Is Ignorance Bliss?

Ecclesiastes 1:18

There’s a line in Batman Begins that jumps off the screen to me. Mob boss Carmine Falcone is talking to a minion of sorts who started to ask too many questions. “Ignorance is bliss my friend. Don’t burden yourself with these secrets of scary people.” Is ignorance bliss?

Is Ignorance Bliss? Ecclesiastes 1

The character’s point in the movie: If you don’t know, then you can’t be held responsible for it.

Generally, most of us accept the catch phrase as true. After all, ignorance is bliss, right? If we are innocent and don’t know about something, then nothing bad can happen to us. It’s almost as if we’d rather know nothing, so we can always be innocent and safe.

What’s more, there’s a verse in Scripture which I think augments a concept of this viewpoint.

The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 NLT

What Is Ecclesiastes?

Ecclesiastes is a book in the Bible the helps us understand some truths about life. Here’s a few of those truths: Things don’t always work out the way they should. Things aren’t always what they seem. Regardless of what you think, obey God (because He is God and you’re not).

Ecclesiastes balances the “if, then,” statements (often called promises) found in the book of Proverbs with the reality of living on earth. The book helps us gather a complete perspective on God and our position to him.

The writer makes a lot of observations and begins to develop conclusions which he develops as he’s watching the world. His final conclusion, “Fear God and obey His commands” (Ecc. 12:13).

More Wisdom, More Grief. More Knowledge, More Sorrow.

The more we know, the more we are accountable for, and the more it hurts.

When you attend the super bowl game, oblivious to the fact that it is the highest sex trafficking day in America, it’s easy to not think twice. Once you park your car 20 blocks away, walk down a back alley and hear a scream for help, it’s not quite as easy to enjoy the football game. Unless of course, you shrug it off and say it is not your problem…

What’s the point? Millions of people watch the super bowl and don’t have a thought about the wives and daughters being held captive and forced to do things that will scar their lives forever.

But now that you know, I hope your heart begins to break. You may not give your life to leading an FBI raid on super bowl Sunday, but maybe, hopefully, you feel a little bit of sorrow and compassion.

The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 NLT

Less Extreme Examples

Ever want to lose weight? Drop a few pounds? I sure have. How does that happen? Eat less, eat healthy, exercise more. It’s simple wisdom.

What happens when we don’t eat less, eat healthy, and exercise more? In addition to not losing weight or dropping the pounds, we feel guilty, ashamed, stressed.

Ever want to save money for something? What’s the wisdom? Don’t spend money.

What happens when we spend the money we know is meant to be saved? In addition to the cash burning a hole in our pockets, or flying away like it had wings, we feel guilty, condemned, sorrowed, grieved.

The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 NLT

So, Is Ignorance Bliss?

Some would say yes. Some would say no. I say we need more people who will know less and do more.

Because, once we know, we are in a sense, held responsible. It’s even that way with the gospel. Once we know the love and grace of Jesus Christ, we are responsible for sharing Christ with the world. That sharing can appear many different ways, but at its core, as a follower of Christ, we have the responsibility to act on what we know.

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