Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Say Not Three Gods: A Reply to Sami Zaatari And His Counterfeit Trinity

In an article found here, which the reader is encouraged to look at before continuing with this paper, Muslim apologist Sami Zaatari thinks he has demonstrated that Christians are polytheists rather than monotheists. (Presumably that means it is open season on Christians, and the wonderful blessing of Dhimmi status may be dutifully denied to Christian’s in Muslim lands).

Whatever Zaatari thinks he has shown, I must confess at the outset,....

This article has been moved to the Answering Islam website. To read the rest of it, go
here. The comments section will remain open on this blog. Do come back and leave your thoughts.

56 comments:

Ibn said...

Paratus:.....the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christian theology do not merely possess the same kind of nature as each other; rather, they possess one and the same nature or essence.

So? Your analogy reduces God to a universal of which the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are particulars. Since the universal and particular are different entities, and the universal metaphysically precedes the particular, God exists independently of and differently in comparison to the three persons of the Trinity. In the light of this argument, it is obvious that in worshiping Jesus, you guys aren't actually worshiping God, but merely an indication of Him. Likewise, when you worship the Father, you are worshiping another particular of God, different from Jesus. Same goes for the Holy Spirit. The worship of three particulars is polytheism.

If you say Jesus, his Father and the Holy Spirit are one, then they necessarily constitute one particular. Even then, worship of God and the three persons would be different rituals altogether.

Sami Zaatari said...

and after that long article you have refuted nothing, but have spent more time attacking my supposed lack of understanding. again, let me make this simple for you (as i did in the article):

Jesus= God

Father= God

Holy Spirit= God

each is a seperate and distinct person, hence how many Gods do you have????? your article doesnt even come close to adressing this problem, so just like you, i have nothing personal against you, but i suggest that for next time, when you want to write a 'response' that you actually do respond.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn,

Your response attempts to say on a philosophical level what Zaatari botched on a theological one.

I don't believe that God is a universal that exists independently of, apart from, and prior to the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Zaatari,

My article did adress the problem you think you've raised. I would beseech you to read it over and see if you didn't miss something.

Ibn said...

Semper:I don't believe that God is a universal that exists independently of, apart from, and prior to the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You don't believe God is a universal, but your arguments imply otherwise.

I must say I'm disappointed with your response. I expected you to mount a sophisticated assault on my arguments which your response clearly isn't.

Javier said...

and after that long article you have refuted nothing, but have spent more time attacking my supposed lack of understanding. again, let me make this simple for you (as i did in the article):

The fact is, you're not attacking the Christian doctrine, but a straw man, hence we're not even required to refute your mischaracterization of our God. We don't believe in what you say we do.

Jesus= God

Father= God

Holy Spirit= God

each is a seperate and distinct person, hence how many Gods do you have?????


You must suffer from a lack of clear thinking. If we say person then we don't mean God. Historical Christian theology has always been careful to make this distinction. Again you're misrepresenting what we say, and equivocating person with God. Your arguments have failed.


your article doesnt even come close to adressing this problem,

Firstly, thats beause there is no problem once one understands that the word person doesn't equal the word God. They are different senses, which is what classic Christian orthodoxy asserts. Again, why would we address a problem that isn't against our theology? You're attacking your own irrational concoction not our beloved Trinity.

so just like you, i have nothing personal against you, but i suggest that for next time, when you want to write a 'response' that you actually do respond.

I suggest that next time you offer a critique of a position you understand the position.

In case you don't know the doctrine, the Christian view is that God is *one* in (being) one sense and *three* in another (person).

Soli Deo Gloria

P.S.

Keep your day job.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zaatari, you're missing an important component, which is homoousious. You make a category error when you think that 'being' and 'person' are synonymous. They are not.

Persons have centers of consciousness, while beings do not necessitate a center of consciousness (e.g. a rock).

If God, unlike the creation (which has limited being, and thus is reduced to existing as a single person), has infinite being, then it logically follows that God is capable of being three distinct persons.

Semper Paratus said...

Javier and Anonymous, thanks for chiming in.

Ibn,

It would appear that we both disappointed each other: you expected me to give you a more sophisticated reply; I expected you to quote me in context.

The brevity of my response was due to the fact that I quite simply deny your attempted philosophical description of the Trinity. Why do you think I have an obligation to say that in a more sophisticated way?

With that said, it would appear that my reply was sophisticated enough; after all, what sophisticated explanation would you like to offer for why you needed to take my words out of context in order to look like you had some kind of response? Couldn't you reply to what I actually said? Did I say "God is not a universal"? Or did I deny it in the way you set it up, complete with your arbitrary and question begging assumption that "the universal metaphysically precedes the particular." The whole point of the Trinity is to deny just this. Unity and diversity, the universal and the particular, the one and the many, however you wish to put it, are equally ultimate in God.

