The Bliss of Ignorance and the Irritation of Knowledge

Apparently, there is a dentist in Iowa who fired his assistant for being “too attractive.”  This is news!  Just in case you think I am making this up, you can read this article to see for yourself.

The other evening I read this article and then commented on it to my wife.  Then I went into the kitchen to begin tidying up a few things.  Yes, real men can wash the dishes!  As I was getting started, the thought came into my mind, unbidden like a thief.

WHO CARES?!?

Why should I read about such nonsense?  Of course, someone cares.  The assistant who got fired probably cares.  Although, if she was fired for being too attractive this might suggest re-employment will be not so difficult.  Still, why should anyone care?  And why should this story be displayed on a national news website?  Is this really “national” news?  Since I am reading it from another country, I suppose it even qualifies as international news!

This led my brain down a little meandering journey of thinking.  How do Christians relate to Fox News, ABC, CBS, CNN, the BBC, Facebook and Twitter – and all of the rest?  The better question, of course, is how Christians should relate to these things.  We live in a world where the news outlets, in their desire to meet the demand for a constantly refreshing stream of “news,” report all of the stories from every news source they can get their digital paws on.  Twits are tweeting right now about useless, inane rubbish.  I am not sure if I have ever read any of Kim Kardashian’s tweets.  If I have inadvertently consumed one of her droppings it has made no discernible impact on my life. I am not sure any of them ever could.  The same could be said for Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Youtube and Shakira.  Those are, including Ms. Kardashian, nine of the ten most followed Twitter accounts.

Just for fun, do you know who the tenth one is that I did not mention?

Yeah, I don’t follow him either.

But back to my point.  Ignorance can be bliss and knowledge can lead to irritation.  If I went all day without knowing some of the garbage being spread about as “useful opinion” I would be happier for it.  Most days I am!  I connect to the Internet and I have a Facebook account.  I have a few websites I follow regularly.  One out of four of them is a sports site.  But when it comes to trying to connect to all of the available stuff within pop culture on the Internet, I am a Luddite.  If you don’t know what a Luddite is, go look it up here at Wikipedia.

Should other Christians follow my example?  Let me just quote a couple of verses from the Bible:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  -Philippians 4:8

“Furthermore, since thy did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”  -Romans 1:28-32

That last one is strong stuff, eh?  Yeah!  I like the Bible… it is very direct.

If the words “deserve death” caught your particular attention, please read to the end for a little disclaimer.

To finish my thought, I think Christians – me included – should be far more discerning about what we put into our minds, who we follow, which things we like and which boards we pin our affections to.  Here are a few questions we could ask ourselves before committing any time to reading the next useless drivel we find somewhere:

  • Is this likely to be good, pure, true, noble, praiseworthy, excellent or even slightly useful to me as a Christian?
  • Does this come from a person who meets all – or some – of the description in Romans 1:28-32?

A “No” to the first question or a “Yes” to the second question should stop us in our tracks.

The second question is likely to meet with some objections.  Am I advocating the judgement of someone as being sinful and then a rejection of their advice on life?  Yes, I am.  Our reading, following and liking, in this age of constant tracking and analysis, implies our approval.  Here is a little thought experiment for you to illustrate my point:

Imagine for a moment that you really, really like grilled cheese sandwiches.  You could eat one every day for lunch.  Then, one day, a new shop opens up just three doors down from your office.  Everyone says they sell the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever made.  Unhelpfully, the shop is actually a strip club where women – and men – get naked for the sexual pleasure of others.  Would you go there for the best grilled cheese sandwich ever made?

Even though, if you went to this imaginary shop, you might be going for the best of intentions and with the purest of motives, your very presence implies an approval of something which your Savior Jesus Christ opposes.

The internet is no different than the grilled-cheese-sandwich-selling-strip club.  Where we go, even if we go there for the best of reasons or with the purest of motives, says something about us.

This is a hard lesson and one I have learned – and am learning – the hard way.

Join me in enjoying the bliss of ignorance and avoiding the irritation of knowledge.  Like Michael Moore, turn off the tablet, the laptop, the phone, the Kindle, the IPad (wow this is a long list) and go for a walk!

** DISCLAIMER **

I am in no way advocating any harm come to anyone who might be described by Romans 1:28-32.  God did make a righteous decree that people who do these things deserve death.  However, God is the only wise Judge.  Not me and not you and not anyone else.  Anyone who meets this description will, if they do not repent, meet death in the form of Hell.  God is the only wise Judge.

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