The Allegory of the Cave, Christianized in Tensed Time

4/24/24

The year is 2027. Since the dawn of the New World Order, neo-communism is the official, militant position of all secular university professors across Europe. These atheist intellectuals find no reason to leave their ivory towers of academia. Christian believers have become the suspicious minority, caricatured as medieval country bumpkins who hold to a treasonous view of time. Thus, Christianity has been outlawed by the State. Imprisoning, torturing, and/or killing Christians has become the status quo.

 

A swelling audience of first year science students packed tightly together like Democritean atomist sardines await to hear a lecture on how quantum physics does not necessarily disprove determinism.

The distinguished professor commences with his conclusion: “So my argument is predicated on the B-Theory of time. Just because quantum fluctuation isn’t causally determined doesn’t mean that the random change in the amount of energy in a point in space is not determined or fixed. An event can have a fixed position on a four-dimensional space-time ‘block’ but we have to give up the dangerous illusion beheld by A-Theorist Christians about libertarian free-will, which flows naturally from irreducibly tensed facts about nature or ‘now’ occurrences, which supposedly affords God omniscience.”[i]

Laughter breaks his concentration.

“God, huh… Omniscience, huh…” interrupts an ornery student. “How do they get away with such froth?”

“Get to know your enemy, lads and lasses. Christians believe that God’s knowledge of tensed facts constantly changes in order to know perfectly what is happening ‘now’ with his creation.” He pauses. “But there is no such thing as objective change! According to Parmenides’s two views of reality, everything that exists is permanent and change is an illusion.[ii] Determinism is as real as you and me fighting for the fixed truth about reality at this fixed moment in time. Matter of fact, survival of the fittest enables us to remain atop the food chain as sharks ruthlessly devouring the ichthus Christian fish with absolute determinism.”

He changes the subject to something more political.

“We—every physicalist-materialist who makes up the classless society of the communist collective—are determined and thus destined to deracinate the poppy plant of Christianity. Today’s neo-communists are no longer content in allowing religion to function as a false hope to those who are sick and suffering, providing them with pleasant illusions similar to the function of opium for those in pain. Yes, our founding father once said, ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.’[iii] But I say to you, religion is the sickle of the people. Take Christianity for example with its prevarications on change and freewill. How loving is it really to offer a joint to someone dying of cancer? The most natural thing to do is to put the person out of his misery, and shoot him! Those who are weak must die so the strong can procreate and pass their genes on to their progeny. That’s natural selection! That’s science! That’s the way I want to go when I have nothing left to give… I know it sounds harsh. But I assure you, it’s for the greater good.”

He looks to land his Learjet lecture onto a Darwinian runway.

“Karl Marx dedicated Das Kapital to Charles Darwin because he knew that without the physicalist theory of evolution grounding his socio-politico-economic ideas, they would vanish like vapor in the hot sun. Likewise, I dedicate these words to you, my Osprey, because without you dispersing the seeds of physicalism, determinism, and social justice, my ideas die where they lie like carcasses in the desert.”

An eruption of applause ensues.

A young man in attendance, not quite old enough to be a Cambridge college student, walks up to the beloved professor. “You were brilliant today, Papá. Your words were magnificent… I think that, no, I know that I’m ready to take the Mark and prove my loyalty to the Cause. Tomorrow, there’s a ‘marking’ after the beheading at noon. Can I go?”

“Not yet, Son. You’re not quite old enough.”

“But Papá!”

“Be patient… For now, memorize The Communist Manifesto. Then you can be catechized at the end of the month and take the Mark on your forehead.”

“Okay,” he says reluctantly.

The next morning, father and son eat a light English breakfast at their college cafeteria. As they walk back to their dormitory, a large, stern-looking stranger bumps into the professor, who wears his tweed jacket on top of his pyjamas, knocking him down. The giant (man) reverses the effect of gravity by grabbing and pulling up on the hand of the man with matching brown elbow patches.

On his feet, he reacts, “Watch where you’re bloody going!”

The walking tank walks away.

The professor feels something in the palm of his hand. It’s a note. He unfolds it.

It reads,

Dr. Saul Pruett,

‘Why are you persecuting me?’[iv]

Why do you blaspheme my Holy Spirit?

With the atomist veil lifted

see the martyred Truth decrypted

as haloed heads roll

at noon’s bells toll.

Dr. Pruett thinks to himself, this sounds like an open invitation to today’s decapitation. But why? Martyred Truth?

Although he’s unapologetically supportive of killing Christians, he’s never seen anyone die for his faith before. So, he decides it’s time to witness an execution in person.

The conspicuous fourteen-foot-tall guillotine stands center stage off campus at a park across from the college. To the left of the park is a primary school and to the right is a popular playground. Besides having the feared instrument of death placed in its strategic location, the day seems unassuming. One can hear birds chirping and children laughing in the background, while the sun plays Peekaboo with the spectators behind prophetic rain clouds.

