Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Egg vs. Stoogehead

Master Jedi Dan,
First, let me thank you for your participation here. We’re going to disagree about a great many things, but you seem very passionate in your beliefs and eager to share. I would like to address your egg analogy. To quote:

“Despite what it says, the trinity can be understood. I'll give an analogy. An egg has three parts: the shell, the white, and the yolk. These three parts are different, yet together they comprise one egg. Just like the trinity, which is composed of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. They are different in some ways, and together they comprise one God. Just trying to help you out. :)”

Let’s see if we can both agree about two points regarding Christianity.

1. The God of Christians is the same God of the Jews in the Old Testament
2. Despite being a significant difference in opinion about Mosaic Law, Christians consider themselves monotheists (believe in one God) as opposed to polytheists (believe in many Gods)

Please let me know if you disagree with either of these points. The Bible has been accused of being ambiguous on many issues, but the issue of one God is very clear. Please see the Shema in my previous post or the first commandment in the Ten Commandments – “you shall have no other gods before me.”

Now if you believe Jesus to be divine (or that Holy Ghost character), it’s going to cause a huge problem because that would make Christians polytheists and Yahweh could not be clearer about His opinion on this. To reconcile this, the Trinity was created. See? Christians are monotheists and worshipping Yahweh. What we didn’t know before was that Yahweh was really three beings in one.

Master Jedi, here is where the egg analogy falls apart. Could you make an argument that the One True Egg is able to break apart, send the True Yolk to Earth, have the Yolk pray to the White while dieing, and reunite upon resurrection to become the One True Egg again?

This is why the Stoogehead holds up. If I were a monostoogist, I would want to believe that I could pray to Curley without offending Larry or Moe (forget about Shemp!) If Curley were to go off and do a Curley movie, he could reunite with the other stooges and be The One True Stooge again.

Of course, it would probably be more intellectually honest to just admit that I was a polystoogist and not need to come up with the Stoogehead to reconcile the fact that I am a polystoogist. What would be even more disingenuous would be to create the Stoogehead, claim to be a monostoogist, and then tell anyone who doesn’t understand how three separate stooges can really be the One True Stooge that their mind is simply inadequate to understand it.

13 comments:

MasterJediDan said...

Thanks for the post.

First of all, I do agree with your two points. Yes, Christians do believe in the same God as the Israelites did in the O.T., and they also believe in one God. I see the logic in your argument. Basically you're asking if it is possible for the one to split apart into three and then reunite as one. Obviously, this would be impossible for an egg to do. I'm going to say that all things are possible for God because He is omnipotent, and you're probably not going to agree with me, but I'll make this my answer. But, however, I ask you this...if I was going to create my own religion and I wanted people to follow me, wouldn't I make the gods easier to understand rather than harder? Wouldn't I rather make the religion's god easier to understand so that people wouldn't question him because they could logically understand him?

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

@jedidan

You seem to make two arguments in your post:

1) God is omnipotent and we can't understand him aka "God works in mysterious ways. This asserts that god is complicated and we are incapable of understanding him.
2) The holy trinity explanation is a way to make religion easier to understand for its followers.

You state that the trinity explanation simplifies God but the Trinity's existence is based upon complicated things we can't understand. This argument really does not simplify things at all and contradicts itself.

Warren said...

@dan

I would disagree that in creating a religion you would want to make the god/gods easier to understand. The reason you want them to be complicated is so that people need to keep coming to you for clarification. If you were to create a religion that explained the exact nature of god in uncomplicated and unambiguous terms then you would end up serving no purpose as the head of the church. You must remember that throughout it's history religion of all types has been used to subjugate and oppress the masses, one of the easiest ways to do this is to make god mysterious and beyond the understanding of all but a select few.

MasterJediDan said...

@ bigred

Let me explain myself. What I meant to say is that the trinity of God can be understood, but that because God is omnipotent, we cannot understand all his aspects.

superzombie said...

@ masterjedidan

> "if I was going to create my own religion and I wanted people to follow me..."

So, one (or many) can make up a religion which includes a godhead on their own volition.

Based on the fact that a religion can be created, it is possible for it to be successful (success = popular). Success doesn't denote truth or reality.