Ironically, it is actually Islam that has the problem you think Christianity has, and it is only in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity that this problem can be solved. Care to press your luck and put Allah under the microscope?

Ibn said...

Paratus:With that said, it would appear that my reply was sophisticated enough; after all, what sophisticated explanation would you like to offer for why you needed to take my words out of context in order to look like you had some kind of response? Couldn't you reply to what I actually said? Did I say "God is not a universal"?

It seems as though you prefer sophistry and rhetoric to substance, typical of most Christian apologists.

I said quite explicitly that your arguments IMPLY God is a universal. Instead of defending your arguments, showing that they don't support my assertion, all you said in response was that you don't believe God is a universal. You made an assertion, not an argument. What is your argument that God is not a universal as per the analogy you applied to explain the Trinity?

Paratus:Or did I deny it in the way you set it up, complete with your arbitrary and question begging assumption that "the universal metaphysically precedes the particular.

How is it question begging?

If you say the universal is subsequent to the particular, it would still imply that God and the three persons are separate entities. Essentially, you'll be reducing God to an abstraction.

Paratus:Ironically, it is actually Islam that has the problem you think Christianity has, and it is only in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity that this problem can be solved. Care to press your luck and put Allah under the microscope?

This is a red herring.

Ibn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ibn said...

Anyonymous:If God, unlike the creation (which has limited being, and thus is reduced to existing as a single person), has infinite being, then it logically follows that God is capable of being three distinct persons.

Assuming the number of persons a being is capable of having is determined by its capacity, then if God has an infinite being, it has infinite persons. The Trinity restricts God to three persons. Therefore, the Trinitarian God is not an infinite being. Hence, it is not God.

Semper Paratus said...

It looks like I just can't win with Ibn. He complained about the brevity and unSOPHISTicated nature of my first response, so I expanded my comments and pointed out that he quite simply didn't properly interpret what I actually said. In response to this he now accuses me of being given over to SOPHISTry and rhetoric. He also misrepresented me once again.

To repeat myself, I happily concede that God is absolute, universal, etc. I never denied it. In fact I have affirmed it several times now.

On the other hand, I did deny your anti-Trinitarian assumption that God is an abstract universal that precedes the particular persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is One and God is Three, always, from eterinity, forever, age unto age, world without end....Is that clear enough? Unity and diversity are equally ultimate in the Triune God.

Quit trying to squeeze the Trinity into a preconceived unitarian or polytheistic mold and you might get it.

As for the charge that turning these guns on Allah is a red herring....hardly. It isn't a red-herring because: 1) I have answered you on this repeatedly when it comes to the Trinity; therefore, it is perfectly fine to turn to a consideration of Allah and see if the problem you raise actually sticks to your deity. 2) It would help to show you by way of contrast just what I am saying about the Trinity and how it doesn't fall into the problem you are limpidly trying to raise.

regards,

Ibn said...

As expected, Paratus completely avoids my request of presenting AN ARGUMENT as to why his defense of the Trinity doesn't reduce God to a universal or an abstraction, choosing instead to repeat, by his own admission ("To repeat myself"), the assertions he made in his previous post. Not being able to answer my claims, he then goes on to dabble in irrelevancies.

Paratus:As for the charge that turning these guns on Allah is a red herring....hardly. It isn't a red-herring because: 1) I have answered you on this repeatedly when it comes to the Trinity; therefore, it is perfectly fine to turn to a consideration of Allah and see if the problem you raise actually sticks to your deity.

Wrong! The Topic is about the nature of Trinity, not Allah. So even if you "answered" my allegations about your confused theology, it still doesn't give your questions about Allah's nature any relevancy.

Paratus:2) It would help to show you by way of contrast just what I am saying about the Trinity and how it doesn't fall into the problem you are limpidly trying to raise.

So you believe that by pointing out the inadequacies of Allah's nature, you can make the concept of Trinity seem more coherent? If so, then you are guilty of arguing from ignorance as well as committing a circumstantial ad hominem.

Javier said...

Semper,
Its quite easy to see what Ibn is doing, he's slyly sneaking in his Islamic assumptions and then imposing them on our Christian understanding of God. He's taking his position for granted and then arguing on that basis. O

Ariel said...

Ibn: "Assuming the number of persons a being is capable of having is determined by its capacity, then if God has an infinite being, it has infinite persons. The Trinity restricts God to three persons. Therefore, the Trinitarian God is not an infinite being. Hence, it is not God."

