Category Archives: Ignorance

Ignorance – a good kind

Blessed are those who have an innocent ignorance.  That’s not the kind of ignorance that Goethe says is the worst of evils; that kind of ignorance is destructive.  When that “ignorance comes to power,” Svetlana Alliluyeva wrote, “encouraging ignorance and basing itself on ignorance, then historical monsters such as Hitlerism, Stalinism, Maoism are born….”

No…Pascal said there are two kinds of positive ignorance.  One is that which we all have at birth.  The second is that which we achieve as we grow in knowledge, only to realize that we know little of all that can be known.  Churchill occasionally humbled himself.  When he got too boastful of his knowledge, he said, he walked into a library.  That brought his hat size down.  This kind of ignorance is good, for it reminds us of our limitations.

Another ignorance is even better.  It’s an innocent ignorance.  It doesn’t know that a thing “can’t be done.”  Many wonderful inventions have made life easier and more productive because men and women didn’t know “it couldn’t be done.”  Not knowing it couldn’t, they did it.  Without that spirit, we’d have no new explorations, discoveries, procedures, products and…even spiritual insights.

God’s people need this kind of ignorance.  We need to teach, not knowing “it won’t do any good.”  To evangelize, not knowing, “he can’t be reached.”  To dream, not knowing “we could never do that.”  If we carry a burden too heavy to bear, ask God for greater strength.  Don’t say, “it can’t be done.”  Be ignorant of that.  Give it to God and we’ll  find, with the prophet Habakkuk, that we can trust God, whatever.  That he will bear our burden and, if we’re willing, give us the pleasure of His Presence in Christ.  Remember the awesome verse from Micah 7:7:  “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

Ignorance – innocence of

Blessed are those who have “the innocence of ignorance.”  Not the kind of ignorance that Goethe says is the worst of evils.  That kind of ignorance is destructive.  When that “ignorance comes to power,” Svetlana Alliluyeva wrote, “encouraging ignorance and basing itself on ignorance, then historical monsters such as Hitlerism, Stalinism, Maoism are born….”

No…Pascal said there are two kinds of positive ignorance.  One is that which we all have at birth.  The second is that which we achieve as we grow in knowledge, only to realize that we know little of all that can be known.  One of Churchill’s statements represents this feeling.  When he got boastful of his knowledge, he said, he walked into a library.  This shrank his hat size.  This kind of ignorance is good, for it keeps us humble.

Another ignorance is better.  It is the “innocence of ignorance.”  It is not knowing that a thing “can’t be done.”  How many wonderful inventions have made life easier and more productive because men and women didn’t know “it couldn’t be done.”  Not knowing it couldn’t, they persevered until they did it.  Without that spirit, we’d have no new explorations, discoveries, procedures, and products.

God’s people need this kind of ignorance.  We need to teach, not knowing “it can’t do any good;” to evangelize, not knowing “so and so can’t be reached.”

And if we carry a burden too heavy to bear, let God take it away.  Don’t say “it’s too heavy for God to remove.”  Be ignorant of that—give it to God and we’ll find, with the prophet Habakkuk, that God can and will lift the weight from us and, in its place, give us the pleasure of His Presence in Christ.