Socrates is certainly not guilty of the crimes he is accused of. He is not corrupting the youth of Athens and he does indeed believe in gods. His manner is uncommon and because of that he is feared by his accusers (Meletus, Anytus, Lycon, et al.). Justice will be miscarried if he is put to death. Meletus has brought before the court the accusation that Socrates does not believe in the gods of Greece, but at the same time claims that he is a believer of other divinities. This is a contradiction, for to believe in one god alone, or even that divinity exists means that Socrates must believe in the gods to which divinity is attributed. In “Apology” Socrates says: “Does any man, Meletus, believe in human affairs who does not believe in human beings?…No, my good sir, no man could… Does any man believe in divine activities who does not believe in divinities?” To this Meletus answers “No one”.
Socrates has, in fact, dedicated his life as a sort of service to the gods as prescribed to him by the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle said that Socrates was the wisest man. He was trying to refute this claim as a bestowal to the gods, for he communicated with them after each encounter he had with the supposed wise men of Athens.
The other accusation brought against Socrates is that he is corrupting the youth of Athens by charging them money for his teachings. This cannot be true if Socrates does not consider himself a teacher, but a mere seeker of truth, and challenges his accusers to find evidence that he received any money in his quest for truth.
He indeed has followers and they are present at the trial. What Does he teach them that might be so harsh as to deserve to be put to death? He tells them that they should place the importance of the soul above that of wealth. They are not corrupted by him, they just enjoy watching him prove others wrong. The real crime that he is being charged with is the embarrassing of ‘wise’ men. Nothing more.
Was Socrates being inconsistant with his views of which laws he should be most loyal to (his conscience or the laws of the state)?