This is a logical error as a finite being doesn't necessitate a finite person (e.g. rock), just as an infinite being does not necessitate infinite persons.

If God is capable of existing as three persons, then there is no logical necessity for God to be an infinite number of persons.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn,

Javier is exactly right. Good Neo-Platonist/Muslim that you are, you ASSUME, without argument, that unity precedes diversity, such that in the Trinity each person is "merely an indication" of God, where "God" is understood as an impersonal something or other. But I don't grant the assumption on which your ENTIRE argument is based, and this is also why your argument is arbitrary and question begging. This is also why it isn't a red-herring to bring up Allah.

To spell it out further: Your argument is arbitrary because it rests on an unargued assumption that we don't share in common; namely, that unity precedes diversity.

Your argument is question begging because it assumes that unity precedes diversity, which is contary to the Trinity, the very thing you are trying to disprove.

In this light - because you are assuming your own view of God in advance and trying to critique the Trinity on that basis - it is entirely relevant to discuss Allah. In other words, since you are assuming him, then he is fair game.

What all of this shows is that we both have ultimate committments in terms of which we reason: mine is Yahweh; yours is Allah. I maintain that your metaphysical view of God destroys the possibility for both unity and diversity in the world, or for bringing universals and particulars together without destroying one or the other or both. Your view destroys any and all possibility of predication, not to mention morality, mathematics, or anything else worth talkig about. Your view leads to the destruction of all knowledge.

Now that we can all see what is going on, and that you can't rescue Zaatari's inept case against the Trinity as polytheism, can we get on to something interesting and see who - Yahweh or Allah - provides the necessary starting point for all coherent predication?

My prediction: You are in way over your head and will try any way possible to stall the discussion.

Ibn said...

Ariel:This is a logical error as a finite being doesn't necessitate a finite person (e.g. rock)

Then you disagree with Anyonymous' premise that "...the creation (which has limited being, and thus is reduced to existing as a single person)"?

Ariel:...just as an infinite being does not necessitate infinite persons.

If an infinite being like God entails infinite power, knowledge, mercy, etc. why can't He harbor infinite persons?

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn said: "If an infinite being like God entails infinite power, knowledge, mercy, etc. why can't He harbor infinite persons?"

He does, and there is three of them: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Semper Paratus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ibn said...

Paratus:you ASSUME, without argument, that unity precedes diversity; Your argument is arbitrary because it rests on an unargued assumption that we don't share in common; namely, that unity precedes diversity;Your argument is question begging because it assumes that unity precedes diversity.

Read my posts carefully before ranting. I explicitly said in response to one of your earlier posts, "If you say the universal is subsequent to the particular, it would still imply that God and the three persons are separate entities. Essentially, you'll be reducing God to an abstraction."

Let me add that each person of the Trinity is a unity per se. Therefore, you have three separate unities forced into a compartment, called God, that itself is a unity. Altogether, you have 4 unities! If you don't see this as polytheism, then the scales blinding you from reality are yet to fall off of your eyes.

Regarding infinite persons, you wrote:He does, and there is three of them: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

That's just stupid. Anything that is limited in any way is not an infinite being. The Trinitarian God is limited to three persons. Therefore, the Trinitarian God is not an infinite being.

I wonder if answering islam has the decency to attach my responses to your slipshod article to their website.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn said: "Read my posts carefully before ranting. I explicitly said in response to one of your earlier posts, "If you say the universal is subsequent to the particular, it would still imply that God and the three persons are separate entities. Essentially, you'll be reducing God to an abstraction.""

Now look who is repeating himself. (I thought that was a no-no.)

I know quite well what you said before and what you are repeating now, but it is yet ANOTHER misrepresentation. I explicitly denied your Neo-plotonic claim that unity precedes diversity, and I was ALSO explicit, clear, and precise in ruling out the only other alternative you seem to be aware of.

To deny that unity precedes diversity is not the same as to say that plurality is basic to unity, unless, of course, you are only capable of grasping the twin errors of unitarianism and polytheism (or monism and pluralism for the philosophically minded).

The history of the world's religions and philosophies have always swung from one pillar to the other, to unity or to diversity, and it is only in revealed, Biblical religion that we find both such notions exposed for what they are: false.

Let me spell it out for you so you don't miss it AGAIN: unity and diversity are equally ultimate in God. NEITHER one precedes the other. The persons of the Trinity are coeterminuous with each other and the divine being. God is not an impersonal abstraction, He is thoroughly personal - tri-personal, in fact.

