What Did Socrates Believe In?

Scholars do not know the exact nature of Socrates’ beliefs because he did not leave behind any writings. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, nearly all available knowledge about Socrates comes from the writings of Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes, all of whose reliability is questionable.

AncientGreece.com describes Socrates’ philosophic and political beliefs according to the writings of Xenophon and Plato, who are considered the most accurate sources of information regarding the philosopher. Socrates extolled the value of pursuing truth. He stated that the unexamined life is not worth living. He typically carried out his search for understanding through a process now known as the Socratic method — a series of dialectical questions meant to discern erroneous prejudices from truth.

Wikipedia explains Socrates’ concern with virtue. For Socrates, living a good life was more important than obtaining material wealth. He constantly criticized his fellow Athenians for placing economic and political concerns above the perfection of the soul. Wikipedia also notes Socrates’ unique views on the divine. Socrates’ detractors accused him of blasphemy against the gods of the city. Although Socrates paid homage to the gods, he held an ambiguous monotheistic view of an omnipotent, benevolent and just God. Xenophon described Socrates as a teleologist who believed that God arranges everything for the best.