So one day, as Plato conveyed to me over a glass of ruby-red Greek wine, he goes back into the claustrophobic cave where he once had the courage to flee. He excitedly tells his former neighbors-the self-shackled cave dwellers-that there is brilliant light outside. Everything can be seen clearly. Truth and beauty await them outside the cave.
He tells them that the large fire at the back of the cave is casting the shadowy flickering images on the walls of their cave. This is what is scaring them. He tells them that their understanding of life, their vision is veiled and distorted. “Come and see”, he tells them.
Most of the cave dwellers respond apathetically. Some had tried to read the shapes on the wall to discern their meaning but to no avail. (The images are the cave dwellers themselves as distorted silhouettes projected onto the walls by the firelight. They cannot figure this out. Besides, they tell themselves, “Truth is what our cave dwelling friends let us get away with saying.”)
After Plato’s pleading the cave dwellers tell him that they do want anyone to stop the picture show. They know what to expect day after day. They look forward to the same known foggy reality.
Plato, my friend, was then denounced as part of a lunatic fringe element for his Ideas. He was ridiculed and banished from the cave. If the cave dwellers had been not shackled they would have killed the ‘prophet’ of a new and illuminated world. Instead they invented trigger warnings to fend off intruders.
The video link at the bottom of this post sheds some light on the scary shadow developed skepticism of many people hunkered down in their trigger warning guarded thought caves.
Tim Keller, introduced in the video, is also a contributor to the Christian-based theistic evolution science blog Biologos.org.
After Keller’s presentation, about 44 minutes into the video, there is a question and answer period.
Several students question Keller including two philosophy students who ramble on trying to form a question that Keller can answer. It is an interesting discourse, to be sure. Kant is brought out and dusted off.
It was Kant and the thinkers of Enlightenment that brought out and dusted off the “Upper” and “Lower” storybooks stashed away on the shelves of philosophy for centuries – basically, the ‘atomistic’ philosophy promoted by the Greek philosopher Epicurus.
Once Darwin came on the scene the thought-value split quickly became the Western mindset. Man, we were told, had evolved out of his unenlightened cave to live in his new cave of Scientism. Religion was dismissed as only the flickering sentimental shadows of the past. Truth had been divided into Continental and Analytical thinking, with no middle ground between.
Once I built an ivory tower
so I could worship from above
when I climb down to be set free
she took me in again
from “Hard Sun”, written by Gordon Peterson
Francis Schaeffer, the founder of L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, used the following diagram to describe modern man’s dualistic thinking to those who studied at L’Abri.
The Two-Story Concept of Truth
Private, subjective, relative
Public, objective, universal
This dichotomy has grown so pervasive that most people do not even recognize they hold it. It has become part of the cultural air we breathe. Consider two prominent examples:
Martin Luther King Jr.: “Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals with mainly values.”
Albert Einstein: “Science yields facts but not “value judgments”; religion expresses values but cannot “speak of facts.”
Modern man, hiding behind easily tripped trigger warnings inside his cave, shackled to soulless hand-held materialism denies the existence of the whole outside world, a world brightly illuminated. It was a medievalist poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, who understood the magnitude of the illuminated whole: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
Once out of the cave, reality for man is the Hard Sun. Yet, Man will see and then, if willing, embrace both Continental and Analytical thinking. He can embrace both nature and grace, both facts and values, both Truth and Beauty.
And Man can also walk in the eternal light of God’s Son, for he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
If you are skeptical about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus then I have some light for you: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham