The Instigator
AnalyticArizonan
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
MrBrooks
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Social Trinitarianism is Tritheistic

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
AnalyticArizonan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,893 times Debate No: 24271
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

AnalyticArizonan

Pro

I believe that Social Trinitarianism is tritheistic and therefore should be rejected by Christians.

Rules
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Round 3: Counter-arguments/Rebuttals
Round 4: Conclusions
MrBrooks

Con

I assume that my opponent is referring to the social trinity interpretation of the Holy Trinity, thus I will be arguing that the belief in social trinity is not a form of polytheistic worship; I will be arguing that it is still monotheism and thus should not be rejected on the grounds that it is polytheistic. I accept my opponent's challenge and look forward to his opening arguments.

Let's get this debate cooking.
Debate Round No. 1
AnalyticArizonan

Pro

Social trinitarianism is the theological belief that God is a society made up of three individual minds of the same nature, the divine nature. I will lay out their argument and why I consider it to be tritheistic.

1. The Father is God
2. The Son is God
3. The Holy Spirit is God
4. The Father is not the Son
5. The Father is not the Holy Spirit
6. The Son is not the Holy Spirit
7. There exists only one God

Here is the argument in symbolic logic
Gf
Gs
Gh
f≠s
f≠h
s≠h
∃!G

Now as we can see from the symbolic logic, the social trinitarians are not making identity "is" statements but rather predicate "is" statements. This means that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have the predication of the divine nature. Instead of "The Father is God" meaning "The Father is identical to God", the social trinitarian claims that "The Father is God" means "The Father is a member of the divine nature". While logically coherent, it runs into tritheism for there are three ontologically distinct beings of a common nature. To show how the social trinitarian formulation is polytheistic, let us examine an argument concerning ancient Greek deities.

1. Zeus is a member of the divine nature
2. Poseidon is a member of the divine nature
3. Hades is a member of the divine nature
4. Zeus is not Poseidon
5. Zeus is not Hades
6. Poseidon is not Hades
7. There exists only one divine nature

In symbolic logic
Gz
Gp
Gh
z≠p
z≠h
p≠h
∃!G

Both social trinitarians and Greek polytheists use the same logic. Yet while the Greek polytheist is logically consistent in claiming that there are many gods, the social trinitarian claims only one by equivocating "God" with divine nature. If we are to accept this, why not claim that the Greeks were monotheists who just believed in one God in 321 persons.

To just ram my point home, let's use one more example. This one is of three humans; Peter, John, and James.

1. Peter is human
2. John is human
3. James is human
4. Peter is not John
5. Peter is not James
6. John is not James
7. There exists only one humanity

Hp
Hn
Hs
p≠n
p≠s
n≠s
∃!H

Again, we see that "is" is used as predication, not as identity. This leaves us with one conclusion. Social trinitarianism teaches three gods of one nature.
MrBrooks

Con

I thank my opponent for a stimulating debate. To maintain a level playing field I have not read my opponent's opening arguments, and my opening argument will not address any of the points he made; I will refrain from doing so until the rebuttal round.

Some things must be resolved before I continue with my opening arguments.

1) God exists.
2) God is omnipotent and omnipresent.

With that resolved I will continue with my opening arguments.

First we must establish that the Holy Trinity has always been three persons in Christianity, but those three people are the same entity-God. This is known as a "mystery" of Christianity and has been a core believe of it's followers for centuries. This has never made Christianity a polytheistic religion, because they recognize that each part of the Holy Trinity is a piece of God, even though each piece is it's own person. [1]

Social Trinity does not change anything about the Holy Trinity, it only seeks to apply the lessons and philosophy of the Holy Trinity to mankind. Just as God is not complete without the three persons in the Holy Trinity, so too are people not complete without their family and community. If I were to explain the Social Trinity in logical terms it would be like this;

The Father is God.

The Son is God.

The Holy Spirit is God.

The Son is not the Father.

The Father is not the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not the Son.

There is only one God.

I will go further and explain it in mathematical terms; 1x1x1 = 1, rather than 1 + 1 + 1 = 3. As you can see the logic behind the Social Trinity is that there are three persons, but they are one God and cannot be complete without each other. This is still monotheism, because there is worship of a single God and not three separate Gods. [2]

Thirdly God is not constrained by our physical reality. We can love and possibly even know everything about a person, but we can never be that person and ourselves; God is omnipotent, so he can be more than one person at the same time.

I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals.

[1]http://www.sundayschoollessons.com...
[2]https://rdtwot.wordpress.com...
Debate Round No. 2
AnalyticArizonan

Pro

I think we can both agree that there exists only one God in three divine persons and that Christians have historically worshipped one God. My contention is that the Social Trinitarian interpretation of God, advanced by philosophers such as William Lane Craig, J.P Moreland, and especially Richard Swinburne, veer completely into polytheism. I stated their formulation in the second round. I believe that there are three main ways in which the Trinity is formulated. The first follows the Athanasian Creed, which without further clarification of the premises, is logically contradictory. It is as follows:

1. The Father is God
2. The Son is God
3. The Holy Spirit is God
4. The Father is not the Son
5. The Father is not the Holy Spirit
6. The Son is not the Holy Spirit
7. There exists only one God

F=G
S=G
H=G
F≠S
F≠H
S≠H
∃!G

This formulation is logically contradictory and therefore cannot be true in any possible world.

The second formulation is what I think most Christians would adhere to but possibly in another set of words.

1. The Father is God
2. The Son is an aspect of the Father
3. The Holy Spirit is an aspect of the Father
4. The Father is not identical to the Son
5. The Father is not identical to the Holy Spirit
6. The Son is not identical to the Holy Spirit
7. There exists only one God

F=G
As
Ah
F≠S
F≠H
S≠H
∃!G

OR

1. The Father is an aspect of God
2. The Son is an aspect of God
3. The Holy Spirit is an aspect of God
4. The Father is not identical to the Son
5. The Father is not identical to the Holy Spirit
6. The Son is not identical to the Holy Spirit
7. There exists only one God

F=A
S=A
H=A
F≠S
F≠H
S≠H
∃!G

These, I believe, are the most popular formulations of the Trinity. If we look at the human objection to the Social Trinitarian view, we see that it does not invalidate this popular formulation like it does the Social Trinitarian view.

For example, we cannot say:

1. Peter is an aspect of Peter
2. John is an aspect of Peter
3. James is an aspect of Peter
4. Peter is not John
5. Peter is not James
6. John is not James
7. There exists only one human

P=A
N=A
S=A
P≠N
P≠S
N≠S
∃!H

It does not have the same problems as the Social Trinity does. Again, let us examine the Social Trinitarian formulation.

1. The Father is God if an only if the Father is a being of the divine nature
2. The Son is God if and only if the Son is a being of the divine nature
3. The Holy Spirit is God if and only if the Holy Spirit is a being of the divine nature
5. The Father is not the Holy Spirit
6. The Son is not the Holy Spirit
7. There exists only one God

Gf
Gs
Gh
f≠s
f≠h
s≠h
∃!G

This formulation is polytheistic as I stated in the second round.

Yes, God is not constrained to our physical reality but logic is a system that is true in every possible world. God cannot do the logically impossible and God's being cannot be logically impossible.

I await to hear my opponents rebuttal mostly to the information provided in round 2.
MrBrooks

Con

Applying Logic to God

My opponent agrees that there is a God and did not contest that God is omnipotent, yet he still tries to apply human logic to God. The defining characteristic of omnipotence is the ability to do absolutely anything, even the logically impossible; therefore God can be three people at the same time. Believers in Social Trinity believe that there is only one God, the only difference between the traditional Holy Trinity and Social Trinity is that in the Social Trinity the three persons each retain separate consciousness, but they are still one God, because God is a social and omnipotent being that is able to achieve a perfect union between three people.

My opponent's mathematical and logical equations can not be applied to God, because he can do the logically impossible. God could make 2 + 2 = 5 if he really wanted to, because he is an omnipotent being.

I will close this rebuttal by reiterating that the core belief of Social Trinity is that the love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit allows for the existence of one complete God.
Debate Round No. 3
AnalyticArizonan

Pro

My opponent seems to want to disregard every one of my arguments based solely on a faulty and impossible definition of divine omnipotence. My opponent would have you believe that omnipotence means the power to do the logically impossible. To show the absurdity of such a notion, I will ask him three questions regarding God and logic.

If God can do the logically impossible, can He both exist and not exist at the same time?

If God can do the logically impossible, can He make a rock so large that He cannot move it?

If God can do the logically impossible, can He make another God who is eternal?

If my opponent says yes to any of these questions, it shows that no argument could convince him of anything for he does not acknowledge the basic laws of thought. The Bible would be completely meaningless if my opponent were right about logic as every statement in the Bible could be and not be if God so chose it. How would we be able to say anything about anything?

My opponent has failed to show how the Social Trinitarian formula is anything but tritheistic. He thinks he can succeed by merely claiming God can be one God and three Gods at the same time in the same way because God can do what is impossible. But as shown above, omnipotence is the ability to do all things that are possible.

My arguments were not answered but were instead cast aside without any rationale.

I urge you to vote Pro.
MrBrooks

Con

The entire basis for my opponent's argument is flawed, because he seeks to make his own assertions about those who believe in Social Trinity; assertions that misrepresent the Social Trinity. My opponent argues that mainstream Christianity should reject the Social Trinity, because it is a polytheist interpretation of the religion and therefore not compatible with Christianity. The inherent flaw in his argument is that the Social Trinity takes an absolutist view on the meaning of omnipotence.


An absolutist view of omnipotence basically means that whenever the question, "can God do x," is asked, God can do it; even if it is logically impossible. So the answer to all of my opponent's questions are yes, because the God that the Social Trinidadian believe in can do even the logically impossible. [1]


Furthermore, anyone that believes the stories in the Bible is taking an absolutist view on God. God was able to part the Red Sea, do things that went against his divine nature, and still the Sun in the sky. The biblical God could make a square circle, make 2 + 2 = 5, and even defy the laws of nature. Is it really a stretch of the imagination to believe that he could also be three people at the same time, if one has accepted that God can do anything?


I urge a vote for Con for the following reasons;


1) My opponent seeks to apply logic to God, which is impossible, because the God that Social Trinitarians believe in can perform logically impossible feats; like being three people at the same time, parting the Red Sea, and performing deeds that go against his divine nature.


2) My opponent fails to make a compelling case for why mainstream Christianity should reject the Social Trinity. His main argument is that the Social Trinity in polytheistic, but I have made it clear through my arguments that the Social Trinitarians apply the absolutist view on omnipotence to their God, something which mainstream Christians have already accepted.


3) My opponent's assertions and arguments are based on his interpretation of an interpretation of the Holy Trinity. He misrepresents the Social Trinity, where as I have provided sources and have properly presented the actual views of Social Trinitarians.


I thank my opponent for a stimulating debate.


[1]http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org...

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by stubs 4 years ago
stubs
Yeah I dont think God can do the logically impossible, but if they define omnipotence of being able to than the debate would be pointless you are right, but I also think that would mean con would win.
Posted by sensibletheism909 4 years ago
sensibletheism909
stups, if you define omnipotence as being able to do the logically impossible then God could both adhere and not adhere to the social trinitarian view. Rendering this debate pointless. To reject the laws of logic is to reject all meaning and truth, all words lose their definitions as they could both have and not have those definitions. I could be you and you could be me, and we would have no way of telling. Thus to reject the laws of logic, we must affirm the laws of logic, for if we reject the laws of logic, we have said nothing at all.
Posted by stubs 4 years ago
stubs
Nah bro the debate is over its chill.

If you use that definition of omnipotence you could just say God could be Social Trinitarianism without being Tritheistic.
Posted by MrBrooks 4 years ago
MrBrooks
It is improper to bring the debate into the comments section.
Posted by AnalyticArizonan 4 years ago
AnalyticArizonan
That couldn't have won the debate because the resolution was "Social Trinitarianism is Tritheistic". Saying God can do the logically impossible doesn't affirm or deny that proposition.
Posted by stubs 4 years ago
stubs
I mean Pro had better arguments but Con kind of won on definitions. Defining omnipotence as including doing things that are logically impossible in essence won the debate.
Posted by AnalyticArizonan 4 years ago
AnalyticArizonan
I feel that the last round was a complete red herring. It had nothing to do with the social trinitarian interpretation of the Trinity. Omnipotence has nothing to do with Social Trinitarianism.
Posted by MrBrooks 4 years ago
MrBrooks
This was a fun debate, I don't debate religion very often so this was new territory for me.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
AnalyticArizonanMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: It appears Con was not prepared for Pro's argument, thinking instead that Pro was against the Trinity in general rather than a particular formation of it. In the end, Con could not convince me that the resolution was false.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
AnalyticArizonanMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: On arguments, it unfortunately came down to the definition of omnipotence. Neither debater really gave adequate reasoning as to their own definitions (Con's example didn't apply to logic, only natural laws). So, I will give the definition to Pro on the basis that the assumption of logic simply is necessary as a rule of thought. We can't claim to understand any aspects of God without the assumption since it would be self-defeating i.e. we use logic to determine that logic does not apply to God.