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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Trinity, and Why an "All Male Creation" is Illogical or Moot - Case 1

 
In this post, I will examine the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and I will argue that the trinity is either illogical, or it is moot. I will consider two cases. The first case being the claim that Jesus is Yahweh, and Jesus and Yahweh are the Holy Ghost in the strict philosophical sense, meaning they have all the SAME properties, as in Jesus =Yahweh=Holy Ghost. In case two, I will look at the claim that Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Ghost merely share the attributes of "godness."

According to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, are 3 distinct persons, but one god, as stated in the Nicene Creed:

"God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father."

How is this to be interpreted?

Case 1. Jesus is God in the "strict philosophical sense." 'Same' in the "strict philosophical sense" means that if a=b=c then "a" would have all the same properties as "b" and "c", and "b" would have all the same properties as "a" and "c", and "c" would have all the same properties as "a" and "b". This is why the trinity is seen to be illogical, since god is supposed to be the father, and jesus his son. To be equal they would have to both be EXACTLY the same in the strict sense of the word. This would be according to the Nicene Council, which claims that Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are the same in the 'strict' sense of the word, and not in the 'loose and popular' sense of the word. i.e. 'strict' meaning identical in every way; 'loose and popular' meaning they could be the "same" in that, for instance, they share the same properties, or they share same philosophy, but are otherwise different. Therefore, if a=b=c, then "a" would have all the same properties as "b", and the same properties of "c"--but this is not the case for Jesus, Yahweh, and the Holy Ghost, as described in the Bible. This is why the trinity is seen to be illogical, since god is supposed to be the father, and jesus his son, and we also have other biblical examples such as the statement that jesus is at the right hand side of the father, and that the father loves the son--that do not mesh with the Nicene conception of the trinity, if it is interpreted in the "strict philosophical" sense of same.

However, for a moment assume what the council claimed is true, and that Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are the same in the 'strict philosophical' sense of the word. Now, also assume that, as the Bible claims, Jesus said, "Father, father why has thou forsaken me?" while he was on the cross. Many Christians claim that this is a rhetorical question. Then it would follow that Jesus the son, is asking a rhetorical question of his Father, who is really just himself, so Jesus is asking himself a rhetorical question. That would seem neurotic. How do we determine whether a question asked over 1000 years ago is rhetorical or not?--this is an epistemological problem.

In similar fashion, when there is something in the Bible that disagrees with what Christians want it to mean, they say it's rhetorical or symbolic. One problem with this sort of explanation is that there many things in the Bible that could be called into question and said to be merely symbolic or rhetorical--including the claim that Jesus is God.

Consider, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) Perhaps this is rhetorical. The majority of Christians interpret this to mean Jesus is God; however, it makes more logical sense that Jesus is saying that his philosophy is the same as that of God. For instance, if I say "Me and my grandmother are as one" It means that me and my grandmother share similar beliefs as a result of her teachings, and not that she and I are actually the same being in the strict sense of the word 'same.'.

Furthermore, the passage below implies that Jesus did not know what Yahweh is thinking, which means he cannot be one and the same being, or even one god with three parts:
Matthew 24:36 NIV
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

The Trinity is not just a title. By definition, as determined at the Nicene Council, it means that god, jesus and holy ghost are considered to be one. But we do not have to accept their definition. I just want people to be clear as to what they really mean.

The following, from Wikipedia, is an explanation of the Trinity Doctrine as set out by the Council of Nicea:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity:

"The Trinitarian view has been affirmed as an article of faith by the Nicene (325/381) and Athanasian creeds (circa 500), which attempted to standardize belief in the face of disagreements on the subject. These creeds were formulated and ratified by the Church of the third and fourth centuries in reaction to heterodox theologies concerning the Trinity and/or Christ. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, revised in 381 by the second of these councils, is professed by the Eastern Orthodox Church and, with one addition (Filioque clause), the Roman Catholic Church, and has been retained in some form in the Anglican Communion and most Protestant denominations."

 
Now, the Christian apologist, Josh McDowell, believes that that trinity doctrine is supported by not only New Testament scriptures, but Old Testament as well. Remember, the Jews wrote the Old Testament, many many hundreds of years before any notion of Jesus, and the majority of Jews do not even believe in Jesus to this day! But that does not stop Mr. McDowell from maintaining that Yahweh was making reference to Jesus in Genesis 3:22, (God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us"), and in Genesis 1:26 (“Let us make man in our image” )--which makes no logical sense whatsoever. What does make logical sense, is that Yahweh, in this story, was speaking to the "other gods" of the Jewish pantheons. The Jews were, after all, polytheistic at one time and had many gods and goddesses. In fact, the bible mentions this in Jeremiah 11:13:

"You have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem."

But that is not all. Genesis 6 makes reference to the "Sons of god" who came to earth and saw the women were beautiful, so they took them (notice that they did not ask permission to do so) --these were not angels, as angels cannot have sex according to Jesus, and if they were angels, the Jews would have called them angels, as they have a word for angels; and they were not nephilim, as the nephilim were the sons OF the sons of god. They were, as is says "sons of god," and Satan was one of the "sons of god" as he comes in the entourage of "sons of god" in the book of Job. (Job 1:6; Job 2:1) Satan is a spy and adversary of men who works FOR Yahweh, according to the Jews who wrote the text.

References in the bible can also be found for many of the other gods and goddesses that the Jews worshiped at one time or another. Why, Yahweh is said to have had a consort named Asherah, who is the most likely reference to the "queen of heaven" mentioned in Jeremiah 7:18, and Jeremiah 44:17-19; 24. There is also references to Asherah poles in the bible that were most likely objects of worship, along with other archeological evidence that suggests Asherah was a goddess that was actively worshiped at one time. That is, until she, and the rest of the gods and goddesses were effectively killed off in favor of monotheism. Even Yahweh himself warned his people not to "put any other gods before him"--which implies there were other gods. So much for monotheism.

As unlikely at the Trinity is, in case one, what makes it even more illogical is that according to Christians, the universe and everything in it was created by a three in one male deity--without a goddess at all. Almost all other religions that have creation stories include a goddess, and the earth itself is viewed as a "Mother," in many religions, as it is the giver of life. Only the Christians believe that a male homosexual "union" is the cause of creation. What is ironic about this situation is that Christians view homosexuality as "not how it is supposed to be," among humans, yet an all-male "god" creation of the universe is fine with them.

The Christian apologist, Josh McDowell is quoted as stating: at a Youth for Christ rally in 1994:

"Tolerance is the worst roar of all, including tolerance for homosexuals, feminists, and religions that don't follow Christ."

Mr. McDowell claims homosexuality is wrong because, as he states in his handbook on counseling youth:

"It is obvious that the structural makeup of the physical bodies of two males or two females makes it impossible for them to experience this one-flesh unity. Thus homosexuality is rejected by the creative and purposive plan of the Creator-God"

But, according to Mr. McDowell and most other Christians, there is nothing wrong with an "all-male" creation of the universe--which is paradoxical.

In an excerpt from her book, Gyn/Ecology, the great feminist, Mary Daly pointed out the paradoxical nature of the Christian conception of an "all-male" trinity conception--pun intended:

"Western society is still possessed overtly and subliminally by Christian symbolism, and this State of Possession has extended its influence over most of the planet. Its ultimate symbol of processions is the all-male trinity itself. Of obvious significance here is the fact that this is an image of the procession of a divine son from a divine father (no mother or daughter involved) In this symbol the first person, the father is the origin who thinks forth the second person, the son, the word, who is the perfect image of himself, who is "co-eternal" and "cosubstantial," that is, identical in essence. So total is their union that their "mutual love" is expressed by the procession (known as spiration') of a third person called the "Holy Spirit," whose proper name is "Love." This naming of "the three Divine Persons" is the paradigmatic model for the pseudogeneric term person excluding all female mythic presence, denying female reality in the cosmos.

This triune god is one act of eternal self-absorption/self love. The term person is derived from the Latin, persona, meaning actor's mask, or character in a play. "The Processions of Divine Persons" is the most sensational one-act play of the centuries, the original Love Story, performed by the Supreme All Male Cast. Here we have the epitome of male bonding, beyond the "best," i.e., worst dreams of Lionel Tiger. It is "sublime" (and therefore disguised) erotic male homosexual mythos, the perfect all-male marriage, the ideal all-male family. Association, the mold for all varieties of male monogender mating. To the timid objections voiced by christian women, the classic answer has been: "You're included under the Holy Spirit. He's feminine." the point is, of course, that male made-up femininity has nothing to do with women. Drag queens, whether divine or human, belong to the Men's Association." (Gyn/Ecology, Mary Daly, p. 37-38)

The "Men's Association" may have created an all-male creation scenario--which is unique in that regard--but the concept of "trinity" is not unique to Christianity. The Hindus have the trinity of Brahman, Vishnu and Siva; the Egyptians have a trinity of Osiris, Isis and Horus; the Greeks have a trinity of Zeus Poseidon and Hades....and the list goes on. These trinities were all in existence long before the Nicene Council created the Trinity of Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Ghost.

