A response to 1.2.2

The "Trinity" or 1+1+1=1

Introduction

Mr. Al-Kadhi briefly outlines the techniques and strategies that he will use throughout his book to attempt to discredit Christianity in general and the Trinity in particular. My response to this section is organized around the logical and semantic errors that Mr. Al-Kadhi makes in this section so that the reader becomes familiar with the author's style, which borrows heavily from the techniques of propaganda, and very little from the techniques of intellectual inquiry.

1. False Analogy

Mr. Al-Kadhi begins this section with a quote from the Qur'an: " "Allah coineth a similitude: A man in relation to whom are several partners quarreling, and a man belonging wholly to one man. Are the two equal in similitude? Praise be to Allah, but most of them know not." The noble Qur'an, Al-Zumar(39):27."

Mr. Al-Khadi concludes: "which would be more conducive of harmony: For an employee to have two bosses quarreling over him, or for each employee to have only one boss?

I do not object to Mr. Al-Kadhi quoting from the Qur'an, I only request that when he quotes a verse, that he quotes it accurately! Perhaps Al-Kadhi is using a different translation of the Qur'an since the three Qur'an translations in my library read (Sura 39:27) :

(Yusuf Ali): We have put forth for men, in this Qur'an every kind of Parable, in order that they may receive admonition.
(Pickthal): And verily We have coined for mankind in this Qur'an all kinds of similitudes, that haply they may reflect;
(Shakir): And certainly We have set forth to men in this Quran similitudes of every sort that they may mind.

After misquoting the Qur'an (which should have been Sura 39:29), Al-Kadhi proceeds to set up a false analogy between a man with two bosses and the Trinity. The two bosses are separate people who work separately for different goals. The Trinity is simply God, God's Word (Jesus), and God's Spirit (Holy Spirit) which, unlike the two bosses in Al-Kadhi's example, are one and work together in harmony.

The Mixing of Terms and Concepts - the "Strawman" Argument

According to Al-Kadhi: "The concept of the "Trinity" as originally adopted by Christianity three centuries after the departure of Jesus (see historical details at the end of this chapter) and taught to Christians ever since is the merging of three entities into one similar entity while remaining three distinct entities. In other words: Three bodies fold, blend, or merge into one body so that they become one entity while at the same time exhibiting the characteristics of three distinct and separate entities. It is described as "a mystery." As we just read, the first definition of the Trinity was put forth in the fourth century as follows: "...we worship one God in the trinity, and Trinity in Unity...for there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost is all one... they are not three gods, but one God... the whole three persons are co-eternal and co-equal...he therefore that will be saved must thus think of the trinity..." (excerpts from the Athanasian creed)."

Al-Kadhi mixes terms and concepts, a favorite trick that he employs many times in his book, in order to confuse the reader. The early Christians had a concept of the nature of God. This concept would latter be called the Trinity. Although the word "Trinity" (or Trivado in the Didache)did not exist until about 61 AD, the followers of Jesus understood the ideas concerning the nature of God which the term conveys.

Al-Kadhi then proceeds to employ his dubious brand of scholarship by cutting and pasting excerpts from the Athanasian Creed in order to make this statement of faith appear foolish. Please read what the Athanasian Creed really says.

Mr. Al-Kadhi continues : "When the Church speaks of worship, God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are claimed to be one being. This is because verses such as Isaiah 43:10-11 and countless others are very explicit in affirming that God Almighty is ONE. However, when they speak of "the death of God" it is Jesus (pbuh) who is claimed to have died and not God or the "Trinity." Now the three are separate. When God is described as having "begotten" a son it is not the "Trinity" nor Jesus (pbuh) which has begotten, but a distinctly separate being from the other two... there are many such examples. So how do we resolve this problem? Do we simply have blind faith or do we "love the Lord thy God with all thy mind,"?. If we chose the later course of action then we shall first need to specify what authority we shall accept in our recognition of the true divine nature of God Almighty."

I have never heard of a single Christian denomination that teaches "the Death of God"! The idea that God died came from Nietzsche, not the Church! This is another favorite tactic that Mr. Al-Kadhi uses: set up a "strawman" argument - a statement that is so absurd that it can be defeated with little effort. The body of Jesus died on the cross, His spirit did not die.

Is the Qur'an really so clear?

Al-Kadhi proudly informs us that "When God Almighty sends down a revelation, He addresses it to the common man, the carpenter, the blacksmith, the local merchant. God does not reveal His scriptures in a language that only the deep thinkers, the most learned scholars, and those with Ph.D.s in rocket science alone can understand. This is not to say that it is not necessary to consult people of authority in this scripture in times of difficulty regarding matters of secondary importance, however, if it were impossible for the common man to even recognize from his scripture who is God, or "who do I worship?" without extensive external influences from learned clergymen, then I am sure you will agree that not very many people shall ever be guided to the truth of this scripture and the basic message contained therein."

