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Rehmat
 
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Quote Rehmat Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2005 at 5:20am

Originally posted by yesha`

....Nicene Creed, is not the origin of the concept.  I came to it from studying the bible, not this creed.  It may be the origin of the 'word' trinity, but not the concept.

That is historically incorrect statement. Jesus (as), even in his distorded message (NT) has never mentioned anything which could prove the dogma of Trinity. The true teachings of Jesus are not what St. Paul or other 'later-day' Gospel writers said - but what was recorded by Jesus' personal scribe - St. Barnabas.  

When you say they 'failed' do you mean they failed to convince you, or that they failed to convince themselves?

No that's not true. There are hundreds of Christian theologians, who have accepted the fact that the 'modern Christianity' was not founded by Jesus but by St. Paul. I would highly recommend you and Muslim posters to study Barabara Thiering's thought-provoking book Jesus the Man.

For example 'you' define monotheism as God is of one essence and of one intellect and is unified as one person.  If a person has several known intellects within their person, why should you 'presume' that God has only one?  Isn't it reasonable to you that God who is infinitly greater then us should also be infinitly more complex.  But your view of God is so simple in this regard, that even a man is too complex to fit it. 

That's such a "loose definition of God", which could even make Hitler or any other jerk "god" too!

Have a nice day.

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Quote Rehmat Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2005 at 5:33am

Originally posted by Israfil

...To answer why Christians believe in the trinity is a mystery but then again, not all Christians follow the trinity such as Unitarians for example. Yesha you have yet agin make logic of the Paganistic trinity by using these examples to show the logic of the trnity. As a Muslim Philosopher I cannot get over the fact that God in Christianity is of one person, one essence and yet has two other essence besides the one. That defies the rule of monotheism. God is of one essence and of one intellect and is unified as one person. There is no hierarchy in monotheism. Too bad the Jews do not believe in your trinity if it pertains to truth.

1. Personally, being a graduate of Catholic Mission - I have no problem with Trinity - which is basically based on the Theory of Vegetation (Read Grant Allen's "The Evolution of the Idea of God"). It was practiced by Egyptian, Persians and Hindus.

2. The vast majority of Jews don't believe in Monotheism either. Some of their religious groups believe Ezra as "Son of God" - while the other believe in "race and nationality" as their "god".

3. The basic doctrine of Christianity is TRINITY. Anyone who doesn't believe in that - is out of the fold of Christianity.

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Quote DavidC Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2005 at 9:40am
Fr. Michel has a good comparison if you are truly interested. /www.sjweb.info/dialogo/documents/doc_show.cfm?Number=8">Mus lim/
Christian Dialog


Modern Christian theologians speak about “the Trinity in God’s saving
design.” God has a plan of salvation for mankind which God is actually
carrying out in human history. But history is full of material, changeable
events and sinful human individuals. How does the eternal, transcendent,
holy God (the wholly “Other”) enter this concrete, changing world to save
people? Does God remain distant from human affairs and deliver His
message from afar, or does God get personally involved in the human
situation?


The Christian answer is that God has two ways (or modes) of performing
God’s saving acts in human history. One way is by incarnating His
message, fully and perfectly, in one man, who reveals God in all he says
and does. In Jesus’ victory over suffering and death, by God’s saving
power, mankind finds the assurance of what God is doing and will do for
each of us. Through him, God forms a community of people who will
continue to bear witness to God’s salvation which was revealed in that
man. This, Christians believe, is what God has done in Jesus.


God’s second way of acting in the created universe is through God’s
powerful presence in the natural world and in every man or woman. This
activity of God’s is universal and touches every person. It is not limited to
Christians, but is God present at the depths of each individual, who is
active in the lives of Muslims, Jews, and others to teach, guide, and save.
Christians call this the universal activity of God’s Spirit. For this reason,
Christians do not claim that salvation is limited to themselves, but is
available to very person who responds to God’s Spirit who speaks and
acts in the heart of every man and woman.

    6. The Christian’s Encounter with the triune God

For the Christian, the Trinity is not a mathematical or philosophical
exercise, but shapes our personal religious experience. When we
encounter God, in prayer and worship, in reading and reflecting on the
Bible, even in the demands of daily life, we experience God acting in
these “three modes of God’s being.”


