Isn't the Trinity Logically Impossible

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Solace
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 05:54 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Oops, my bad, that was Mark 3:29.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 06:09 pm
@Solace,
Mark 3:28-29 definitely echoes the Thomasine teaching, almost verbatim.
 
Axis Austin
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:17 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
If you need the BOOK to be held to external standards then you have alot of other questions to ask!


Yes I do, though I don't think that means I should give up on the endeavor, or consider Christianity to be necessarily self-assuring (if that makes sense).

ogden wrote:
This makes me think of the numerous times in the old testiment that say exactly that! Again though, you can't really justify it because it meets your moral standard can you? Christ is a valid justification for marterdome!


Who's to say I don't question the moral correctness therein? Also, a proper understanding of the Bible can answer these questions; it's not just "justification".

ogden wrote:
This is comparing apples and oranges. Parting the sea is an act of divine intervention that are contrary to the laws of physics. A square circle is a LOGICAL imposibility. I say logical because there is no such reality as a circle or a square, they are both consepts that humans created to represent something. What is reality? How do we know what is real?


I agree, a square circle is a logical impossiblity, whereas parting the sea is a miracle. My point was that I do hold miracles to logical standards, and they can pass.

As for the reality and human conceptions, that's a whole other topic (and a lengthy, difficult one at that).:bigsmile:
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:19 pm
@Axis Austin,
I thought David Hume finally put an end to miracles being logically coherent. I would be immensely interested in a rebuttal to Hume's arguments, Axis.
 
Axis Austin
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:27 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:


Didymos Thomas wrote:
No, good Christians seek to live a Christlike life. Understanding the notion of the Trinity is supposed to be a contemplative, introspective struggle: it's a spiritual practice, and certainly not an easy one. The Trinity is an explantion of God, and as God is beyond language, logical consistency is irrelevant; forcing logical consistency upon notions of God, like the Trinity, is also dangerous. :Not-Impressed: If you need logical consistency in your notion of God, leave Christianity behind and convert to Aristotleanism.


You say that God is beyond language, thus logical consistency is irrelevant. I disagree. I think we can speak intelligently about God (isn't that what happens in this forum?) Furthermore, logical consistency cannot be irrelevant: if it were, we may as well belief that 2 + 2 = 5. Why is forcing logical consistency upon God dangerous? I don't know how saying God can't make square circles in any way harms the notion of God? The Christian God can be (and I believe is) bound by logic and still be omni-potent.
 
Axis Austin
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:29 pm
@Axis Austin,
I think David Hume showed that miracles go against the laws of physics (which he thinks makes them illogical). However, I am drawing a strong distinction between going against logic and going against physics (he would probably challenge that distinction).
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 04:50 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;42040 wrote:
I thought David Hume finally put an end to miracles being logically coherent.
Spinoza sort of did the same much earlier. Spinoza rejected the idea of prophets being philosophers and of the Bible being anything other than a work of literature.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 12:09 pm
@Aedes,
One thing that occurred to me at some point (having grown up in a very conservative Christian tradition) was that everybody was reciting these creeds that included various illogical things, such as the Trinity. No one could offer a coherent explanation, and the doctrine wasn't spelled out anywhere in the Bible. But when I questioned such things, the answer was, basically, "Well the Bible does indeed teach this, so clearly God requires us to believe it, even though the human mind cannot make sense of it."

I'm inclined to think, now, that it is impossible to truly believe something that doesn't make sense to you. You can believe that there is truth within an enigma, and you can believe it is valuable to ponder enigmatic teachings (thank you Dydimos Thomas), but to indoctrinate children to "believe" something even though you are agreeing with them that it doesn't make sense--that, I think, is just wrong.
 
Solace
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 12:54 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Quote:

to indoctrinate children to "believe" something even though you are agreeing with them that it doesn't make sense--that, I think, is just wrong.


Not only wrong but clearly contrary to what the Bible teaches as well. Paul said to believe a doctrine if it is sound. In other words, only believe something that makes sense to you.
 
