Socrates - Apology of Socrates - Divine voices
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Hermogenes stated that ... Socrates came before the jury after his adversaries had charged him with not believing in the gods worshipped by the state and with the introduction of new deities in their stead and with corruption of the young, and replied:
“One thing that I marvel at in Meletus, gentlemen, is what may be the basis of his assertion that I do not believe in the gods worshipped by the state; for all who have happened to be near at the time, as well as Meletus himself,—if he so desired, — have seen me sacrificing at the communal festivals and on the public altars.
As for introducing ‘new divinities,’ how could I be guilty of that merely in asserting that a voice of God is made manifest to me indicating my duty?
Surely those who take their omens from the cries of birds and the utterances of men form their judgments on ‘voices.’ Will any one dispute either that thunder utters its ‘voice,’ or that it is an omen of the greatest moment? Does not the very priestess who sits on the tripod at Delphi divulge the god's will through a ‘voice’?
But more than that, in regard to God's foreknowledge of the future and his forewarning thereof to whomsoever he will, these are the same terms, I assert, that all men use, and this is their belief.
The only difference between them and me is that whereas they call the sources of their forewarning ‘birds,’ ‘utterances,’ ‘chance meetings,’ ‘prophets,’ I call mine a ‘divine’ thing; and I think that in using such a term I am speaking with more truth and deeper religious feeling than do those who ascribe the gods' power to birds.
Now that I do not lie against God I have the following proof: I have revealed to many of my friends the counsels which God has given me, and in no instance has the event shown that I was mistaken.”