What Is Spiritual Blindness and How Does It Affect Our Culture?

  • By: Brian Sloan
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For our purposes, spiritual blindness is a condition where a person can’t see situations, problems, or issues from a viewpoint of a Biblically based spiritual realm. When a person is spiritually blind, they can have difficulty discerning right choices from wrong ones and they may choose to believe false narratives about the world rather than what the God of the Bible says. This can be a dangerous condition, both for individuals and people groups. In this post, we will explore what spiritual blindness is, how it happens, and what can be done about it.

What Is Spiritual Blindness? A Simplified Definition

In Christianity, a condition that is sometimes referred to as “Spiritual Blindness” is simply a state that a person can be in where they have little or no insight into the truth of the spiritual realm based on the belief in Jesus Christ and a Biblical worldview. In our context, we would mean that the person knowingly or unknowingly fails to recognize or accept the spiritual principles that the word of God says to the world.

The cause of spiritual blindness can be sin, spiritual apathy, an attack from the devil, or simply that the person doesn’t have a relationship with God. Let’s explore spiritual blindness in more depth.

The Apostle Paul and Spiritual Blindness

Before he became the Apostle, Paul, and one of the greatest Christian leaders in Christian history, Paul was called Saul. He was one of the Jewish religious leaders in the first century and a fierce persecutor and killer of those who chose to follow Jesus Christ and his teachings. To say that he was spiritually blind would be a vast understatement!

Saul was supposedly operating as one of the powerful “religious leaders” yet he was doing incredible evil, choosing to reject Christ, persecute believers, and not accept God’s truth of the Gospel. We will use him as an example because, as we know, God brought him out of his spiritual blindness and the Holy Spirit set him on a course as the Apostle, Paul to bring the light of the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Later on, after his conversion, Paul spoke of spiritual blindness in one of his letters to the Christian church at Corinth. He said this:

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:4

So, who causes this blindness? It sure looks to me like it is Satan. “You mean the orange dude with horns???” Well, he’s actually much more disturbing than that. So much more. So, if you’re spiritually blind you’re up against a force that requires the power of God to help you see the truth. This doesn’t mean that spiritually blind people embrace all of the evil that the Enemy of God causes in this world.

Someone can be a good person in the eyes of the world and still be spiritually blind. They may even have fairly good reasoning, have good moral behavior, and be somewhat successful in leadership positions. They simply lack the much-needed spiritual vision that would make their lives complete.

spiritual blindness to God

Answering Foundational Questions About Spiritual Sight

Before we go on in this topic, we can hopefully come to an agreement about the inherent foundations of what we are talking about. In order to accept the concept of spiritual blindness, we must accept that there is a spiritual world.

In our Biblical worldview at LivingPraying.com, we totally believe in a spiritual world and that we all have a spiritual component. In addition, we believe that the spiritual component should be a great priority for us as we live our lives on the earth.

That concept is that there exists a spiritual war between good and evil- between the god of this world (satan/the devil) and the Creator and Father God. His Son, Jesus came to earth to die for all of the wrongs of mankind.

So, we have a Holy God who has a plan for our lives and has given us His written word and His Holy Spirit to guide us through this life. He doesn’t just pile a bunch of religious rules on us. He will establish a relationship with us if we let Him. So, we can choose to walk in the light of Jesus or walk in the darkness of the devil’s schemes.

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

John 12:8

If you live your life believing in God, trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior, and using the Bible and the Spirit of God as your life compass then you can see through the darkness and recognize the darkness versus the light. You can then make choices in life according to an objective standard of truth – God’s word. If we don’t have an unchanging standard of truth, then our own “truth” will be shaped by our own thoughts, our emotions, or the influence of a culture that constantly changes.

One of the biggest deceptions that the enemy of God has today is the notion that we can all have our “own truth.” It makes the world a confusing place if people are living by their choice of what is true.

So…. if we accept Christ and become Christian then we will have totally clarity and spiritual sight and never fall into spiritual blindness anymore? Well, no. When we truly receive Christ as our Lord we have the Spirit of God within us to open our eyes and guide us. However, growing in the knowledge and wisdom of God is a journey. So, can a Christian be blinded to certain truths of scripture or areas in their life in which they are failing? Absolutely.

So There Are Degrees Of Spiritual Blindness?

That question is answered by defining and illustrating spiritual blindness to a greater degree.

There is an overall state of spiritual blindness where someone rejects God the Father, doesn’t embrace Jesus Christ as Savior, and therefore doesn’t have the Spirit of God in them to help them make decisions in life. That is the larger scope and more serious scope of spiritual blindness.

However, as we mentioned, those who have accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ do not always get things right. Although Christian believers have the Holy Spirit as their guide, they can still be influenced by external circumstances. They can be influenced by a non-Biblical worldview, and allow untruth, false beliefs, and wrong desires to become “their reality” even if they are wrong.

spiritual blindness

How Can a Believer Be Spiritually Blind?

Someone who genuinely has a personal relationship can be spiritually blinded to portions of life in which they have been improperly taught or informed. They can adopt attitudes that you might not expect from a follower of Jesus Christ. In certain areas of their lives, they can subtlely come to believe that the answers to the problems of life are quite different than what is found in the truth of the Bible. They can believe in walking in the light of the gospel but be deceived into accepting the darkness of the Enemy.

Content Warning: It is the goal of LivingPraying.com to answer questions about Christianity, the church, and how to be encouraged as a follower of Christ. It’s not our goal to be political. However, when our culture makes decisions that violate what we find in the teachings of scripture, we will occasionally have to write about those issues. That in no way means that we do not love those who might believe differently from us because we do.

The American Culture and Spiritual Blindness

Let’s just look at examples from the American culture. According to the Gallup polls in the 1950s and 60s, a consistent 98% of Americans polled said they believe in God. By 2011 the number of people confessing a belief in God had dropped to a bit over 90% but still a good percentage.

However, during the last decade belief in God in America has declined to around 83%. At first glance, you would think that’s still a great number. However, the number of people who actually believe in God versus the number of people who believe in Christian principles taught in the Bible isn’t the same. Of the percentage of Americans who believe in God only 42% of those believe that God hears your prayers and can intervene on your behalf.

Do you realize how huge that is? That one statistic will tell you that about half of Americans who do believe in God are not informed, or – they choose not to believe a fundamental premise of the Bible – that God is a personal God and He interacts in and with the lives of His People.

spiritual blindness

The War of Culture

These numbers give us an insight into the culture wars that are being fought in America. In the remainder of this article, let’s look at how reasonable questions and reasonable debate can, unfortunately, slide into an unreasonable debate. That can be caused by our inability to see the truth through the lens of scripture.

As I’m writing this the battle is hotly raging in the culture about the topic of abortion since the reversal of Roe v. Wade earlier this year. There are huge divisions in the American population on that issue. In addition, many other social issues debates including gun control, gender, sexuality, and other issues have been raging for quite a while now.

The rise of school shootings since the late 90s is certainly an indicator of the moral depravity that has swept into the minds of certain deranged people. I think it is good and proper to debate issues surrounding firearms. However, the problem of violence is much more complicated as it is now woven throughout our society in movies, video games, and other forms of entertainment. Unfortunately, we have a generation that has been exposed to a very violent-filled culture.

There has been a fight to extinguish the mention of God in our schools. A minority of people fought to have God and most any form of prayer removed from our educational institutions. I think one would be remiss to say that spiritual blindness to the morality defined in the word of God contributed to the dismissal of God and prayer from our classrooms.

So, How Does Spiritual Blindness Affect the Culture?

Well, let’s take a quick dive into some of the topics at hand today. From my perspective, there are areas of spiritual blindness found in quite a few of our moral and social issues of today.

The point isn’t to debate those issues. I have settled the issues in my mind, and others will see them differently. I just want to use these topics as examples of how it’s easy to accept a downward spiral in moral issues even by those who don’t intend it to be that way. If, in fact, we make incorrect moral decisions it can bring on additional moral decay and a further lack of spiritual clarity.

Reasonable Debate

For a few moments, I will stick with the current abortion debate. In the view of many, there was a debate to be had in those earlier years after Roe V. Wade. Although I didn’t waver in what I believed, I still thought a portion of the debate was reasonable. We strongly debated where human life actually began.

In the 1970s, and even into the 80s, considering the blurry images that were on ultrasound printouts in the first weeks of life, I can see how a person might question whether a tissue looking like a little blob on a scan was truly a living human being. As a pro-life Christian, I have always held that life begins at conception and that the small fetus was a human life.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

However, in those earlier days, there was at least a sense of reason when others made the case that the small embryo a few weeks old, that didn’t yet have a heartbeat, was not yet human. Once again, I stress – I disagreed and still disagree with that view. But, without firm reliance on the many Bible passages that state that God knew us in our mother’s womb, a person may arrive at that conclusion.

Is aborting a fetus a few weeks old the right thing to do? With only a few exceptions – primarily to save the life of the mother, I don’t believe so. However, was it a completely unreasonable reason to have that debate in those earlier days when technology was inferior? No, I don’t think it was totally unreasonable.

But, as the years went on and the average person could understand and see what was going on inside of the mother’s womb, I think we see reasonable pro-abortion debate go off of the rails.

From Reasonable Debate To Extremes

Okay, here is where I think the question of “what is spiritual blindness?” comes into play. When you see someone on one side of a moral issue carry their argument to extremes that are totally unreasonable by any elementary study of the Bible, I think there is a good chance the person making the argument is suffering from spiritual blindness.

In our example, where there was once debate about when life begins, that debate has gradually been abandoned and the argument in favor of abortion now includes all nine months of pregnancy up until the time of birth.

spiritual blindness
Two lives that are not expendable.

