The Instigator
Mr.Infidel
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

The Doctrine of the Trinity is logically implausible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
KRFournier
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,047 times Debate No: 19982
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
Votes (9)

 

Mr.Infidel

Pro

Resolved: The doctrine of the trinity is logically implausible.

Because this is a logic debate, no scripture may be used to support either position. That includes MY position!

The trinity:



Matt Slick notes that the trinity is, "God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and copowerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God." [1]

http://carm.org...;

This doctrine is totally illogical and I would like to explain why in this debate.

Good luck!

:-)
KRFournier

Con

I accept.

I will add also the description of the God from the Westminster Confession of Faith, as it offers a comprehensive summary of God, including his Triune nature:

I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

II. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. [1]

Matt Slick's commentary on the Trinity is also suitable.

Seeing as this is five rounds, I'll assume my opponent intended this round only for acceptance and clarification of terms.

Source
  1. http://www.reformed.org...;
Debate Round No. 1
Mr.Infidel

Pro

I would like to thank my partner for accepting this debate.

Argument 1: Logical invalidity of the trinity

To prove this point, let us give the persons of the trinity a letter of A, B, C, D.

Let the Father=A
Let the Son=B
Let the Holy Spirit=C
Let God=D

In general philosophy, if A=B and B=C, then A=C. For example:
  1. If A=B and B=C, then A=C.
  2. A=B and B=C.
  3. Therefore, A=C.
We can see that when we make these into mathematical operations.

A=4
B=2+2
C=8=4.

If 4 is equal to 2+2 and 2+2=-4, it must therefore follow that 4=8-2 (indeed, if you have a calculator, you can check my math and see that this syllogism is sound).

If we go back to the photograph, we can see an immediate contradiction of the Laws of Logic.
  1. If A=B, B=C, and C=D, then A, B, and C=D.
  2. However, in the Biblical trinity, A=/=B, B=/=C, yet all of the above=D.
We immedaitely begin to see the logical improbability of this doctrine. Hence, a more valid doctrine is as followed:
  1. If A=B, B=C, C=D then A=D, B=D, and C=D
  2. A=B, B=C, and C=D.
  3. Therefore, A, B, and C all equal D.
Thank you for a fun round. I look forward to your opening arguments and rebuttals.
KRFournier

Con

God is complex. The Westminister Confession of Faith quoted above uses the term incomprehensible, though it does not mean he cannot be fathomed at all. As one commenter pointed out, Christians often point to God's transcendent "otherness" as reason enough to accept the Trinity's antinomies at face value. It is a cheap tactic, to be sure, and one I do not intend to take. In fact, I think it is possible to show the Trinity as quite plausible using a simple example.

Illustration: Cube God

Image you encounter a being in our universe that is a sentient, perfectly geometrical cube. Cube does something remarkable before your eyes: he creates a two dimensional world and populates it with intelligent life. In this two dimensional world there is width and height but no depth. Cube begins to speak to his creation in order to reveal himself to them. He tells them, "I am your one and only creator." The creatures respond with thanksgiving and worship.

Now, Cube tells you that he'd like to reveal his geometrical nature to them, but in a two-dimensional world, what is a cube? How could such a thing even be conceived? So, Cube does the next best thing. He intersects his being with the two dimensional plane. Before one creature's eyes, he touches one corner to the plane. Before another creature, he touches one edge to the plane. Before yet a third creature, he touches an entire side to the plane.

To see an animated illustration of this: http://www.godandscience.org...

The first creature witnesses that Cube is a point. The second witnesses that Cube is a line segment. The third witnesses that Cube is a square. In a two dimensional world, it seems logically impossible for Cube to be all three of these things yet still be the "one and only creator." In their world, there are no categories for describing a cube. The concept is utterly meaningless. Imagine that Cube tells his creation, "I know you are confused, but I have depth in addition to width and height." How would they understand it? The term depth is incomprehensible.

Logical Law of Identity

My opponent wants to argue that the Trinity is logically implausible, but he has not accounted for the fact that Logic itself has a limited purview. As beings confined to this universe, we can only describe things in terms of this universe. This becomes a problem when you consider the first law of logic: the Law of Identity.

The law of identity states that an object is the same as itself: A ≡ A. [1]

But identity is precisely the limiting factor in this case. My opponent is hyper focused on mathematics of three persons and one God, forgetting that "person" merely describes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from our limited perspective. But what if God exists in a reality that has one or more dimensions than our existence? Isn't it logically plausible that we simply don't have categories to describe God's complexity? The two dimensional creatures are stuck with an antinomy that Cube is three geometries but one creator, but since we understand depth, we can make sense of Cube's actual being. In the same way, we do not have all the categories necessary to understand God's actual being. So, we do the best he can.

God has revealed himself in many ways. He's told us he is one God, but then Jesus and Holy Spirit claim to be God also while also operating in our world as distinct persons. The very idea is rife with tension, but resolving tensions for tensions' sake is erroneous. Light was discovered to have the properties of both waves and particles, which seems to be a logical contradiction. But that's only because we lack the information needed to resolve the tension.

Thus, the law if identity is only as good as our categories and our categories are finite.

Refutation of Pro's Argument 1

This brings us naturally to Pro's argument. Pro is trying to resolve the tension using mathematical categories, and in so doing, engages in the fallacy of redefinition. His first premise defines the following:

  • Let the Father=A
  • Let the Son=B
  • Let the Holy Spirit=C
  • Let God=D

The problem is that this is completely different from the definition of the trinity. He's just defined four persons. But the Trinity clearly states that God is three persons of one substance. Thus, all the math that follows is irrelevant since he is refuting a straw man.

