Comments on a Conversation about the Trinity

The trinity is not like a chicken egg. The shell, white and yolk of a chicken eggs are three separable parts that have been studied scientifically and we know just about everything about each part. How each part evolved and develops. No one KNOWS anything about the trinity, not even if it exists.

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No one expects anyone to believe a mystery.

We all said the same :slight_smile:

The idea of it certainly exists, and we know a lot about it.

Sorry about the egg comment, it is officially retired to the “stupid things you say out of frustration” file.

However, I know that He exists as three and one at the same time, I know from study of the bible and personal revelation through repentance and prayer. My experience is that from study alone, I did not understand.

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Ah, but who counts as a Christian?

I suppose anyone who self-identifies as a Christian. @John_harshman, do you see yourself as a Christian?

My aim was to promote a space for constructive and didactic engagement on the Trinity, instead of critical and adversarial debate. If you are not a Christian, you are not necessarily banned if you want to “play along”, but I’d expect that such theological conversations would sound arcane to non-Christians.

We have had threads like that before, but usually to do with scientific matters, such as Office Hours threads (e.g. John Harshman: The Phylogeny of Crocodiles). In these threads we regularly shunt off anti-evolution and creationist comments for example, which would only derail the thread. I don’t see a reason why theology, biblical studies, philosophy, etc. can’t occasionally also have a similar space.

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How do you KNOW this? You don’t KNOW this, you BELIEVE this. Tell us more about your personal revelation. Do you hear voices in your head? Perhaps your personal revelations are a product of a delusional mind?

Oh @patrick. He has seen something you haven’t yet. Maybe one of these days you get around to talking to that Palestinian boy.

Peace Science is a place to have dialog about science. Can’t we investigate the Trinity using the scientific method? Or are you admitting that the Trinity is outside the preview of scientific inquiry?

It’s all about ways of knowing. He’s explained his ways of knowing: reading the bible and personal revelation. You don’t accept that those actually are ways of knowing. (I don’t either.) But he does. Apparently @swamidass does too.

Yes I worry even more about that Palestinian boy with our Christian Nationalist Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving partisan political speeches from Jerusalem. The Government of the United States and especially the US State Department must be secular and neutral on religion.

Reading the bible is a way of knowing what the bible says. It doesn’t give any knowledge of the truthfulness of what it says. Personal revelation is just Christian psychobabble and in today’s world is very dangerous to society.

Maybe you could argue with @Mark10.45 about that. I was just pointing out the issue.

Of course, it’s outside of the scope of ordinary scientific inquiry. As we’ve been discussing on the main thread, the Trinity is held de fide - by faith as dogma, not as a discovery from natural revelation. This is not an “admission” (as if I wish it were otherwise), this is something I would in fact argue in favor of - throughout history, some theologians would actually state that any attempt to argue for the truth of the Trinity from natural theology or philosophy is unorthodox. The Trinity applies to the hidden inner life of God that only God himself can reveal supernaturally directly. To attempt to argue for its truth from natural theology (as some contemporary analytic theologians do) would potentially be reducing God to the level of creature instead of respecting him as God.

Now, individual theologians (such as Bonaventure, Aquinas, etc.) have developed sophisticated analogies or arguments about the proper way of expressing the doctrine of the Trinity given these de fide commitments, and some of these do use arguments from psychology and are quasi-scientific. However, these discussions make little sense to someone who does not already come into the discussion assuming the truth of the Trinity de fide.

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OK, at personal risk of being torn apart by the resident unbelievers…

I was also an atheist. I spent 50 years of my life rejecting the thought of God because my childhood was unreasonably abusive, I found no evidence of God because of emotional pain. I eventually reached a point that I no longer wanted to live, and God revealed Himself to me. Do I hear voices, no. Can I explain it scientifically, no. I can only say that once I was able to submit to the concept of God and started to seek the truth, I found it. The truth is that there is a loving God that connects with us in different ways (three that I know of). It is a deeply personal adventure, one that no one can experience unless they want to. This is my experience, I thought Christians were nut cases too previously. Now I am one, and I am not ashamed.

To the question of the trinity…there is no mention of the word trinity in the bible from the searches I have done. The concept is clear, but also limited to our human experience and understanding. I am not convinced that someone that rejects God will ever understand, again that is from personal experience.

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I agree, but not just neutral. They should be for freedom of religion (and non-religion). :slight_smile:

You also accept the idea that trustworthy accounts are a way of knowing things. You just don’t believe Scripture is trustworthy that way. And that’s okay :slight_smile:

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Sure. But accounts are trustworthy to the extent that they can be checked against empirical data (and pass the check). One may also provisionally trust accounts related to those that have passed tests. But that isn’t the justification for trusting the biblical accounts; those are held through faith and in the absence of any tests.

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Except I don’t mean faith as “belief without evidence or tests”…

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You’re speaking like a Catholic! :joy:

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To me, as a sola-scriptura Calvinist, the let’s-call-it orthodox view of the Trinity, as expressed in the historic creeds, establishes something of a generous limit to Luther’s (I’ll give him credit, not sure if that is historically accurate) concept of sola-scriptura plus what can be derived from “good and faithful consequences.”

I think we have used “good and faithful consequences” a bit like the courts have used the Commerce Clause.

I do not really see how to escape that we Prots, no matter how reformed, have a “sacred tradition” like our RC friends. Not as extensive, but we have one. At a bare minimum if as a Protestant you affirm that the 66 books in your bible all belong there and none are missing, that’s a sacred tradition, given that while scripture was inspired, the table of contents was not. It was derived.

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