The Rational Absurdity of the Trinity: Keeping Believers in the Dark

There's a memorable line from Don McLean's American Pie: "And the three folks I admire most--the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--they caught the last train for the coast. . ." In these lyrics the Three are presented as distinct individuals, and so they must, if we have any hope of even talking about them. Believers have no trouble with the three-in-one proposition. No trouble at all. God set it up and declared it to be so, and there's an end to it. To my limited knowledge, however, only the Son and the Father, ever "do" or "say" anything. Makes sense. It would be difficult, even for Believers, to imagine holding a conversation or going for a stroll or eating lunch with a Ghost (in the modern era, I notice that this entity is now more typically called the "Holy Spirit". The word/concept "ghost" does imply a diminished state from another level of existence, an implication hardly appropriate for a "being" on some kind of par with God).

I'm writing this Hub from a stance of cautious optimism that an open-minded Believer might respond with interesting arguments in defence of the Trinity. As a Non-Believer, I see only another device to deepen the Mystery, the rational obfuscation that clouds the basics of Christian belief with so many impenetrable layers of contradiction that Faith, and Faith alone, can deal with it.

St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Milton, John Donne--to grab only four thinkers down through the ages, who grappled with these issues--attempted with great passion and at great length, to understand and articulate these problems, to--as Milton puts it in the encomium to Paradise Lost--"justify the ways of God to man.".

So, let us play with the rational absurdity of the Trinity............and see if we can dispel the clouds a bit. Parrster--do join in, my good friend.


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Comments 20 comments

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 15 months ago from California

Well this should be an interesting conversation! Think I will sit back annd see what unfolds--


diogenes profile image

diogenes 15 months ago from UK and Mexico

Yawn! Sorry, Clark, all religion is such a bloody bore yet so damned dangerous.

Read anything good lately? You might enjoy "Narrow Dog to Carcassonne." by Terry Darlington. He has three books in a similar vein. True life travel. Excellent writer and subtly so funny. Ebay and Amazon lots of cheap copies.

Bob


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 15 months ago from Tasmania

Clark, it's always good to hear from you. You do poetic justice to argument!

Having just reached 74 last Wednesday, (and rapidly catching you older folk up, I might add!), the book I am reading right now is "Chemistry for Dummies" by John T. Moore, EdD.

I can only see the "Holy Spirit" as being the flux which helps us come together as humans, sharing fun, sharing pathos, sharing information, sharing all the good and the bad things that life brings and..... passing onto others what we glean is of importance.

Please keep up the good work, my friend. I hope this discussion brings you worthy food for thought.


lifeessence profile image

lifeessence 15 months ago

Hi, well, I will try to explain from a scientific perspective because explaining Holy Spirit in simple terms will sound like a "sharing fun". Consider an example of a plant growing under the sun. How the sun works? At its very center, hydrogen atoms collide together at great temperature and pressure so that they fuse to form atoms of helium. This process is called nuclear fusion. The Sun's surface is called the photosphere and is where it shines the energy into space and Earth. Light is actually energy - electromagnetic energy. When that energy gets to a green plant, all sorts of reactions can take place to store energy in the form of molecules. Since the sun can't "come down" directly to the Earth, all works is done through it's energy (only when these plants can be reached by the sun's energy).

"In Acts 2 Jesus told His apostles "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)"

"The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. He is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. He is considered to be the third member of the Godhead. "

http://www.everystudent.com/forum/hspirit.html

Hope this helps :)


Sally 15 months ago

Triads of gods appear very early, at the primitive level. The archaic triads in the religions of antiquity and of the East are too numerous to be mentioned here. Arrangement in triads is an archetype in the history of religion, which in all probability formed the basis of the Christian Trinity

- C G Jung, A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity.


Paul K Francis profile image

Paul K Francis 15 months ago from east coast,USA

I would like throw some geometry into the mix. Trinities may be based on triangles, and triangles are very rigid objects, difficult to collapse under pressure, as even ancient builders were probably aware of. The Holy Trinity is like an equilateral triangle, each side just as important as the others and all three sides necessary to keep it together. In art and symbolism, the triangle is often accompanied by a circle, either inside it or surrounded by it. The circle often denotes unity or one-ness, as well as perfection, the perfection that, in the minds of many, is God. It is a beautiful thing! Have a nice day!


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 15 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Audrey, Diogenes' Jonny--three old friends dropping by (well, you two old farts fill the category in BOTH ways. Audrey fails one. She's also MUCH easier on the eyes). Happy little insults aside, great to see you here.

