Going Back Into the Cave
I consider myself a minor, if not ill-educated philosopher. To me a philosopher is someone who constantly considers their existence and ties what they have so far understood into their purpose, the way they live. I’ve always been interested in philosophy, but never had the patience, the fortitude, nor the astuteness to study and absorb classic ideas of philosophy in the traditional sense. Although, during my, um, ahem… illicit chemical using days, a friend and I had some very deep discussions solving all the troubles of the world. Funny thing is though, I don’t remember any of the solutions. I guess that is what some chemicals do to you. I’ve always been very introspective, which is probably a qualification for philosophers, except for those epicureans. I imagine them to be quite the extroverts.
Being a Christian doesn’t automatically mean I’ve lost interest in my philosophic tendencies. I have come to the understanding that being a Christian just means you can see these ideas in a more bright light. I was given a book by a friend called “Sophie’s World,” which is an introduction and history of philosophy presented in a fictional account. I’m enjoying the read as it is revealing to me the connections of what those men have come so close to understanding. Many of them have seen that there is more than just this material world we all seem to be trapped in. Especially the early Greek philosophers.
Plato seemed to truly understand that there is a higher plane of knowledge or existence, and the trivial life that we lead outside of philosophic sympathies or in the truest sense, our Christian life is the only thing that gives us meaning and purpose. His explanation of this is played out in the analogy he wrote about a cave. Many ideologies use this story to show that what they believe is true and naysayers will use fear and violence to destroy truth. The truth about it is though is that we have to have the courage to go back into the cave, to reveal the truth to those still in darkness. Check out this cool animation I found regarding the allegory, and it even has the late, great Orson Wells narrating.
You can watch another couple of cool 70’s animations with Welles narrating at this link.
I have told you previously of a friend whose concern for other believers and their lack of obvious concern for the spiritual things of life. They have the answer to what this world is about, that there is something transcendent about our existence. Our previous mediocre mode should have made our life, now renewed, full of joy and pleasure, love and sharing. He understands that what we have a personal and wholly incredible being, a God, The God, inside us, guiding us, and we act like life is just as normal as it always has been. Many of us haven’t lived out our new life in the way God intended it to be. Myself, being a creature of habit and a slow learner, have come up to a strong sense of purpose and knowing how much I am missing only in the past couple of years, with much appreciation to this friend and the others in our current fellowship group.
He lived in Des Moines previously and was involved in a small group that met in each other homes on Sundays. Since he moved here, he has heard God call him to involve himself in a church that he wouldn’t normally be involved in, but that is his ministry: to call brothers and sisters out of the doldrums of what is currently the standard state of affairs of most of us. He has been regularly talking about this to those who show weak spiritual efforts and his discussions have been met with apathy. He is quite discouraged and it reminded me of the allegory of Plato’s Cave.
It is difficult to see people in darkness and know that the truth you have will be met with mocking if not violence. But knowing that your brother doesn’t even care when faced with the truth, really creates a dull ache inside you when that is truly your passion. We are the prisoners in the cave who have been released and see the world as it truly is. Many of us choose to go back into the cave, but not to convince the other prisoners. We look at the path, see what makes the shadows. We sometimes talk to the prisoners about the possibility of another life, but we are still living like prisoners. Sometimes we even stoke the fires, trying to make the shadows more clear. It is still comfortable in the cave to us. Involvement in sitting down and looking at the world as we know it sometimes even remembering how it was to know nothing more than we use to is a temptation we give into.
It is time to go back into the cave and pull those brothers and sisters out again, remind them who they are, that God still has great plans for them. We need to tell them about our great future of being children of God. Perhaps, we surmised, that we think Heaven is going to be one forever lasting church service. That the thing we experience, or sometimes just barely tolerate, on Sunday mornings is a forever thing that is the only thing we have to look forward to. Another book that I’m reading, “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn, is just the thing to reveal a grander heaven than that we sometimes imagine. If we just continue accepting status quo, we will always just wallow in self-pity, in mediocrity. Let us spur each other on to good works. We don’t want each other to be the most difficult task in our way. Remember who you are, where you are going. Remind yourself with His word and other good books.
Posted on April 18, 2014, in Honest and tagged Christian, Encourage, Epicurean, Heaven, Introspective, Orson Welles, Philosophy, Plato's Cave, Randy Alcorn, Remember, Sophie's World. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.