WHERE IS SOCRATES WHEN WE NEED HIM?
The Greek philosopher, Socrates, as you may know, was sentenced to death in the year 399 BCE for Impiety, which came down to this: he asked too many questions of religious men.
We live in a world today that is flooded with questions directed at various search engines. We’re awash with information, some of it useful and some………..?
Google’s “Top 10” search questions of 2022 per www.pagetraffic.com/blog/most-asked-questions-on-google/ are listed as follows with monthly stats on average:
1. What to watch? – 9,140,000
2. Where’s my refund? – 7,480,000
3. How you like that? - 6,120,000
4. What is my IP address? – 4,090,000
5. How many ounces in a cup? – 2,740,000
6. What time is it? - 1,830,000
7. How I met your mother? – 1,830,000
8. How to screenshot on mac? – 1,830,000
9. Where am i? – 1,500,000
10. How to lose weight fast? – 1,500,000
None of these are what I have asked, but then again who asked me?
It was the late Andy Rooney who used to warn: Beware of those who have all the answers, for they will be asked the most questions. Which is why Google is worth many fortunes today!
As you probably know, I represent a particular spiritual faith commonly identified as Christianity.
Some of you are booing already.
If so, I would join the boo-chorus if related to Christianity’s bad habit of offering answers to only our own questions instead of those asked by others. Or our even worse habit of offering answers but then taking offense if these are then questioned.
I think it’s time we Christians stopped answering our own questions and took on those who have good reason to question us as “outsiders” instead. Those like, well, how about Socrates if he were here in today’s world. What might his “Top 10” list of questions be for Christianity today, I wonder.
Maybe Socrates, given his impiety and all, would ask things like this:
1. What if the ancient premise undergirding Christianity is wrong when assuming God’s requirement of a blood sacrifice to win His forgiveness and prevent our eternal punishment? (That is, punishment for our sins of wrongly exercising our human free will.)
2. Why did Jesus die if not to serve as the blood sacrifice for our sins to save us from God’s angry and eternal punishment?
3. What if the idea of God’s being a male who demands to be worshipped and praised was really the psychological projection of males who created God in their own narcissistic self-image?
4. What if male narcissism is what informs the belief that God will punish those who fail to adequately bow down and apologize to him?
5. What if God turns out to be a non-binary altruist instead of a male narcissist?
6. What if God created us as humans to be an altruistic in that same image, whether binary or non-binary in gender?
7. What if an altruistic God lovingly created us humans with our own free will for choosing whether to then be altruistic like Him/Her or to be narcissistic, controlling, demanding and punitive?
8. What if an altruistic God was crucified as demanded by narcissistic males not as “other sacrifice” for His/Her own appeasement but rather as “self-sacrifice” for our own atonement?
9. What if our atonement depends not upon the “other sacrifice” of Christ upon the cross but upon our own “self-sacrifice” with Christ upon taking up our own cross and following Him?
10. What if God’s desire is even more for our own obedience in following Christ’s way of life than for our sacrifice in following his way of death?
Quite obviously I have no way of know whether Socrates would ask any of these questions. I do know they’re very different from the questions we Christians typically ask ourselves. And I would like to think that we would command a lot more cheers and a lot fewer boos if we could graciously answer the hard questions others might ask instead of the easy ones we ask ourselves.
If Christianity is to ever carry forward the image of altruism and not narcissism, we had better come up with some new answers for some new questions. Their questions and not ours.
Where is Socrates when we need him?