Every religious person I know, applies this scenario (in variance) to every other religion. But they never give any thought as to the possibility of that scenario's application to their religion.

MasterJediDan said...

@ superzombie

Agreed, success does not mean that a religion is true. And granted, you are right about people and their religions, they want to disprove other religions but not their own. However, just as a question, who created Christianity? Was it Jesus, or was it someone before him?

Paul said...

"Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old."

Thump this one, then. It comes from the Tanakh, or the Old Testament of the Bible. It seems to say that there was someone or something else when God became God and started doing Godly things.

WTF? Sure, other translations mutate the verse to say Wisdom was created by God, but that's not really what seems to be intended by Solomon. Ask your local Rabbi, if you have a few weeks to kill.

Anyhow, where is Wisdom in your egg? Your apple? Maybe the hen or the tree? Or is that heresy?

Is it OK for me to rebut a theist? Especially when the atheist will consider me their enemy, too?

I do know the answer to any of these questions, so I will move on. What I want this to lead to is the question of what was there before there was God.

There is clearly an answer, because for all intents and purposes, there was no God before Abraham. Sure, your fundamentalist creationist (not to mention your intelligent design or whatever else they are calling it these days to cheaply disguise dogma as scientific theory) contingent will have something to say about that, but if we examine theology on the empirical level, that is when we first have evidence of God, that would be with the story of Abraham, a man who few folks debate the existence of. And to think that is he had actually killed Isaac, then that would have been the end of it, too. No children to pass along the belief to. Later on ,Lot, Abraham's brother is more or less lost after his wife turns into a pillar of salt (did he decide it wasn't worht it like you wager?). Funny that God would play such a wager himself and risk his own existence that way.

Sweep away other arguments: Noah - still no empirical evidence of that, just empirical evidence of a plagerer stealing this story from the Persians and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Adam - does not really help to make your story this circular.

So, before Abraham, we have, uh, was that Gilgamesh?

Looks like I keep raising questions here without actually giving any answers. Sorry. Just my way of frustrating both the sides of the debate with a new facet.

Paul said...

"However, just as a question, who created Christianity? Was it Jesus, or was it someone before him?"

DMMT! I guess I should read all the comments before I post. And reading through my last comment, please forgive the flow issues - I'll work on them.

I know this one: there was no Christianity before there was a Christ. The Earliest Gospel is, what, Mark? I think it was MArk who created Christianity, at least what we now recognize as such, although I think Cephas founded the oldest surviving church still regarded as Christian.

Wait, was that a trick question?

MasterJediDan said...

@ paul

Just as a quick comment, even if Abraham had killed Isaac, he still would have left a legacy (and he has)...through Ishmael. Abraham had Isaac when his wife was 90. Before that, God had told him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. So when he thought he was running out of time on having a child, he slept with one of his handmaids, Hagar. Together they had Ishmael. And because of Abraham's mistake, the Muslims are one of the world's largest religions, having descended from Ishmael. What's funny is that when Ishmael and Issac were growing up, they had tons of disagreements, and now, the Muslims are bent on killing every Christian...

Paul said...

So stipulated, MJD. Western/Eurocentric brain of mine...the terrorists have not won!

But we have gotten somewhere, here.
Atheistwager take note. Your despised monotheism has a beginning. Abraham. (or Abram, really) I'd suggest looking there to start your journey into the question of what God is, although at that point he was called something else.

Because if you can't tell me what God is, then how can you tell me It, He, She doesn't exist?

johnnycwest said...

Many years ago I wrestled with religion - I considered myself an agnostic. I did not want to give up the possibility of a God.

Then I reasoned; if there is a supreme being, he certainly would not expect his creations to believe in him without evidence. It would be irrational and clearly a supreme being, master of the universe would be rational. God would be the last entity to expect me to believe in him. If atheism is cool with God - its cool with me.

Moreover,the stoogehead concept is valuable, but we cannot ignore the marxhead. Again, we need only concern ourselves with the marxhead trinity - none others need apply. We must remember that they made clear that there is no sanity clause either.

Klej Society said...

Christians are monotheists, Trinity is seen as three parts of one God, or different representations in how God works.

And as for the 1st commandment reference it's true and it still holds for Christians as all Christians do not hold Jesus or the Holy Spirit to be greater in stature than God himself