For the believing Christian, GOD is:
1) the transcendent Father (who made us, to Whom we address our
worship and prayers, according to Whose will we strive to live,)
2) who speaks to us and reveals Himself through Jesus (whom we want to
follow and to imitate, through whom we are reconciled to the Father, who
transforms us to be like him)
3) and who lives and acts within us as the immanent Spirit.

    7. Trinitarian belief among Christians of Arabia

Although, at the time of Muhammad, there were many Christians in
Greater Arabia - the Syrian desert, Sinai, eastern Arabia, southern Arabia
(Najran) - there were very few in the Hijaz. Mecca, being the sanctuary of
the pagan religion in pre-Islamic times, resisted the spread of Christian
ideas. The few Christians who were present in the Hijaz do not seem to
have been well educated in Christian faith. There were no schools or
institutes of Christian learning, and the Christian Scriptures had not yet
been translated into Arabic. As a result, knowledge of genuine Christian
teaching apparently was rather primitive.


Archaeological researches in pre-Islamic Arabia show that Christians
called upon God by the Arabic word Al-lah (literally, “the God,”) but their
understanding of God often owed more to traditional Semitic concepts
than to sound Christian teaching. In his book, Christianity in Arabia
before the Time of Muhammad, Trimingham speaks of “the traditional
Semitic trinity.” Although various Arab tribes gave different names to
these pagan deities, the basic pattern was as follows:



    Allâh (“the High God”) --- Allât (“the Great Mother”)
    


    Ba’al (“the Lord”)



In the pagan understanding, Allâh, the High God, impregnated his
consort, Allât, the Great Mother, with the divine seed and they produced a
son, Ba’al, which means “the Lord.” We know that the ancient Greeks and
Romans, as well as other local pantheons in various parts of the world,
had similar beliefs. Such an idea of God having wives and children is
abhorrent to the faith traditions that descend from Abraham. Jews,
Christians, and Muslims all believe that the One God is far too holy and
exalted to be involved in such mundane affairs.


However, the traditional pagan concept seems to have been accepted by
some Arab Christian converts who were poorly instructed in the Christian
faith. They identified Allâh, the High God, as the Father, Mary as the Great
Mother, and Christ as the Lord who was the physically generated son of
Allâh and Mary.


This is a distortion of the true belief of Christians, and knowledgeable
Christian theologians and leaders have always condemned it. The Qur’an
also condemns this belief as unworthy of the nature of God. Christians
agree with the teaching of the Qur’an that God is far beyond generating a
son, or that Mary and Jesus are two gods in addition to Allah, or that
Allah is just one of three gods.


As one Christian reader of the Qur’an, I do not discover in the Qur’an any
reference to the traditional teaching of the orthodox Christian churches
on the triune nature of God. There is nothing surprising in this, since the
Qur’an was condemning the primitive belief of semiChristianized
paganism found in Arabia at that time, a distorted belief which the
Christian churches also reject.


I raise this point, not to arouse controversy, but to point out that
Christians today, like wellinstructed Christians at all times, do not hold
that which is condemned in the Qur’an. Much dialogue will be necessary
between Muslims and Christians to get beyond what has often in the past
been a stumbling block to better understanding between the followers of
Christianity and Islam. I do not say that Christians and Muslims hold the
same view of God, or that both are saying the same thing in different
words. There are differences, certainly, but it is only through honest
dialogue that we will eventually be able to distinguish between apparent
divergences, misunderstandings, and real differences.


DavidC
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Quote Rehmat Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2005 at 12:20pm

A Christian is who believes whatever he/she is told to believe, without asking any question – Dr. Robert Funk, DDD

 

In addition to Trinity, there are some other ‘myths’, which a Christian devout is expected to believe with question. For example:

 

According to Samuel Sharps, an eminent Egyptologist – “The victims of human sacrifices were generally ‘crucified’, or else killed and then hanged on a tree until evening. In this regard, it is interesting to note that in Acts, the writer mistakenly speaks of Jesus as having been slain and hanged on a tree, as though this was common pharase coming readily to his mind; and the word ‘Hanged’ is frequently used in Greek to denote crucification.”

 

Since Jesus is purported to have been born like the rest of the other Sun gods, Bacchus, Apollos, Dsiris, on 25th of December, the day of the sun’s rebirth, i.e. the first day which obviously lengthens after the 21st of December.

