Saturday, May 05, 2007

“Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity.”

Robert Ingersoll wrote:

“Christ, according to the faith, is the second person in the Trinity, the Father being the first and the Holy Ghost the third. Each of these persons is God. Christ is his own father and his own son. The Holy Ghost is neither father nor son, but both. The son was begotten by the father, but existed before he was begotten--just the same before as after.

“So, it is declared that the Father is God, and the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, and that these three Gods make one God.

“According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three times one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction, if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar, if we add two to one, we have but one. . . .

"How is it possible to prove the existence of the Trinity? Is it possible for a human being, who has been born but once, to comprehend, or to imagine the existence of three beings, each of whom is equal to the three? Think of one of these beings as the father of one, and think of that one as half human and all God, and think of the third as having proceeded from the other two, and then think of the three as one. Think that after the father begot the son, the father was still alone, and after the Holy Ghost proceeded from the father and the son, the father was still alone-because there never was and never will be but one God. At this point, absurdity having reached its limit, nothing more can be said except:’ Let us pray.’ "

-- Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899), "The Trinity" (from "The Foundations of Faith," The Works of Ingersoll). The Trinity" has been set to music by Dan Barker ("Friendly Neighborhood Atheist" CD).

Even when I was a Christian and professed to believe in the Holy Trinity, I secretly found the whole concept quite absurd and really tried to make sense of it and never could. The clergy of the various churches I attended over the years, quickly grew weary and impatient of those who asked too many questions and resorted to making up answers and explanations, or we are told to just take it on faith and not try to analyze things too much.

Once I returned to the university and began to study ancient mythology and world religions, and comparing them side-by side, I began to see that the Christian mythology is just as absurd as any of the other mythologies that humans have concocted in their imaginations. There are many gods of ancient mythology from various cultures around the globe who have an earthly mother or father and a father god, mother god. These gods often come down from heaven and mingle amongst their subjects, then return to their supernatural realm up "above" to overlord little ol' planet Earth and its inhabitants from some celestial throne.

In the Christian mythology, the concept of a god, making himself into a man, is somewhat different and more confusing. This man, Jesus, who is supposed to be God come to Earth, yet he still talks and prays to God. Is he talking and praying to himself, then? This man-god dies, but the god still lives, and brings the man back to life. Then the man becomes a holy spirit and god, man and holy spirit are three-in-one...yet makes my brain hurt!

John Patrick Michael Murphy wrote a great essay simply titled "Trinity" that briefly summarizes the history of the concept of the Trinity and offers some amusing commentary.

God found out about the Trinity in the year 325 of the Common Era. That was the year Emperor Constantine murdered his son, Crispus, and knocked off his wife, Fausta, for complaining about it. He then turned his attention to the new religion of Christianity. This pagan ordered the Christian bishops to convene at Nicaea, a town south of today’s Istanbul. In those days one Christian bishop was the equal of any other. The prelates were elected by their followers. The idea that the Bishop of Rome would have more power than all the rest combined hadn’t been invented yet. The bishops and their respective followers constantly argued and connived against one another. Murder and mayhem were common.

Constantine paid the expenses of the churchmen to come to Nicaea with the hope that the warring among them would cease if they could only agree on the pecking order of their gods. Once assembled the cabal got down to figuring out god. One group thought Jesus a holy man, but not god. Some allowed that Jesus was a god, but thought Jehovah was one first. Others claimed they were coeternal and were quite certain both ran the universe with another god called the Holy Ghost. Constantine didn’t give a tinker’s dam how many gods there were, he just wanted the bickering to end. He liked the idea that anyone could become a Christian. His empire was far flung and had scores of exclusive religions which tended to strain unity and his power. Once Paul had the moxie to chop circumcision from the initiation ceremony, the novel idea of sinning on credit became popular. It still is. Constantine wanted to capitalized on it.

After many bishops grabbed their crosiers and stormed out of the proceedings he made the rest stay and vote until there was a majority telling us how many gods the Christians would worship. After the infighting, posturing, and compromising of politics, the majority voted that all three were gods in one god- similar to Siamese triplets. Although the word "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible, the bishops explained that while Jesus was begotten by Jehovah, he existed before he was begotten, and the Holy Ghost "proceeded" from the father and the son, but was still coeternal with them!!! Then they made the sign of the cross and left town.

That’s how god found out about the Trinity-at a convention convened by a husband who murdered his wife-a father who killed his son. Ingersoll studied the matter in the last century and explained how it works- this Trinity business:

(refer to quote at beginning of post)


BEAJ said...

I doubt very many Christians know this story.
If Jesus is God, I still can't figure out how Jesus sits at the right hand of God, or on the right hand of God, or whatever bullshit they believe.

The Alpha said...

Only in Christianity does 1+1+1=1. It's patently ridiculous but I believe the quote you provided from Robert Ingersoll sums it up.

"At this point, absurdity having reached its limit, nothing more can be said except:’ Let us pray.’ "

Very few Christians know about the Council of Nicea. Those that do rationalize it away by suggesting that the purpose of the Council was merely to agree on the wording to explain the trinity. As if it had nothing to do with completely creating a new concept.