In defense of their all-male trinity, Christians have developed a number of creative analogies. For instance, they claim that a person has two hands (as in two gods) but they are still one person--but that makes no sense. A person's hands are not equal to a person, and a person and his two hands do not equal each other. My hand does not equal me. Water, ice and steam is another common analogy, but water, ice and steam are actually three different things. When water becomes ice, it is no longer water--it is ice. When ice melts, it becomes water, and when water heats, it becomes steam--they are not the same in the strict sense of same that the council claimed Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are the same.

Therefore, The first case being the claim that Jesus is Yahweh, and Jesus and Yahweh are the Holy Ghost in the strict philosophical sense, meaning they have all the SAME properties, as in Jesus =Yahweh=Holy Ghost. This means that if a=b=c then "a" would have all the same properties as "b" and "c", and "b" would have all the same properties as "a" and "c", and "c" would have all the same properties as "a" and "b"--but this is clearly not the case, as I have shown. This is why the trinity is seen to be illogical, since god is supposed to be the father, and jesus his son. To be equal, they would have to both be EXACTLY the same in the strict sense of the word--but they are not.


Therefore, if the Trinity is interpreted in case one as the claim that Jesus is Yahweh, and Jesus and Yahweh are the Holy Ghost in the strict philosophical sense, meaning they have all the SAME properties, as in Jesus =Yahweh=Holy Ghost then it is illogical.






13 comments:

Dan said...

"This is why the trinity is seen to be illogical, since god is supposed to be the father, and jesus his son. To be equal, they would have to both be EXACTLY the same in the strict sense of the word--but they are not."

They ARE exactly the same is the strict sense. The problem is not with the doctrine of the Trinity. The problem is with your interpretation of "father" and "son" as being literal. These terms are applied to the first and second members of the Trinity in an analogical sense. But the analogy is imperfect--as are all analogies. You have proved nothing.

"Only the Christians believe that a male homosexual "union" is the cause of creation."

This statement is patently false. No Christian understanding of creation involves a "union" of any kind. The world was created at God's command.

"These [Hindu, Egyptian, Greek] trinities were all in existence long before the Nicene Council created the Trinity of Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Ghost."

First, none of these earlier triads were a "trinity" in the sense of the Christian doctrine. Regardless, this proves nothing. Does the fact that H.G. Wells' novels were written decades before the U.S. space program mean that NASA copied from Wells?

A is for Atheist said...

@ Dan

You say in regards to the trinity that:

"They ARE exactly the same is the strict sense."

Which means they would have ALL the same properties in common.

But then you turn right around and said that:

"These terms are applied to the first and second members of the Trinity..."

Note, that 'first' and 'second' are properties. So if one member was first, and the other member was second, then they do not have all the same properties in common. See the absurdity? It is just as absurd as saying one is the father and one is the son, but they have all the same properties in common. They cannot have all the same properties in common, if one is the father, and one is the son. These are two place predicates.

2-place predicates assign relations to pairs of individuals

__ is the father of __

In this case, Yahweh is the father of Jesus.

Now, in some Humpty Dumpty land of logic, this might not be illogical, but in our land, it IS illogical.

Dan said...

Talking about the first and second member is an attempt to talk about the Trinity within the limits of our language. In the same way, father/son is an imperfect analogy. By attacking the semantics you're attacking a straw man.

There is no logical contradiction in saying that God is three persons yet one essence. This is very well established. As a professor of philosophy and religion you surely know this. How about a little intellectual honesty?

A is for Atheist said...

@ Dan,

Note Dan, that we are using our language and logic and in our language and logic, the trinity is illogical!

The contradiction comes in when you say they are the "same" in the strict sense, meaning they have ALL the same properties in common. Clearly, they do not.

Let's see how this works. The three boys in photo in this post are eating three cupcakes. Now the boys share the property of "boyness" and the three cupcakes share the property of "cupcakeness." While this is so, they are still 3 boys, eating 3 cupcakes--but they are only the same 3 boys or 3 cupcakes in the "loose" sense. Now, a Christian could logically say that Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are 3 persons, yet one essence, if they mean that in the "loose" sense, as in they share in the property of "godness." The problem with this is, is that then they have 3 gods instead of 1 god; just like we have 3 boys and 3 cupcakes. This would make Christianity polytheistic, or it would make every polytheistic religion, monotheistic, in the sense that all their gods share in the property of "godness."

