Trinity, schminity

I was listening to Hank Hanegraaff’s Bible Answer Man today while driving. He was trying to explain the Trinity to a caller. It seemed weird, as if Hanegraaff was describing something he didn’t understand to someone who was struggling even harder.

You have to admire Christianity, in a backhanded way. There are no end of lunatic religious stories available in the world ( Xenu, anyone?), but I don’t know of anything that compares to good old fashioned Christian theology when it comes to specializing in the outright incomprehensible. The Trinity, for example: three persons, but one godhead, whatever the hell that might mean. The Christians certainly don’t know. It’s a mystery of the faith.

Well, fine, I might say, every religion should be allowed one incoherent item of dogma. But even the Trinity, which appears to be as bad a piece of nonsense as is possible, is not enough. The Christians have to go for overkill. On top of the Trinity, Jesus has to be both fully man and fully God. I see. But wait, it’s not over. There’s transubstantiation. To all appearances, the wafer remains a wafer and the wine wine, but it’s really the body and blood of Jesus. Oh, and there’s this bit about “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Take that, readers! Make sense of it if you can! Obscure, incomprehensible, and self-contradictory all at once! And on and on and on.

The ancient metaphysical stuff almost makes modern liberal theological contortions respectable. After all, you get the impression that the modern stuff is mostly asinine “well God can be made compatible with all that too” excuse-making. It may be wildly implausible but perhaps there may be something vaguely possible hiding in the verbiage. These days they merely try to rot your brain, not blow it to bits.

I now appreciate the way orthodox Islam came to distrust Greek philosophy. Good move, I think. If you avoid the Greek philosophizing, you still end up with drivel. But it’s good, honest drivel. Muslims have not tended to write long books and start heated arguments concerning the nature of Muhammad. (Some sects do give in to the temptation, but the orthodox usually squish them.) A much more worldly and sensible religion, in other words.

Insane. That’s what the bloody human race is. Insane.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University


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