Wednesday, March 2, 2011

* Talking Turkey about the Trinity

I recently received this invitation ( *below ) from Professor Miroslav Volf at Yale Divinity School to read an excerpt from his recent book Allah: A Christian Response, an excerpt which addresses the Trinity.

This is a discussion (or debate, or argument) which has been going on since the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., now C.E. (Anno Domine has become C.E.--Current Era -- since, in a gesture of  ecumenical magnanimity, Christianity has consented to remove its "Lord" from the very seconds, minutes, hours, and days which the world and the stock market use to compute time, acknowledging that A.D. had been a not so subtle form of proselytizing for the last two thousand years). 

Among other things, this debate about "trinity" has resulted in a wonderful accident of theological dissent: the creation of Unitarianism.

What Professor Volf and others do not wish to acknowledge is that Christ is not the SOLUTION to the divisions between the faiths (even Christian divisions: Protestant and Roman Catholic), he is the PROBLEM --the VERY  DIVISION ITSELF ---between the faiths. 

I will not try to debate this with Professor Volf because as an academic at a divinity school  he can run circles around me with theological gobbledygook: theologians are really dinosaurs talking to other dinosaurs about dinosaur bones. 

I'm more interested in my own actual experienced  life and those of my fellow passengers on planet earth, not the theories about revelation  and their terminology which ideologues want to impose on believers in a particular deity. 

Let's talk turkey:  The average church-goer may mouth the words "father, son and holy ghost" or sing them, but they haven't the slightest idea what theologians are talking about when theologians use those terms, finishing them off with "blessed trinity" for good measure.   Let's be completely honest : Most people just say words to feel a part of the club.

Immediately following Professor Volf's invitation to read his article on the Trinity and Allah, is this plug for the Center he runs at Yale Divinity School:

We rely on the generosity of supporters to promote this vision of human flourishing that holds God as revealed in Jesus Christ at its core . . ."

Note the words: " promote this vision of human flourishing which holds God as revealed in Jesus Christ at its core"

This language is the same country club elitism which we find in the Book of John and it is what has offended people of other faiths for centuries and continues to offend them as a non-egalitarian hierarchical snobbery of the worst kind:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Remove Jesus as a god, and the problem goes away.

That is what Unitarianism did.

However, Christianity would rather keep its country club status among believers even if that means another ten or twelve centuries of hatred and bloodshed and bigotry and prejudice.


It's a good draw.

Paul Keane
M. Div. '80
M.A., M.Ed.

*Dear Friends:
I am thrilled with the positive reaction many of you have had to Allah: A Christian Response. If you would like to read an excerpt from the book that addresses the Trinity, a topic so essential to Christians and so often misunderstood by other faiths, please see the below article in this week’s Christian Century. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to your feedback. (Click here for the Christian Century Article pdf )

Miroslav Volf

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