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Socratic religion: Is Socrates irreligious or impious - Essay Example

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Socratic religion: Is Socrates irreligious or impious

Socrates is not irreligious because he categorically states that he actually does believe in some of the same gods that are feted by the state. What Socrates stated that he was against were the stories that were associated with different Greek gods. This is because these tales are not particularly praiseworthy or virtuous in ways that are often associated, in different cultures, with godly character. Socrates even addresses the fact that he regularly offers the sacrifices that are required in various temples of different Greek gods. Many times, Socrates also mentioned a ‘God’- meaning that he might have had monotheistic inclinations. This, however, could have been construed as being an atheist in the Greek city states which promoted belief in a whole slew of gods and goddesses. The Apology, as well as the Euthyphro portrays Socrates as a religious figure who believed in the abilities of deities that are vastly superior to human beings in regards to power and wisdom. Socrates hinted at his belief in a unified God who holds a firm opinion on what constitutes as being un-pious or pious. In the account of Euthyphro, Euthyphro agrees that there are some things are hated and also loved by the gods. The Apology, on the other hand, has the passage where Socrates defends himself from accusations of corrupting the local youth. He also defends himself from the accusation of being an atheist. His defense was systematically carried out through his cross-examination of craftsmen, politicians, and poets. Socrates does not really sanction the intellectualist denunciation of divination's efficacy but accepts the traditional concept that the gods really do communicate with humankind through signs. For all his rationalism, Socrates seems to sanction the validity of the alleged god-given messages found in divination, dreams, and other such customarily accepted signs from gods and goddesses. In the Apology, Socrates spoke of hearing and hearkening to dreams, and also obeying the Delphic oracle. Socrates even encouraged his own students to seek the counsel of diviners and seers. In the ‘Euthyphro’, Socrates adopted a skeptical view of different aspects of traditional Greek belief in the abilities of gods and goddesses even though he still remained deeply religious himself, as was evidenced in the statements “Holiness is what is pleasing to the gods…If you are pleasing the gods with sacrifices, then you are doing what is pleasing to them” (Plato and Gallop 2008). Socrates’ and his Accusers’ view or religion Socrates held the view that the only reasonable understanding of the God(s) was through their appeal as paragons of Virtue and morality. Their personification of these moral values is what rendered them as being worthy of worship. Socrates does not openly accept the gods in the same way that most of the citizens in the city receive them. Socrates’ three accusers, on the other hand, appear to have believed that every citizen has a duty to remain faithful to the state-sanctioned gods and not any others. Meletus, one of his accusers, appeared to be of the opinion that the only way in which Socrates could be said to be a true believer is if he worshipped the gods as stipulated by convention and did not seek to question any of the qualities ascribed to them by the society. To the charge of being an atheist, Socrates countered that a true atheist would not believe in the possibility of the existence of any gods whether they have good or bad attributes. Anytus and Lycon, a representative of orators, also espoused the same beliefs as Meletus but also condemned Socrates for judging the religious beliefs and preferences of the mainstream ancient Greece society. Moreover, it would seem that Lycon, Anytus, and Meletus were mainly aggravated by Socrates’ elevation by the oracle at Delphi which proclaimed him to be one of the wisest men that had ever lived (Plato and ...Show more

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Socrates is not irreligious because he categorically states that he actually does believe in some of the same gods that are feted by the state. What Socrates stated that he was against were the stories that were associated with different Greek gods…
Author : jerroldhackett
Socratic religion: Is Socrates irreligious or impious essay example
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