Hmm, okay, we've all heard the phrase, 'Ignorance of the law is no excuse', right? The law exists, it exists for a reason, and it should be an absolute, applied equally to all situations. I know that's not the way it works, I'm just saying that's the way it *should* work. And this is just secular law. Traffic, civil, criminal, what have you.
For instance: I once made a right hand turn and my wheels left the road and went onto the dirt shoulder. The cop behind me pulled me over and gave me a ticket. A) I didn't know it was illegal for my tires to leave the road like that, and B) I certainly didn't mean to do it. But, I broke the law. The officer was right to pull me, and as painful as it was, I paid the ticket, and I didn't argue. I was ignorant of the law, but it didn't exempt me from the consequences of breaking the law.
On the other hand, we have the people who, when faced with a 'no left turn' sign to get into the Publix parking lot will inevitably hold up traffic so they can make their illegal left turn. Or the man who tried to use a right hand turn lane as a passing lane, because I stopped behind a car trying to turn left.
Or, and this is my current favorite: The couple in the big F350 looking truck who pulled out of a parking lot, not just going the wrong way on a divided road, but sat there, blocking the left turn lane, until the traffic going the other way cleared, so that they could drive *over* the cement island (which is a low, little thing), to get going the right direction.
Now, all those people *knew* they were breaking the law. They may not have understood why their action was illegal, but they certainly knew that it was.
Transfer this to religion. We've been given the Law. And whether or not you believe that the Law should still be followed, or that we're under a new Law in the New Covenant, laws exist. The difference, in my understanding is, that ignorance of the Law in this case, is an excuse.
If a person lives their whole life, unaware that they should have been following the Mosaic Law, or the laws of the New Covenant, then they can't be held accountable, can they? My understanding is that, ignorant of the greater Law, so long as they live good lives, abiding by the Noahide Laws, they will be judged on that, and not whether or not they kept Kosher, or wore tzit tzit.
The question becomes, what of those who are aware of the Law, and truly believe that it no longer applies? People who believe that the New Covenant removed the need for the Mosaic Law? They are aware of the Law, but do not believe that they are breaking the Law. It's been 'removed from the books', or abrogated, if you will. Would they be held accountable for breaking a law that they don't believe exists any more?
These are the things that occupy me as I drive back from lunch...