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Traditional Catholic Faith => General Discussion => Topic started by: Malleus on December 10, 2014, 01:25:31 PM

Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Malleus on December 10, 2014, 01:25:31 PM
I know it is certainly sinful to cheat on tests etc. But would it be mortally sinful? I don't know if it would be considered sufficiently grave matter.

I am referring to a university-level exam.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Dolores on December 10, 2014, 01:33:21 PM
The Baltimore Catechism teaches us that the Seventh Commandment forbids, among other things, cheating.  I would think violating a commandment is always a grave sin.

Quote
261. What does the seventh commandment forbid?

Besides stealing, the seventh commandment forbids cheating, unjust keeping of what belongs to others, unjust damage to the property of others, and the accepting of bribes by public officials.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: ggreg on December 10, 2014, 01:48:47 PM
It's only mortally sinful if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Malleus on December 10, 2014, 02:30:05 PM
Quote from: Dolores
I would think violating a commandment is always a grave sin.


How could you say such a thing? This isn't true.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Miseremini on December 10, 2014, 02:34:37 PM
I think it would depend on the importance of the test.

If it was a quiz and you glanced at a book already open to the answer, not so grave

If it was for your Degree, absolutely grave, maybe even fraudulently obtained.
You would be lying that you knew the answer and you would be stealing the Degree.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Malleus on December 10, 2014, 08:05:30 PM
Quote from: ggreg
It's only mortally sinful if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences.


What do you mean by "if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences"?

Any degree doesn't hinge on one single exam, but it is the aggregate of them all. You need to pass all the classes and all the exams. So if you continue to flunk just one class you will never get a degree.

I know of someone who needed to do good in the final of one business class in order to pass it. He wasn't failing it as it was, but he needed to do very well in the final to pass it. Simply passing the final wasn't going to cut it. The final was 4 chapters. He read 2 and a little of the 3rd one, so he didn't really study. He clearly wasn't ready and wasn't going to do any good in the exam. This final exam was open book and open note. You could even use your laptop, ipad etc. if you had the book in pdf. This person had the book in pdf. So his plan was to just use his ipad in the exam and search for the answers with the search function. But the problem was that the answers weren't really in the book. They were very different than the book. So even with open book he was going to do bad in the final and fail.

Now, 99% of the other students were all cheating. They had the "test banks", and they were even using the internet with their phones and computers etc. The professor was just sitting in the front and doing something with some papers. So you could say that he was encouraging the students to cheat since most of them were even talking among themselves and having conversations. All the professor needed to do was raise his head once and look around to see they were all cheating. There was no way for him to not know there was cheating going around, you could just hear the buzz. The classroom was small, with 20 students.

So the person I am talking about notices all this cheating going on all around him. There's wifi in the classroom and he knows he can just search for the answers online; the exam is 100% multiple choice. Or he can just say yes to the other students, who are even offering him the answers and asking him if he wants them.

So he decided to cheat. The professor is endorsing it anyway by not doing anything and letting the students practically have conversations. He figures the exam is unjust as it is because the questions don't even have anything to do with what you had to read. He even said that he knew of this girl who did read all the 4 chapters and highlighted and reviewed etc. and really did study well but that she was lost in the exam and didn't know what to do. He says she failed it even though she studied very hard.

So was is mortally sinful to cheat in this situation? He didn't study, yes, but the exam seems to have been unpassable anyways since someone else who studied hard for it for days and didn't cheat got screwed and failed it.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: MyrnaM on December 10, 2014, 08:43:18 PM
What about guessing, as in multiple choice,  I confess I have guessed and never thought it might be sinful.  Of course that was a long time ago, when I was novus ordo, no grace, which is why it never occurred to me.  
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Malleus on December 10, 2014, 08:45:28 PM
Quote from: MyrnaM
What about guessing, as in multiple choice,  I confess I have guessed and never thought it might be sinful.  Of course that was a long time ago, when I was novus ordo, no grace.  


How would guessing be sinful? Probably not studying in the first place which leads you to guess is the sin.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: poche on December 10, 2014, 11:01:29 PM
Quote from: Malleus
I know it is certainly sinful to cheat on tests etc. But would it be mortally sinful? I don't know if it would be considered sufficiently grave matter.

I am referring to a university-level exam.


It is a mortal sin.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: ggreg on December 10, 2014, 11:47:02 PM
Quote from: Malleus
Quote from: ggreg
It's only mortally sinful if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences.


What do you mean by "if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences"?



Clearly you never read you catechism.  A mortal sin has to involve "grave matter".
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: clare on December 11, 2014, 03:30:19 AM
Quote from: ggreg
Quote from: Malleus
Quote from: ggreg
It's only mortally sinful if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences.


What do you mean by "if the university degree is in undertaking and embalming sciences"?



Clearly you never read you catechism.  A mortal sin has to involve "grave matter".

 :laugh1:
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Ladislaus on December 11, 2014, 05:56:20 PM
Quote from: poche
Quote from: Malleus
I know it is certainly sinful to cheat on tests etc. But would it be mortally sinful? I don't know if it would be considered sufficiently grave matter.

I am referring to a university-level exam.


It is a mortal sin.


Uhm, no; not necessarily.

There are many things that could change the nature of the sin.  Did someone just cheat on one question and raise the score from a 90 to a 95?  What is the importance of the exam and the consequences of cheating?  Was someone else defrauded of something based on the cheating?

