If One is not, then nothing is. Plato.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
[Socrates] And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: –Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets. [Glaucon] I see. [Socrates] And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent. [Glaucon] You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners. [Socrates] Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave? [Glaucon] True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads? [Socrates] And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows? [Glaucon] Yes, he said. [Socrates] And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them? [Glaucon] Very true. [Socrates] And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow? [Glaucon] No question, he replied. [Socrates] To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images. [Glaucon] That is certain. [Socrates] And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him? [Glaucon] Far truer. [Socrates] And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him? [Glaucon] True, he now. [Socrates] And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he ‘s forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities. [Glaucon] Not all in a moment, he said. [Socrates] He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day? [Glaucon] Certainly. [Socrates] Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is. [Glaucon] Certainly. [Socrates] He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold? [Glaucon] Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and then reason about him. [Socrates] And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them? [Glaucon] Certainly, he would. [Socrates] And if they were in the habit of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honors and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer, “Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,” and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner? [Glaucon] Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner. [Socrates] Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness? [Glaucon] To be sure, he said. [From Book VII of Plato’s best-known work, The Republic, Benjamin Jowett translation (Vintage, 1991), pp. 253-261.]
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. Psalm 36:9
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. . . . The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (John 1:3-5; 9-12)
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, . . . For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
Stepping Into the Light: exploring reasons for the hope in Christ
written and compiled by Lance Hickerson
The GIN – Good Information Network
There really are times when people are “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). We live in the information age, to be sure, with internet and multiple news channels running 24 hours. We enjoy being able to have at our mere fingertips such information from the bloom time of hollies to recipes for Texas chili to movie times at any theatre within 30 miles of home. But there are other times, when there is simply too much information; a sort of empty restlessness emerges, akin to something like those lost at sea on a raft must have sometime felt– “water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.” And thus we come to our postmodern era’s deafening discovery, that everybody talking at once does not necessarily make for a symphony.
In earlier times, the problem was not enough information. That concern has now paled, and much like those going from “rags to riches,” what do you do with plenty? Now with so much information–the problem, the need, and the opportunity, is for good information. Of course, I like being able to get thirty different views, opinions, angles, and outlooks on most anything–but eventually I get thirsty for what I call “good information.” It’s certainly nice and nouveau genteel to let everybody voice their opinion; but then comes life–eventually I have to come down somewhere and live as if some of these “opinions” are really true. I confess I am thirsty. So much information has left me thirsty for good information. I hope you’re thirsty too.
In what follows I hope the Forest Home Teens find much reading worth their while. May there be encouragement and helpful insight as they explore reasons for their hope in Christ. May they find it a stepping stone for continuing in His footsteps on the greatest adventure in living there is.
Process for Stepping Into (Click to view PDF)