Is It a Sin to be Ignorant?

The past couple of days, I’ve been driving – slowly and alone – across the country to get to my TBC.  There was no time to check out books on CD.  There was no time to find good music.  I just tossed things in the car and left.

So I listened to the radio.  Between Illinois and Virginia, there are huge swaths of real estate with only Christian Talk Radio on the airwaves.

I like radio.  I like Christians.  But this is a sample of what I heard on a show called “Ask the Pastor”:

Guy Calling In:  So where in the Bible is Muhammad mentioned?  Because if he’s not in the Bible, why do we even allow Muslims to congregate in this country?

Radio Pastor:  You are absolutely right.  Muhummad is NOT mentioned in the Bible.  Good point sir.

God help us all.*

The problem with ignorance is not merely that we don’t have the facts; it’s that the absence of the facts impacts the way we relate to others.  If I know even a little something about the history of Islam, I will better understand Muslim neighbors.  But if I cling to false information or have no hunger for factual  - as well as spiritual – truth, thus choosing to be ignorant and being separated from The Other (other faiths, other political parties, other races, other sexual orientations, etc.) then Am I Committing a Sin?

Jesus connected with all kinds of people.  As far as I can tell, Jesus connected with every kind of person.  If we are to Be Like Jesus, aren’t we supposed to connect with The Other too?  And we have to know them and know about them to connect, right?

I asked a remarkable Roman Catholic-ish/Buddhist-ish friend the other day: Is it a sin to be ignorant?  And she said, “No.”  But I wonder.

*The More We Know Moment:  The books of the Greek (New) Testament were written between the 50s and the 90s AD.  Note that Jesus was ascended into heaven after the resurrection in the 30s.  Muhammad was not even born until ~570.

 

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2 responses to “Is It a Sin to be Ignorant?

  1. Egad. I would so prefer to be ignorant of the presence of such ignorance in the world. But maybe if we use a different form of the word: Surely it’s a sin to ignore the truth of other people’s lives. In fact, wouldn’t that be the real opposite of love? Early this morning I finished reading Marcus Borg’s novel, “Putting Away Childish Things,” so this really resonates. I recommend the book–not elegantly written, but fascinating in its expression of exactly the dilemma you’re posing.

  2. Christine Chakoian

    Amen, Jan!

    *From:* achurchforstarvingartists [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Friday, September 21, 2012 11:36 AM *To:* cchakoian@firstchurchlf.org *Subject:* [New post] Is It a Sin to be Ignorant?

    jledmiston posted: ” The past couple of days, I’ve been driving – slowly and alone – across the country to get to my TBC. There was no time to check out books on CD. There was no time to find good music. I just tossed things in the car and left. So I listened to “

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