Socrates opted against traditional religion, offering self-knowledge as the path towards religious ecstasy instead. He also believed that sacrifices did not serve their intended purpose in pleasing gods.
Socrates relies on his daimon, or divine spirit, to guide his decisions. This concept parallels Plato’s belief in an eternal and timeless God who exists outside time; everything happening simultaneously before Him.
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Why Does Socrates Believe in God?
Socrates believed that God works towards the betterment of men’s souls, and that man can emulate Him by working towards similar goals. According to him, helping create an equitable society was a supreme form of worship and piety.
Socrates’ religious views were deeply rooted in ancient Greek monotheism, with him believing humans to be fundamentally rational creatures with consciences, as well as that the Cosmos was ordered and intelligible, open to human reason and study, with an objective moral order to follow. He opposed polytheism as being more reasonable.
Socrates was not one for engaging in traditional acts of religious devotion such as sacrifice and pilgrimages to shrines, yet he was nonetheless deeply religious. His openness to divine guidance and his belief that all humans possess goodness demonstrate his profound religiosity.
Meletus made an indefensible claim during his cross-examination of Socrates: that he believed in new gods – an allegation far broader and contradictory to Socrates’ official indictment that he failed to recognize city gods. Responding, Socrates reminded Meletus he was making unfounded allegations.
Meletus’ argument against Socrates’ words regarding the daimonion stemmed from misinterpreting his statement about it. According to McPherran, a daimonion semeion is a nondiscursive acoustic signal or sign which occurs haphazardly and is believed to come from some unknown divine source – not divinity nor guardian angel; more accurately it would be described as “a sort of nondiscursive divine hint or sign”.
Although the Daimonion may restrict certain actions, it does not impose moral obligations upon people. Instead, its sign provides “extrarational information that does not compete with rationality as such” (p. 113) so as not to undermine Socrates’ rationalist philosophy – something McPherran vigorously defends throughout his essay.
Why Does Socrates Believe in New Gods?
Socrates was noted for his unconventional form of religious devotion. While he believed in God, he did not see him operating according to human perception or emotions – instead he saw Him operating according to rational standards that could never be changed by human emotion or feelings about it. Socrates’s view of divinity diverged significantly from traditional practices of prayer and sacrifice for material gain – instead suggesting they were inherently good because the gods did not require our offerings as an act of worship or gratitude.
Socrates’ unorthodox view of divinity made him both an atheist and pious atheist; in some ways he considered himself atheistic while still paying respects to traditional Greek gods such as Zeus, Athena and Hestia; however, he did not believe they had physical bodies that needed tending. Additionally, Socrates rejected Anaxagoras’ theories regarding soul and nature as false.
Socrates’ approach when facing charges of corrupting youth was to sidestep direct dialogue about his god beliefs; understandably so as he wanted to avoid making any incorrect claims that might increase the severity of any possible death sentence against him. Yet still he managed to get into lengthy discourses that addressed issues related to gods.
He claimed his unwillingness to participate in political life of the city was caused by a divine sign, while knowing nothing. Additionally, he maintained his belief that no harm should come to any person, friend or foe alike – yet never provided an account of ethics that could explain these convictions.
Socrates’ defense speech consisted of numerous arguments designed to prove his innocence of corruption of youth charges; his main point being that he never taught anyone anything and his only function was making people aware of their ignorance. Furthermore, Socrates used an argument known as an Elenchus that involves questioning another’s answers until they cannot defend them anymore and using that as evidence for or against something; according to Socrates however, an Elenchus cannot prove truth or falsity, it simply indicates inconsistency with other premises and premises that may also exist within other premises – this meant Socrates was exonerated of corruption charges against him by being completely exonerated of corrupting youth charges brought against him by being charged by his colleagues on trial of all three charges;
Why Does Socrates Believe in the Old Gods?
Socrates was deeply religious, yet his modern and Enlightenment portrait either ignores or distorts this fact. He believed in an infinite Creator who communicates with all of creation – Socrates described this God as being both wise and compassionate; in essence the harmony and order of Cosmos depended upon its existence due to this divine being’s existence.
Socrates’ beliefs put him in conflict with many of the young listeners he taught, who accused him of teaching new gods while failing to pay homage to traditional Athenian deities. Socrates held views about this deity which differed significantly from those held by most Athenians.
Socrates presents several arguments in his dialogues to support this view, with Euthyphro’s debate with Socrates regarding piety being one of the key examples.
Socrates believed that religious people should do whatever pleased the gods. While Euthyphro pointed out that gods may have multiple desires and interests, according to Socrates they cannot be pleased by any action which does not serve these interests and desires. Furthermore, Socrates asserted that virtues like justice and righteousness were part of divine nature and would therefore be rewarded by gods in some form or fashion.
Socrates’ reasoning was that, since there is only one God, all gods must agree on what constitutes justice and righteousness; also sharing their desire for truth and love of beauty – otherwise, they could no longer be considered gods at all. He argued that their absence renders them no longer fitting for godly status.
Socrates argues that since gods are eternal, their bodies must also be timeless. He believes death to be the only factor which could revoke something’s eternality; thus wisdom, which represents divinity, must remain timeless and permanent.
Socrates often refers to his “daimonion,” or the divine voice within, as an integral source of guidance in his actions and philosophy. Socrates found comfort in praying to this daimonion as part of his everyday routine and spiritual practice.
Why Does Socrates Believe in God’s Will?
Socrates believed inherently good gods were in Athens and had sent him as God’s representative to examine and urge his fellow citizens to put soul before wealth, reputation and power. Socrates saw himself in subordinate relation to them just like an army soldier is to their commander or craftsperson is to their master builder on construction sites; believing the gods knew best what would benefit humankind they would never disagree on what was right and wrong morally.
Socrates also argued that people could emulate God through working towards the improvement of human souls. According to Socrates, this was the highest form of worship and piety; hence he proposed learning and philosophy as the true way to honor their gods instead of offering sacrifices or other traditional acts of reverence.
Philosophers believe the Universe to be orderly and understandable to human reason, with moral standards existing objectively; such beliefs provide a solid basis for faith in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
Socrates’ primary belief was that God communicated with humanity, and had an plan for humanity. According to Socrates, this divine plan aimed at creating a just society and was described by him as his daimonion–an experience in which you hear divine guidance guiding your life–which always proved accurate for him and regarded ignoring this guidance as unreasonable behavior.
Socrates was known for his unique understanding of Cosmos and God that set him apart from other Athenians; thus leading many of them to make serious accusations against him, such as teaching new gods. Yet his views of faith versus reason continue to influence philosophical thought even today, something we will delve deeper into later. But for now let’s return to Socrates’ trial where Meletus claimed Socrates had been guided by gods to corrupt Athens youth.