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Helen Brehm

2/18/10

The Greek Philosophers

In the minds of the ancient Greek philosophers, we find three drastically


different worldviews spanning only three generations apart. Looking
comparatively at these, Homer’s and the biblical worldviews is an effective
way of examining ourselves to determine which we find the most plausible.

Socrates claimed to believe in the Greek gods, but he also professed to have
a divine voice which speaks to him in admonitions. Plato’s god was to a
greater extent the form of moral virtue, the perfect idea of virtue that he
believed every person possessed. Aristotle believed that thought was the
purest state of mind and the pinnacle of being. If there is any god at all, says
Aristotle, he must necessarily be all good; so he must be in a constant state
of pure thought. All three were convinced that whatever god exists must be
good and just. They also all agree that man is good by nature and that acting
according to that nature, namely justly, ensured a happy life. They differed
on the question of life after death, however. Socrates deduced that justice
was the ultimate good of the soul, and that whoever was just in their human
life was guaranteed an afterlife of happiness. Unjust people were likewise
doomed into a hell which he described as perpetual boredomS. Plato
contrarily belied the soul had no afterlife, but rather stayed on earth in a
continuous cycle of reincarnation; the next inhabitant determined by the kind
of life it had previously led. Aristotle believed that because of the basic form
of each soul, it could not reincarnate into a different being, even that of
another human. Instead, his view was that there was no life after death; that
the soul is destroyed with the body.
Homer believed in all the gods of Greek mythology. These gods are ruled by
their desires and use them along with their current emotions to distinguish
right and wrong. These emotions also played the biggest role in deciding
what they should do with their little chess pieces, the humans. Homer’s
works, in all likelihood, showed the nature of man to be neutral, his
experiences and surroundings being the two most prominent factors in the
outcome of a person’s character. There is no absolute necessity for moral
consistency as one’s fate is already decided even before they were born. Life
after death, however, was largely decided by how much someone pleased the
gods, which could be by good or bad conduct.

Unlike the previous madcap worldviews, the Christian’s is clear and concise.
The God of the bible is perfect and all powerful, and He loves each and every
one of us personally. Unfortunately man disobeyed Him, and every one of us
is guilty and corrupt. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, we would all be condemned to
eternal damnation. If one believes in Him, his soul will go to the real heaven.
If not, he will receive his deserved fate of suffering in Hell

Choosing the strongest worldview from these is not a difficult task. In each of
the philosopher’s cases, they provide the tools for their own demise when
one takes a close enough look. For Homer, his beliefs contradicted
themselves without the need for examination. Once again, the theology of
the bible proves the most reliable.