Will Ignorance Save Your Soul?

Came across this meme on Facebook:

I offered a refutation from a Catholic perspective HERE. Basically, I pointed out the flawed assumption that ignorance of the theological concept of sin is a “free pass” to sin. Of course, some sins would be impossible for the Eskimo (e.g. missing Mass, not joining the Church, etc), but others would still be possible (e.g. masturbation, murder, rape, greed, etc.) as these are parts of the natural law, which no man is lacks full knowledge of. If you are interested, you can read more HERE (with quotes from the CCC and Lumen Gentium).

What I’m more interested in is how you would refute this meme. I think the assumption underlying it is both widespread and deadly to the New Evangelization. What say you?

BTW, here is how I imagine the conversation would actually go,

Eskimo: If I did not know about God or sin, would I go to hell?
Priest: If you committed a mortal sin (and we all have), yes you would. But I have good news, Jesus Christ is Risen and He wants to forgive your sins!
Eskimo: How?
Priest: To start, repent, believe in the Gospel, and be baptized.
Eskimo: What is preventing me from being baptized here? (cf. Acts 8:36)
Priest: All the water’s frozen!

Change the word “sin” to “wrong” and you have the universal footing for a conversation.

“If I didn’t know it was a sin” is one thing. The argument can be made that “sin” relates to the specific rules of the Church.
“If I didn’t know it was wrong” is something else…some things might vary culturally and ignorance of them could be seen as justifiable. Other things are just wrong - and you know that they are wrong…

Just a thought


This idea, (reaffirmed and better explained in the catechism) can be found in Luke 12: 47-48.
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”

It does not say the ignorant are exempt from punishment, but are beaten with few blows. The Catechism reaffirms that we can not unknowing engage in mortal sin, but this does not exclude venial sin. The Bible also speaks about the infinite rewards of acknowledging the Son of Man. SOOO to answer your question, I would say ‘I do not know’. The judgment is reserved for God, not us. Indeed, he is SO merciful, but this does not give us the right to assume salvation is upon us (Sirach 5). So pagan, Christian, or otherwise, the only safe option is to constantly strive for grace given to us from the Son of Man.

“Then why did you tell me?”

Because the false happiness of ignorance is incomparable to the true happiness of knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ. Our Lord told us to “make disciples of all nations”, not to sit back and be quiet. Ignorance did not die on the Cross or resurrect on the third day. Ignorance did not redeem the human race. Jesus Christ did. No one is saved through ignorance. Those who are saved are done so through the merits of the Paschal Mystery. Pure ignorance, without at least a baptism of desire, is contrary to human nature. The truth is apparent to all those who open their hearts. It is impossible for the human person to - at some level - not understand right and wrong, for this knowledge is inscribed on our hearts. The tugs of prevenient grace will also draw the open heart to Christ. This meme is yet another manifestation of modernity’s desire to rid itself of guilt by trying to find loopholes in morality. Unfortunately, no such loopholes exists in human nature or in the laws of God.

Well said.

BTW, nice blog! :thumbsup: Keep up the fight!

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