The Sophist Trap

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If you come to the sophisticated realization that religion is full of much nonsense, don’t fall into the trap of the sophists. The Sophists were philosophic teachers who taught that there is no such thing as absolute truth, but only relative and subjective truths that hold for a given person at a given time. Like Socrates, they sought to liberate young minds from uncritical assumptions (they did this by using rhetorical skills to demonstrate that for any rational argument there is always an equally skillful rational counter-argument.) But unlike Socrates, they stopped here – and having wiped out everything that had guided their students’ lives and given them meaning, they simply left them empty.

Socrates, on the other hand, showed his young followers that by dropping their unfounded assumptions about what is true, they arrived at the BEGINNING of their quest for knowledge. This is where real spirituality (the hidden essence of all our religions, lost beneath the dead weight of fundamentalist silliness) begins. Without this new beginning, spiritual emptiness and intellectual collapse are the end of the road. But blind childish faith, and spiritual emptiness, are not the only choices. Breaking free of the shackles of religious “belief” is not the end of the spiritual journey. It’s the pre-requisite.