There is a reason that you don't get this and will fight tooth and nail not to get it: You can to some degree see that if this is what I am really saying, then: 1) you have no argument against Christianity; and 2) Christianity shows itself to be, in its conception of God, the answer to Philosophies greatest question and problem - the problem of the one and the many. And both of these observations together mean that Islam is false, as false as can be.

But go ask Plotinus about this; he'll tell you that he now sees his mistake. He and Muhammad have been discussing it for many centuries, expressing their desire to come back and warn their disciples about their Monistic/Mondaistic gaff.

***At the end of your post it looks like you are working up the guts to throw down a challenge. Well, how about this: You write whatever you want and have it posted on a Muslim cite. I will be happy to link to it and respond to it on Answering Islam.***

I'm not sure what you are after here, but if it is notoriety, then Billy the Kid said it best: "I'll make you famous."

Semper Paratus said...

Hey, I have a great idea, why don't you and Zaatari lock arms and co-write a response?

Ibn said...

Paratus:Let me spell it out for you so you don't miss it AGAIN: unity and diversity are equally ultimate in God. NEITHER one precedes the other. The persons of the Trinity are coeterminuous with each other and the divine being. God is not an impersonal abstraction, He is thoroughly personal - tri-personal, in fact.

Again with the empty assertions! No matter how you look at it, to argue (as you did earlier)the persons of the Trinity are one by virtue of a common property-Divinity, is no different from contending that you and I are one by virtue of being human. In other words, you have reduced God to a collective term.

Paratus:There is a reason that you don't get this and will fight tooth and nail not to get it: You can to some degree see that if this is what I am really saying, then: 1) you have no argument against Christianity; and 2) Christianity shows itself to be, in its conception of God, the answer to Philosophies greatest question and problem - the problem of the one and the many.

How about option 3? "The Trinitarian theology makes no sense."

I see you didn't respond to the following argument I made earlier:

Anything that is limited in any way is not an infinite being. The Trinitarian God is limited to three persons. Therefore, the Trinitarian God is not an infinite being.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn said: "Again with the empty assertions! No matter how you look at it, to argue (as you did earlier)the persons of the Trinity are one by virtue of a common property-Divinity, is no different from contending that you and I are one by virtue of being human. In other words, you have reduced God to a collective term."

First, when a person defines their own view, it is not called an empty assertion. Defining one's terms is a critical first step in any discussion. You and Zaatari have yet to take this first step. I'm trying to help you do that.

Second, you and I do not share the *same* nature, but the same kind of nature. This is not the case in the Trinity.

Ibn said: "I see you didn't respond to the following argument I made earlier:

Anything that is limited in any way is not an infinite being. The Trinitarian God is limited to three persons. Therefore, the Trinitarian God is not an infinite being."

I thought you had some self-respect and I didn't want to take that away from you. But if you insist, I will respond to this idea.

To say that anything that is limited in any way is not an infinite being is silly and self-stultifying.

On Islamic assumptions, Allah is a personal being, and since he is less than three persons (which you said implied a limitation that amounted to undermining such a beings infinitude), then he is not infinite.

Why do you put yourself through this? Give it up. The gig is up. Allah is not God.

Ibn said...

Paratus:Second, you and I do not share the *same* nature, but the same kind of nature. This is not the case in the Trinity.

So you disagree with the premise (as espoused by Dr.William Lane Craig who in turn draws inspiration from Augustine) that Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit share the PROPERTY of being Divine and are, therefore, God in a predicate sense rather than that of an identity?

Paratus:To say that anything that is limited in any way is not an infinite being is silly and self-stultifying. On Islamic assumptions, Allah is a personal being, and since he is less than three persons (which you said implied a limitation that amounted to undermining such a beings infinitude), then he is not infinite. Why do you put yourself through this? Give it up. The gig is up. Allah is not God.

This is a red herring as well as a tu quoque.

I am amazed at the puerility of your arguments. Please grow up!

PM said...

IBN,

Lay out the implication, step by step, e.g.,

P1 . . . Pn.

I don't see the implication, neither do billions of other Christians, so it must not be obvious. Thus you needs to make it obvious by spelling out how, precisely, God is an abstract universal, especially given the Christian contention that God is tri-personal. So, using premises Christians endorse (otherwise you beg the question), show how *our* position *implies* that God is an abstract universal.

Semper Paratus said...

As for my reply to your "infinte persons" argument, it is hardly a red-herring or an example of the Tu quoque fallacy. In logical discourse it is called a reducio ad absurdum. Face it, your argument on this score has been reduced to absurdity.

