We have been writing about Christianity – and we are struggling to find consensus. That is the nature of discussion about spirituality. The very nature of ‘GOD’ defies the barriers of human language. The result is that we begin using figures of speech: Simile, Metaphor, and Allegory. We can ‘feel the truth,’ but we are at a loss to articulate that feeling.
This presents some problems. Some clarity first: a Simile is a ‘like’ statement. If I said, “Bill O’Reilly is like a snake,” that would conjure an image in the mind of the listener. Metaphor is a little more powerful. If I said, “Bill O’Reilly is a snake,” that would conjure a more powerful image. We use Simile and Metaphor to talk about God. The Bible is full of imagery in the form of metaphor and allegory.
“God is my rock.” Does that mean that God is a lump of clay, hardened by a hot baking sun, unable to move or think? That would be one interpretation – and it would miss the intent of the writer. Most would interpret the statement to mean that God is solid, secure, always there, a foundation to be trusted – something like that.
Plato wrote “The Allegory of the Cave.” The ten cent version is simple. The people lived in a cave for generations. Their eyes had adapted to the light. The could not see well, but well enough to see other people as shapes. No detailed facial features. There was an entrance to the cave but they lore of the people was that you should not go there. One day a man went to the entrance – he look out and was blinded by the light. He suffered excruciating pain. But he was vigilant – he waited and then tried again. Again there was pain – but less so than the first attempt. After several attempts he was able to see without pain. He beheld the wonders of nature, blue skies, green grass, the brilliant colors of flowers, a fresh breeze, a scampering rabbit and a graceful deer. Excited, he ran back into the cave to tell the others. To his dismay they shunned him. Nothing he said could convince them to suffer the pain.
So what was Plato talking about?