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Whether as a Christian all my life or an atheist now, in all honesty . . . I never got why this was such a big hurdle for some people.

 

In Bill Maher's Religuous, Maher is talking to a man portraying Jesus and asking him how there can be three yet one god. He makes an analogy of liquid, ice and gas being different yet still being water. I heard similar statements all my life and found them to be perfectly reasonable. Maher is shown later saying it caught him off guard for a second on how logical it was but that it breaks down after you think about it for a few seconds. Of course he didn't say anything about what that thought process was.

 

Different parts of your brain are located in different areas and perform different functions, but they're still you. If I got two friends to post on this account, there would be three flockoffs in the essence of flesh and blood people, but only one in the essence of a name you see on your screen.

 

Does it still seem a bit weird? I guess. But how so once you've entertained the notion of a supernatural being in the first place? I'm baffled as to how this of all things can be one of the major points of contention.

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The notion is impossible. The only reason the doctrine of the trinity exists is because when the Arian controversy arose, people didn't want the Arians to be right that Christ was a "lesser" being and neither did they want to have more than one "God". So, to get it to work they made the trinity which though it didn't make sense, made sure those pesky Arians didn't win the argument!

 

The 3 stages of water analogy is faulty because the states are not maintained concurrently like the trinity is. Modalism which would be analogous to that is considered a heresy. In Modalism, God can be any of the 3 persons, but only one at any given time but this doctrine is considered heretical because it ignores the Bible's teachings (apparently). I can't even give a proper example of what would actually be analogous to the trinity because it's impossible, but the best thing I can think of is imagining a person with a split personality displaying all personalities concurrently, each of which is in control of the body at the same time.

 

EDIT: I watched Religuous as well and I doubt he actually knew what was wrong with the analogy, more than likely he just "felt" something wasn't right with it, or at least that was my opinion as a Christian when I watched the video (even back then I hated the analogy).

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The only description I ever heard that made perfect sense to me in regards to the trinity was a shape. Its a circle inside of a triangle. Its silly though, and kind of ironic, that its essentially a imaginary polygon.

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The doctrine of the trinity was only adopted more or less at the time of the Nicene creed. I had may arguments on this very matter particularly relating back to the virgin birth and of course that jesus was a son but also the father.

 

In my woo woo days, this trinity was not an issue pushed much as it was irrelevant and there were easier lies to defend. I never bought into the trinity concept as it did not gel with my logic.

 

Even the prayers that end off with ".. ine the name of the father, son and holy ghost" anyway suggest a 1+1+1 but we were all led to believe in a monotheistic god and 3 or 1 really didn't matter. Of course the holy spook is the one that folk have a relationship with as that is the entity giving the goosebumps anointing. Jesus said he would send a helper in his stead so is the hs his spirit or his father's?

 

There are many texts in Paul's teachings that suggest only a binity at best and these far outweigh the trinity concept. Like the rest of the religion, the trinity is merely another invention of man and to suggest that there is this invisible dude watching you everytime you masturbate or whatever the "sin" is.

 

All three (or one) seem pretty powerless to maneuver the events of life.

 

The water steam ice analogy fails as all three states can exist at once but not in the same beaker for example.

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In regards to the water analogy, water can exist in all three phases simultaneously. This occurs at one specific value of the temperature and pressure and is called a triple point. Many substances possess one or more triple points, so in that respect, there is nothing special about water that makes it a more fitting analogy for the trinity (all this information is available on wikipedia). I suppose water is used because anyone can naturally reference the three phases of water easily in their minds from normal human experience.

 

However, in spite of the existence of the triple point, I still don't think the analogy is good. The trinity assumes one "thing" (God) that has three "representations" (trinity). These representations have two fundamental properties, one of which is represented in the water analogy and one which is not, and renders the water analogy incomplete and ultimately, useless. The first property is that God is concurrently represented by each representation. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all at the same time. The second property is that since each representation is representing God all the time, it is essentially God, and therefore, will be active in the lives of humans in the universe, as God is. JadedAtheist, you talked about the first property and pointed out that the water analogy can only take one to a modalist view of the trinity. This is true only if one does not consider the triple point. However, water (or whatever substance) in its triple point gives a nice way to picture how one "thing" can have three "representations" at the same time. So in my opinion, water is a good analogy for the first property.

 

The analogy still fails because of the second property -- that each representation is active, as God is. Water, whether in its triple point or not, is completely inanimate. It makes no conscious choice and has no special influence in the physical world in the way God does. Becuase of this, the analogy fails to capture a fundamental aspect of the trinity. I agree with JadedAtheist that there is no physical analogy anyone can give to properly describe the trinity because it is a self-contradictory idea. I like your idea of using the person with multiple personalities, whose body is being completely controlled by all of them at the same time. That's kind of close to how xians want the trinity to be, but I don't think many of them think about what it really entails.