As for the other remark...as always my disagreement is with you. Whether you think it agrees with what Craig says is neither here nor there. (Talk about a red herring! You take the cake.)

Ibn said...

Just what I needed, another guy who doesn't read.

Semper Paratus said...

Tsk, Tsk, Ibn.

Remember my prediction about your stall tactic?

Ibn said...

Paratus:As for my reply to your "infinte persons" argument, it is hardly a red-herring or an example of the Tu quoque fallacy. In logical discourse it is called a reducio ad absurdum. Face it, your argument on this score has been reduced to absurdity.

With that, you have proven how unskilled you are logically.

Your second last past with respect to infinite persons was a red herring because the topic pertains to Christian theology, not Allah. Moreover, it was a tu quoque because you discounted my argument on the basis that it applies as much to Islamic theology as it does to the Christian one.

Resorting to these fallacies is characteristic of cornered Christian apologists.

Paratus:As for the other remark...as always my disagreement is with you.

So what is YOUR VERSION of the Trinity? Be very clear with your arguments.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn said to PM: "Just what I needed, another guy who doesn't read."

What do you have against people who are unlettered? (S. 7:157)

PM said...

Ibn said...

Just what I needed, another guy who doesn't read.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

That's a funny thing to say given that I requested something to read by you.

Anyway, if you can direct me to where you formally laid out the implication, then I'll be happy to read it. It's not in this combox, though. So your response is even more confusing. Indeed, it could be taken to be "read" as a dodge. Hey, if you can't back up your claim about logical implication, no worries. I was never under the impression that you could.

Anonymous said...

I take this to be the best Ibn could muster:

"[1] Since the universal and particular are different entities, and [2] the universal metaphysically precedes the particular, [3] God exists independently of and differently in comparison to the three persons of the Trinity."

(Numbering mine).

Of course I deny [1] (as it begs the question in favor of polytheism, in historic Christian theology the persons are numerically identical to the godhead, thus there can't be "different entities"), I deny [2] as well, and I deny [3].

So, there's been no argument that uses premises that the Christian accepts and then draws out the logical implication you say is there. Hence, I asked you if you could lay out the argument since nothing in this combox, even that weak, sorry excuse for an argument I quoted, can plausibly be taken as demonstrating your case in any cogent way.

So, try again.

PM said...

The above was me, sorry

Ibn said...

Am:Anyway, if you can direct me to where you formally laid out the implication, then I'll be happy to read it.

Sure. "No matter how you look at it, to argue (as you did earlier)the persons of the Trinity are one by virtue of a common property-Divinity, is no different from contending that you and I are one by virtue of being human. In other words, you have reduced God to a collective term."

Here, I am using collective term and universal interchangeably as there is basically no difference between the two. The same holds for abstraction.

PM:Of course I deny [1] (as it begs the question in favor of polytheism, in historic Christian theology the persons are numerically identical to the godhead, thus there can't be "different entities"), I deny [2] as well, and I deny [3].

What do you mean by numerically identical to the Godhead? That they are one in Godhead? That they share the common property of being divine by virtue of which they are one in essence? If so, then you too are implying that God is an abstraction.

PM said...

Ibn,

You write: "Sure. "No matter how you look at it, to argue (as you did earlier)the persons of the Trinity are one by virtue of a common property-Divinity, is no different from contending that you and I are one by virtue of being human. In other words, you have reduced God to a collective term."

Ummmm, apparently you are confused as to what counts as laying out a logical implication.

Anyway, what you expressing above is what is known (roughly) as social trinitarianism, this is a minority position and doesn't enjoy the best historical creedal support either.

Anyway, STs could get around your objections but I'll leave you to debate them as I am not an ST and that is, as I said, a minority view.

You write: "What do you mean by numerically identical to the Godhead? That they are one in Godhead? That they share the common property of being divine by virtue of which they are one in essence? If so, then you too are implying that God is an abstraction."

Ummmm, no. For someone as cock-sure as you seem to be, you have a terribly inadaquate knowledge of even the basic language needed to engage in this debate in any fruitful way. I'd call you sophomoric but I wouldn't want to offend sophomores.

Anyway, numerical identity is different that qualitative identity--what you imply is the trinitarian position above. Numerical idenity between x and y implies that x and y are "one and the same entity." For example, a think is "numerically identical" to itself, not just qualitatively.

Hope that helped!

PM said...

edit: "a thinG is identical to itself" (not "think")

Ibn said...

AM:Numerical idenity between x and y implies that x and y are "one and the same entity."

So you believe Jesus is IDENTICAL to his father?

