The Socratic Method and Moral Relativism

A lecture on Plato’s work, particularly his account of the Socratic dialogues, frequently attracts and inspires some university students to bring about a myriad of subjects that relate to morality. As is often the case, these students formulate questions in a way that points out to a commonly desired response: that what is considered “wrong” is backed by societal norms and not “truth.” The next step is then to argue that “truth” is fundamentally a mode of perception of reality. And the conclusion is to assert that each of us has a “truth” of our own, and that it does not require validation by others who do not accept or share it.

However, the relentless search for wisdom carried on by Socrates, which generated the form of inquiry known as the Socratic method, is not a search for answers that vary according with the context, but rather for answers that always apply. Hence why Socrates was not convinced that there were wise men in Athens: every inquired person resorted to relativism to define moral concepts. For instance, Euthyphro’s attempt at defining “pious” ultimately demonstrated that it was relative to circumstance and, therefore, lacked a referent. Conversely, the problem was not that a universal definition of the concept did not exist, but that it had not yet been found.

Socrates also looked up to the Gods for wisdom and there were truths to abide to as established by this higher power. Such truths were not relative to circumstance either. Although he has argued in the Apology that even the Gods disagree among themselves, he reiterated in his inquiry that such disagreement happens sometimes and not consistently. His unwillingness to escape from prison after being sentenced to death set an example as to where he stood when it came to morality: he preferred to die than to transgress the laws of the city, under which all citizens lived in collective agreement and with the respect (blessing) of the Gods.

For Socrates, one does something wrong out of ignorance. As such, his inquiries did not aim to point out the impossibility of universal truths in face of individual perceptions. Instead, he engaged in a truly scientific method hoping to unveil the rules in motion that regulate life. He sought to find them, not question their existence. And he believed that wisdom was intrinsically related to both knowledge and application of these rules.

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Judging vs. Awareness

I believe the term “judging” is misused in our times. The term is often associated directly with a sentence (condemnation), but a lot of times what is considered “judging” or “judgmental” is simply awareness.

There is nothing wrong with being aware that someone’s actions or character makes him/her bad company for us. But it is important to leave it at that. If we cross the line and start wishing that person would be taught a lesson, then that’s definitely judging – and really none of us is in a good position to judge (and condemn) anyone. There is one passage from the Bible that was probably the hardest for me to face in my own life:

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Although I knew I was mostly just aware of how people’s behavior hurt me as well as others, it took me years to really face the fact I often crossed the line and expected those people to be taught a lesson. That’s often our response to hurt and frustration. And it’s also the very reason why hurt and frustration never go away.

Forgiving and genuinely loving others in a spiritual, fraternal way, as Jesus teaches us, is what’s healed me from that horrible and neverending cycle of judging others. I also owe it to my conversion, because knowing that God loves me in a way I will never be loved by anyone else creates the strength in me to share that wonderful love with others – by loving and forgiving them. Always.

Once again, loving and liking are very different states of consciousness though, so if you feel that you can’t love everyone, I’d recommend checking out my article on the difference between the two right here: We can love everyone, but liking is a different story.

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The way, the truth and the life

Essentially faith is about a deep and complete confidence in what you don’t know – yet. And obviously none of us is really fully capable of that. We need our safety nets, our docks and ports. I also suspect faith is very particular to our universe due to that small little detail called spacetime that we’ve chosen to regulate our lifestyle in society.

In my life “post-conversion” and “post-Quantum Mechanics” I have experienced extraordinary moments of change thanks to having faith more than “knowing” guiding my decisions.

It is liberating to have the conscience that I am free to make these decisions and that no matter how much I try to rationalize or calculate what I do next, ultimately there is no way to really “know” whether that is right or wrong, good or bad. Only God knows that and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and contributes to our spiritual growth. 

This also leads back to Jesus – and is where it originates. I was an atheist for 15 years after 18 years as an ignorant, spiritually confused and disconnected Catholic. And it was only after my conversion that I got to a point where I was ready to take that step into the “abyss” of not “knowing” and allow myself to walk that “invisible” path that leads to God even though I didn’t physically see it. The wonderous thing to it is that once you take that step, suddenly you just know the path is there, deep inside of you.

Impossible to put it into words though. You’d have to walk it to really understand and, most importantly, know it.

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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I never join any conversations about Trump and I have three main reasons for that:

1. I believe everything happens for a reason and good can come out of absolutely anything or anyone. That’s the beauty of God’s creation.

2. I have very little tolerance of whining and self-victimization. 

3. I don’t wait for any type of leadership to set good things in motion in my life – I try to be that leadership myself. 

In Jesus’ words: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8


We can love everyone, but liking is a different story

There is no doubt that we love in imperfect ways, given that we are imperfect. Yet I have found that the deeper I connect with God, the more love I seem to have to give. And the more I open myself to loving everyone, the easier and the more powerful my love becomes. I am at a point where I genuinely feel love for everyone. This means I forgive everyone and accept the fact that we are all on the same boat: imperfect, full of flaws – in other words (Biblical words), we’re all ‘sinful’.

