Socrates was an early Greek philosopher who had many
pupils, but even more enemies. In 399 B.C., he was
charged with denying the existence of the gods of the
state and in turn creating new divinities. By teaching,
he was corrupting the youth of Athens. He pleaded his
case in Plato's Apology, but he was eventually convicted
and executed. In this essay, I intend to prove that
Socrates did not deny the existing Greek gods, but only
believed in one god and was in fact one of the first
monotheists in history.
In Plato's Euthyphro, Socrates and Euthyphro have a
friendly conversation in which Socrates asks Euthyphro to
define the word piety. Euthyphro points to his own
actions-prosecuting his father for murdering a servant in
anger-as a proper definition for piety. He then cites
examples from the actions of Zeus and Cronos who both
turned against their fathers for their wrongdoings.
Socrates apparently doesn't believe in the Greek gods as
he replies, "May not this be the reason...why I am
charged with piety-that I cannot away with these stories
of the gods?" (Euthyphro, p.5) Socrates asks Euthyphro if
he actually believes whether or not tehse storis of the
gods are true and Euthyphro immediately repl
Once again, he seems uninterested and kindly tells Euthyphro to recount the tales another time when Socrates has leisure, which we can clearly see is sarcastic. While defending the charge of denying the existence of gods, he interrogated Meletus who was the man bringing the charges against him. Socrates never even mentioned any other gods. This idea is a staple in most monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Socrates was a monotheist because the Greek gods couldn't satisfy him. He said that suicide was something that was not right and therefore would probably lead to an unhappy afterlife. The evidence brought forth should be more than enough to prove my argument. Meletus went as far to say that Socrates was an atheist. Socrates preached a few teachings that are almost comparable to those of Jesus. I believe that to this day no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to God" (Apology, p. He defended this investigation by stating, "For this is the command to God. Now, Socrates has admitted that he believes in divine beings, and there is only one which he mentions, only as God.