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn,

I see you have made a new friend while I was away. He's doing a bang up job, wouldnt you say?

PM said...

Ibn said...

AM:Numerical idenity between x and y implies that x and y are "one and the same entity."

So you believe Jesus is IDENTICAL to his father?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ibn, above you mentioned people who "don't read." So, how about applying that rule to yourself? I said that the persons were numerically identical to the godhead. That doesn't imply that the persons are numerically identical to eachother.

Historic Christian theology is that the persons are numerically identical to the godhead, numerically distinct from eachother. All the persons have numerically identical essences, yet they are not numerically identical to eachother. This means there's only one essence, not three.

Hope that helped.

PM said...

Edit: "All the persons have a numerically identical essence"

Ibn said...

PM:This means there's only one essence, not three.

It is just as I suspected. The same argument presented differently using sophistry.

If the three persons are one in essence, but each person is not identical to the other which would have reduced the Trinity to a single person, and each person is a unity per se, then you still have three unities crammed into one unity-the essence-to form a collective being called God.

So as can be seen, it is not I who is guilty of not reading, but you. I already covered your argument several posts back. You thought you could deceive the lay readers using sophistry, but at the end of the day, truth always prevails over falsehood.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn,

I will let PM continue to school you on the Trinity, I just thought I would be a nice guy and quickly point out how close to home your argument hits, even though you have vocifersouly objected to my doing so.

On your view Allah is One, not two, not three, nor anything beyond a simple unity. And since you have said that unity precedes diversity, and the universal precedes the particular, then you have to grant that when Muhammadans speak of the "beautiful names" and many "attributes" of Allah, that these do not attach to anything like the nature or essence of Allah, i.e. they are not definitional of Allah, the One, and therefore Allah is a blank, or, if you will, an abstraction.

Welcome to the world of consistency, my friend.

Ibn said...

Paratus:On your view Allah is One, not two, not three, nor anything beyond a simple unity. And since you have said that unity precedes diversity, and the universal precedes the particular, then you have to grant that when Muhammadans speak of the "beautiful names" and many "attributes" of Allah, that these do not attach to anything like the nature or essence of Allah, i.e. they are not definitional of Allah, the One, and therefore Allah is a blank, or, if you will, an abstraction.

Again with the red herring. It seems that the only way you can defend your wacky theology is by attacking mine. This is what I call an argument from ignorance!

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn,

Throughout this discussion:

1. You have repeatedly misread me, as I pointed out each time you did it.

2. You have applied a double standard, expecting one thing from me only to complain when your expectation was met.

3. You have shown great desperation in attaching logical fallacies to me, betraying in the process an ignorance of what actually counts as an instance of such fallacies.

And, most relevant to your last post:

4. You have engaged in reasoning that is fallaciously circular and arbitary, assuming your own position as a key premise of your argument in order to attack the Christian view.

Since you have assumed your view in order to critique mine, and since you have been repeatedly (and successfully) rebuffed each step of the way, I think it is entirely appropriate to look at your view.

But if you are fine with simply saying, "your view is wacky", even though you haven't proven this to be anything more than your own subjective judgment, and if you are fine in saying that your view, against which an argument has been given, an argument that has gone unrefuted and unchallenged, is not wacky, then I am perfectly fine with that. I would just say that we usually reserve the word "wacky" for indefensible positions that are held for subjective rather than objective reasons. If you use the word differently than that, then I will happily leave you with your indefensible abstraction and your novel use of English words.

Ibn said...

Are you done ranting?

Semper Paratus said...

To rant is: to talk foolishly, to rave.

A good example would be:

Someone who keeps going, not knowing when to quit, even when it has been demonstrated that he has: 1) no cogent argument against the position he is attacking; and 2) no rational defense for his own position.

Ibn said...

Paratus:Someone who keeps going, not knowing when to quit, even when it has been demonstrated that he has: 1) no cogent argument against the position he is attacking; and 2) no rational defense for his own position.

You must be talking about yourself. Consider the second qualification first (2) no rational defense for his own position.

You can't defend the Trinity, so you resort to fallacies such as red herrings, to quo quoes and arguments from ignorance. Thus, you have no rational defense for your position.

As for the first characteristic, you haven't given any arguments as to why your version of the Trinity does not reduce God to a universal. True, you have made several assertions, but none of these were logical in the sense that they contained premises and conclusions. They were merely bare claims.

You are seriously deluded if you think you can attack Islam with your infantile arguments.

Semper Paratus said...

Ibn said: "You can't defend the Trinity, so you resort to fallacies such as red herrings, to quo quoes and arguments from ignorance. Thus, you have no rational defense for your position."