The real issue is that there is no way to describe the Trinity using simple mathematics, precisely because we do not have access to the entirety of God's being. That doesn't make the Trinity logically implausible though it does make it mathematically indescribable.

Conclusion

The illustration presented here is meant to offer one very plausible explanation for the Trinity. If God has at least one more dimension than our universe, then the Trinity is logically plausible and I have fulfilled my burden for this debate.

Sources

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you for a superb opening argument. I hope that you (and the readers) are having an excellent Chaunakha! May we find the truth in this season of lights.

==Defending my case==

My partner accuses me of straw-maning. The D comes from "God" who ABC all are, yet ABC are not each other. Hence, this is not a straw-man.

==Partner's arguments==

After thinking about my partner's arguments, I must concede that he is correct in his contentions.

Please vote con.
KRFournier

Con

I want to extend my sincerest thanks to Pro for his participation in this debate. I am humbled that my contentions were so convincing, especially on this website where people tend to desire winning over listening.

I do want to comment on his defense, if only for the benefit for the readers. He says the D comes from God, but A, B, C, and D are four mathematical symbols. Thus, it's not at all an accurate depiction of the Trinity, which does not define four separate entities. That's why the math is certain not to work out, because it fails to describe the Trinity correctly in the first place. Moreover, there is no conceivable way to describe the Trinity as a mathematical formula. The closest we can get is:
  • Let The Father be A and D
  • Let The Son be B and D
  • Let The Holy Spirit be C and D
  • Let God be D
But this doesn't suddenly make the Trinity logically plausible, mostly because it's the definition of the Trinity in question anyway. That's why I provided my extra-dimension argument.

Dear voters, Pro has urged you to vote for me. I, in return, recommend that you grant him conduct points for his honesty.
Debate Round No. 3
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you for your superb conduct. I would love to debate with you on the SCRIPTURAL side of the trinity one day.

Thank you!
KRFournier

Con

I'd be very willing to engage in that debate.
Debate Round No. 4
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you.
KRFournier

Con

No, sir, thank you. :)
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MattDescopa 5 years ago
MattDescopa
Why did you give in?? you can simply say that the trinity is impossible because god cannot be human and god at the same time because that is logically impossible. God is a being who is immortal, uneedy, strong etc whereas the human is the opposite. How can God logically be both of these things at the same time???
Posted by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
I think we can both agree that it is fallacious to believe in God BECAUSE he's incomprehensible. Still, as the debate discussed, our comprehension is limited to that which we have access. So, on the flip side, it would be equally fallacious to NOT believe in God because he's incomprehensible, just as it was fallacious to deny the Trinity simply because it doesn't fit our present categories. Our belief one way or the other is ultimately based on a breadth of evidence, and his complexity is really irrelevant to his existence.
Posted by Zbot 5 years ago
Zbot
I thoroughly enjoyed the cube analogy! Kudos to you for sharing that here, KRFournier. I think a valid question from that point is, are we to base our beliefs on what we can comprehend or on that which may be possible but beyond our comprehension? In other words, I may not be capable of understanding how Santa Claus delivers all those toys in one night, but should I believe that he does?
Posted by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
Since there have been more than one positive comment on my Cube analogy, I want to make sure it's known that the idea was not originally mine. Credit belongs to Rich Deem for writing the following article (from where I got the animated GIF as well):

http://www.godandscience.org...
Posted by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
As do I. I didn't feel there was any good way to refute it.
Posted by System113 5 years ago
System113
The cube example is a great way to describe it. And I love the animation of Cube God smashing 2D Tennessee.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Ahh ok, that makes sense.

Thanks :)
Posted by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
Because if Cube's creation were all cubes, they'd have no reason to worship him, as they'd all be equals wouldn't they?
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Hey KRFournier? If Cube wanted creation to be able to love him and worship him properly, why would he make his creations in a two dimensional world where they're inherently unable to understand him?

I'm only asking this now because your opponent has already conceded the debate..
Posted by Wandile 5 years ago
Wandile
Kudos to KRFournier for your Round 2 argument. I eagerly anticipate Mr.Infidel's rebuttal.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Mr.InfidelKRFournierTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: At Con's insistence, conduct points to Pro for his concession. Additionally, Con gave a brilliantly outstanding argument as to the logical validity of the Trinity.
Vote Placed by t-man 5 years ago
t-man
Mr.InfidelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceeded
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Mr.InfidelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: As usual, KRFournier does an excellent job in defending a concept such as the Trinity. True, Mr. Infidel did commit a number of mistakes, whether by redefining the boundaries of god (representing the members of the Trinity as separate mathematical symbols=/=the specific nature of the Trinity), while the cube example made by KRFournier was quite interesting, as well as his contentions on the limits of logic. One point for concession to Kohai, others for argument and sources to KBFournier.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
Mr.InfidelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO conceded so vote goes to CON. Interesting argument - specifically the cube one! o.0!
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Mr.InfidelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The Cube argument was highly amusing and interesting; one that I have never seen before. RFD obvious due to concession and the debater's requests.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
Mr.InfidelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
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Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Con for the concession, but Pro gets the conduct point for admitting defeat instead of foolishly continuing.
Vote Placed by Lickdafoot 5 years ago
Lickdafoot
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for admitting defeat. Arguments to con, he refuted pro's points and went to great lngth the explain why something can be possible without us fully understanding it in our limited perception. His arguments went unrefuted.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded but Con told me to give him conduct.