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Quote Israfil Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2005 at 6:03pm

My response to our Christian neighbors David C and Yesha. First I would like to point out to you David some things in your paragraph that I found interesting. First you said:

 

¡°But history is full of material, changeable
events and sinful human individuals. How does the eternal, transcendent,
holy God (the wholly “Other? enter this concrete, changing world to save
people? Does God remain distant from human affairs and deliver His
message from afar, or does God get personally involved in the human
situation?¡±

 

Then you said:

 

¡°The Christian answer is that God has two ways (or modes) of performing
God’s saving acts in human history. One way is by incarnating His
message, fully and perfectly, in one man, who reveals God in all he says
and does. In Jesus?victory over suffering and death, by God’s saving
power, mankind finds the assurance of what God is doing and will do for
each of us. Through him, God forms a community of people who will
continue to bear witness to God’s salvation which was revealed in that
man. This, Christians believe, is what God has done in Jesus.¡±

 

Firstly and obviously this is a statement which is not universal but as you mentioned is the understanding by Christians. First off no matter how noble this point of view seems this limits God in a box, in a Christian box to be more specific. We know from doctrinal interpretation that the various elements contained in our Holy doctrines are examples of God¡¯s intervention in such a changeable time. Many parables and stories we read and learn from within these Holy text we apprehend as God¡¯s grace and mercy in this world. As you have mentioned you say that we can reach a ¡°spiritual¡± salvation through God in the message (or form) of Jesus. Though I do not dispute this entire message I have to disagree that God with how he is presented in doctrine is not limited through Jesus. In Biblical and Quranic context God has always involved himself in communities with needing to descend in any form, so how is it that in a time which has lost its way, God needs to descend and transform into a man to reveal his message to mankind when he has used prophets to do this? This is actually a question that I hope you can answer. Secondly, if we are to assume that God indeed has transformed into man that defies the theological laws which Thomas Aquinas and many others have set which presents God as the ¡°unmoved mover¡± or the one who has no change in form. This indeed would contradict the infinity principle of God so I¡¯m interested in how you can explain God going from immortal to temporal.

 

Also David you mentioned:

 

¡°God’s second way of acting in the created universe is through God’s
powerful presence in the natural world and in every man or woman. This
activity of God’s is universal and touches every person.¡±

 

This is compared to what I¡¯ve stated before if in fact God¡¯s activity is prevalant in our world why is it necessary for prophecy sake, that God has to ¡°descend¡± (In this I mean in the symbolic way of his true essence from his absolute nature to temporal nature) if his presence is in every human? It is easy for man to redeem himself rather have a redeemer, if the nature of man is capable of redemption.

 

David and lastly you mentioned:

 

¡°For the Christian, the Trinity is not a mathematical or philosophical
exercise, but shapes our personal religious experience. When we
encounter God, in prayer and worship, in reading and reflecting on the
Bible, even in the demands of daily life, we experience God acting in
these “three modes of God’s being.?:


For the believing Christian, GOD is:
1) the transcendent Father (who made us, to Whom we address our
worship and prayers, according to Whose will we strive to live,)
2) who speaks to us and reveals Himself through Jesus (whom we want to
follow and to imitate, through whom we are reconciled to the Father, who
transforms us to be like him)
3) and who lives and acts within us as the immanent Spirit.¡±

 

 

David your presentation of the trinity based on what you mentioned here is quite unorthodox from mainstream Christianity and this what you have stated here reflects your thoughts about the trinity. I say this differs from other Christians because I can use Yesha as an example who has stated the very opposite in explaining the Trinity, I can also note many others but for the purpose of using convenient examples I used Yesha. Now in the following you have mentioned two contradicting points here in your example of the trinity please read the following:

 

   

1)     The transcendent Father (who made us, to Whom we address our
worship and prayers, according to Whose will we strive to live,)

2)      Who speaks to us and reveals Himself through Jesus (whom we want to
follow and to imitate, through whom we are reconciled to the Father, who
transforms us to be like him)

In point # 1 you mentioned that as we worship our worship and reverence and the like are towards the Creator in whose exemplary prophets we try to follow. But in the following in point # 2 you say that God speaks to us through a mediator in Jesus whom we are thus brought back to God. In speaking for the Christians who do not adhere to Orthodox Christianity as well as us Muslims it appears that God uses himself in the person of Jesus to communicate with us humans and to redeem humanity through his human form to establish again the relationship with humanity. The absolute person of God whom we should revere it seems through Jesus we must use as a mediator between us and God. I have to say that I question the Christian concept of God¡¯s love. If God is so loving why communicate through Jesus and why not to God himself? Another point is that its impossible to say that we are addressing God through a mediator. First off in Christianity, Jesus being both God and mediator in his human person is indeed addressed by Christians in seremonial gatherings i.e. Sunday services.