Sally -- Yes indeed! Thanks for the Jung Reminder. Many, if not most, of the abiding tales embedded in the Christian Story PRE-Date the advent of Christianity by thousands of years. Given that well-established fact. it should be difficult, I would think, to argue the Absolute Efficacy of the Christian versions. One Christian friend of mine says that "God works in mysterious ways,His wonders to unfold." So, there will be an explanation for this seeming historical monkey wrench. You just have to have Faith.


parrster profile image

parrster 15 months ago from Oz

Hey Clark, this is my current understanding of the Godhead. WHAT THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY DOES NOT TEACH: (a) there are three separate gods; (b) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all the same Person; (c) only one of the three, but not the other two, is God. WHAT THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY AFFIRMS: (a) there is only one God; (b) the one God is the Divine Nature consisting of three divine Persons; (c) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons; (d) the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each God with the same essence collectively comprising the Divine Nature; (e) while equal in essence, each member of the Godhead has a different role, giving the appearance of a superior to inferior relationship within the Godhead, though the distinction is essentially in function not in nature or substance.


Doug Webber profile image

Doug Webber 15 months ago

A trinity of three distinct persons, indeed, is a logical absurdity. While they say "one" with the mouth, they have three persons in the mind. This was not the teaching of the Christian church for the first 3 centuries, and it took another 2 centuries for the Catholic church to finalize it.

The true teaching of the Trinity, is that in each person there is a triad of soul, body and spirit. When God became incarnate, this became the Holy Trinity in Jesus Christ - in one person. You can look at the Trinity in this way: 1) the Divine itself, 2) the Divine Human and 3) the Divine proceeding, or Holy Spirit. This was given by revelation to Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century. See "A Logical Explanation of the Trinity" at http://dream-prophecy.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-logic...

The question for everyone is, are they going to trust what men say, and believe a rational absurdity, or examine a revelation where it has finally been explained once and for all. I can't summarize it all here, but I would recommend reading "True Christian Religion" by Emanuel Swedenborg.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 15 months ago from Tasmania

I have a fundamental question: Can Absurdity be rational?


diogenes profile image

diogenes 15 months ago from UK and Mexico

The Dangerous Years

"More free than any bird,

The child's mind

Sifts images,

Store pleasures,

Invites the Universe:

Until some fool

Gives her a bible."

From my anthology "Charged Particles.

Now THAT'S Rationality!


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 15 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Jonny -- I think your sharp eye has caught me in some grammatical sloppiness. I victimized myself in my quest for brevity. I should have written something like, "From a rational perspective, the concept of the Trinity is absurd".. Good for you!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 15 months ago from Tasmania

It's always good for a larf, Clark, thank you. Wishing you and yours all the best.


savvydating profile image

savvydating 15 months ago

My dearest moonfroth.....I saw where you posted this article on one of my questions. Well then, I do not even pretend to understand the Trinity. However, I do not see the Holy Spirit as "lesser than." I see it as that which hovers close to us, and which gives instruction---in my case, on how to keep my spirit alive and well, and very importantly, to cherish "That Which Is Higher." And so, that is what I do---cherish that which is higher and decent and good. I imagine the Holy Spirit to be astonishingly vibrant, perhaps containing hues we have never seen on this earth. But naturally, it would be comprised of hot pink, soft pink, blue, violet, yellow, orange..... In any case, it beautiful and it represents the best of who we are, and that which gives us the desire to live. In my opinion, The Holy Spirit is not lesser than. No, my dear, not at all.


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 15 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Savvy I do recall citing this piece "somewhere" on your thread--but I can't find it there! Would you be good enuff to tell me where? I think you misunderstand what I was getting at (or I didn't write it clearly!). Thanks.


savvydating profile image

savvydating 15 months ago

I asked this question some time ago: What is your take on Isaiah 45:11 "...and concerning the work of my hands, command you me." Your posting of this site came up recently. Perhaps a glitch....


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 15 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Thanks Sav--I'll look it up and respond.


Norine Williams 13 months ago

"Absurdity" of "The Trinity" caught my eye! How True! Absurd!

If the Father (GOD) is a Spirit, and Jesus (aka Holy Spirit) said that "The Father would send (Holy Spirit) "...in my name..." (A letter sent in your name would indicate "your name" wouldn't it?), in John 14:26; therefore, Jesus (aka GOD; aka Holy Spirit) is a Spirit, and of course we KNOW the Holy Spirit is Spirit, then who are these "persons?" If one says "they are three different personalities" explain why if He lives in you and you have a personality, then don't you think there are MORE than "three different personalities" with the addition of "your personality" not to speak of mine and others?

Ephesians 4:4-6 'says in part there is "...ONE SPIRIT..." What "the world" fails to realize, Jesus spoke in parables (Matthew 13:10-13) and as then, believers who do not "worship in spirit" (John 4:24) cannot "see" as today!

Get ready for explanation from "The Holy Spirit" which those who do not "worship in the Spirit" will say is "Absurd!"

No matter the audience, Jesus spake to each "on their level" to increase their (man's) understanding or so they could/can "relate." When HE (GOD/SPIRIT) entered Mary's womb (Absurd? No! HE Fathered Himself!), Joseph (man) had a difficult time believing until GOD revealed TRUTH in his dream. As man doesn't believe (understand) the Omnipresent Spirit of GOD today, He still works the same way, as "ONE SPIRIT" operating in TOO NUMEROUS GLORIES (JEHOVAH=I AM)!

