Why Arguments and Debates on the Trinity are a Waste of Time

by AllTimeJeff 95 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    My present church teaches that the Trinity is merely an attempt to describe that we experience God in different ways. The Mountain god, The Vengeful God, the Powerful God, the compassionate God, the healer,etc. Personally, I believe we can never truly comprehend God, only approach God. This is very different from taking the Creed literally. The Bible doesn't truly answer it either way.

    It is not a determinative doctrine for me. I don't see it as a dealmaker. Describing different aspects of experiencing God does not seem mysterious to me. It seems human. This is far different from the way I was raised.

  • wobble

    Dear B.O.R,

    We were taught in the JW/WT cult that as the Trinity was "false" any religion that taught it or went along with it was automatically False.

    Now this comes from a religion with a leadership who plainly do not understand what the doctrine is in the first place.

    I think the doctrine arose from an honest attempt to put in to words what is really ineffable, if "God" exists necessarily we cannot satisfactorily put into words an explanation of His essence.

    Most modern Theologians feel that they have moved on from that attempt to explain God, the Trinity explanation was a move forward from the mere anthropomorphic explanations that had sufficed up until that time.

    Modern Theology is beyond Trinitarianism, therefore for that reason it is a Waste of Time as the thread title states, it is an out of date discussion.

    It sounds to me as though your Church is well up with modern thought.

  • designs


    You should write to the Westminster Theological Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary and tell them they are pumping out passe Theology Majors.

    To many innocent lives were taken over this thing to call it an honest attempt.

  • wobble

    I agree Des, that Theology courses are a little dated perhaps , if indeed there is any justification for them, as Richard Dawkins said "You might as well have a degree course in Fairyology".

    By "honest attempt" I meant by the original Church Fathers and later thinkers, I doubt many of them would have approved of burning at the stake those who did not accept the doctrine, though those in power in the Church did so, the banishment and the ex-communication of dissenters was often a death sentence by starvation.

    The history of the Church defending its beliefs is shameful.

  • Vanderhoven7

    <<I think the doctrine arose from an honest attempt to put in to words what is really ineffable, if "God" exists necessarily we cannot satisfactorily put into words an explanation of His essence.>>

    Yes, the story goes that there were very stiff requirements for those who would be priests in Orothodox circles. Candidates had to speak for 5 minutes on the subject of the Holy Trinity without commiting more than 17 heresies.

  • designs

    'commiting more than 17 heresies'-

    So glad Jesus left things so clear for everybody...

  • Sulla

    Wobble and B.O.R.,

    It's perfectly fine, of course, to suppose that when we speak of the Trinity we are mererly grasping to describe God in his various aspects. It would be a mistake to suggest, as Wobble does, that this approach is somehow "modern." It is actually a very old way of looking at Christ. And, of course, it was debated for some time before being rejected by the early Church. Indeed, the idea that modern theology has somehow moved beyond the Trinity is risible.

    Which is not to make your belief incorrect. I merely point out that it is not new or cutting edge; instead, it is an old approach that doesn't really have much theological promise.

  • designs


  • designs

    Hey Sulla, Why.

  • Sulla

    Why doesn't it have much theological promise? Good question; let me attempt a very short sketch of why I say that.

    At its heart, the idea is really an attempt at rationalizing the orthodox teaching. Maybe not so much rationalizing as attempting to make the ineffable more like something we relate to more easily. Three Persons with One Nature is hard and mysterious, One Being whom we experience differently maps pretty well to our everyday experience.

    That doesn't make it wrong, but it does make us wonder how a great simplification might have much promise for theological reflection. For that matter, we know that monotheists like the Jews seem perfectly able to contemplate a single Person without the elaborate (and, according to this approach, ultimately false) metaphor for our own sujective experiences of the divine. It seems, in this way, more like a big step backward than forward.

    Moreover, it opens the Christian message up to Nietzsche's criticism, I think. By removing the actual, ontological divinity of Jesus (or else his actual, ontological humanity) we are left with no clear way to deal with the difficult (more like impossible) teachings. All this turning other cheeks and happy, suffering people and picking up your cross becomes crazy talk: perfect examples of the slave morality that pissed Fredrich off so much.

    And the reason why Nietzsche's criticism is so on-target is, I think, simply because he is exactly right. Right, except for the claim of the actual humanity and divinity of Christ. Without that, (which is to say: if we make the entire thing the subjective analysis of our own experience), we wind up with a theology that does not engage the world as it is. And the world as it is is simply this: crosses are to be avoided at all cost, suffering sucks, only loosers turn the other cheek. We cant get past these facts on our own or, for that matter, on a subjective experience of God.

    And that is basically why I think there isn't much theological promise down that path.

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