To conclude, if the trinity means they are the same in the strict sense, then it is illogical. If the trinity is thought of the same in the loose sense, then it leads to an absurdity for Christianity.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Dan,

One more thing. Note the three boys eating the three cupcakes. Now let's look at the predicates _____in front of_____, ____ to the left of____, and _____ to the right of_____.

Let's call the boys B!, B2, and B3.

Now we can say:

B1 is in front of B2
B1 is in front of B3
B2 is to the left of B1 and B3
B3 is to the right of B1 and B2

While B1, B2, and B3 share in the property of "boyness" the 2 place predicates used above illustrates that they are not the same in the strict sense. We can do the same thing with the three cupcakes--and the same applies to your gods!

Yahweh is the father of Jesus, and Jesus sits at the right hand of--Yahweh!

OybloodyVey! said...

Is it illogical to say a coin has three distinct facets but are still one coin? Each facet clearly distinguishable from it's counterparts but the same coin none the less.

In the United Kingdom, they issue coins with the ruling monarch on the "heads" side. Through the years the "head" has been both male and female (currently Queen Elizabeth's head adorns the newly minted coins), however regardless of the gender of the head, it's value doesn't come from the gender of the face on it. People that would act as if it did matter would look "actually rather silly" to most British Subjects don't you agree? Three or four Pound coins will still get that enjoyable pint at the pub regardless of the gender on the face of them. OybloodyVey.

A is for Atheist said...

@OybloodyVey!--You seem not to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. According to the doctrine of the Trinity, Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Ghost are the same in the strict sense, and not the loose and popular sense. Take your example for instance. Take one coin with a male monarch, and one coin with the queen; one being from the 1800's and the other from 2012. Now, take those coins to a coin dealer, and try to argue to him that they are the same in the strict sense and that he should give you the same value for the 2012 coin that he would give your for the 1800's coin, if you had one. You will not get the same value, because they are NOT the same! Likewise, if they existed, it is impossible for Yahweh and Jesus to be the same in the strict sense as they have different properties--as I explained in the post above.

As I pointed out, just because me and my grandmother have the same philosophy, does not mean that me and my grandmother are the same in the 'strict sense."

Therefore, if two things, A and B, each with "facets" that are clearly distinguishable from its counterpart, then they are not the same in the strict sense. i.e., as in the Trinity sense, since the Trinity sense is in the strict philosophical sense, and not the loose and popular sense of same.
Your two coins are the same in the loose and popular sense of same, like me and my grandmother are the same--but they are not the same in the strict sense of "same."

OybloodyVey! said...

Thanks for your reply Cathy, I fail to see how my analogy of a single coin which can be viewed from three different aspects but remain a single entity or (penny if you will) fails the logic test. Whether I choose to look at the front, back or side of a penny it's still a penny. While I certainly wouldn't or couldn't speak for the doctrine of the Trinity, my analogy still fits your request for a somewhat logical explanation. Never the less, The Trinity is still, as you argue, a concept that requires faith. It's all in how you look at it right?

In my post I was trying to make two separate points, the first to give a logical view of The Trinity. The second that applying gender specific terms to God be they male or female is missing the point. I was trying to create an analogy that would show that the Pound coin when minted is worth a pound in currency and that a Pound coin despite the gender on it's face is still just a pound and likewise with God, God is Love that's who God is. To give a gender depiction and to focus on that is to miss the intended message. The coins with "gender" depictions. When minted, each of the Pound coins was worth a Pound... It was worth exactly what it said it was, the gender on the face of the coin had no bearing on it's value. I think you know what I'm saying, just because the Trinity has used "male" descriptions has no bearing on it's value to us.

I whole heartedly agree with you some despicable preachers and theologians have used all manner of wickedness to hold on to their power depictions as validation for their own agenda and abuse of their flock and I also agree the worst of these collectively have been to keep women in their place. But that is a condition of The Fall, Adam blamed and snarled at God for "that woman that you gave me." Evil men are still saying it even today. The disintegrated or un-whole images of "male" we see after The Fall are not, and should not be the same we use to describe The Trinity.

