What you don’t know won’t hurt you – true or false? Do you believe that ignorance is bliss, or is it not? Suppose you had cancer, but you felt fine, and never went to the doctor even for a physical. Will the cancer not hurt you? Now suppose you had spiritual cancer, yes, that would be sin, but you ignored that in the same way? Should you be happy in your ignorance? Ok, enough of the rhetorical questions…here are some quotes on ignorance.
“Ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.” – Thomas Gray, English Poet
“But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.” – Romans 5:13 NIV
So, according to Thomas Gray in his poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” it is better to be ignorant than to know the sorrow that may come. And, if you choose to read it this way, the Apostle Paul states that if there is no law (i.e. you do not know of the law) then there is no sin and hence no punishment for sin.
What’s of interest to me is that in Gray’s poem, ignorance does not mean that you will not have sorrow, it only means that your current happiness would not be disrupted until sorrow actually arrives. The ignorance does not prevent the sorrow, it only lulls you into a false security that happiness is forever. Likewise, ignorance of God does not prevent the judgment of God.
Oh, you may ask, ‘what about the infant or young child, or the aborigine on some far off island, or the mentally disabled? Will God judge them?”. Mercy has its place and the grace of God can cover a multitude of sins, but what about the cognizant adult? If you know to seek God but choose to be ignorant, are you covered? If you have heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and walk away from it, then what? If you go to church, claim the grace of God, but don’t follow the commandments of God, is that ok? Will mercy rob justice?
I’d like to hear your thoughts. What do you think the Bible says about this?
Here is the full Thomas Gray poem.