Conspiring Ignorance: The How, The Why, and the Way Out
23 June 2021
In an effort to speak truth in love, I’ve been puzzled by the overarching lack of interest and/or willingness to talk out the hard stuff with people these days. More so, I’m stunned by the ease many have with writing off valid statements as conspiracy.
A few questions come to mind:
Could it be said that all evil is a conspiracy at the core, knowing that Satan is the father of lies and spreads deception as an angel of light?
Cognitive Dissonance threatens our capacity to process the world around us. So how does it play out, specifically and especially with Christians?
What hope is there of pushing past these obstacles?
I’d like to shed light on this conundrum at play. Spoiler alert: there is hope!
But first, another question: why is it that ignorance is bliss?
Ignorance is bliss because
Knowledge carries a call-to-action
Action carries an investment
Investment carries a cost
Cost carries a burden
And, aren’t burdens basically the opposite of bliss?
No one likes a burden, not when pain seems to be built into the word’s DNA. Bliss feels free; it feels easy and light. But I wonder if bliss is yet another counterfeit from the pit of hell?
When I looked up the word burden in the Strong’s Concordance, I was surprised by what I found. (H5375, H4853, G5413)
The heaviness of burdens relates to sin and it’s consequences! When Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30), this is not an oxymoron—it is the realization that a burden is merely something carried! It is sin and/or oppression that make a burden heavy. So coming to Jesus brings peace with God and with our conscience, which is freedom, it’s light!
Consider the Hebrew definition of the word H4853: it means a load or a bearing/carrying; also a lifting or an uplifting, that to which the soul lifts itself up as well as a tribute, that which is carried or brought or borne.
I can’t help but think of God’s aversion to pride here. When we humble ourselves, He exalts us. He lifts us up. Instead of carrying sin and its consequences, we carry a blessed hope and the call to count the cost, to take up our cross and follow Jesus (Luke 14:26-33). Our life becomes a tribute to God, a holy and pleasing sacrifice (Romans 12:1) because of the Holy Spirit alive within.
So then, bliss is a falseeasy; it’s a falselightness. And what does that make ignorance? A scheme of the enemy. A conspiracy, perhaps!
What about cognitive dissonance? I guess I should first define it: cognitive dissonance is a psychology term used to explain a problematic state of mind wherein two opposing thoughts or facts present themselves. In an effort to ease the stress and strain, the person clings to one over the other, and the decision to defend one and cast aside the other is made from experience and comfort rather than necessarily truth.
What does that look like today? We grow up with certain understandings of our world, and even the Bible. Doctrines are taught as inerrant and we believe them and allow our perspective to be shaped by them. But, inevitably, something comes along and threatens those beliefs. The choice then becomes to A. acknowledge the potential validity of such a claim and go back to the Word, the Source, to humbly uncover the truth. Or B. cast the argument aside as inherently false because it can’t not be, based on experience.
Now remember, cognitive dissonance flares because of threat; because of strain or stress. That sounds a lot like a cost. Maybe a heavy burden. And maybe, just maybe, in the moments of threat, bliss is the state-of-mind of choice. But then what does that say about the validity of the beliefs one lives by? I’d dare say they are therein fraught with ignorance, with an departure from truth.
Time for Scripture! Certainly, we know from God’s Word (as those who profess belief in God’s Word being God’s Word…) that:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7 ESV
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding – Proverbs 2:6 ESV
And the promised outcome:
Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. – Proverbs 2:9-15 ESV
In 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Paul is warns of a perilous time to come and lists the characteristics of men in the last days. In verse 7 he says they are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Why is that? Well, in verse 2 he says they’ve become lovers of themselves and proud, among other things. Pride opposes God and contends against the fear of the Lord. Self-love exalts itself rather than God. I’d dare say believing otherwise is a slippery slope to verse 5 where Paul says these people have a form of godliness but deny its power.
Knowledge without truth is false knowledge. It’s counterfeit.
Imagine you’ve worked all your life for knowledge, only to find out it’s worthless! Like Jesus says in Mark 8:36, you’ve gained the world but forfeited your soul. You’ve got nothing to show for it but a death sentence.
Consider Hosea 4:6, where God says, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Remember that true knowledge comes from God, and begins with a reverence of God. The lack of such is destructive. Deadly, even.
Maybe tossing a conspiracy flag is easier that fighting through the cognitive strain. Maybe what’s preventing discussion of harder topics today has more to do with our own hearts and less to do with the information in and of itself. Maybe surrender needs to happen first: the realization that I don’t have the answers, but God does, through His Word.
We won’t love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength until we surrender our hearts, minds, souls, and strength to Him. That’s where the fear of the Lord begins. That’s where it flourishes into a life blessed by understanding, victorious strength, and uprightness before the Lord.
We’ve missed the mark of faith if unwilling to yield to God through Christ Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. By forsaking the pursuit of wisdom from God, by God, and through God in His Word, we’ve bitten the same apple Eve and Adam did—a temptation to be like God with equal access to knowledge of our own making. It’s bliss! A lie. A conspiracy of ignorance.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 ESV
Fleeing is our way out, our promised deliverance from evil. It’s an action word that flows from knowledge of the truth. Knowing the truth, we are set free from the conspiracies by forsaking all else and cleaving to Christ through His word.
The action is tied to an investment of Kingdom proportions. The cost was already paid for at the cross. The burden is glorified.
Only may we have eyes to see it and hearts to follow after. Lord, let it be so!