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Thread: Aspects of Christianity that seem contradictory or incoherent

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Aspects of Christianity that seem contradictory or incoherent

    When I was a kid, I wondered about:

    * Christianity claims it is monotheistic yet also claims its God had (and has) a "son." It is clear from the Bible that this son - Jesus - is not an "aspect" or "manifestation" of the one God, but a distinct and separate individual. God speaks with Jesus; Jesus speaks with God (asking him, for example, whether it is necessary for him to be crucified). It is very clear. There are at least two gods in Christian theology. A God "family," in fact. Yet Christianity claims monotheism.

    The two seem incompatible to me.

    * Christianity claims God is all-powerful (omnipotent) yet also presents us with a character called the Devil or Satan, who is (supposedly) fighting with God, contesting his authority and working to corrupt human beings, etc. But if God is omnipotent, then by definition the Devil is completely helpless before him. He has no power or freedom of action beyond whatever God permits. So whatever "evil" he does he does by God's leave. Which in a way makes God the source of evil. More deeply, this Devil character cannot defeat the omnipotent God's plan. It would be a contradiction in terms. So, why even bother with the "contest"? It's like a Pro Wrestling match, where it's all for show and the outcome is predetermined.

    I'll post some more later - but that's a start!

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    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    And let's not even get started with the Holy Ghost, whatever that is.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    And let's not even get started with the Holy Ghost, whatever that is.
    Yeah.. what about that?

    It strikes me as more of the Bronze Age anthropomorphizing that pervades the Bible. The omnipotent, immortal God has a "son" who is also an immortal God but lives and then "dies" like a mortal man. The "ghost" of this no-longer-living son then becomes a "Holy Ghost."

    This stuff seemed silly to me when I was 10. I continue to be amazed that adults take it seriously.

  4. #4
    Eric:

    Christianity claims it is monotheistic yet also claims its God had (and has) a "son." It is clear from the Bible that this son - Jesus - is not an "aspect" or "manifestation" of the one God, but a distinct and separate individual. God speaks with Jesus; Jesus speaks with God (asking him, for example, whether it is necessary for him to be crucified). It is very clear. There are at least two gods in Christian theology. A God "family," in fact. Yet Christianity claims monotheism.

    The two seem incompatible to me.
    The orthodox nominal Christian concept is that the ONE God is triune, consisting of three "persons" in one God. Yet each "person" is "fully" God, and there are not three Gods, but only one. Oh, and the three "persons" are not three separate "beings" but only one "being." And that the "persons" speak to each other, exist in separate places; and one "person" refers to the other as "my God."

    Make sense? It's a bizarre, convoluted, illogical and totally confusing paradigm but it has remained the litmus test for orthodox belief since the late 4th/early 5th century (i.e., if you don't accept it you're branded a heretic). Reams and reams of complex Byzantine commentaries have been written over the centuries by various nominal Christian theologians, all attempting to somehow explain and codify this concept. People rejecting it but otherwise claiming to be Christian have been tortured and killed for their denial of it. Battles have been fought and kingdoms divided over minute sub-concepts contained within it. One cannot undertake a comprehensive study of the late Roman Era through the Middle Ages without considering it in some detail.

    I would maintain that the Bible indicates that there is one Supreme God/person/being and various other individuals (some humans, some "spirit" beings) referred to by the generic term "god" (which essentially denotes someone who is in a position of power and authority). "Monotheism" as depicted in the Bible is not, then, a belief in the existence of only one "god" but rather the idea that only one "god" is accorded absolute worship.

    Of course I perceive from reading your posts in this and other threads that you don't attach any credibility to the Bible, and that's your right. My point is just to explain that your viewpoint makes a lot of sense and really doesn't conflict with anything that's actually contained in the Bible. The theological baggage which became the Trinity dogma was conceived and formulated well after the Bible was written and was largely the result of mixing neo-Platonic philosophical concepts with Christian theology, as well as political influences.
    Last edited by KentAZ; 06-21-2010 at 07:12 AM.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KentAZ View Post
    Eric:

    The orthodox nominal Christian concept is that the ONE God is triune, consisting of three "persons" in one God. Yet each "person" is "fully" God, and there are not three Gods, but only one. Oh, and the three "persons" are not three separate "beings" but only one "being." And that the "persons" speak to each other, exist in separate places; and one "person" refers to the other as "my God."

    Make sense? It's a bizarre, convoluted, illogical and totally confusing paradigm but it has remained the litmus test for orthodox belief since the late 4th/early 5th century (i.e., if you don't accept it you're branded a heretic). Reams and reams of complex Byzantine commentaries have been written over the centuries by various nominal Christian theologians, all attempting to somehow explain and codify this concept. People rejecting it but otherwise claiming to be Christian have been tortured and killed for their denial of it. Battles have been fought and kingdoms divided over minute sub-concepts contained within it. One cannot undertake a comprehensive study of the late Roman Era through the Middle Ages without considering it in some detail.

    I would maintain that the Bible indicates that there is one Supreme God/person/being and various other individuals (some humans, some "spirit" beings) referred to by the generic term "god" (which essentially denotes someone who is in a position of power and authority). "Monotheism" as depicted in the Bible is not, then, a belief in the existence of only one "god" but rather the idea that only one "god" is accorded absolute worship.

    Of course I perceive from reading your posts in this and other threads that you don't attach any credibility to the Bible, and that's your right. My point is just to explain that your viewpoint makes a lot of sense and really doesn't conflict with anything that's actually contained in the Bible. The theological baggage which became the Trinity dogma was conceived and formulated well after the Bible was written and was largely the result of mixing neo-Platonic philosophical concepts with Christian theology, as well as political influences.

    As Ed used to say, "You are correct, sir!"

    An interesting aspect of the Bible is that it is so amenable to interpretation, on textual as well as doctrinal grounds. It literally can be almost anything you want it to be, because the language is often recondite, or outright gibberish. This quality gives it great power because it's harder to disprove it in toto - or corner its defenders on any specific point.

    At least the Old Testament had numerous clear and very pedantic instructions for the readers...

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