 

I wanted to being up the concept of the triple point to prevent any xian from waltzing into this thread and pasting a paragraph about the triple point they found on whatever xian site and assuming they've made some profound point. I'm sure the water/trinity analogy has been discussed a ton on various xian sites all over the place.

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We were taught the 'Egg Theory' - Shell, White, and Yolk = Egg :shrug:3 in 1 :grin:

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In regards to the water analogy, water can exist in all three phases simultaneously. This occurs at one specific value of the temperature and pressure and is called a triple point.

 

Yeah I am aware of this but see it only exists at a certain condition as you stated. The trinity however exists magically w/o any precursors.

 

To clarify, my beaker analogy would start off with ice being heated up until steamed off. W/o trying to make them all appear simultaneously by adjusting pressure too, you would have ice + water then water + steam under normal atmospheric conditions.

 

The best analogy for the woo woo is "me, myself and I" which pretty much explains their self centred ego and oddly enough matches quite nicely with biblegawd.

 

ETA:

 

Oh btw, there is also superheated steam. Steam from your kettle is actually water vapour, superheated steam is invisible, so perhaps there is a 4th state of water.

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...

The analogy still fails because of the second property -- that each representation is active, as God is. Water, whether in its triple point or not, is completely inanimate.

...

You make good points, and I just wanted to add some thoughts I had about the triple point.

 

Even though water can be in this three-point state, if we would look closer into the water molecules at that point, they are individually or in group shifting back and fort between the states, I assume. Solid, liquid, or gaseous has to do with how the molecules bind to each other, and it sounds very strange that all molecules would be binding in all form at the same time. Basically, the hydrogen bounds break up and rebind all over the place. I'm not sure if this is what happens in triple point, but if it is, each water molecule (or pair) is never in all three states, but are shifting between the states rapidly. So the analogy of waters triple point isn't truly or exactly right to express God's supposed trinity, because God's trinity is homogeneous, all three states simultaneous through all of God's nature, not phasing in and out. I don't know. See what you think of this and if you have anything to add or correct.

 

And secondly, for water to be in the three point state, it needs external pressure and heat (right?). So where does God get the external pressure and heat from to put God into the trinity state? A higher God perhaps? :grin:

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In regards to the water analogy, water can exist in all three phases simultaneously. This occurs at one specific value of the temperature and pressure and is called a triple point. Many substances possess one or more triple points, so in that respect, there is nothing special about water that makes it a more fitting analogy for the trinity (all this information is available on wikipedia). I suppose water is used because anyone can naturally reference the three phases of water easily in their minds from normal human experience.

 

However, in spite of the existence of the triple point, I still don't think the analogy is good. The trinity assumes one "thing" (God) that has three "representations" (trinity). These representations have two fundamental properties, one of which is represented in the water analogy and one which is not, and renders the water analogy incomplete and ultimately, useless. The first property is that God is concurrently represented by each representation. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all at the same time. The second property is that since each representation is representing God all the time, it is essentially God, and therefore, will be active in the lives of humans in the universe, as God is. JadedAtheist, you talked about the first property and pointed out that the water analogy can only take one to a modalist view of the trinity. This is true only if one does not consider the triple point. However, water (or whatever substance) in its triple point gives a nice way to picture how one "thing" can have three "representations" at the same time. So in my opinion, water is a good analogy for the first property.

 

The analogy still fails because of the second property -- that each representation is active, as God is. Water, whether in its triple point or not, is completely inanimate. It makes no conscious choice and has no special influence in the physical world in the way God does. Becuase of this, the analogy fails to capture a fundamental aspect of the trinity. I agree with JadedAtheist that there is no physical analogy anyone can give to properly describe the trinity because it is a self-contradictory idea. I like your idea of using the person with multiple personalities, whose body is being completely controlled by all of them at the same time. That's kind of close to how xians want the trinity to be, but I don't think many of them think about what it really entails.

 

I wanted to being up the concept of the triple point to prevent any xian from waltzing into this thread and pasting a paragraph about the triple point they found on whatever xian site and assuming they've made some profound point. I'm sure the water/trinity analogy has been discussed a ton on various xian sites all over the place.

 

I'm feeling slightly embarrassed! :) Thanks for pointing out the triple point, I'll keep that in mind next time. I agree with your point about the activity of the trinity vs the inanimate water. A very good and important difference to keep in mind.

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The problem I have with the Christian trinity is it is a corruption of other Trinitarian beliefs that pre-date it. Typically, a Trinitarian religion has a father-mother-child model. In other words, life is created by male and female couplings with God representing the highest form of reproduction. Christianity is so anti-female and sexually dysfunctional at its core, it is unable to accept a God with any female qualities leaving its followers with a Father, Son, and androgynous dove shaped beam of light. Personally, I'd be more comfortable with a female archetype than with the Holy Spirit. We see evidence of male and female coupling creating life around us all the time. Why should God be any different?

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Oh btw, there is also superheated steam. Steam from your kettle is actually water vapour, superheated steam is invisible, so perhaps there is a 4th state of water.

Only that the 4th state doesn't meet up at the triple point. The triple point is a point where water is in a continuous interchange of the three basic states, but only those three. There could exist yet another double point where water interchange between steam and superheated. Some gases have a plasma state as well, but I'm not sure if water has one.

 

(I'm not chemist, so I'm in hot water when talking about this. :grin:)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_point

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When I was a christian I didn't care for the water analogy, due to the fact that they are not simultaneous states. I was not aware of the "triple point," but even that seems like it would be a rarity, whereas the norm would be that water would only be in one state at a time. So, to me the water analogy worked better with the "oneness" theology than the "trinity."

 

The analogy I used as a believer was that of space. With space you have height, width and depth. For any given area of space, if you imagine all the lines of height, width and depth, you have a bunch of different lines that intersect and cover the same area. You cannot have height without width and depth, you cannot have width without height and depth, and you cannot have depth without height and width. All three work together and all three are necessary for space, yet all three are different things.

 

That was the best I could come up with for an analogy of the "trinity." And that is indeed what the "trinity" turned out to be: empty space (ie, nothing!). ;)

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In regards to the water analogy, water can exist in all three phases simultaneously. This occurs at one specific value of the temperature and pressure and is called a triple point. Many substances possess one or more triple points, so in that respect, there is nothing special about water that makes it a more fitting analogy for the trinity (all this information is available on wikipedia). I suppose water is used because anyone can naturally reference the three phases of water easily in their minds from normal human experience.

 

I think water is used because the Bible says the Spirit is like water.

 

Jhn 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.

Jhn 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as [fn] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Jhn 7:39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

 

However, in spite of the existence of the triple point, I still don't think the analogy is good. The trinity assumes one "thing" (God) that has three "representations" (trinity). These representations have two fundamental properties, one of which is represented in the water analogy and one which is not, and renders the water analogy incomplete and ultimately, useless. The first property is that God is concurrently represented by each representation. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all at the same time. The second property is that since each representation is representing God all the time, it is essentially God, and therefore, will be active in the lives of humans in the universe, as God is. JadedAtheist, you talked about the first property and pointed out that the water analogy can only take one to a modalist view of the trinity. This is true only if one does not consider the triple point. However, water (or whatever substance) in its triple point gives a nice way to picture how one "thing" can have three "representations" at the same time. So in my opinion, water is a good analogy for the first property.

 

The article that I read describes the triple point of water as a "substance" if I am remembering correctly...."thing" = "substance"? I guess I am lost with your property statement. I can imagine the Spirit as water vapor, being the representation of God with us presently.

 

The analogy still fails because of the second property -- that each representation is active, as God is. Water, whether in its triple point or not, is completely inanimate. It makes no conscious choice and has no special influence in the physical world in the way God does. Becuase of this, the analogy fails to capture a fundamental aspect of the trinity. I agree with JadedAtheist that there is no physical analogy anyone can give to properly describe the trinity because it is a self-contradictory idea. I like your idea of using the person with multiple personalities, whose body is being completely controlled by all of them at the same time. That's kind of close to how xians want the trinity to be, but I don't think many of them think about what it really entails.

 

The water cycle is actually a pretty good example of the Christian process....will be glad to discuss it if you would like.

 

 

I wanted to being up the concept of the triple point to prevent any xian from waltzing into this thread and pasting a paragraph about the triple point they found on whatever xian site and assuming they've made some profound point. I'm sure the water/trinity analogy has been discussed a ton on various xian sites all over the place.

 

Too late...it was pasted here a couple of years ago...lol.

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I agree!

Once you believe in talking animals, parting seas, and a resurrection, why not believe in the trinity?

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I think this water analogy is being way over thought. If I step back a little ways from the planet I can see (if my eyes are good enough) all the forms of water just fine. I'm sure I could find them altogether on some mountain if I tried. I could have them all in one room or one area of a room even. I don't need them in one little enclosed beaker or something like that.

 

It's just an illustration not a literal representation. Hell, the analogy fails on that level just because it takes some outside actor to transform this "god" from one persona to another. I don't think ice god or water god is sitting around waiting for some heat source to become steam god though. Why consider it? That's just nit-picking.