So, as one who has stood against abortion for almost 40 years, I feel like I’m fighting a totally different fight. Where in the 1970s it was still a moral issue with a bit of nuance, now it has crossed over into unreasonable egregious immorality.

My first child was born in 1990 and, even then I had trouble seeing and determining the parts of my son on those black and white ultrasounds images (especially the early ones). The image did look like a bit of a blob of tissue. In those early images, my wife would have to talk me through the image in order for me to identify the outline of my son and his developing parts. Would we have been wrong to abort him? Absolutely. However, would those images be proof positive that human life had begun if you did not rely on the scriptures? Maybe not.

Now, let me jump almost thirty years to some ultrasounds with modern technology. I’m talking about the ones of my grandchildren, some of which we have framed. I’m speaking of the second and especially the third trimester. If someone can look at pre-born children in the uterus in the third trimester of pregnancy and refuse to look at them as human beings, living children, innocent and with a right to life, I believe that there is either one of two things coming into play.

  1. They have become or have always been spiritually blind. They are profoundly blind to the fact that taking that life is immoral.
  2. They have an innate understanding that it is a child but intentionally rebel against God’s moral law and support the destruction of the child.
  3. They have become a servant of a political movement rather than a servant of God, therefore they are spiritually blinded as well.

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.”

Romans 1:21-22
spiritual blindness - protest

Other Examples

I want to take a couple of other examples of very reasonable arguments that our society has made unreasonable because of what many determine as spiritual blindness.

Let’s talk about protecting our innocent school children and other public places from mass shootings. To debate the issue of who, why, what, and when someone can get a gun is a reasonable debate to me. I believe that 2nd amendment supporters, like myself, should be willing to have a debate about it. I think that is simply reasonable and necessary.

However, what is unreasonable is if either side will not admit or entertain the idea that we must do something about the moral decline in our nation – and that school shootings have been one of the horrible consequences of our nation’s moral decline.

And, even if someone does not have a Judeo/Christian worldview, why would they not even entertain the possibility that our education systems, our entertainment industry, and our gaming industries have contributed to the moral decline and violence to which our children are exposed?

For those who cannot see that we have made wrong choices that have impacted the moral climate of our culture, I’m fairly certain that it’s an indicator of spiritual blindness.

One More Example

The last example is short and sweet. For decades we have discussed the issue of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. I’ve always stood on a very conservative platform on these topics as well.

However, in recent years, the topic of sexuality has taken such an indecent slide into moral depravity that our leaders want small children, who are incapable of discerning fantasy from reality, to choose their own gender.

We are routinely seeing doctors do anything from giving puberty blockers to an adolescent all the way to mutilating a teenager’s body in surgery because they are going through what is sometimes referred to as “gender dysphoria.”

We see the most famous producers of children’s entertainment in the world try to make the decision to indoctrinate our small children into the fallacy that gender is chosen and that they should be taught controversial sexual concepts in public school as early as seven years old.

In addition, the scale of unreasonable discussion has come to the place where leaders in the highest offices of our country cannot define what is to be a woman.

Can’t we see how reasonable debate on various issues has declined to the point where those with a Biblical worldview can only surmise that spiritual blindness is a staggering issue in our land?

Gaining or Restoring Your Spiritual Sight

As Jesus restored the physical sight to the blind man, he give us spiritual sight. If Jesus let the scales of blindness fall from the eyes of Saul of Tarsus, He can work in us to help us see the spiritual realm.

However, embracing the wrong that the Bible calls sin will only put you into deeper darkness. Rebelling against the truth of God’s word for your personal preferences or political leanings is sin in God’s eyes. We must hear what God has to say and pray with all of our hearts that we will have the faith to make choices that can help bring healing to our land.

What Do We Do?

Many of us need to move in another direction (repent) and accept what Jesus said rather than the opinions of unbelievers.

Mankind is the only creation that was made in the image of God. When attempting to navigate life on earth without the power of God, we will always find ourselves unable to.

There is a judgment to come, a hell to escape, and a heaven to gain if we accept Christ as Lord. Trying to be a good person is just not enough. We need to put our faith in what Jesus said: “He is the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). We aren’t smart enough or wise enough to keep our culture in the light unless we follow the Light Of the World, Jesus Christ.

seeking Bible about spiritual blindness

Pray for God’s power to be displayed in the lives of His people, that there would be a healing of the spiritual blindness of people of all races, creeds, colors, or political persuasions. Pray that the spirit of the Lord Jesus will save more and more people as Jesus calls them to repentance.

There is still grace available for us. There is still hope. there is still time to turn to Jesus in faith and depend on the spirit of God to work within us to stand against the god of this world.

May we help turn the tide of moral bankruptcy in our nations and know that, ultimately, Jesus will receive all glory and the devil’s schemes will be 100% absolutely defeated in the end.


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