For example if my intent is to address you David my message is not aimed for your middle man but for you. But for the Christian its comparable to a boy trying to mail a letter to his father but instead of putting his fathers address on the letter uses the address of his uncle because he knows the uncle will give the letter to his (the boy¡¯s) father. The trnitarian God is not absolute if there are three persons in which man must acknowledge to achieve spiritual apprehension of the one God. To say that there are other essences of God besides the one essence we are aware of is dividing God not unifying him. You later mentioned that the Christian Arabs really didn¡¯t know true Christianity in the time of Muhammad hence the conflicts of Christian doctrine and the criticism of Muhammad. Actually David even if Muhammad was not born in Arabia or even within the vicinity of any Christian tribes God still has generalized his criticism in the Qur¡¯an using the trinity principle or the Father, Son and Holy spirit concepts.

 

Yesha you mentioned:

 

¡°Nicene Creed, is not the origin of the concept.  I came to it from studying the bible, not this creed.  It may be the origin of the 'word' trinity, but not the concept.

When you say they 'failed' do you mean they failed to convince you, or that they failed to convince themselves?

Have you considered that it is your 'own' definitions and preconceptions that cause you to not understand.

For example 'you' define monotheism as God is of one essence and of one intellect and is unified as one person.  If a person has several known intellects within their person, why should you 'presume' that God has only one?  Isn't it reasonable to you that God who is infinitly greater then us should also be infinitly more complex.  But your view of God is so simple in this regard, that even a man is too complex.¡±

 

First off the Trinity principle is quite simple, because it only involves three numbers but its not what I say is to make confusing bu the principle itself, because it divides the essence of God. As you tried to attempt to understand the concept of God¡¯s essence let me help you. This concept refers to the absolute person of God the unchangeable, the infinite, the absolute, the needless, the sustainer all these are not positive of God¡¯s attributes but are as defined as components of God¡¯s absolution.

 

Yesha you also said: If a person has several known intellects within their person, why should you 'presume' that God has only one? 

 

My response to this is that God is not like his creatures and not like a person who has several intellects. The problem with Christians defending the trinity principle is that Christians use humans or any type of creation to justify the trinity. In Islam as well as Judaism God is unlike his creatures and beyond any comprehensible form known to man. God is composed of not several but in infinite amount of knowledge, ability and so forth but we must not think of these as numbers and distinctions within God but as of one essence. This is why the trinity loses its appeal even with the non-religious believer because you are dividing an infinite being into 3 qualities when God logically cannot be divided. Sorry for the long response¡¦¡¦.

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Quote yesha` Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2005 at 8:28pm
Israfil,

In the way talk about the 'essence' of God.  What is the essence of man?
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Quote DavidC Replybullet Posted: 29 March 2005 at 4:42am
Israfil - the selection was by Fr. Michel not written by me. It is Jesuit and
is entirely orthodox even mentioning purely heretical views

Of course God's manifestations can be elucidated. Al-Gazzali did it much
better than the the Christians.

Muslims primary purpose in assailing the trinitarian concept is to disrupt
the faith of others. Consider your purpose - do you seek understanding
or would you just settlel for a pyrric victory?

Of course, if God has a letter for you friend Israfil he does not need
mullahs or imams or Hajj or zakat or mosques or hadith either. He could
give it to you directly. Why does Islam need five pillars or 99 names of
God? Because they enable us to pass the word (Jesus or Qu'ran) -
correctly - through generations.

There is one world, but sometimes we see night, othertimes sunrise,
othertimes rain. No one doubts it is only one world, but using different
words for different aspects is vey useful. To say it is all one world may be
correct, but a great deal of understanding is lost.

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Quote A-Tirawi Replybullet Posted: 29 March 2005 at 12:59pm

Israfil

I very much liked ur post in reply to david.  Very well said

 

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