Plato and Aristotle on Religion Plato and Aristotle are two of the most famous philosophers known to mankind. Plato was a classical Greek philosopher, who was mentored by Socratesand mentored Aristotle.
Plato’s views were extremely influenced by his mentor, Socrates and was also influenced by what he believed was his mentor’s unjust death. Aristotle was also a Greek philosopher. He was mentored by Plato, and mentored Alexander the Great. Even though he was mentored by Plato, they do not necessarily share the same views on things.Plato and Socrates philosophized on a lot of the same subjects (bodies, personality, knowledge, freedom, morality, society, religion, immortality and fulfillment), as seen in the textbook.
The subject that these two philosophers discuss that I will talk about in this paper will be religion. Plato was a polytheist. He believed that there were multiple gods. Plato seemed to be very concerned about how stories regarding the gods were portrayed.
Plato advocated censoring any story told about the gods because children may hear these stories and be exposed to blasphemies.Plato wanted the censorship to occur in order to protect children from said blasphemies. Plato advised that the gods only be portrayed doing acts of good, and not be portrayed as changing (Pomerleau, 24). Plato also believes that our world was created because our universe is a world of change that consists of “coming to be and ceasing to be, but never fully real” (Pomerleau, 24).
He states that since we are limited mortals, we cannot achieve precise, communicable knowledge of the creator. According to Plato, the creator must be good and devoid of selfishness which means that he wishes all things to be like himself (Pomerleau, 24).Plato believes that the gods are so superior that they do not need anything from us; therefore, we limited mortals need not bother trying to bribe the gods with sacrifices. All in all, Plato believes that religion establishes a relationship between reverential humans and concerned gods. I completely disagree with Plato’s views towards religion. All my life I have been a Christian which makes me a monotheist — I believe in one God.
Plato also seemed to try and portray the gods in a certain light (censoring, etc). In the bible, there is no censorship. If God chose to curse his people, it was included in the bible.If he chose to bring famine, it was included in the bible. I do not believe it is necessary to censor any stories about the gods. Since we don’t have any thorough knowledge of the gods, and if we are mere mortals, then who are we to question their actions? Let alone censor them. I believe that censoring what the gods did was putting on a false front. If people are willing to worship the gods, then they should be able to accept the things that the gods did, and have a good understanding that everything happens for a reason.
As far as Plato’s views on religion go, I agree with him about one thing and one thing only.I do believe that the creator wants us to be like him. God made us in his image. In my religion (Christianity), we strive to be more like God because we know that that is what he wants us to do. I also disagree with Plato’s thoughts about sacrifices and such.
In my religion, God is great, and worthy to be praised. He does require things from us. In the bible, it was extremely common to sacrifice things unto Him. In present day, God requires that his people praise him, and do his work. Aristotle is completely opposite of Plato when it comes to religion. He doesn’t really have much to philosophize about.He believed that the main science is theology, which is the study of God. Aristotle is a monotheist, unlike Plato.
Aristotle believed in what he called the Unmoved Mover. Since there is a constant change going on in our world, there must be an eternal cause of motion, which is “an unmoved mover, being eternal, primary, and in act” (Pomerleau, 44). The Unmoved Mover causes change without undergoing change itself. According to Aristotle, the Unmoved Mover is the ultimate philosopher because all it thinks about is itself.
Aristotle believes that humans are not worthy enough to be apart of the Unmoved Mover’s thoughts.I am more like Aristotle than Plato because he is a monotheist. Even though in class we discussed that he was “fuzzy” about how many gods there were, I still came to the conclusion that he was a monotheist. I came to this conclusion because he only discusses one God – the Unmoved Mover. He believes in God, as do I.
The thing that I dislike about Aristotle’s views on religion is the fact that he calls God the Unmoved Mover. He says that the unmoved mover is the ultimate philosopher and only thinks about himself. I agree that God is the ultimate philosopher; however, I believe that He thinks about more than just himself.
God is high and mighty, but even though that is true, He still thinks about you and me. If the Unmoved Mover can cause change, wouldn’t that require some thought other than the thoughts He has about himself? It all just does not seem to add up. Both philosophers have strong views about religion.
I think that it is extremely odd that Aristotle was mentored by Plato, yet his views are nowhere near similar to His. Plato, on the other hand, shares many views with His mentor which makes more sense. As far as who I side with more, I would have to side with Aristotle just for the simple fact that he believes in God, as do I.I found it very odd that Plato wanted to “cover up” the workings of the gods that he believed in. I also disagree with many of Plato’s views on religion so it only makes sense that I believe that Aristotle’s views are much better. Because of my feelings towards both of these philosophers, I believe that Aristotle is the better philosopher. I believe this because he seems so realistic as far as his views go. Not once did he attempt to put on a facade about the God he believes in.
This shows me that he supports his findings, which is something that I believe is necessary for a philosopher to do.