Liking, though, is a whole different story. Liking requires a character ‘match’. A sense of mutual agreement, identification, a strong sharing of values or at the very least getting along – peacefully.

There are people I love, but I absolutely will not seek their company.

There are people for whom I pray and I wish them well, but their company doesn’t do me good – so I avoid it.

There are people that I have forgiven and love, but that doesn’t mean I have to bring them back into my life.

There are very clear examples of relationships that simply don’t work out for a lack of compatibility. There’s no good reason to let people (back) into our lives to establish connections that are not edifying. It is very important for us to be aware of what, or who, edifies us:

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” – Corinthians 10:23

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Being Christian doesn’t equal being religious

I was raised as a Catholic and “turned” atheist when I was 18. The reason why I turned atheist was because I had never had a genuine connection with God and could not accept that nasty God that all religious people around me seemed to believe in.

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to explain to anyone how I am Christian without being religious. Since I experienced a conversion, I know for a fact that there is a God. But I don’t have any desire to go to church, because I understand from Jesus’ teachings that we are the church – take a look at Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” And in case you were wondering: yes, Jesus is still there with you even if no one else is!

Again, God frees us, but this profound connection does come with taking full responsibility for who we are and what we do. Just listen to what Paul, who also experienced a conversion, has to say about that in Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. You will quickly find that your connection with God creates a deep self-awareness and awareness of how we impact others. Thus you simply won’t want to do certain things because you know they are not good for you or others around you.

So if you’re feeling a little “lost” trying to reconcile your faith in God and Jesus (which are one) with church membership, don’t. You do not need to go to a building to have a connection with God. In fact, a lot of people who go to a building do not have a connection with God, but with religion.

“So what do I do?”, you must be asking. Well, you are free – and I would think that being free you would not want to make choices that don’t compromise your freedom. You have Jesus’ teachings and as long as you keep him as your hermeneutical key to understand everything else in the bible and in life, you will be good – and you will keep your freedom.

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I spent 33 years hoping to find, and often seeking, a profoundly unique connection with others. There were even a few moments when I was convinced that I had found it. In such moments, I longed to be known to a depth that would exhaust every single facet of my character. I desired to know the other person just as deeply. I wanted sameness and synchronicity. But ultimately what I really, really wanted was to be loved unconditionally. However, once the masks fell, it proved a real challenge to negotiate differences and I was left in a state of confusion: Why did all these connections began so dazzling, so powerful… almost divine! And yet they all turned out as repetitive, mundane representations of every other type of connection that’s out there?

I never thought I would find a satisfying explanation for this puzzle that’s haunted every connection I’ve had with people along the way. But I did. And it’s changed everything.

I believe that what I was seeking was not merely a connection, but a reconnection. With God, not with a person. Not from this life, but from even before I was born. And I kept identifying it exactly where it should be in its primal stage: the very beginning of a love interest or inspiring friendship. That’s when there are still no “irreconcilable” differences getting in the way of love, or better yet – that’s when we’re all playing “perfect”. We’re all “good” under such a light, the light of freshness, hope and promise.

Knowing that has helped me accept one truth: I am not going to genuinely find and sustain this reconnection through being with someone else. I simply cannot attain it. God is the one who loves me just as I always wanted to be loved and knows me exactly as I have always wanted to be known. This reconnection is already in me and comes from God. The realization of such a fundamental truth freed me.

Who’s the love of my life? God. No one else could fill such infinite shoes.

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Peace of mind

I had been an atheist for 15 years when I experienced a conversion. It was very sudden, as it always is. Though I’m not religious, I am a Christian. And what I would like to share today is that a genuine connection with God brings profound peace of mind – in God. It is wonderful and almost feels like magic powers.

Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think or expect, life doesn’t become easier though. There are still lots of tribulations. The difference is you know that is how it’s supposed to be and that brings you closer to God. You know that everything passes. You know that God gives us freedom and that He knows what’s best for us. Surrender is a key word here.

I often see people question the existence of God because of tribulations – allow me to break the news for you: you’re right, that God of bargain you thought you believed in indeed doesn’t exist. If you expect the God you believe in to rid you of tribulations, then yes, that God doesn’t exist. That God that doesn’t know better than you, a mere human full of flaws, definitely doesn’t exist.

Reality check: There’s no bargain with God (“I am such a good Christian, why am I going through so much tribulation?”). You don’t know better than God (“Why did God not stop that from happening to me?”). And you, much like a little kid, don’t know what’s best for you – your Father does. God does. And our Father is not imperfect like we are, He is in fact perfect. Trust is a keyword here.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful quote from Jesus – it sums up everything else I said above:

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

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The relevance of sharing

The most important life experience I’ve ever had is also the one that I share the least: my conversion. Why? Because the relevance of sharing is diluted in our times in a vast sea of superficial and attention seeking sharing. Nonetheless, it does seem that meaningful sharing should also happen less frequently. And that explains the 3-year gap between my last post here and this one.



From the moment you decide to become an essentially good person, you quickly realize how easy that is in theory, and how unpredictable the results are in practice. But the mere exercise of trying is worth it. Knowing that you are walking somewhat of a straight path that leads to growth.