil because of their Biblical heritage. A snake encouraged Eve to eat fruit from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden — which subsequently provoked the proverbial “fall of man.” Snakes... are associated with lying and betrayal, because they have a forked tongue.

It is easy to see the link between the act you committed and symbolic meanings of treachery and deceit. Because you betrayed a friend, you probably feel like a “snake in the grass.” And yes, you told lies, which means you were speaking with a “forked tongue.”

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I just realized, to specifically answer the question by @timonti one could say "Don't believe stories you read in the newspaper. Those newspapers writers speak with forked tongue" or perhaps "...speak with forked tongues". –  Feral Oink Jul 3 '11 at 19:43
    
Hmm, but I don't think the phrase "forked tongue" appears anywhere in the Bible. Someone might read about the serpent in Genesis, think about the fact that serpents have a sort of fork-shaped tongue, and make a connection, but that doesn't make it a Biblical reference or allusion. Like, Sharespeare mentions Denmark in the play Hamlet, and Niels Bohr was from Denmark, but that doesn't make a reference to Niels Bohr a Shakespearean allusion. :-) –  Jay Jan 31 '12 at 22:53
    
@Jay I added some clarification. I know what you are saying though, and acknowledge the lack of specific reference to forked tongues in the Bible (I searched, so I know you're correct). However, the Bible DOES specifically say that the snake spoke lies to Eve, and the reference to speaking with forked tongue is an Evangelical one in the U.S., which IS a Biblical allusion. The question asks for a Biblical or Evangelical reference. I don't know, I haven't thought about this since last July, actually. Antonyms are indeed a problem. –  Feral Oink Feb 1 '12 at 2:27
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Side note: I did a search too, but I just searched King James and Jimmy 2, not every translation out there, so I didn't want to make a dogmatic statement and have someone come back and say no, in the Revised Kilroy Translation ... :-) –  Jay Feb 2 '12 at 20:21
    
@Jay Jimmy 2? I never heard that one before! I lol'd at "Revised Kilroy Translation"! Agreed, best not to make dogmatic statements about this subject matter. It is so easy to get called out on it (massive understatement)... ;o) –  Feral Oink Feb 4 '12 at 12:46

It's depends on the context, but hearsay, gossip, rumor, and opinion are all words indicating the opposite end of the spectrum.

Don't put much stock in that, it's just hearsay.

vs.

Don't even question that, it's gospel truth.

Perhaps this context will help show the contrast:

Bob believed everything that Jane said as if it was gospel truth, even when she was just repeating the latest gossip.

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This just goes to show the problems we face when people ask for antonyms. What's the antonym of "one"? - "multiple"? "minus one"? "zero"? The concept OP is looking for might be any kind of "questionable" truth along the lines of your suggestions, but strictly speaking the antonym as asked for should be "utter lies" or similar. –  FumbleFingers Jul 3 '11 at 4:50
    
@Fumble: True enough. So add another answer :) Your suggestion and explanation in another comment of * demonstrable falsehood* deserves to be in it's own answer I think! –  Caleb Jul 3 '11 at 4:55
    
As I mentioned earlier, is there any biblical reference I could use to describe falsehood more accurately? –  timonti Jul 3 '11 at 4:57
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@timonti: I'm trying to think of one ... meanwhile you might edit your question to fine tune what you're after for future answerers. –  Caleb Jul 3 '11 at 5:00
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@FumbleFingers: RE antonyms: Sure, we've discussed this on other questions. A few words have an "obvious" antonym: up/down, big/small, etc. But, what's the opposite of, say "man"? Is it "woman"? "Boy"? "Animal"? "God"? "Alien"? What's the opposite of "France"? Even seemingly easy ones, like "true" here, can be ambiguous. I'd say the opposite of "true" is "false". But is the opposite of "proven true", "proven false"? Or is it "unproven" or "inconclusive"? In some contexts the opposite of "true" might be "unknowable". –  Jay Feb 1 '12 at 21:47

try balderdash

senseless talk or writing; nonsense.

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I would say, the antonym of "Gospel Truth"(absolute fact) would be :

Half-truth/Partial truth

"gospel truth" refers to the absolute truth, a statement that is completely honest. I would say that its opposite would therefore be something that is only half-true, and not completely so.

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