Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

Is there really a blessing in not knowing? Are we better off to “tend to our own affairs” and pass through life blissfully unaware of facts and obligations that might “bother us?” Many have this selfish attitude, and some even offer scriptural “proof” (It is nice to know just enough to know one does not have to know).

Let us look at Jesus’ teaching regarding ignorance. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:39-41). The lesson is related to the healing of a man born blind, who had never had the capacity of sight. One mentally incapable of knowing would not be accountable, and therefore have no sin.

But when Jesus said (vs. 39), “I am come into this world that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind,” he referred to (1) meek and humble people who had never had the opportunity to perceive truth (Matthew 11:25), whose eyes would now be opened; and (2) those like the Pharisees, who had the opportunity, but who refused to see. A haughty and self-righteous attitude (John 9:24-29,34) compounded their sin and blinded them to truth.

Luke 12:48 reads, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.” This is the portion of the parable regarding slaves and masters when being “cut asunder” (vs. 46) and “beaten” (vs. 47) were practiced. The purpose of the parable is clearly stated in vs. 48, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” or accountability goes hand in hand with opportunity (cf. Matthew 25:14-30).

The slave who failed his master was not free of guilt. He was “worthy of stripes” (Luke 12:48).

Dear reader, as God’s creatures and pilgrims through this life, we have obligations to our Maker and fellow-travelers.

Thus, ignorance is not really bliss.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets