Studying Ancient Philosophers


Why study the ancient philosophers? Most scholars know that they lived under the ancient ideas of multiple gods who were not the one true God. So what is the point of their philosophy? As one student wrote, “Socrates lived long ago. He gave long speeches, so his friends poisoned him.” His long “speeches” were philosophical dialogues designed to completely think through an issue, a practice with which our current culture is very unaccustomed. Even though Socrates lived before the birth of Christ, he recognized that the mythological gods were not real. This is part of the “crime” for which he was executed. He taught the philosophy that the best way to live was by discerning an absolute truth and then living by it, regardless of the consequences. His submission to the death penalty for refusing to be swayed is quite an example. Stand firm in what you have discovered, through much intellectual pursuit, to be the truth. This is the heart of philosophy. It’s quite possible that these early philosophers were preparing the way for ancient societies to dismiss the mythological gods and by this intellectual pursuit that Socrates encouraged, be able to discern the truth of the one true God who would be born in the years to follow. This is in line with Josh McDowell’s conclusion in Evidence That Demands a Verdict, that there is enough evidence in our universe of a Creator and these evidences compel the intellectual to seek and know who this Creator is. We live in an exciting time: many of the theories taught as fact over the last century are being crumbled by these “evidences” as scientists discover more than just the inconsistencies of outward evolutionary processes. It is through philosophical thinking—getting to the bottom of the absolute (complete) truth and accepting nothing less—that these scientists have made these discoveries. If they had been willing to accept the status quo, they may not have pursued the science which did not fit into evolutionary theory.