Let me acknowledge too, I'm speaking of the Church now, we cannot miss the images that some daughters have of their earthly "fathers" when we use the term "Our Father in heaven" even the word Father to some, can conjure up someone that is distant and uncaring and far from being the image of Unconditional Love. A child coming home from boarding school is meeting his “father” a cold distant uncaring "man" or a "he". Then to add insult to injury a "Father" that I must confess my "sins" to as if they don't struggle with the effects of "The Lie" in their own lives, preachers wanting to "lock up" homosexuals as if their particular sin could stop God's Unconditional Love for them. But I digress.
(and, according to this text box I'm in need of a page two)

OybloodyVey! said...

Continued...

In spite of these "who claim to speak OF God but don't know who God is", let me share a thought about God that such of these seem to not know..

Have you considered that(even though she too is fallen and believes The Lie) what Eve has historically been vilified for, and often still is today (guilty of ushering in The Fall of Man) despite God's view that it is a man that was ultimately responsible.

God specifically asks a woman if she wants to participate (this time in obedience you might say)in that by doing so and in reversal of Eve's decision she would usher in the world's salvation Mankind's redemption, and consequently a new creation? And she agreed. It was God's sneaky little way of humiliating the un-humble evil men. That a faithful woman, just a young teenager at that, a woman that allowed God to work in her and through her despite what those same men would say about her being an unwed mother. I don't know about you, but I can see Mary "high-fiving" God while saying to those men "Hah, what do you have to say about women now huh?" "there wasn't a man among you that could have righteously given birth to The Son of God!"
I'm sure there are a few theologians that might be going nuts at me right now, but that's seemingly how it has played out (excepting my little "spiking the football" scenario of course).

I have no specific proof, but the one time Adam could have been obedient to God and standing in for Eve and her "brief moment of temptation" to eat the forbidden fruit he failed to do so and succumbed too. But ever since believing "you can be as god" he seems to have no problem "Lording it over" or "controlling" what he now (conveniently) sees as a permanent flaw in her and his justified authority over her is bolstered by religion that will earn for itself salvation by "this time" keeping all the rules.

Thanks for letting me vent. OybloodyVey!

A is for Atheist said...

@ Oybloodyvey,

What you say fails the logic test as an example of the trinity because in the case of the trinity, we are talking about 3 different objects, whereas in your example, you are talking about ONE object, and not three objects. So, we can relate this to your example. I have illustrated this above, but will do it again for you here:

You have three pound coins. Now let's look at the predicates _____in front of_____, ____ to the left of____, and _____ to the right of_____.

Let's call the coins B!, B2, and B3.

Now we can say:

B1 is in front of B2
B1 is in front of B3
B2 is to the left of B1 and B3
B3 is to the right of B1 and B2

While B1, B2, and B3 share in the property of "coinness" the 2 place predicates used above, illustrates that they are not the same in the strict sense--and the same applies to your gods!

Your interpretation of Adam and Eve is interesting, but if it were true, would that not be a cruel joke your god has played on women--by allowing men to abuse women for thousands of years because of their "misinterpretation of the text.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Cathy, I apologize for not being as prompt as you have been. Again thank you for your explanation of your position on the Trinity, I can see where in the strictest sense you need 3 coins to justify your physical separation, yet Christ (confoundedly so) said He and the Father were one. Speaking to Philip (who coincidentally has the same physically positional question as you) John 14:7 through 11

7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

Regarding a cruel joke being played on women for thousands of years... The real cruelty was set in motion by our belief in "The Lie" "You can be as God" resulting in the cruelties you bemoan. As Paul said in "Romans 1:25 They exchanged the True God for The lie". They each now made god in their own image ie. as a Man.

Therefore: If god is made in my image then clearly god must be a man and you're not. At best that makes you 3rd place or "3rd rate" and since all other men are number 2 to me because they at least reflect my image. And if I'm god I'll treat you any way I want to, and I demand your worship and you acknowledge your subservience to me and all other men for that matter. And don't take that personally all other women must do the same.

See how it works? Mankind got it's authority( or it's source of allowance as you refer) from "The Lie". God sent Christ to save us not from our sins small "s" but from The Sin (Our belief in "The Lie")it was that Sin that spawned (allowed) all the little sins. The cruel Joke is "you can be as god". OybloodyVey!

A is for Atheist said...

The cruel Joke is "you can be as god" which illustrates that Jesus was speaking metaphorically. In other words, the father is in him and he is in the father because he is preaching and believes in the father's message--and not that he IS the father!--which would make Jesus be a complete illogical fool. So, either Jesus was using same in the 'loose and popular' sense, or he was a fool, lunatic, or liar!

Anonymous said...

You mention Asherah but not Sophia, that is, Lady Wisdom from Proverbs (e.g. chapter 8) and the apocryphal book of Sirach.

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