I have defended the Trinity. I did it in the article, and I have done it here.

The first charge, that of Zaatari, was that it amounts to tritheism, which has been altogether aborted. The new charge, your charge, is that it makes God an abstract rather than a concrete universal. That has been dealt with as well, for the essence, attributes, and persons of the Godhead are all coeterminuous. You have yet to prove otherwise.

You might be impervious to reason, but many people will see that it is perfectly legitimate to go on to critique your position, especially when this is a two sided debate, when you can't argue without assuming your view, and when the very argument you are raising saws off the branch you are sitting on.

You can "rant" about why you think otherwise, but something doesn't become a "red-herring", a "tu quoque", or any other fallacy simply because a Muslim wants to force his conclusion on others instead of proving them. But isn't that the default method of Islam?

Also, there is no burden on me to prove that my view is not guilty of something which has been concluded from premises I don't hold. The fact that you argued that God is an abstract universal only applies to you, since the premises are part of your theology, not mine.

PM said...

Ibn said:

"It is just as I suspected. The same argument presented differently using sophistry."

There's a certain irony here. You appeal to sophistry in accusing me of sophistry. No attempt to demonstrate that I'm wrong, just your re-assertion of your misguided understanding of Christian dogma. Just because Ibn says so, that makes it so. Are you a Muslim or a Papist?

"If the three persons are one in essence, but each person is not identical to the other which would have reduced the Trinity to a single person, and each person is a unity per se, then you still have three unities crammed into one unity-the essence-to form a collective being called God. "

Apparently you can't keep track of your initial argument. You said,

"Since the universal and particular are different entities"

but this is to beg the question. If the "is" is that of numerical identity, then they cannot be different entities.

You then say that each person is not identical to the other. Yes, that's the trinity. They are numerically identical to the godhead, numerically distinct from eachother.

So, what's your argument from here? You just assert that it is a collective being, but we've already seen that it is not since we have a numerically identical essence between thee three, which means ONE essence"/.

So, what's your argument now? You need to show the problem rather than asserting trinitarian theology - one essence three persons - and then annoucning that that's problematic. Isn't that what you're supposed to be proving?

Perhaps your argument is, "But I just don't get it." Well, I'll alert the media, you don't "get" God.

"So as can be seen, it is not I who is guilty of not reading, but you. I already covered your argument several posts back. You thought you could deceive the lay readers using sophistry, but at the end of the day, truth always prevails over falsehood."

Don't you look stupid.

You've made no such argument and you've addressed mo such argument. What you've done is to assert that we have three essences, which is to ignore the numerical identity qualification. Yoiu then respond to that qualificatiob by saying, "but then if the persons were distinct from each other, they'd be distinct essences." So, the only way to counter the numerical identity point is to deny numerical identity. That is, you have to misrepresent the trinity to defeat the trinity. Wow, I'll alert the media. If the trinity is misrepresented it can be shown to be false. How utterly enlightening.

So, why don't you do what I said and lay out the formal argument so we can all clearly see your argument rather than getting emotional and pounding on your keyboard, anouncing that you have dealt with challeneges when you clearly haven't. You're tactily admitting defeat by continuing to announce that you're right. It's like...who are you trying to convince. One might say, "you dost protest too much."

Hope that helped!

PM said...

Ibn said,

"to quo quoes"

Ummm, did you mean "tu quoque?"

Ibn said...

PM:You appeal to sophistry in accusing me of sophistry. No attempt to demonstrate that I'm wrong

I did demonstrate your wrongness. Obviously you are too embarrassed to admit this. I just hope you don't digress as my other opponent, Paratus, did and continues to do.

PM:You said,
"Since the universal and particular are different entities"
but this is to beg the question. If the "is" is that of numerical identity, then they cannot be different entities.

So? Your "defense" still leaves wide open the inference that God is an aggregate.

PM:You then say that each person is not identical to the other. Yes, that's the trinity. They are numerically identical to the godhead, numerically distinct from eachother.

I granted you that the persons were numerically distinct from each other. I did, however, demonstrate how regarding the persons' unity in terms of essence reduces God to an aggregate, much like a team. You didn't address that. Instead, you remarked:"So, what's your argument from here?" This is just a tacit to create an impression that your opponent has not been able to defend his position, duping the lay readers to side in your favor.

PM:You just assert that it is a collective being, but we've already seen that it is not since we have a numerically identical essence between thee three, which means ONE essence"/.

