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Willful Blindness


Journey
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I recently caught a brief interview on a newscast last week with Margaret Heffernan who's latest book is entitled, "willful blindness". It immediately caught my attention, especially in relation to my continuing journey of coming out of the brainwashing and blindness I was in for many years as a christian. It was also relevant to another situation with a friend of mine who is just coming to terms with the sexual exploitation she experienced from her father as a young teen. I know her parents and siblings very well and it is heartbreaking to me that no one believes her or will even listen to her or acknowledge her need for healing. One of the main reasons, I believe, is because this family has been a 'pillar' of the church, very charasmatic/evangelical and very involved in 'ministry' within various churches. They have much to lose, especially her mom, if this comes to light and is even considered legitimate. The signs have been there - I've seen glimpses and can see how willful blindness is preventing the family from acknowledging the truth. In thinking further about this I also came to the conclusion that the reason you find so many sexual deviants in religious institutions is because they hide behind that facade of spirituallity and gain peoples trust more easily. In some cases maybe are looking for a way to overcome it without acknowledging the problem to REAL people (just God) but ... it never works that way, thus why it always fails!!

 

This is an excerpt from the book (which I've yet to fully read) but thought it expressed the problem with religion (in my case Christianity) so well.

 

"Ideology powerfully masks what, to the uncaptivated mind, is obvious, dangerous, or absurd and there's much about how, and even where, we live that leaves us in the dark. Fear of conflict, fear of change keeps us that way. "

 

(Margaret Heffernan - 'willful blindness')

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Hi, Journey. The book sounds interesting. It is only through your post that I have heard of the book or the author. But I did find quite intrigueing this concept of "Willful Blindness." Judging solely from the title and without having read the author's definition or what she means, it sounds like the concept is that a person knows what he or she believes to be true may very well not be true, but rather than seeking the truth they stay with what they wish to believe is true. So as in the example of the woman who was sexually abused as a child but her family refuses to believe it, this concept would suggest that they will not even examine the evidence but prefer to ignore it in favor of their belief that their family member would not do such a thing to a child. Perhaps they are even fearful of learning the truth as it would be terribly difficult to come to the full knowledge that a relative could be a pedophile.

 

As this concept relates to Christianity, I am sure there are those who are willfully blind to the truth about Christianity. But I would hesitate to say that every Christian is willfully blind, at least as I have defined it above. I know for a fact that there are those who do not believe that there is anything willfully to ignore. That is how I was. I read a lot of apologetics and stood ready to defend what I thought was the truth. I was not willfully ignoring the contrary evidence, but thought I had adequately addressed it. What I learned was that it is faith that blinds us and doesn't allow many of us to see the truth. And it was only with overcoming faith that I was even able to see that which then convinced me that the religion is false.

 

But, in any event, very interesting. I may check the book out when I have time for some reading.

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I recently caught a brief interview on a newscast last week with Margaret Heffernan who's latest book is entitled, "willful blindness". It immediately caught my attention, especially in relation to my continuing journey of coming out of the brainwashing and blindness I was in for many years as a christian. It was also relevant to another situation with a friend of mine who is just coming to terms with the sexual exploitation she experienced from her father as a young teen. I know her parents and siblings very well and it is heartbreaking to me that no one believes her or will even listen to her or acknowledge her need for healing. One of the main reasons, I believe, is because this family has been a 'pillar' of the church, very charasmatic/evangelical and very involved in 'ministry' within various churches. They have much to lose, especially her mom, if this comes to light and is even considered legitimate. The signs have been there - I've seen glimpses and can see how willful blindness is preventing the family from acknowledging the truth. In thinking further about this I also came to the conclusion that the reason you find so many sexual deviants in religious institutions is because they hide behind that facade of spirituallity and gain peoples trust more easily. In some cases maybe are looking for a way to overcome it without acknowledging the problem to REAL people (just God) but ... it never works that way, thus why it always fails!!

 

This is an excerpt from the book (which I've yet to fully read) but thought it expressed the problem with religion (in my case Christianity) so well.

 

"Ideology powerfully masks what, to the uncaptivated mind, is obvious, dangerous, or absurd and there's much about how, and even where, we live that leaves us in the dark. Fear of conflict, fear of change keeps us that way. "

 

(Margaret Heffernan - 'willful blindness')

 

Hey journey! I am going to look this book up right now! Thanks - It sounds really interesting!

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I recently caught a brief interview on a newscast last week with Margaret Heffernan who's latest book is entitled, "willful blindness". It immediately caught my attention, especially in relation to my continuing journey of coming out of the brainwashing and blindness I was in for many years as a christian. It was also relevant to another situation with a friend of mine who is just coming to terms with the sexual exploitation she experienced from her father as a young teen. I know her parents and siblings very well and it is heartbreaking to me that no one believes her or will even listen to her or acknowledge her need for healing. One of the main reasons, I believe, is because this family has been a 'pillar' of the church, very charasmatic/evangelical and very involved in 'ministry' within various churches. They have much to lose, especially her mom, if this comes to light and is even considered legitimate. The signs have been there - I've seen glimpses and can see how willful blindness is preventing the family from acknowledging the truth. In thinking further about this I also came to the conclusion that the reason you find so many sexual deviants in religious institutions is because they hide behind that facade of spirituallity and gain peoples trust more easily. In some cases maybe are looking for a way to overcome it without acknowledging the problem to REAL people (just God) but ... it never works that way, thus why it always fails!!

