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Friday, April 27, 2012

Ignorance Is (Not) Bliss

There's a bumper sticker that reads: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it."

I don't want to deride anyone's faith. That's not the point and it's not helpful. Faith must, in some sense, be a leap from the known into the mysterious. There comes a point at which logic and reason fail, beyond that pale, only belief will go. Faith is a beautiful, essential part of human existence that allows us to experience more than we can see, taste and touch.

Willful ignorance, however, is worthless.

No one benefits from intransigent ignorance masquerading as devout belief. It's not belief, it's mule-headed stubbornness and a refusal to do the hard work necessary to live an examined life. I apologize for the brusqueness of my tone, but few things get me more angry than contentment, and even praise, with obliviousness. It's the same attitude that led to the Great Depression, the Great Recession, slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Trail of Tears, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and most of the awful things done by one human being to another throughout the course of history. It's not excusable, it's not acceptable and it must stop.

Ignorance is not bliss. It's foolish, dangerous and destructive. It doesn't only hurt the one in ignorance, but everyone surrounding the ignoramus.

Jesus doesn't teach people to be ignorant, willful or otherwise. He consistently challenged the willful ignorance of the religious leaders. They didn't want to consider the human cost of their Sabbath observances, Jesus considered people over religious rites. They found ways to circumvent their family responsibilities, Jesus derided their convoluted rationale for ignoring their parents. They wanted a military, political, religious figure to lead them, Jesus challenged them to apply the Golden Rule.

If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you have to eschew ignorance. Enter into the process of discovery and start on the Disciple Cycle.

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