Did Socrates Believe in the Athenian gods?

982 Words4 Pages
Topic: First Take-Home Essay – Did Socrates Believe in the Gods?

Socrates does not explicitly answer whether or not he believed in the many gods of Athens, but he definitely believed in at least one divinity: his inner voice. Although this may still be considered a form of impiety by an Athenian jury, it is erroneous to describe Socrates as an atheist.
The philosopher’s views on religion were unorthodox to say the least. His actions seem to suggest atheism, as he is more interested in debating wisdom than pursuing favor with the gods. Socrates is not adverse to a religious conversation, though, as he stops on the steps of the courthouse to discuss the nature and meaning of piety with Euthyphro. Although he does not speak in favor of the gods, neither does he move to deny spirituality or divinity.
It is understandably difficult to decipher what Socrates believes himself amid all his questions and circling discourses. Interpreting Socrates is made increasingly more difficult by the fact that he is available today only as a literary character created by Plato. Perhaps the most insight is available in Plato’s text, the Apology, documenting the trial of Socrates when he is brought to court by various Athenian citizens on charges of impiety. As he is forced to discuss himself in relation to the subject of divinity, there is quite a lot to be gleaned from his discourse in this text. Additionally, Plato’s works Crito and Euthyphro take place around the event of the trial,

More about Did Socrates Believe in the Athenian gods?

Get Access