It depends on the consequences and the circumstances.  So, for instance, if someone cheated on their medical boards and became certified as a doctor only as a result of cheating, that would likely constitute a grave sin.  If cheating allowed you to get a scholarship you didn't otherwise deserve.  There are lots of factors involved.  Just ask a priest and explain all the circumstances.  There's also the subjective disposition up front.  Did the person think it was a mortal sin before or during the act and will to do it anyway?  It's not easy and should not be answered definitively by the untrained members of an internet forum.



Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: ggreg on December 12, 2014, 04:36:52 AM
Would taking performance enhancing drugs to win at sports be a mortal sin?

Surely the outcome of a sporting contest cannot be considered grave can it?
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Meg on December 12, 2014, 08:21:32 AM
If it's a lie that doesn't hurt or harm anyone, then isn't it a venial sin? Maybe I'm wrong about that.

But maybe the question should be this, instead of whether it's a mortal or venial sin:

Is it unpleasing to God when someone cheats on a test? Because it seems to me that that's what we should be concerned about. If we are thinking of cheating, we should ask ourselves if God would be disappointed in us if we did so. It's out of our love for God that we should avoid sin.
Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Matthew on December 12, 2014, 08:27:06 AM
Quote from: Meg
If it's a lie that doesn't hurt or harm anyone, then isn't it a venial sin? Maybe I'm wrong about that.

But maybe the question should be this, instead of whether it's a mortal or venial sin:

Is it unpleasing to God when someone cheats on a test? Because it seems to me that that's what we should be concerned about. If we are thinking of cheating, we should ask ourselves if God would be disappointed in us if we did so. It's out of our love for God that we should avoid sin.


That's true -- too many people worry about "Mortal vs. Venial" like some kind of modern-day Pharisees, and you know that if the verdict is "venial" then the course of action will be "fire away!"

Speaking of fire -- read the book Purgatory, it will give you a healthy fear of committing even venial sin. Or read the Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco (TAN).

Title: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Meg on December 12, 2014, 11:11:54 AM
Quote from: Matthew
Quote from: Meg
If it's a lie that doesn't hurt or harm anyone, then isn't it a venial sin? Maybe I'm wrong about that.

But maybe the question should be this, instead of whether it's a mortal or venial sin:

Is it unpleasing to God when someone cheats on a test? Because it seems to me that that's what we should be concerned about. If we are thinking of cheating, we should ask ourselves if God would be disappointed in us if we did so. It's out of our love for God that we should avoid sin.


That's true -- too many people worry about "Mortal vs. Venial" like some kind of modern-day Pharisees, and you know that if the verdict is "venial" then the course of action will be "fire away!"

Speaking of fire -- read the book Purgatory, it will give you a healthy fear of committing even venial sin. Or read the Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco (TAN).



Good advice. I'll try to find those books.
Title: Re: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Centroamerica on April 10, 2018, 05:23:47 PM
I got all scrupulous about this the other day. In a tech math electrician course there's like a mutual help understood between the guy that sits beside me. We'll help each other out with explanations and things like that. Not so much as copying answers but it could constitute that at times with our help by showing what we got not really even sure if our answer is right. He came later than usual on our last test (not really a serious test), and I showed him my explanation in written words of how to divide and multiply in scientific notation.

Well, after I did that it dawned on me that it could be considered cheating and be therefore a sin. The teacher would not care or say anything about it and no consequences would come of it. Sure he knows people do it as long as it isn't flagrant cheating. Little helps about explanations or comparing answers. 

After, I did it I decided I was scrupulous and better not do it again because my judgement was clouded about what or if a sin or the nature of sin involved.

How should I approach this next time? Was there any sin involved?
Title: Re: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: forlorn on April 17, 2018, 02:53:57 PM


It is a mortal sin.

Uhm, no; not necessarily.

There are many things that could change the nature of the sin.  Did someone just cheat on one question and raise the score from a 90 to a 95?  What is the importance of the exam and the consequences of cheating?  Was someone else defrauded of something based on the cheating?

It depends on the consequences and the circumstances.  So, for instance, if someone cheated on their medical boards and became certified as a doctor only as a result of cheating, that would likely constitute a grave sin.  If cheating allowed you to get a scholarship you didn't otherwise deserve.  There are lots of factors involved.  Just ask a priest and explain all the circumstances.  There's also the subjective disposition up front.  Did the person think it was a mortal sin before or during the act and will to do it anyway?  It's not easy and should not be answered definitively by the untrained members of an internet forum.
Why would the consequences affect how serious a sin it is? Surely it should be the person's intended consequences. For example, we can do good deeds and accidentally cause bad consequences. For example, a man in WW1 spared Hitler. Had he cruelly executed the wounded Hitler then, he may have prevented WW2 and saved millions of lives. But there was no way he could have known that, and it certainly was not a sin. His act was an act of mercy and charity, and executing Hitler would've been a mortal sin, even if the latter might've had better consequences for the world.

Similarly, if one cheats *thinking* they will rob someone else of a place, it is a serious sin whether they actually do or not. And if they do not think their cheating will adversely harm anyone else, it is a far less serious sin, even if they do end up accidentally adversely affecting someone else. The act is the same, and it is a sin either way, but it is the intent that makes one a more serious sin than the other. Not the unintended consequences.
Title: Re: Cheating on a test - venial or mortal sin?
Post by: Cera on April 22, 2018, 05:59:47 PM
I can't believe the rationalizations given here as an excuse to sin.

 If you think about whether or not to do something you know to be wrong, and you decide to offend God anyway and if it is a serious matter, (which stealing is), then it is a mortal sin.

Stealing a grade that does not belong to you is the same as stealing an item which does not belong to you. The enemy will tell us we are being "scrupulous" in order to get us comfortable with sin.