Thursday, July 18, 2013

When ignorance isn't bliss

Ignorant - destitute of knowledge or education (an ignorant society); lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified (parents ignorant of modern mathematics); resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence (ignorant errors); unaware, uninformed

 Examples:  They may be poor, ignorant farmers, but they are not stupid.

Synonyms:  dark,  illiterate, nonliterate, rude, simple, uneducated, uninstructed, unlearned, unlettered, unread, unschooled, untaught

Antonyms:  educated, knowledgeable, lettered, literate, schooled, well-informed, well-read

Just one example of Ignorant in the Bible Isaiah 44:9  "All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless.  Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant of their own shame."

The word for today is ignorant.  What does it mean to be ignorant, to be happy in ignorance - ignorance is bliss, right?

I have a lot of ignorance.  There is so much I don't know, that' I'd like to know, that I'd love to learn about if given the time and opportunity to learn.  I used to be ignorant about a lot of things - it's called childhood.

Mark Twain said  "“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” 

Growing up brings knowledge, awareness and the childish ignorance we once had about life and money and relationships and the world mature, somewhat.

I've grown up and I'm still ignorant.  In growing up, in maturing and getting older, some hard lessons were learned to put a spotlight on the areas in which I truly was ignorant.  I've rambled around the edges of this topic before in older posts, but I'm realizing that just as I was once ignorant as a child until I became an adult, I am still being made aware of my own ignorance as an adult getting older and more, dare I say, wiser?

Just when I felt smart and wanted to delve into the God's Word and learn about His ideas of ignorance, I realized I had a lot more to learn just about delving into His Word.  There is so much there I am so ignorant of!  (and I'm not ignorant of the totally wrong structure of that sentence!)

I did learn this morning that there are too types of ignorance.

The first ignorance is likened to our childhood ignorance.  We're not stupid, we just haven't learned enough yet.  It's ignorance unveiling, if you will.  What we were ignorant of when we were toddlers is only because we're toddlers and our minds aren't developed enough to be declared un-ignorant by the time we start school.  There's a process that hasn't been completed in our minds yet to be capable of learning more than how to hold a spoon or to put a puzzle together or stack some blocks.

We're not stupid when we're toddlers.  We're just ignorant.

And ignorant in this way is not a bad thing.

But there is a negative side to ignorance.  The choice to remain ignorant.  To look the other way, to refuse to understand, to refuse to look at circumstances of another's makeup, opinions, cultures, beliefs.  

When we choose to remain ignorant and not learn what we need to understand about a person's beliefs or culture or family dynamics, we are being as Martin Luther King Jr. said, "dangerous in our sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."  

There's a lot of conscientious stupidity going around in our country, in our world, in our churches, in our schools and even in our homes.  

In my opinion.

Willful ignorance likes to be spoon fed belief systems.  Willful ignorance likes to remain accusatory of racism.  Willful ignorance likes to point out what's wrong with a political party rather than look at what's wrong with one's own heart.

Willful ignorance likes to pick apart what someone said, rather than having the courage to declare your own convictions.

Willful ignorance likes to mock people with spiritual convictions rather than respect the person for having them.

Willful ignorance likes to point out the sin to stone the sinner rather than lay down the stones and pick up compassion and walk along with the sinner where he or she trods. 

Willful ignorance is comfortable because when we are willfully ignorant we don't have to change.  We don't have to step out and learn and be challenged and find out where we may be wrong in our thinking or our beliefs.

The ancient Hebrew text, in the above verse, uses a word picture that is translated in the English for ignorance.  It means to close up, fence up, hedge, enclose, make up (a wall), mason.  

When we willfully remain ignorant we are building a wall, fencing ourselves in, putting hedges around our walls and closing ourselves off from knowledge, from awareness, from being informed and educated.  

And we, in the end, are robbing ourselves of a deeper meaning to our lives.  

We're not here on earth to remain ignorant children never leaving infancy.  We are capable of learning, of growing, of being enriched in our understanding of our culture, our history, our faith and the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Without Christ, you who refuse to believe, who continue to remain ignorant, you are being robbed of a joy that your ignorance will never provide or replace.  

You are capable of becoming un-ignorant.  Be smart, be educated, lay to rest your ignorance and learn what you are capable of understanding and knowing because a Creator designed you for that very purpose.


References:  Ezekiel 45:20; Acts 3:17; 17:30; Ephesians 4:18; 1 Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 9:7;
1 Peter 1:14; Psalm 73:22; Proverbs 30:2; Isaiah 44:9; 45:20; Romans 11:25; 
1 Corinthians 10:1; 12:1; 15:34; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Hebrews 5:2; 1 Peter 2:15; 2 Peter 3:16

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