Willful Blindness

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

~ Origin unsure, but made popular by commentator Matthew Henry

It is not clear exactly where this comes from, but it has various forms by various people.  Jonathan Swift considered it a cliche, so it was obviously well known in his day.  According to Quote/Counterquote in “None so blind as those that will not see“:

Contrary to common belief, this is not a quote from the Bible. It’s a proverbial English saying with no clear origin. Matthew Henry helped popularize it by using it several times in his widely-read book of explanatory comments about the Bible. The saying was probably inspired by Bible verses, possibly Matthew 13:13 (“Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not…”) or Jeremiah 5:21 (“Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not…”).

How far are people willing to go in order to retain their illusions?  Surprisingly far!  Take a look at this TED video “The Dangers of ‘willful blindness'”, which I dedicate to those who are willingly blind, including those who truly believe I am going to back down from calling out their lies and deceptions while sons of perdition try to drag others down in their destruction:




  1. I have had a long internal debate as to how much humans Spiritual Blindness is willful, as opposed to Satan’s deception – God’s imposed Spiritual Sleep – or for more than 99% of humans, you born at the wrong time or place on Earth to have access to the Truth.

    My question goes beyond what I have asked. I think it’s a proper desire to understand why God’s plan has only 1% of 1% “allowed” to know why they exist. My answer is simple. Since our Creator is a lot smarter than His Creation, and God is all loving and want’s this plan to work, then it is best for almost everyone to experience this mess humans have created, so that they will have something concrete to base the eternal commitment to in the White Throne Judgment.

    • @gregred: With all due respect, I am not sure that determining how much is Satan’s influence and how much is our own is helpful. At best, it will be a generality that cannot be extended across the board. It will vary much by not only individual but by region.

      To put it another way, it will definitely be between 0 and 100%, noninclusive. No one is 100% innocent, but since it is Satan’s world, he certainly can stop many from even hearing the words “Jesus Christ”. If it were 100% the individual’s fault, then that by definition means the Lake of Fire. If it were 100% Satan’s fault, then what would the individual have to repent of?

      It is clear that some have greater access to the truth than others. Yet, more and more, what do we see? We see a rejection of what little truth they may have had. We see people who claim to be “Christian”, yet they ignore clear and consistent Scripture and even question the Bible itself! Some of these people attend Sabbath services and claim to believe the same things you and I do! They do not even believe Christ’s own words!

      17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

      ~ Jn 17:17

      However, more to the point of your question, Jesus made it evident that people will be on different levels and that punishment will be according to both obedience and knowledge (while other NT passages indicate rewards are measured the same way):

      48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

      ~ Lk 12:48

  2. John, is not the whole world deceived by Satan and the 99% who had no chance to know why they were alive, no access to the Truth, no access to God’s Spirit given their first chance in the White Throne Judgment. And it will be at that time the 99% are judged after they are given God’s Truth and His Spirit. Even the Apostles after spending over 3 years with Christ did not get the program until Pentecost.

    • @gregred: No, because “no chance” is 0%. The English speaking peoples have carried the Bible all over the world, quoted from it, produced popular sayings based upon it and yet they have “no chance”?

      Again, Jesus answered this question quite well, albeit in parable form. Do you not understand the meaning of the Parable of the Sower and the Seed? Only one group had Satan snatch the seed up from the ground. That means that group had close to 0% opportunity to hear and understand. The rest did, though, didn’t they?

      Also, consider Pharaoh of Egypt who opposed Moses and the Children of Israel. I believe him to be the extreme example of deception and being deceived. Some of the time, his heart was hardened by God Himself. Some of the time, he himself hardened his own heart. Yet at other times, his advisers gave him advice that hardened his heart. So, what percentage of a chance did he have?

      Again, are percentages even meaningful? In the end, the only percentage that matters is that 100% of the people who make it into the KOG have repented. That means they must stop deceiving themselves, turn around and repent. In order to repent, they must acknowledge their own sin and the part they themselves played in it.

  3. When it comes to percentages and being saved, it can be like losing the forest for the trees. Like where do thoughts of 99% or 1% of 1% come from?

    I believe the Lord is absolutely just in His judgment, I can know for certain He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. However establishing percentages is far FAR above my pay grade or anyone else.

    Now I don’t think it’s wrong to hope for 99% to be saved, but I wouldn’t want to come across and give people a statistic that leads them to a false sense of confidence and security. Nor would I want to give people a false sense that there’s stern God just waiting for anyone to sin and condemn them to death.

    So yes, numbers may not be all that helpful.

  4. The scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding., just came to mind.