“Ignorance is never better than knowledge,” stated Laura Fermi, wife of the renowned physicist Enrico Fermi. Some may disagree, arguing that what
you don’t know will never hurt you. For most, however, the observation holds true, not just in the field of scientific research but also in other
areas of life. Ignorance, in the sense of being unaware of the truth, has left many people stumbling around in intellectual, moral, and spiritual
darkness for centuries.—Ephesians 4:17,18:
17 So this is what I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you should no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk, in the futility*
[Or “emptiness; vanity.”] of their minds. 18 They are in darkness mentally and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the
ignorance that is in them, because of the insensitivity* [Lit., “dulling.”] of their hearts.
That is why thinking people search for enlightenment. They want to know why we are here and where we are going. Their search has led them down many
different paths. Consider the following examples:
According to Buddhist tradition, Siddhārtha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was deeply disturbed by human suffering and death. He asked Hindu
religious teachers to help him find “the way of truth.” Some recommended yoga and extreme self-denial. Gautama ultimately chose a process of
intense personal meditation as the way to true enlightenment.
Others have used mind-altering drugs in their search for enlightenment. Today, for example, members of the Native American Church describe
peyote—a cactus that contains a hallucinogenic substance—as a “revealer of hidden knowledge.”
Eighteenth-century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that any sincere inquirer can receive a personal spiritual revelation from God.
How? By listening to “what God says to the heart.” Then, how you feel
about things—what your emotions and conscience tell
you—will become “a more assured guide in this immense labyrinth of human opinions,” said Rousseau.—History of Western
Many of Rousseau’s contemporaries vehemently disagreed with that kind of religious approach. Fellow Frenchman Voltaire, for example, felt that
religion, far from enlightening people, had been the prime factor in plunging Europe into centuries of ignorance, superstition, and intolerance during
the period that some historians call the Dark Ages.
Voltaire became part of a European rationalist movement known as the Enlightenment. Its followers returned to the ideas of the ancient
Greeks—namely, that human reason and scientific investigation are the keys to true enlightenment. Another member of the rationalist movement,
Bernard de Fontenelle, felt that human reason on its own would lead mankind to “a century which will become more enlightened day by day, so that all
previous centuries will be lost in darkness by comparison.”—Encyclopædia Britannica
These are just some of the many conflicting ideas about how to gain enlightenment. Is there really any “assured guide” that we can turn to in our
search for truth? Consider what the following article has to say about the trustworthy source of enlightenment:
Finding True Enlightenment
So we should no longer be children, tossed about as by waves and carried here and there by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men,
by means of cunning in deceptive schemes.
As for anything besides these, my son, be warned: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is wearisome to the
Some people today are like sponges; they soak up whatever they come across. It is all too easy to absorb whatever is around us. A completely open mind
could be likened to a pipe that lets just anything flow through it—even sewage. Do you want your mind to be contaminated with poison like that?
It is far better for each individual personally to choose wisely what he will feed his mind. It is said that we are what we eat, and this can apply to
food for both the body and the mind. No matter what you are reading or watching or listening to, test to see whether it is truthful/right/correct (an
accurate description of the reality of the matter, and not merely the promotion of an idea/philosophy to get some attention and/or admiration, or to
entertain or intrigue people for increased attention and the resulting revenue or personal benefits from getting that attention and/or admiration) or
not (i.e. wrong/incorrect). How?
By training your perceptive powers (part of your thinking ability) to distinguish both right and wrong by using them a lot. Hebrews 5:13,14:
For everyone who continues to feed on milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is a young child. 14 But solid food belongs to
mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment* [Or “their perceptive powers.”] trained to distinguish both right and
Discernment is “acuteness of judgment.” It is “the power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another.” A person
with discernment perceives subtleties of ideas or things and has good judgment.
Using discernment, we will be able to recognize those who are merely using “smooth talk and complimentary speech” in order to “seduce the hearts
of guileless ones.” (Romans 16:18) Discernment enables you to discard irrelevant information or misleading facts and distinguish the substance of a
For more tips, see the article in my signature.
edit on 18-4-2019 by whereislogic because: (no reason given)