When Jesus was "speaking or praying to Himself" in Scripture, He was communicating with THE "PORTION" of THE SPIRIT (ONE SPIRIT=SELF) that had never been subjected to sin or in the world (sin)! It is as if one "speaks to his mind" (example) "I wonder...." yet one flesh. One HAS TO "Walk in the Spirit" (THINK SPIRIT) when studying Scripture! If ALL continue to "look with carnal eyes," they will continue to "see" father & son vs Father and Son! Do you really believe there is a God with a long white beard whose little Son is "Sitting on His right hand side?" The "right hand of God" means "in righteousness" not a GOD with arms and legs with Jesus sitting on his right hand! Get real! If so, Scripture would have mentioned "thrones" for both of them in Revelation 4:2! Come on "Sheep!" YOU MUST LOOK @ SCRIPTURE "IN SPIRIT!"

Now here comes the "Absurd" portion if not "looking with Spiritual eyes!" Genesis 1:26 "...let US..."(ALL of HIS GLORIES, not only Father, Son, & Holy Spirit); Is 43:10-13; (v 10) "... BEFORE me there was no GOD formed, NEITHER shall there be AFTER me." What about JESUS? (v11) "...and besides ME there is no savior (JESUS)." Therefore; unless your "religion" has taught one Jesus is only a "Good Prophet" or one of the "three persons," (The Trinity) "Spirit Worhshipers" can "see:" JESUS is GOD; Luke 1:26-35 GOD (aka JESUS) impregnated Mary and could have been born and immediately begin walking and talking (for He was GOD) but man would not have been able to "relate" and is why He refers to "FATHER" and "SON" so man can "relate!"

ALL need to erase the slate of their minds from what "religion" or "self understanding" has taught and do as the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and "Search the Scripture to see if these things are so."

There are MANY other Scriptures that state "JESUS IS GOD!"

STUDY "Sheep," (II Timothy 2:15) but ONLY IN THE SPIRIT!

Romans 8:5-8 "For they that are after the flesh do mind th thing os the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be "carnally minded" is DEATH, but to the spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be. SO, THEN, THEY THAT ARE IN THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD!"

If you've been "taught" to "see" Scripture (father and son/flesh) other than IN SPIRIT (Father and Son/GLORIES), you'd better re-think your belief!


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 13 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Norine's post is valuable both for its Argument and for the veritable thicket of specific references it offers to verse and line in the Bible. We would all do well to COPY this post. A friend of mine--deeply Christian--says that the fundamental bases of the entire Christian faith have been deliberately screwed up into a nightmare of contradictions and blind alleys SO THAT the only way a thinking Believer can continue is FAITH. An interesting perspective, no?


Norine Williams 13 months ago

Moon: It is not "me," but the Holy Spirit (aka Jesus) who has "revealed" TRUTH unto me (Matt 13:10-13)!

What "religion" ("Christian faith") fails to realize is that SATAN'S job is to "Kill, steal and destroy" (John 10:10). Being the shrewd spirit that he is, he designed a weapon (THE CATHOLIC CHURCH aka The Nicene Council) which established "rules" for ALL without taking into consideration John 14:26 which says "The Holy Spirit would "lead and guide us into ALL TRUTH!" Oh, Thank you, JESUS!

The "master of deception" (aka Satan) is using the "main source" (The Church) to continue to deceive "sheep" unless they "Worship in Spirit" which will "reveal" all "LIES" he has established in "The Church!" Again, THE WORD says "If you've been "taught" to "see" Scripture (father and son/flesh) other than IN SPIRIT (Father and Son/GLORIES), you'd better re-think your belief!" (Romans 8:5-8)

I agree with your friend that "...the fundamental bases of the entire Christian faith have been "deliberately screwed up" into a nightmare of contradictions and blind alleys SO THAT the only way a thinking Believer can continue is FAITH." Yes, Satan, has "deliberately screwed up" "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST" and without the gift of discernment given by the Holy Spirit which "leads and guides us into ALL TRUTH," sheep will continue to follow.

If you were the enemy (Satan) what greater device to deceive "sheep" than "The Bible?" If he can change Bible (The Letter) and create "A way that "seems right" unto man," (Proverbs 14:12) what "greater weapon?" Oh, but he's "AFRAID" that those who do have the Spirit of Discernment will TEACH that ONE SPIRIT (Ephesians 4:4-6) which WILL "tear down" his initial plan. Unfortunately, the majority of sheep have been "taught" to "look at the letter" (II Corinthians 3:6) and not "in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16)!

I thank GOD there are those of us who have been given "the gift of discernment" provided by the Holy Spirit (aka Jesus) that will "lead and guide us" and also enable us to "tear down" Satan's plan by "Teaching" (Matthew 28:20) the "rightly divided" (II Timothy 2:15) Word of God!"

Matthew 6:33 says "But SEEK ye FIRST the kingdom of God (Holy Spirit to lead and guide), and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you!" If one would "seek the Holy Spirit" BEFORE studying His Word, they would no longer see "The Letter" but the MAGNIFICENT WORKINGS OF THE SPIRIT (GOD) AND "ALL OF HIS GLORIES!"

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