Is Ignorance Bliss

This is the question my eighth graders and I discussed in class today. Do we actually find happiness in ignorance? And the honest truth is sometimes we do. It’s easier to enjoy abundance, when we don’t know about those in need. And sometimes life is more relaxing if we don’t know about a million unfinished chores waiting to be done. Yes, occasionally ignorance is bliss.

But the real question is should it be? Should we aspire to that kind of bliss? Is it a genuine pursuit? The obvious answer is no. In fact we can waste our life one choice at a time in utter ignorance, and for a time, experience tranquility and happiness.  However, the bliss of ignorance is selfish and short-lived.  In the end, the result is simply a wasted life: a blissful, ignorant, wasted life. So why is ignorant bliss so compelling? Why do I long to stick my head in the sand?

One reason I  imitate the ostrich is because it is the path of least resistance. It yields the most immediate benefit. The bottom line is, sometimes I am just lazy. And immediate benefit is all I am looking for. Oh for just one glimpse of eternity. Then ignorant bliss in the here and now would seem paltry, insignificant, even reprehensible.  Living in the bliss of ignorance prevents me from living in the light of eternity.

The cure? Allowing God to open my eyes…to educate me, bringing me out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of His glory. The Psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your Word.” This cure takes discipline; it takes a conscious decision on my part to allow God to show me wondrous things–and then to obey those things! Otherwise I become like the man in James who looked in the mirror and went away, forgetting what he saw. God’s education is one that requires appropriation. Obviously living in light of eternity takes purpose, and intention. But it is the one guarantee against a wasted life.

I see a dangerous trend in our culture tempting us to believe that ignorance is the best kind of bliss. The cliche, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” is a lie from the devil himself. What this world doesn’t know about Christ is sending them into an eternity without Him.  As Christians we cannot afford to buy into this Satanic propoganda. Ignorance is NOT bliss, it is a waste.

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