From the Apology of Socrates
“I have shown, Athenians, as I was saying, that Meletus has no care at all, great or small, about the matter. But still I should like to know, Meletus, in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young. I suppose you mean, as I infer from your indictment, that I teach them not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges, but some other new divinities or spiritual agencies in their stead. These are the lessons which corrupt the youth, as you say.
Then, by the gods, Meletus, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the court, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some gods, and therefore do believe in gods and am not an entire atheist – this you do not lay to my charge; but only that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes – the charge is that they are different gods. Or, do you mean to say that I am an atheist simply, and a teacher of atheism?
Friend Meletus, you think that you are accusing Anaxagoras; and you have but a bad opinion of the judges, if you fancy them ignorant to such a degree as not to know that those doctrines are found in the books of Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, who is full of them. And these are the doctrines which the youth are said to learn of Socrates, when there are not unfrequently exhibitions of them at the theatre (price of admission one drachma at the most); and they might cheaply purchase them, and laugh at Socrates if he pretends to father such eccentricities. And so, Meletus, you really think that I do not believe in any god?
You are a liar, Meletus, not believed even by yourself. For I cannot help thinking, O men of Athens, that Meletus is reckless and impudent, and that he has written this indictment in a spirit of mere wantonness and youthful bravado. Has he not compounded a riddle, thinking to try me? He said to himself: – I shall see whether this wise Socrates will discover my ingenious contradiction, or whether I shall be able to deceive him and the rest of them. For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods, and yet of believing in them – but this surely is a piece of fun.
I should like you, O men of Athens, to join me in examining what I conceive to be his inconsistency; and do you, Meletus, answer. And I must remind you that you are not to interrupt me if I speak in my accustomed manner.
Did ever man, Meletus, believe in the existence of human things, and not of human beings? … I wish, men of Athens, that he would answer, and not be always trying to get up an interruption. Did ever any man believe in horsemanship, and not in horses? or in flute-playing, and not in flute-players? No, my friend; I will answer to you and to the court, as you refuse to answer for yourself. There is no man who ever did. But now please to answer the next question: Can a man believe in spiritual and divine agencies, and not in spirits or demigods?
I am glad that I have extracted that answer, by the assistance of the court; nevertheless you swear in the indictment that I teach and believe in divine or spiritual agencies (new or old, no matter for that); at any rate, I believe in spiritual agencies, as you say and swear in the affidavit; but if I believe in divine beings, I must believe in spirits or demigods; – is not that true? Yes, that is true, for I may assume that your silence gives assent to that. Now what are spirits or demigods? are they not either gods or the sons of gods? Is that true?
But this is just the ingenious riddle of which I was speaking: the demigods or spirits are gods, and you say first that I don’t believe in gods, and then again that I do believe in gods; that is, if I believe in demigods. For if the demigods are the illegitimate sons of gods, whether by the Nymphs or by any other mothers, as is thought, that, as all men will allow, necessarily implies the existence of their parents. You might as well affirm the existence of mules, and deny that of horses and asses. Such nonsense, Meletus, could only have been intended by you as a trial of me. You have put this into the indictment because you had nothing real of which to accuse me. But no one who has a particle of understanding will ever be convinced by you that the same man can believe in divine and superhuman things, and yet not believe that there are gods and demigods and heroes. “
Atheism is not new, many atheists have a conceit that it is a byproduct of modern science, as if we just reached the age of scientific enlightenment and created atheism. Atheism has been around since early Greece and even before. So why is it that people don’t hear about this ancient society of Atheists that was so successful? Because Atheists are not successful, it is an nonviable philosophy for making a nation. God is a sense of self that transcends the individual, without invoking god their is no way to demand the participation of anybody in the culture. Without god you can’t have a cohesive society, you can’t punish, and you can’t issue laws. There is no collective sense of self. The God of a city represents the values of the culture and the highest good. If you can’t anthropomorphize your highest good, you can’t have your heroes and champions, and you can’t have your demons, your anti-christs the anthropomorphization of the worst evil of your society.
Athens might have been the closest thing to an atheist city and it had it’s god Athena the goddess of wisdom.
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
When Karl Marx created communism everybody thought it was science, they thought it couldn’t fail. Nazi Germany, Russia, etc. Science doesn’t tell us what to do, science doesn’t practice itself, science doesn’t do itself. It is done by people and those people have flaws and imperfections, if they are not mentally stable or if they are doing science emotionally, they are doing bad science. Pure Atheist societies are arrogant, because they think victory is assured, and they think themselves infallible and they refuse to look at any evidence to the contrary, their is a self destructive cognitive dissonance in pure atheist societies. Remember if you will the Titanic was thought to be so big that not even god could sink it, the pinnacle of modern technology.