Inspirational Articles

Provocative Thoughts From The Next Generation

Socrates and Plato: The religions of the world.

“A what?”

“A world-wide gathering of thinkers, historians, religious leaders and rulers! Please my friend we must go!”

There on his grand table lay an invitation addressed to Socrates of Athens to attend the world’s first annual “peace meeting” in Egypt the following week. Plato had run in and slapped the letter on the desk, despite the fact that Socrates had been hiding under the table itself.

“I won’t go. I have a cooking lesson that night. Roasted Pork with a cherry glaze, I’ve been looking forward to this one since I signed up for the class.”

“Socrates, I am so glad that you have taken my advice to heart about looking into other hobbies that offend less people, but I don’t think you quite grasp the importance of this event! It’s the chance of a lifetime!”

“Guess we will have to wait for re-incarnation then.”


Socrates crawled out from beneath the desk and took a close look at the invitation.

“I have heard that the brew is quite tasty in Egypt. Perhaps we could make beer-battered fish and chips one night? But where will we stay? I’m tired of all these chains and knock offs. If we are traveling using the Academies money we better stay at nothing less that the Luxor.”

“I thought you might say that.” From within his robe Plato pulled out two more letters. “Two room reservations at the Luxor Pyramid Resort and Spa.”

Socrates’ eyebrows raised a good inch as he stood up and looked fondly upon the picture of the giant pyramid that was being used as Africa’s finest new getaway. “How in the world did you convince the school board to splurge and land us these accommodations?”

“I simply told them that you wouldn’t attend the conference for anything less. They seem to agree with me that your attendance would be a great source of help for the peace talks.”

Socrates quickly put all of the parchments on his desk away and started throwing things into a briefcase.

Plato: “What are you doing? The conference isn’t till next week. We don’t have to set sail for a few days still.”

Socrates: “You don’t think I know that after sailing with an Olympic team all around our sea! I’m going to go to the tanning parlor! I can’t be seen in Egypt like this! I’ll be the laughing stalk of the Pharaoh!”

A Week Later

“Socrates you really must stop!”

“Non-sense! I have only tried 14 of the 31 flavors. We must try all the famous Egyptian beer before we head into battle!”

“Battle? Socrates, please stop. We are here for PEACE talks!”

“Ha! Did you learn nothing from reading the Iliad? Nothing is what it seems. Except for the cool sweet wheat in the brew, my, my! It is the best in all the lands. Another round!”

The two men sat poolside by the bar in the luxurious Luxor Resort. Built right next to the Nile River, the views were spectacular. Alligators swam up the shores, varieties of birds flew through the air and cut into the cool breeze and there poolside sat two tourists, one of whom was now shouting at the other guests.

“Carpe Diem! Carpe Diem!”

“Socrates please stop, that man with the huge rod is glaring at us.”

The man with a tall staff next to him, and dressed in a colored robe, walked over from the other side of the Jacuzzi and sat next to the two Greeks.

“I assume you are the infamous Plato and Socrates of Athens?”

“Why yes good sir. And whom might you be that we have the pleasure of meeting?”

“Can’t you see Plato! From the length of his beard and the way that pool of water got out of his way on his walk over to us. This is Moses!”

Moses: “Right you are. I am so glad you two have made it. Being that you are not religious I believe you will bring a sense of peace and a neutral view to our talks.”

P:“The first discussion is tonight, is it not?”

M: “Indeed. We have Confucius and Lao Tzu joining us from the Far East. A few aborigines from down under. The magicians and religious advisors of Egypt. Some of Muhammad’s very own prophets and of course my brother Aaron and myself.”

S: “I know this may be sort of a silly question, but isn’t there supposed to be an actual war going on before we have peace talks to end the war?”

M: “Oh dear. Didn’t you read the topic summary handout we sent with the invitation? I thought that was what stroked your curiosity!”

S: “I’m afraid that I am quite behind with my student’s papers. Aristotle keeps turning in every subject of his studies to me and won’t cease bothering me until I have read and critiqued them all.”

Moses looked a bit confused and turned to Plato for an explanation.

P: “Ah, well you see I was waiting till we had some time this afternoon during the camel ride to talk. Socrates, you should know that we are all gathering to discuss the roots of what we might think the source of the world and life is and from there hope to establish peace along the way!”

S: “In that case, (yelling) ANOTHER ROUND! It will never be done Plato. I’m afraid men are more stubborn than the Red Sea, Moses. You are going to have a hard time getting all those men to come to agreement. We could be here for eternity.  And I have a lecture series on planets to finish, not to mention more cooking classes.”

Plato and Moses sat talking for a bit with the focus of two professional scrabble players in the championship round awaiting to see if the other could put the game away with a 25-point noun.

P: “When does this meeting start anyway?”

M: “It started about an hour ago, we are late.”

P: “Good Heavens! Why didn’t you say anything Moses?”

M: “I thought we should make a fashionably late entrance to properly give our Socrates the attention he deserves.”

The men turned and looked at Socrates, he laid passed out in his chair snoring.

P: “Perhaps we should wait a bit longer.”

M: “No, no, the time is now, sunset is nearly upon us.”

P: “Very well.”

The two men, with Socrates perched between them, walked into the Religious Leaders Conference. One large table sat men from every known region and religion. In front of each of them was their own version of a holy scripture. Before all of them respectfully sat the Torah, the Koran, the Bible, the Analects, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Tao Te Ching and so on… In front of Plato and Socrates only stood a blank piece of parchment; neither of the men were religious and only prescribed to the idea of the Greek Gods because serious consequences were in store for them if they were to rebel against popular beliefs.

By the time the Greeks and Moses had walked in the room it looked exactly as you might imagine one cage that had to hold several different wild animals in it at once, with only one frozen food dinner for all of them… Yelling, arguing, staring, vows of silence, meditating, cursing and demon casting all seemed to be the thing to do at this party. But after listening into these arguments for nearly an hour finally one conversation caused Socrates to raise his head and listen in attentively…

“Are you crazy? You must be out of your mind? That is if you do indeed have one. There is no way in Hell that our Sovereign God would ever let such a disgraceful and dirty bunch of scoundrels such as yourselves through the gates of Heaven without first repenting and accepting His Son, and our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Socrates didn’t recognize the man that was speaking but he was older with white hair like Socrates. Unlike Socrates however he was in an all-white robe that covered his entire body and he had a large white hat that was the largest in the room. He looked of Polish decent and spoke with a strong and commanding authority.

A shorter man with black hair and a strange and small hat on the back of his head sat stunned looking at the man in the great white dress. At last he opened his mouth and said, “All things considered John, we do recognize the same God. It is the others in this room that we should be concerned about for now. The poor people of this world have walked away from Yahweh and now have committed the sin of heathen worship.”

“I resent that,” a young boy with beautiful brown skin sitting away from the table under a tree responded to the small man’s last comment. The boy was beautifully dressed and, although very young, notably captivated the attention of everyone in the room. “Yes, it is true that my people and I choose not to worship your Jesus or your Yahweh or even Muhammad’s Allah, but to call us heathens seems like a stretch of anybody’s imagination. We choose to worship the nature and beauty of life itself. Cherishing every breath and looking for the eternal reflection of the creator in every piece of this universe. We live to appreciate and explore the wonderful mysteries of this world and take part in their cultivation.”

“The boy worships everything and nothing, this is very dangerous, and the gods will not be pleased.” This comment came from an Egyptian man who stood by the side of short fellow. “I have seen the gods take harsh punishment on my people for false worship and egotistical praise.”

Moses audibly muttered so that everyone could hear him, “Oh shut it Pharaoh’s boy before my God gives me the glory to once again embarrass you in front of a crowd.”

“Enough! Must we come together to only bicker? Most certainly we could have done that afar from the comfort of our own homes?” A man in a white robe spoke swiftly and sternly for all to hear. “It is time we hear from a new voice and perspective. We have all agreed to hear from the Greeks, Plato and his student Socrates.” (Plato looked confused but with a mischievous grin from Socrates’ lips he knew that he must have switched their titles somewhere along the line without his knowing.)

 “Wise men from afar, what can we do? We cannot seem to agree on anything and many times our tempers and beliefs lead us to war and to killing each other over these very arguments that we have conducted here tonight. Wise Plato, young Socrates, what perspectives can you open our eyes to? Tales of your talents have traveled far and wide, enough to capture the attention of everyone in this room.”

At that moment, Plato stood, not knowing exactly what to say, but praying that the words would find their way out of mouth upon the speech. “I am afraid I see no room for peace here. When I take a look at you men that is exactly what I see, men. And as far as I can see, you men would rather die defending your beliefs about your own God or gods than rather embrace the possibility of another’s. How fragile and weak you must be, thinking that your gods cannot defend themselves from each other, or is it your gods who are weak?” The room was tense and quiet, Socrates looked up hoping that his young friend wouldn’t press on to harshly in fear of their lives…. “The simple fact of the matter is there is no chance for peace where it is not wanted.” A grumbling from all of the men started with shouts of “we want peace!”

“Yes,” Socrates responded, “but more than peace you want your way to be the only way, the right way, the way that in your belief, it should be. I come with a warning for all of you, and for your children and your families.

Is it better to live in a small cage where everything is the way it should be or better to live in the landscapes of the world where the world doesn’t always match with the way the world should be?”

Socrates stopped; he could tell that almost everyone in the audience had completely no idea what he was talking about. “I really hate it when this happens,” he thought to himself.

“Brothers, allow me to tell you a story. One day a young man not much older than the one sitting underneath that tree met a beautiful girl. As soon as he laid eyes on her he knew that he would not be happy until she was his. So he set out to marry her and not too much time went by before they were joined together in matrimony. At that young age they had their first child and they were very happy together. The boy was a good father and the girl was an attentive mother. Soon the couple was pregnant with a second child, they were overjoyed and the young man was now finishing up his education. After our father got a job they were blessed with a third child. The father took much of his time to play with the children. Many times he would make it a point to spend alone time with each child so that he could watch them grow into their own person. A year or two later his beautiful wife was pregnant with a fourth child. The family decided to move into a bigger house and decided to move to another area entirely to be in a better community for the children. The people in this knew community spoke a different language and dressed differently from the area where the oldest children grew up, at first the change was a difficult one but they all soon adapted, that is until the family had yet again anther child! And a few years later another! And years later another! And the pattern continued until there were twelve children in total.

Our father however always spent time with all of his children, still taking the time to be with them alone so that he could see them for who they wanted to be. By the time the youngest was born the oldest had moved out and had a job and found a wife to start a family of his own. The whole family, twelve children and their two parents, were rarely ever together because they began to move to different areas and countries of the world. Some of the grandchildren didn’t even speak the same language! They dressed differently, drank different beer (Plato shot a disapproving look at Socrates) and all in all were very different people.

Finally a very sad day arrived when the father died very suddenly. His wife, the beautiful girl, who was now an old woman had been so in love with her husband that she soon died after him with a broken heart. The day of the funeral came and all of the children and their children were in attendance. One by one the twelve children told their favorite story about a time with their father, how much he had loved them and how he had taken the time out of his busy schedule to spend time with them alone. Always asking questions and encouraging them to go after whatever it is they wanted to do.

When the time of mourning was over however a fight broke out between the children. Their father had been a very smart man with money and had saved up a fortune that none of the children knew about, his only request was that his children come to an agreement of what to do with the money and that it be something they thought he would be thankful for. The only problem was not even two of the children could agree upon what their father would have wanted them to do with the money. They had all spent so much time with him and time alone talking with him that they all had their own opinions about what he would have wanted them to do. From an outsiders perspective you might think that these children were talking about a dozen different fathers!

Because the children could never come to agreement of what to do with the money it simply stayed where it was rotting away being put to no use whatsoever. The children’s differences in opinions were so strong that they could not even come together to fulfill their father’s last wish.

The group of men now sat silent, Plato had an expression on his face that looked like he had seen a ghost. But instead the expression was simply the reaction to the shock of all these men sitting in a room and yet there being a moment of silence.

“Brothers, this is simply a parable but seeing how you all do seem to have some similar understanding of this thing or person you call God I wouldn’t want to let it go to waste. And imagine, if the children couldn’t even agree on who their father had been, what chance of the grandchildren? Or the great grandchildren for that matter?

In this case there is no need for argument. Perhaps you all have a father in common but he chooses to have his own relationship with each and every single one of you. And imagine the beauty and freedom that allows each and everyone of you to take in your own relationships! Instead of binding others to your truth alone and to who you are, you have the opportunity of letting others be themselves, even in so much that when you have children they could swear you are a different person to each of them!”

“But Socrates,” interjected Moses, “we have some very strict laws in our tribes that many times contradict the beliefs of those who you are suggesting could be our own blood!”

“Indeed I am. But you seem to be upset by this point?”

“Well, yes of course! It seems to me that if we all had the same father we would all believe the same things!”

“Oh come, come, haven’t you been listening at all? The fact that these different brothers and sisters have gone on to develop their own laws is a mere testament to how beautiful and significant this Father’s creation was and still is! The fact that not only there are different laws but contradictory ones expresses that the greatest gift of all has been given, the freedom to choose for yourself!”

“Then what exactly are you suggesting Greek?” the young boy from under the tree asked curiously. “We stop our fighting because we are all somehow or might be children of the same god even if we understand him and know him differently.”

“I really hate leading questions.”


“Well if you are going to make a point then just say the point instead of trying to make it a question to put it in my mouth for Zeus’ sake.”

The boy was quite confused, he had never met someone who was this straight forward with anybody. “Well, what are you suggesting then?”

“Not really anything, as far as I can see this way of life will continue. As siblings wrestle and fight we will fight and even kill each other until we have made our point. As children move out to create their own rules different from their parents’, so will our colonies rebel and create new republics and countries. But perhaps next time before you slice each other’s throats or condemn each other to your respective distasteful ideas of a rotten afterlife you can embrace that all in all, you aren’t so different, after all.”