Paul's Acsention Essay

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We all have times when we wake up to the reality around us. We realize that the truths we know are not really true, or are just shadows of the truth. Plato’s “The Myth of the Cave” is an allegory that shows how this realization develops. An allegory is a short story, which uses symbols to represent a deeper meaning. “The Myth of the Cave” represents a person’s journey from ignorance to enlightenment. It also shows the response to the enlightened when he tries to bring his friends out of ignorance. The story follows a man who is imprisoned from an early age. All of his memories are of that prison. The things he calls truth are only shadows of reality that are shown on a wall in front of him. He can never see the true objects that cast the shadows because his head can only look at the wall. One day he is released from his chains and heads out of the cave, leaving his friends behind. He is blinded at first by the brightness of the light. Eventually he learns to see and realizes the truth. In his zeal he wants to go back and share the truth with his friends in the cave. When his friends see him stumbling in the darkness of the cave they think he has become blind because of the world outside the cave. Rather than risk him taking others out of the cave to meet the same fate, they kill him (301-304).
History is filled with people who have lives that seem to follow along with Plato’s allegory. One of these people is Saul of Tarsus, his life and conversion to Christianity, is a perfect reflection of this allegory. Saul said, “I am indeed a Jew…Brought up at the feet of Gamelial, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God” (New King James Version, Acts 22.3). In Plato’s myth, the cave represents ignorance of a truth. Paul says he was raised to believe a certain way, and so when a new way was presented to him he became angry. In his zeal toward God, he persecuted those who followed this new way. One day, however, his chains were broken and he was allowed to see the truth.
Plato said, “At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck around and walk and look toward the light, he will suffer sharp pains…” (302). Saul experienced this distress when he saw the truth. Paul encountered Jesus in a vision while on his way to Damascus to capture the followers of what the Jews called, “The Way.” After his encounter, Saul said, “[S]ince I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus (Acts 22.11). After he encountered Jesus, he realized that Jesus was who he had always claimed to be. Saul found himself to be blind and had to be helped by his friends, who had been travelling with him to make it into Damascus (Acts 22:9-11). He remained blind for three days. Saul also found he was so disturbed by what he had learned he did not want to eat or drink anything during those three days (Acts 9.9). Plato said of this “When...