It would be quite ignorant for me to suggest I have not been ignorant about many things in my life. Gosh, where to start?! First off, I thought I was the main focus of a reality TV show for a long time and conducted my interviews with myself in the mirror. I thought I could become a professional baseball player with only practicing an hour or two every week. I thought I didn’t need to know how to construct a sentence or paragraph in order to write a good paper. The idea essays needed an introduction to set up the body of a paper and a conclusion that lead to some kind of point others could understand seemed stupid to me. The place where I was most ignorant however was in my faith. For the longest time I thought it was perfectly reasonable to think all non-Christians would not make it to heaven. Not only would they not make it to heaven but they would suffer. They would suffer for eternity in fire and brimstone with a lot of crying and gnashing of teeth. I was taught the world was completely lost and full of sin. I was warned against becoming too good of friends with non-Christians and I was tricked into thinking if I did not give my time and money to the Church I was not supporting God.
As a Christian I was ignorant for a long time. As soon as I began to open my eyes and look at different views my church began to close it’s doors to me. I was slowly pushed out of leadership and relationships I had held for a long time. I made the mistake of being honest with my Church leaders about my changing views. I began to ask questions and argue points with leadership. They were not ready. I had conversations with leadership that were cut off mid point because of “time” issues, but were never picked up again. I suddenly felt I was intentionally ignored. I was given the polite “hello” at the beginning of Church or youth group, but never asked the big questions like, “How are you (honestly) doing?” or “What has God been talking to you about lately?”.
The more I looked outside the Church the less interesting the box of Christianity seemed to be. The places I looked at outside seemed to be willing to ask the big questions and fight with differing opinions. The more I looked outside the Church the more I needed to come face to face with my own ignorance. I needed to face the fact I had built up judgment of the rest of the world without ever looking into that which I was judging. It’s hard to stand on the belief all non-Christians will spend eternity in hell when you open your eyes and see so many non-Christians being more Christlike then your Christian friends. It’s hard to deny Woman’s stance in leadership when you see how effective they have been in those roles outside the Church. It is hard to deny things like Gay rights when we see so many homosexual relationships with as strong a love bond and commitment to one another as heterosexual relationships.
Ignorance is a beautiful thing really. It makes life easier. I see so many Christians these days who seem so confident in their beliefs. They are convinced they are doing God’s work by denying the godliness in those who don’t believe in their God. They feel righteously appointed to deny relationships they have not taken the time to understand. And they feel the blanket of security in only listening to the groups they have formed, groups who have had a whole life time of being taught not to question the word of God as interpreted through their leadership. Prayer is used as an excuse to not work at changing the world or oneself.
I am tired of the Church teaching ignorance. I am tired of it manipulating its followers into seeing differing view points as sin worthy of a eternity in hell. If you want to know and understand the world you must be willing to open yourself up to it. You must be willing to consider them as no less deceived as you might be. Yes you can point to the Bible and suggest it supports your view points. However, that is the same thing the Roman Catholics did during the crusades. It’s the same thing we Americans did when denying the rights of woman and blacks, and subjecting hundreds of thousands to slavery. It’s the same thing the Nazis did when committing genocide against the Jews. The “truth” has been manipulated by man throughout history in order to justify what one group wanted to do to another group. To suggest anyone or any religion has a monopoly on truth is the essence of ignorance.
If you are not willing to consider truth can be found in the Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist’s faith why should you expect them to consider truth can be found in ours? The search for truth will never end. It is much easier for us as Christians to go with the crowd, suggest the Bible is infallible, think our denomination is the right denomination, and assume the world is full of corruption not worth God’s eternal love or our time. I see so many of my friends taking this rout. It deeply saddens me. Ignorance leads to destruction and suffering. In the end we will all suffer because of it. If we don’t choose to embrace what is good in each one of us, what is love in each one of us, what is truth in each one of us, then we are missing out on seeing God.