 

This is an excerpt from the book (which I've yet to fully read) but thought it expressed the problem with religion (in my case Christianity) so well.

 

"Ideology powerfully masks what, to the uncaptivated mind, is obvious, dangerous, or absurd and there's much about how, and even where, we live that leaves us in the dark. Fear of conflict, fear of change keeps us that way. "

 

(Margaret Heffernan - 'willful blindness')

 

Hey journey! I am going to look this book up right now! Thanks - It sounds really interesting!

 

 

Here's a little introduction:

 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xh6cnw_margaret-heffernan-talks-about-willful-blindness_creation

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it sounds like the concept is that a person knows what he or she believes to be true may very well not be true, but rather than seeking the truth they stay with what they wish to believe is true.

 

I see what you are saying and also relate. I completely believed what I did for many years as well without any doubt that I had 'the truth' however, once I did begin to acknowledge nagging doubts and critically examine them by research etc, I could have easily gone back to what was comfortable and familiar to me, burying those doubts again.Instead I chose to explore my doubts and consider the possibility that things were not as I had believed all these years. This process alone took a very long time as I was taught to believe to even doubt and question was a sin and I desperately wanted to please God so did not allow myself to even check out alternative sources of knowledge and information outside my 'christian bubble'. I guess where I see willful blindness coming into play right now is in my husband and a couple of other friends I've encountered. I've gently presented some things to him but he doesn't really want to hear or acknowledge there is anything outside the bible. He even told me he didn't want me to share my discoveries. Therefore to me, this is being willfully blind. To expand this further, I also recently watched a documentary called 'Earthlings'. It deals with the way humankind has mistreated animals in the food industry, clothing industry and medical research. i am an animal lover and it was extremely difficult to watch. I've always believed that with knowledge comes responsibility ... to follow the truth wherever it leads and respond to that with action. I was thankful that my husband also watched it and cried along with me and at the end determined to make appropriate changes in our own choices in these areas. Many I've mentioned the documentary to will not watch it purposefully as they don't want to be accountable for what they learn - WHAT?! To me this is also 'willful blindness'. Many times it is easier to overlook the facts, whether overt or subtle and to stay within our comfort zone of no accountability.

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it sounds like the concept is that a person knows what he or she believes to be true may very well not be true, but rather than seeking the truth they stay with what they wish to believe is true.

 

I see what you are saying and also relate. I completely believed what I did for many years as well without any doubt that I had 'the truth' however, once I did begin to acknowledge nagging doubts and critically examine them by research etc, I could have easily gone back to what was comfortable and familiar to me, burying those doubts again.Instead I chose to explore my doubts and consider the possibility that things were not as I had believed all these years. This process alone took a very long time as I was taught to believe to even doubt and question was a sin and I desperately wanted to please God so did not allow myself to even check out alternative sources of knowledge and information outside my 'christian bubble'. I guess where I see willful blindness coming into play right now is in my husband and a couple of other friends I've encountered. I've gently presented some things to him but he doesn't really want to hear or acknowledge there is anything outside the bible. He even told me he didn't want me to share my discoveries. Therefore to me, this is being willfully blind. To expand this further, I also recently watched a documentary called 'Earthlings'. It deals with the way humankind has mistreated animals in the food industry, clothing industry and medical research. i am an animal lover and it was extremely difficult to watch. I've always believed that with knowledge comes responsibility ... to follow the truth wherever it leads and respond to that with action. I was thankful that my husband also watched it and cried along with me and at the end determined to make appropriate changes in our own choices in these areas. Many I've mentioned the documentary to will not watch it purposefully as they don't want to be accountable for what they learn - WHAT?! To me this is also 'willful blindness'. Many times it is easier to overlook the facts, whether overt or subtle and to stay within our comfort zone of no accountability.

 

I agree with what you say. There is no doubt that in many areas we would rather not know the truth and when the opportunity is presented to find it, we refuse to go there. Therefore, there is a two-step process. The first is to be willing to seek the truth. The second, and possibly the most difficult, once found be willing to accept it. As for Christianity, it is very difficult after a lifetime of believing in it all and living one's life in accordance with one's understanding, to admit that we were wrong and all that we believed is a wicked lie. That's just downright tough to do. And even once accepting the truth, it is so difficult to adjust to it and to reorder one's life in accordance with this newfound truth.

 

But I congratulate you on learning and accepting the truth. As I am sure you are learning, you are the exception, like the rest of us here on ExC, and definitely not the rule.

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