Mara phil
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 01:10 pm
@Axis Austin,
"Faith consists in believing what reason does not believe," -Voltair
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 01:55 pm
@Mara phil,
Mara wrote:
"Faith consists in believing what reason does not believe," -Voltair


I think Voltaire's statement is false. It would be more accurate to say that "Some people's faith consists in trying to believe or claiming to believe what reason does not believe."

But if someone truly believes something, I think that presupposes that he/she has some basis for the belief. Otherwise, I would tend to think it may be a case of indoctrination.

For example, the Trinity doctrine appears, on the face of it, to have no basis in reason. If someone claims to believe it, but has absolutely no idea what it means, I cannot accept that claim. On the other hand, if someone claims to believe it, and they then proceed to show me that the concept, though enigmatic, contains important truths, then I have to conclude that there is some reasoning behind their belief.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 02:19 pm
@Axis Austin,
I'm sure you all realize that the project of reconciling reason with religion was THE major philosophical undertaking for centuries during the Middle Ages, culminating in the Scholastics and Aquinas. Inspired by their newfound discovery of Aristotle, they tried to make Christian Theology correspond to reason.

And one of the signatures of the subsequent era was that this project was discarded, especially by the likes of Spinoza, Hume, Kierkegaard, and others (and all in various different ways).

I bring this up because I find it interesting that the same questions come up again and again, despite the literature and writing of an entire era trying to solve these problems.

I guess I just have to ask: why does something NEED to correspond to logic for you to believe it if you want to believe it? If we believed things just based on logic alone, then we would never do things like have hope against all reason. We would only root for the winning team, rather than our own team. And we would have the hubris of the people who built the Titanic because we would think it inconceivable that our conception of logic might be discordant with reality.


And I don't say any of this in defense of Christianity (I'm not Christian myself and I don't come from a Christian family or tradition). I just feel like it's ok if you just let yourself believe something because it feels right viscerally -- because that's what's going to win in the end anyway even if you pit it against logic.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 02:29 pm
@Aedes,
Axis Austin wrote:

You say that God is beyond language, thus logical consistency is irrelevant. I disagree. I think we can speak intelligently about God (isn't that what happens in this forum?) Furthermore, logical consistency cannot be irrelevant: if it were, we may as well belief that 2 + 2 = 5. Why is forcing logical consistency upon God dangerous? I don't know how saying God can't make square circles in any way harms the notion of God? The Christian God can be (and I believe is) bound by logic and still be omni-potent.


We can speak intelligently about God - but this capability does not mean that we can accurately represent God with language.

Mathematical equations are not God, so I'm not sure there is an validity to the comparison.

Forcing logical consistency upon God is dangerous because it can lead to delusional notions about God that are based on tautologies and not reality. Further, forcing logical consistency upon our understanding of God presupposes that language is sufficient for a complete investigation of God: that God can be arrived at through logical arguments.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:10 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I'm sure you all realize that the project of reconciling reason with religion was THE major philosophical undertaking for centuries during the Middle Ages, ...And one of the signatures of the subsequent era was that this project was discarded, especially by the likes of Spinoza, Hume, Kierkegaard, and others ....I bring this up because I find it interesting that the same questions come up again and again, despite the literature and writing of an entire era trying to solve these problems..


I think the reason these questions keep coming up may be twofold. First, just because these great thinkers came to a presumed conclusion about some aspects of reason and religion, that certainly doesn't mean that their conclusion is the final and correct one, nor does it mean that we have all read and properly understood (or remember) what they said. In other words, they don't have the final word, and even if they are "correct" it is still important for us to review and help explain to a new generation whatever we believe they are correct in.

Secondly (and I think this may be the primary issue) people on both sides of various debates about religion routinely confuse religious faith with credulity and superstition. They take fundamentalist Protestant Christianity, for example, and assume that it represents Christianity in general. It's not at all unusual to meet otherwise well-educated people who criticize religion from an absolutely naive position, as well as professing Christians who tragically misrepresent the meaning of the faith.