The professor, who holds a double doctorate in theoretical physics and political science, finds a distinguished seat reserved for faculty. As the preliminary event of public shaming begins, two men wearing black pointed hoods walk up to Dr. Pruett and stand at either side of his chair.

One man speaks, “Get up.”

Not knowing what’s happening, he nervously acquiesces and follows them onto the stage.

“Stand here,” he hears. “Hold this…”

He feels the thick coarse rope chafing against his soft, delicate hands. It suddenly dawns on him that he’s being chosen to participate in the execution.

A former student who defected from communism to Christianity is brought out with his hands tied.

“Everett?” he says aloud in disbelief. “How could you? You were my utmost pupil.”

The boy responds, “I learned everything I could from you. I read every book. I listened to every lecture. But still, I felt something missing.”

Cold gray eyes from behind a hooded mask glare at the young man.

Death speaks, “Stop talking.” Angry hands place the condemned boy’s head onto a pillory at the bottom of the wooden frame, holding his neck below the blade.

A basket is brought for the soon-to-be severed head to roll into.

The first masked man provokes the captive: “Any last words before I separate your skull from your spine?”

He says nothing, meditating on the ‘now’—feeling the presence, peace, and power of God almighty.

Furious about being ignored, the B-Theorist pokes harder: “‘I am almighty, as you suppose your God to be. I can kill you.’”

The A-Theorist answers, “‘The power is all on my side. I can love you while you torture me to death.’”[v]

The henchman shouts at Dr. Pruett, “Let go of the rope!”

The atheist professor, struggling to make sense of what he just heard, has a problem releasing the causal mechanism that will end his former student’s life.

“I said, let it go!”

He remains still and reticent. For the first time in his life, he finds himself unnerved by his beliefs of physicalism, determinism, and communism, which appear insufficient to explain what he just witnessed. When faced with the threat of violence, any physicalist would’ve reacted accordingly. But the boy did something that can only be deemed supernatural. Rivers of the good, the true, and the beautiful converge into an ocean of love not in spite of an undercurrent of suffering but because of it. As Christianity proves, true power is not taking a life, but loving the enemy who seeks to take it. And if love is most powerful, it can only be possible by the choice to love. This flies in the face of determinism.

Crack! The professor gets hit in the back of the head with a club. He wakes up with a headache in a dungy prison cell.

A guard with dead gray eyes, who glowers at the Christian sympathizer through iron bars, speaks candidly, “For your act of insurrection, your home is now the Château d’If.”

The Château d’If is not a prison for the guilty but for those the State is ashamed of. Here, there are no trials, no judges, no juries. There’s only life imprisonment and rats for company without time off for good behavior or the possibility for parole.

The only positive thing about serving a death sentence at the most feared detention center in England is that each prisoner is allowed one initial visit by a family member. The professor takes advantage of this gratuity, calling on his son.

Oliver walks in, sits, and waits.

His Papá—former communist turned Christian—spots his political “mini-me” at the visitor’s section, inching his way toward him with chains on his wrists and ankles. Father sits and stares at his son through the bullet proof glass.

They each pick up a phone to talk to one another.

“Papá, I need to get you out of here. You don’t belong here with those Christian heretics of time. It’s not right!”

“It may not be right but it’s good that I’m here… I know I don’t belong inside the scholastic walls of pseudoscience, anymore.”

“The faculty are calling for your resignation and recalling all your peer reviewed papers. And the students are burning your books.”

“I was wrong about so many things, Oliver. I believed in shadows and not the heavenly forms. I put my trust in man and not God… These A-Theorists put their faith in God and live in the ‘now’ while persecuted and martyred. They live an entire life of purpose in a single moment in time.”

“But what about me?”

“Now your life has true purpose, Son.”

“Yes, I will hate, hunt down and kill those who’ve put you here.”

“No, your purpose is to forgive and speak the truth regardless of the consequences.”

Oliver’s father walks away in chains but with his soul aiming the sky.

He prays,

Forgive me Father

for persecuting your Son.

My heart and mind

are tied together in tensed time

with a braided rope

that cannot be undone.

[i] I’d like the reader to know that I’m aware that one can be either religious or non-religious and follow either an A-Theory or a B-Theory of time. For dramatic effect, I correlated Christianity with A-Theory, and physicalism, determinism and communism with B-Theory.

[ii] See Parmenides, On Nature.

[iii] Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Introduction.

[iv] Acts 26:14b, ESV.

[v] This dialogue is taken from a story of a martyr from Jesus Freaks: Stories of Those who Stood for Jesus (Tulsa, OK: Albury Publishing, 1999), 185.

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