Vol.X No.VI Pg.5
August 1973

Is Ignorance Bliss?

Robert F. Turner

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.) But we (nosey) must examine their proofs.

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (Jn. 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, so, would have no sin. But when Jesus said (v. 39), 1 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 (Matt. 11 :25), whose eyes would now be opened; and (2) those like the Pharisees, who had the opportunity, but who refused to see. Haughty self-righteousness (Vs. 23,34) compounded their sin and blinded them to truth.

Lu. 12:48 reads, But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. This is a portion of a parable re. slaves and masters, when cut asunder and beaten (v.46), were practiced. The purpose of the parable is clearly stated, viz., For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required or, accountability goes hand in hand with opportunity. (See Matt. 25:14-f) The slave who failed his master was not free of guilt. He was worthy of stripes. As Gods creatures, pilgrims through this life, we have obligations to our Maker and fellow-travelers— to know, and accept our fair responsibilities. In a real sense, the parable teaches that one who fails to use opportunities to learn truth and obey, is worthy of many stripes.

Paul obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly in unbelief. But 1 Tim. 1:13 does not equate ignorance with justification. In v.15 Paul says he was chief of sinners. He just says his was no presumptuous or highhanded sin (See Num. 15:27-31). His railing and persecuting was done in good conscience (Acts 23:1) in keeping with what he verily thought to be right (26:9). The mercy he obtained is available to us in the person of Christ, who died for those who will do what Paul did when he learned the truth (Acts 22:16).

Peter writes of those who willingly are ignorant of Gods power and judgement (2 Pet. 3:5). He admonishes, Be not ignorant— (v. 8) for though God is long-suffering, we must all stand before His throne. (2 Cor. 5:10) Beware presumptuous ignorance!

Finally, If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Cor. 14:38) is an admonition to deliver to Satan—cease to cast pearls before one who obstinately rejects the unified revelation of Gods Spirit. Let them alone (Matt. 15:14), from such withdraw thyself (1 Tim. 6:3-5). There will be no way to ignore eternal condemnation. (Please read Rev. 6:12-17).