Ancient Greek Influences on the Philosophy of Religion: Plato(1)

HideShow resource information

Ancient Greek Influences on the Philosophy of Religion

The foundations of monothiestic religions lie deep in the pre-Christian philosophical traditions of Plato and Aristotle. Their thinking sheds light on many key aspects of later theology.

Plato- i) The analogy of the cave

Plato used this allegory to draw attention to the difference between the world of appearances and the real world. Only what is permanent can be the source of true knowledge, not the objects of the physical world which are subject to flux and change. The immutable realities are those that Plato believed could only be apprehended by the mind, since those we experience through the senses are only imperfect copies. Howevr, the unthinking man simply accepts what he hears and never questions whether it is valuable, good or true, rather than overcoming the difficulties of achieving the goal of perfect reality.

The analogy is as follows: You are a prisoner in a cave, into which no sunlight ever penetrates. You cannot remember a time when you were not a prisoner: immobile and shackled by the neck. In fact you don't even know you are a prisoner. As far as you are concerned, your situation is completely normal. You know there are other prisoners. You've never seen them, because of the dark- but you talk to them. Shapes appear and disappear in front of you. You give them names, like "tree", "girl", "house", and you discuss them excitedly with your fellow prisoners. You are satisfied with your life, because…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »