The Allegory Of The Cave By Plato: Religious Allegory In The Text

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Why are we here? What is a reality? What is the purpose of life? Why do we exist? These are some philosophical questions that each of us might have raised or questioned about. For that reason, a prominent Greek philosopher named Plato attempted to explain the nature of reality through writing the text of The Allegory of the Cave, which can be found in chapter 7 of his book The Republic. As a fact, The Allegory of the Cave was inspired by the conversation of his mentor Socrates with a scholar called Glaucon.

Twenty-four hundred years ago, prisoners of a cave were chained in front of the walls of the cave, unable to turn their heads, forcing them to see the shadows of objects carried by puppeteers along the parapet, and with a fire burning behind the parapet, the prisoners were unable to see the essence of truth, naming and classifying these objects on the basis of their illusions. Until one of the prisoners slips away out of his bindings and leaves the cave. He was astonished by the outside world at first and gradually he realized that his former view of reality was incorrect. Nevertheless, going on a spiritual journey, helped him to discover beauty and purpose and how his previous life was useless. However, he did return to the cave to share his experience with the prisoners and tried to set them free, but they threatened to kill him if he did such so.

In other words, this text highlights the complexities of sustaining an intellectual spirit and implies that wisdom is gained by philosophical reasoning, rather than sensations or opinions. Moreover, The Allegory of the Cave is considered one of the popular passages in history and today’s world as well because our society values literacy, and challenging every concept of truth and life helps to develop the ability of thinking, hence achieving a high level of enlightenment. Further, we learn that when a person leaves his comfort zone or acts against and beyond the norms of his society, it is common to face criticism.

Darwin’s theory of evolution

Human evolved from apes

This story also acknowledges that many facts are not necessarily considered to be true. For example, Darwin’s theory of evolution. More than 1,000 Ph.D. scientists from around the world have signed a statement expressing their skepticism about Darwinian evolution’s theory. Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, proposed the theory of all life is linked and has descended from a common ancestor and a biological evolution transformed apes into humans.  

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If we’ve evolved from apes, why are apes still there? That’s because we don’t. Humans, ape, and donkeys are only biologically distant relatives. Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees but from a common ancestor we call “great apes”, but neither monkey nor human in the scientific sense of the word, lived millions of years ago in the past. In fact, over the past seven million years many other human-like species have evolved; some examples include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo Neanderthals. All of these species became extinct during different periods and our only species, scientifically known as Homo Sapiens (Homo sapiens), remained to share the planet with the rest of the creatures.

Before twelve years for his Origin of Species leaven to do its work, he published The Descent of Man (1871), where he expressed his suspicions of human origins and believed that all the evidence showed that the man shared common descent with the apes. The book consisted of behavioral arguments as evidence and lacked fossil evidence. Obedient to most scientists’ reports, the Darwinian theory of evolution does not support the fossil record. No fossil evidence had been found for the supposed non-human and pre-human ancestors of man until the time of Darwin’s death in 1882. Darwin assumed that this lack of fossil evidence was due to the absence of the fossil record and expected that as more fossils will be uncovered, the missing links underlying his hypothesis would finally be discovered.

Looking from a religious perspective, this theory is proved to be wrong because it assumes that there were humans before Adam and that Adam was an ordinary creature that developed according to natural mutations over millions of years and across different beings from cell to fish to mouse to monkey-like to human. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: ‘People from Adam, Adam from dust’. Another evidence from the holy Islamic book, Quran: ‘I am setting on the earth a vicegerent.’ Al-Baqarah: 30. In the bible it is quoted that ‘then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ Genesis 1:26. This text is taken from the bible and it is evident that no humankind existed before Adam. Nevertheless, we know that prostration is only for God Almighty and that God did not allow the prostration of another creature only once in the history of the universe! It was for Adam, peace be upon him. And when we said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam”, they prostrated themselves except Iblîs (Lucifer). (Lucifer) said: “Shall I prostrate myself to one whom you created from clay?” Isra: 61. If Adam were among the thousands or millions of human groups, why would God command all the angels to worship one of them?

In conclusion, it cannot be shown that a single hominine is the direct ancestor of any other. Thus, this theory is fallacious. Moreover, the consistent of all human beings is Adam and Eve. There is no reasonable reason to doubt human origin’s truth and religious text. This theory contradicts Plato’s theory as we can acquire concepts through our physical object’s perceptual experience. But if we were to think that the concepts we grasp were on the same level as the things we perceive, we would be wrong. Not all theories should be taken for granted.

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