Again with the straw man. I didn't say each person of the Trinity possessed essences different from the other. I said to regard them as God by virtue of their common essence (which ironically is what social trinitarians say) is no different from a collection of red objects-all of which share the essence of being red. Also, as Daniel Howard Synder writes, "...the Difference Claim entails that the Father is not absolutely identical with the Son. Second, the Sameness Claim, understood as implying the Property Identity Claim, entails both that the Father has the property of being divine and that the Son has the property of being divine. But, third, necessarily, for any x and y, if x is not absolutely identical with y
but x has the property of being divine and y has the property of being divine, then x is a God and y is a God and x is not the same God as y. It follows that the Father is a God and the Son is a God, and the Father is not the same God as the Son. Fourthly, necessarily, for any x and y, if x is a God and y is a God and x is not the same God as y, then there are two Gods. Thus, if we read the Sameness Claim as implying the Property Identity Claim, then, given the Difference Claim, it is false that there exists exactly one God—which contradicts Monotheism."

In conclusion, the Trinity still compromises monotheism.

Semper Paratus said...

Talk about embarassment...I defended my view; you have run from any attempt to defend your view.

Like I said, I am happy with that if you are.

Semper Paratus said...

PM,

Though you might already be familiar with it, the source of Ibn's citation can be found online here:

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~howardd/trinitymonotheismpc.pdf

Perhaps the reason for not citing the article is to hide the fact that Snyder's article is an attack on Social Trinitarianism, espeially that of Moreland and Craig.

Ibn,

Keep trying.

Semper Paratus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PM said...

Ibn,

"I did demonstrate your wrongness. Obviously you are too embarrassed to admit this. I just hope you don't digress as my other opponent, Paratus, did and continues to do."

Okay, so at this point further fruitful dialogue has ceased. You will repeat that you have defeated my claim, I will deny that you have. So, the reader can judge for himself, then.

"So? Your "defense" still leaves wide open the inference that God is an aggregate. "

You say without demonstrating.

"I granted you that the persons were numerically distinct from each other. I did, however, demonstrate how regarding the persons' unity in terms of essence reduces God to an aggregate, much like a team. You didn't address that."

That's nothing to grant, Ibn. You're either playing dumb or you are dumb. That's the position. It's not as if you're "granting" it. Try and keep up.

Again, if you demonstrated it lay out the formal argument because I do not see where you have. You have merely asserted that we have an aggregate-which makes no sense of you "grant" numerical identiy between the persons and the essence. This "granting" implies that you grant that there is only "one" entity. Are you too dumb to see this?

"Again with the straw man. I didn't say each person of the Trinity possessed essences different from the other. I said to regard them as God by virtue of their common essence (which ironically is what social trinitarians say)"

Well, that's not what social trinitarians say, unless you equivocate. When I use the "is" I am using the "is" of numerical identity, they use the "is" of generic identity. So, you equivocate and continue to show all that you're s sophomore in this debate.

"Also, as Daniel Howard Synder writes [SNIP]

I already pointed out I wasn't defending social trinitarianism.

So, you've tactitly admitted that you can't defeat my position and that you need to go to those who don't hold the traditional position to make your argument.

In agree that social trinitarianism has a problem with monotheism; but then, I'm not a social trinitarian. That's what Snyder was arguing against you goof. That's why he says, "acedemic trinitarians cannot mean whatever they like when they insist that they are monotheists."

So, that you quoted from Howard-Snyder, as paratus notes, indicts you as a dishonest debater. That, or you simply haven't grasped my position but are reading me as affirming what Social Trinitarians like Swinburne, Moreland, Craig, and Clark have affirmed.

So, as Brian Leftow notes, "One basic problem for ST is showing that it is a form of monotheism...So, if my arguments are sound, it is not clear that ST can be orthodox or truly monotheist" (Leftow, Anti Social Trinitarianism, 249).

Now, I admitted almost from the start that I was not ST and that ST was the minority and questionably unorthodox position...definitely not the historic position (see Kelly, Early Doctrine, 234). I offered the numerical idenity position, which does not fall prey to your objections founded upon an undersdtanding of the trinity that is generic identity (i.e., they all share the property of being divine). But you're too dense to grasp this.

So, as I said, I gave you some shots, you obviously are unable to even grasp the argument, but you seem determined to assert that you answered my objections and that I haven't made my case. Anyone with a high school understanding of the issues involved can see that you're a chisler and are either too dumb or too dishonest for this dedbate to continiue on.

So, you can have the last word, I think I'm done here.

Hope that helped!

Semper Paratus said...

PM,

Thank you for your excellent contribution. I know when you came you already had a full plate, so I thank you for taking some time out from all of that.

May the Lord bless you and your family for all you do for his kingdom.