T.S. Eliot is reputed to have asked, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” Just as there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge, there is a difference between ignorance, naiveté, and foolishness, and it moves from bad to worse as we read from left to right.
Few things equal the frustration of trying to reason intelligently with one who rejects reason, knowledge, or wisdom. At times it feels like trying to win an argument with a drunk. That cannot be done. God blessed us with a mind and he expects us to use it, and to love him with it.
Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. – Proverbs 10:14, NASB
How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge? – Proverbs 1:22, NASB
It has been 3,000 years, and Solomon’s question still resonates with relevance. How long, Solomon? Probably until time is no more.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7, NASB
Such shunning of wisdom and knowledge is not unexpected. Indeed, it was prophesied. The apostle Paul characterized the practice as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7) and then goes so far as to say they “oppose the truth” (verse 8).
That is deliberate ignorance.
Just so we don’t embrace the notion that this is no big deal, let’s look at how Paul introduces these despisers of knowledge.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; – 2 Timothy 3:1-5a, NASB
I do not want my name associated with a list like that.
Humanity has a long and inglorious history of despising knowledge. The apostle Peter says the mockers and scoffers of the last days are “willingly ignorant” (2 Peter 3:5), and the apostle Paul says they are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, – Romans 1:21-22, NASB
In this instance, the mockers and scoffers profess wisdom, but are fools. Arrogance is no better than ignorance. How often we see hatred of God’s knowledge portrayed as enlightenment. As Christ-followers, we want to pursue truth, wisdom, and knowledge, but we must give care regarding what we claim to know. “Knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. – John 9:41, NIV-1978
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; – Psalm 1:1, ESV