So, if Spinoza, Hume, Kierkegaard indeed resolved some particular issue, let's restate what it was, and re-examine it if we feel the need.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:26 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I guess I just have to ask: why does something NEED to correspond to logic for you to believe it if you want to believe it? If we believed things just based on logic alone, then we would never do things like have hope against all reason. We would only root for the winning team, rather than our own team. And we would have the hubris of the people who built the Titanic because we would think it inconceivable that our conception of logic might be discordant with reality.

And I don't say any of this in defense of Christianity (I'm not Christian myself and I don't come from a Christian family or tradition). I just feel like it's ok if you just let yourself believe something because it feels right viscerally -- because that's what's going to win in the end anyway even if you pit it against logic.


Aedes, I'm sure we all believe things that are not demonstrably logical, and I agree with you this can be good. But a belief that is devoid of logic is indefensible. You can adopt it if you wish, but we can't really discuss it or analyze it. It's fine for me to say, I believe it, in spite of the fact that it amounts to an argument against the facts. I have the right to do that. But when people argue against the validity of religion by assuming that all religious faith amounts to an absence of reasoning and an argument against the facts, that is simply not supportable.
 
Solace
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:31 pm
@Mara phil,
Mara wrote:
"Faith consists in believing what reason does not believe," -Voltair


Does this mean that it is only reasonable to believe what is already proven? Because if you believe something that isn't proven you are taking it on faith, no matter how reasonable it is. So then every scientific theory that has yet to be proven must be unreasonable.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:34 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
a belief that is devoid of logic is indefensible
We all have a kind of internal logic. It's called rationalizing. We make things make sense to us, because we're usually not logically tearing ourselves apart like we're on stage at a debate.

And there have been studies showing that people choose their beliefs viscerally, reactively, then retroactively rationalize them into their belief system. So is it authentic, then, to later find a way to make them logically cohere? We usually pick our answers first and our reasons second.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 04:06 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
We all have a kind of internal logic. It's called rationalizing. We make things make sense to us, because we're usually not logically tearing ourselves apart like we're on stage at a debate.

And there have been studies showing that people choose their beliefs viscerally, reactively, then retroactively rationalize them into their belief system. So is it authentic, then, to later find a way to make them logically cohere? We usually pick our answers first and our reasons second.


I can't dispute the claim that we are prone to rationalizations. My point was that if we set out to discuss religion within the framework of rational discourse, this presumes that we will logically analyze one another's positions, and freely submit our positions to such analysis.

Suppose I bring a proposition to you, but I say, "I believe this, but the facts actually argue against it. It's not logical, and I just believe it because it makes me feel good."

You might find that interesting, and you may even approve of it, but it would not be a topic for rational discourse.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 06:07 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:


The Bible doesn't use the word "monotheism", either.
Though, I'm not sure we can say that the Trinity is entirely a later development: in the Gospel of Thomas, there is a passage in which blaspheming the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is mentioned. Granted, that's not a Biblical reference, but it is a scriptural reference from the same time as the New Testament, and in the case of some of the texts of the New Testament, it is a reference that predates the New Testament.

Yes, that was more or less my point.
 
charles brough
 
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 07:07 am
@Axis Austin,
Axis Austin wrote:
Growing up as a Christian, I thought God could do anything, including the logically impossible. Once I became a competent philosopher I concluded, as I think most would, that God cannot make square circles. Further, I don't think it is just philosophers who've realized this, but most Christians as well. But isn't the idea of the Holy Trinity, the idea that God is both WHOLLY one and WHOLLY separate, logically impossible? Yet most Christians believe in this, and I personally have not come up with a satisfactory answer for myself. Any thoughts?:perplexed:


ABsolutely! The Early Church agreed, so it announced a council to find some way to get around it. They pondered for years, but did not give up because, it they had, it would be official the Christianity was another Polytheism! Rather than that happen, they made it "official" that the three were one! In my book, "Destiny and Civilization," (the Atheistic Science Institute - home page* *) I have an Appendix showing some 21 such word-tricks as "making if 'official'" all used in the academic world. In my text, I list Christianity as "a near-monotheism." I try to be fair.

But then, the "Trinity does not even include the converted Mother Goddess, Mary, who the Pope prays to regularly. He apparently things She will respond to his prayers!Laughing

charles
 
 

 
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