Moral Blindness or Blind Spots (Revisited)

“You May Choose To Look the Other Way But Never Say Again You Didn’t Know“ —William Wilberforce

Moral blindness is defined as the temporary inability to see the unethical side of a certain context or situation. It is often caused by external factors due to which an individual is unable to see the immoral aspect of their behavior in that particular situation.

William Wilberforce was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. Wilberforce had to actually get people – and most importantly, the politicians – to physically witness the horrors of what was happening on the slave ships that were being allowed in British ports, before they could make the connection. They didn’t want to see the horror. They just believed what they were told (in sanitized versions), because they wanted to … it was more convenient.

Today, we see the ungodliness and unrighteousness within this nation even among Christians, but choose to ignore it. This is wrong on so many levels, yet it has become acceptable to the church. Second Timothy 3:1-5 TPT says, “But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce. People will be self-centered lovers of themselves[a] and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.”

“They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!”

Does staying away from people like this mean hiding the light of gospel under a bush or watering it down so that it is more digestible? (Matt. 5:15)

Open my eyes to see the miracle-wonders hidden in your word.

Psalm 119:18 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Moral blindness is the worst kind of blindness. People tend to turn a blind eye to the things they don’t want to address. To turn a blind eye is to ignore something that you know is wrong. Stick our head in sand to ignore or refuse to think about a problem or something unpleasant hoping it will just go away.

I wrote the original post in February 2019. As I observe the gross immorality, lawlessness, and violence, in our society today I feel compelled to address this issue again. Scriptures lets us know “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4)

What are the things you turn a blind eye to? Do you stick your head in the sand when it comes to the moral issues we are facing today. Is it just easier to go with the flow because everyone’s doing it?

Cambridge English Dictionary says, turning a blind eye means “to ignore something that you know is wrong.” 

Macmillan Dictionary says, bury your head in the sand is to “ignore a problem or unpleasant situation and hope that it will disappear.”

No doubt we all have felt this way before. Yet as God’s servants we should not be turning a blind eye or burying our heads in the sand hoping things will eventually change or wonder when is God going to do something knowing that He has given the Church the authority to be a catalyst to impact society for good.

Moral blindness is defined in Wikipedia as “a state of unawareness or insensibility to moral issues pertaining both to oneself and to one’s relations to others.” With this definition in mind, does moral blindness have anything to do with spiritual blindness? As believers, should we turn a blind eye to the moral depravity and evil around us?

In Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity the authors write, “Evil is not confined to war or to circumstances in which people are acting under extreme duress. Today it more frequently reveals itself in the everyday insensitivity to the suffering of others, the inability or refusal to understand them and in the casual turning away of one’s ethical gaze.”

Moral blindness is the worst kind of blindness. We tend to be horrified when we hear of many of the heartbreaking issues such as gun violence, the housing of migrant children in poor conditions occurring, the killing of unarmed Black men. We grieve for a brief moment, offer thoughts and prayers and eventually move on to the next thing.

Spiritual blindness is a condition that an individual has when they are unable to see God, or understand His message. Although God is working all around us, pursuing us and revealing His truth, some people cannot perceive His divine workings. They hear but never understand, see but never perceive. Their heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed. (Acts 28:26–27).

To be spiritually blind can also be translated as being spiritually undiscerning. 1 Cor. 2:14 (TPT) says this about spiritual blindness, “Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit.”

God does not want His people to be blind to their own spiritual condition, nor the moral condition we see each day in society.  The church can make a difference when we yield ourselves as instruments of righteousness fit for the Master’s use. Jesus opened blind eyes and unstopped deaf ears to spiritual truth (Isa. 35:5).  Although we are no longer under the law, but grace, we are not to become instruments of unrighteousness. God holds His people accountable to the moral standards in His Word.

How do we respond to the lack of morality that we face today?

We see many Christians openly confronting the principalities of this world by taking them to the streets, to Congress and even sometimes to court. Many believers impose and insist on having a say in matters such as abortion, gay rights, racism, equality, and so on. Is this the right approach? Some would say yes, other may say Christians are not called to be the moral police.

As Christians, we should be known by the fruit of radical love, acts of kindness, mercy, humility, and passionate pursuit of justice (Micah 6:8). Our light should shine in the the darkness so that others may see the light of the glorious gospel. If the gospel message, the revelation of God and His grace is hidden from those who are perishing it is because  (2 Cor. 4:3-4; 1 Cor. 1:18).

The Apostle Paul says, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:1-6).


Min. Dr. A. Francine Green

Note: All Scripture is taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

1. Moral blindness, Wikipedia
2. Batman, Zygmunt, Donskis, Leonidas, (2013), Moral BlindnessThe Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity, Wiley

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