 

Just because someone has a workable analog doesn't mean they're hypothesis is somehow correct, does it? Or have they just figured out how to take a more complex concept and explain it in terms that are easier to understand? I've also heard the one about the blind men (or men in the cave) groping the elephant. An odd, but workable, analogy. I wouldn't say they're right in that they've proven anything with their analogy. It just helps get their idea across.

 

mwc

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Just because someone has a workable analog doesn't mean they're hypothesis is somehow correct, does it? Or have they just figured out how to take a more complex concept and explain it in terms that are easier to understand? I've also heard the one about the blind men (or men in the cave) groping the elephant. An odd, but workable, analogy. I wouldn't say they're right in that they've proven anything with their analogy. It just helps get their idea across.

Exactly.

 

Just because there is some analogy that could potentially make sense, it doesn't make the thing it's analogous for being true.

 

And I think the water analogy falters too with the fact that the triple point only exists under certain conditions that are controlled by external forces. What is external to God to make him/them three points?

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And I think the water analogy falters too with the fact that the triple point only exists under certain conditions that are controlled by external forces. What is external to God to make him/them three points?

That's sort of the point. It's just an analogy to demonstrate that a thing could be a thing in three different states and still be that same basic thing not an analogy to demonstrate the how of that thing getting to those different states of being.

 

So water is essentially water in these three different forms. It doesn't change into something else, like a base metal, when it changes forms. The analogy isn't there to describe the method of how it moves from one thing to the next but that one thing can be three things and it uses a common material that people are familiar with.

 

We're not supposed to sit around thinking about how YHWH (liquid god) might shift to a "jesus" (ice god) or a spirit (gas/vapor god) using the same methods that water would change states. We're just supposed to understand that water exists in these three states and is will the one thing and so this god does too. But being a god it's far more complex so we need this very simple, and imperfect, analog to even hope to understand it. That's why analogs exist of course. They'll almost all fail if scrutinized enough. It's better to attack the main point than misapplying the analog.

 

I mean if we understand how water works. Great. Now lets apply this to this "god." The analog is just three states of the same type of thing. So that means that this "god" is just three forms of the same type of thing. The type of thing is a "god." The states are what? Father, son and spirit? Those aren't states. Father and spirit are both the same state in that they are "spirit" states. Son should be some sort of "new body" state. So there are two states defined unless the "spirit" state of the father and spirit are some how different (that has never been demonstrated theologically). Two states falls short and the analog fails.

 

What is more demonstrated is some artificial hierarchy but the water analog fails since that does not apply in a hierarchy.

 

mwc

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God works in mysterious ways.

 

He exists in a magical realm, where 1+1+1 = 1, where animals talk, where horses fly and where your father can also be your son at the same time! It's better than Alice in Wonderland, dropping acid, and a 10 gram baggie of magic mushrooms all washed down with a bottle of Cavasier!

 

Cuckoo, cuckoo! :crazy:

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And I think the water analogy falters too with the fact that the triple point only exists under certain conditions that are controlled by external forces. What is external to God to make him/them three points?

 

I don't know that it falters in that conditions have to be met in order to see God as One......like going to Heaven or the unification of the church body.

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That's sort of the point. It's just an analogy to demonstrate that a thing could be a thing in three different states and still be that same basic thing not an analogy to demonstrate the how of that thing getting to those different states of being.

 

So water is essentially water in these three different forms. It doesn't change into something else, like a base metal, when it changes forms. The analogy isn't there to describe the method of how it moves from one thing to the next but that one thing can be three things and it uses a common material that people are familiar with.

 

We're not supposed to sit around thinking about how YHWH (liquid god) might shift to a "jesus" (ice god) or a spirit (gas/vapor god) using the same methods that water would change states. We're just supposed to understand that water exists in these three states and is will the one thing and so this god does too. But being a god it's far more complex so we need this very simple, and imperfect, analog to even hope to understand it. That's why analogs exist of course. They'll almost all fail if scrutinized enough. It's better to attack the main point than misapplying the analog.

 

I mean if we understand how water works. Great. Now lets apply this to this "god." The analog is just three states of the same type of thing. So that means that this "god" is just three forms of the same type of thing. The type of thing is a "god." The states are what? Father, son and spirit? Those aren't states. Father and spirit are both the same state in that they are "spirit" states. Son should be some sort of "new body" state. So there are two states defined unless the "spirit" state of the father and spirit are some how different (that has never been demonstrated theologically). Two states falls short and the analog fails.

 

What is more demonstrated is some artificial hierarchy but the water analog fails since that does not apply in a hierarchy.

 

mwc

 

Thanks.....I imagine science has the same difficulty deciding the theortical differences about the triple point "thing" or "substance".....go figure.

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