Once again, I believe that Mr. Al-Kadhi overstates his case. The Qur'an tells us : "He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding." (Sura 3:7)

So, none will grasp the message except men of understanding, and no one knows the hidden meanings except Allah? From this Sura, I do not believe that the Qur'an addressed to the "common man" or even a "PhD in rocket science"!

Al-Kadhi continues: "The matter of "who do I worship" is without a doubt the hands-down most important, nay crucial, piece of information that must be provided a reader of a divine scripture before they can accept a single word of this scripture. This matter must be made exceedingly clear to them before they can accept a single commandment. If I wish to work for a company but I do not know who is(are) my boss(s) then how can I know what he(they) want me to do? How can I know which commands to follow and which not to?"

I agree, it is very important that we analyze the message as well as the messenger. Many people have claimed to possess revelations from God throughout human history. In fact, there are people today who claim to be prophets and even some claim to be God! With my eternal destiny at stake, I choose to follow Jesus. Why? God has spoken to His creation throughout history using men and women as Prophets. These Prophets did not simply tell us that God sent them, they gave us proof in the form of prophecy - detailed predictions future events. Some of these Prophets gave us further proof in the form of miracles. One Prophet did not contradict the teachings of the other Prophets and all pointed to the Messiah - Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice that he would make to save us from our sins. Jesus came to this earth and proved Himself through the prophecies of the Old Testament, His own prophecies, and His miracles.

When I look at Muhammad, I see a man who claimed to be a Prophet. However, Muhammad was not prophesied in the earlier scriptures, he performed no miracles, have gave no prophecies (at least none that came true), and contradicted the teachings of most of the Prophets before him. I also see a man who often conveniently "received" revelations which allowed him to have his way with money (Sura 58:12), women (Sura 66:3-5), and power (Sura 5:33). Allah even told Muhammad's neighbors not to yell in the ally behind his house (Sura 49:4-5)! I am not writing this to offend you - my Muslim brothers and sisters, and I am not telling you what to believe. I wish that everyone, Muslim and Christian, objectively looked at the evidence. Read the Bible and honestly compare its message to that of Muhammad and the Qur'an.

Al-Kadhi sets aside his false analogies for a moment and makes bizarre statement : "For the same reason, we would be justified in expecting that if we were to present a native of the jungles of Zimbabwe with a copy of a divine scripture in its original language, and we were to leave without saying a single word to him, then we would expect that at the very least, this person should be able to extract from this scripture the nature of the One who inspired this book."

I would not expect a native of any country to be able to pick up a copy of the scriptures in its original language (Greek in the case of the New Testament or an Arabic Qur'an for that matter) and expect them to understand it. How absurd! Incidentally, I have met several Christians from Zimbabwe who are very knowledgeable about the Bible and its teachings.

Conclusion

Al-Kadhi concludes this section by saying: "Just because the words "God," "Jesus," and "Holy Ghost" might appear together in one verse does not mean this verse requires a "Trinity," or "merging of three into one." Even if this verse also contains the word "one" this still does not necessarily require a "Trinity." For example, if I say "Joe, Jim, and Frank speak one language" this is not the same as saying "Joe, Jim, and Frank are one person."

I believe that Mr. Al-Kadhi's false analogy with Joe, Jim, and Frank is so obvious that I do not need to discuss it. The Trinity, in spite of all of Al-Kadhi's objections, is a human attempt to understand the nature of God. Perhaps a comparison between the beliefs of Christianity and Islam will help Muslims understand the idea of the Trinity. Christians believe that the word of God was made into flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, who is the "Incarnation" of God. His mission, through his life, teaching, and death, was to atone for the sins of the entire human race, including original sin. There is a parallel trend of thought in Islam.

The Islamic equivalent to Jesus is not Muhammad, but the Qur'an. The Qur'an is believed (especially by Sunni Muslims) to be the eternal, uncreated word of God, inscribed on the Preserved Tablets in heaven. Christianity has the Incarnation (the word of God becoming flesh in the form of Jesus), but Islam has what we may call the 'Inliteration' (the word of God becoming literature in the form of the Qur'an). The Qur'an is the means of salvation, revealing how to live in obedience to the divine will (Sura 2:136). Since Islam does not believe in original sin, there is no need for the atoning death of Jesus. All that is required is obedience to divine revelation.

We can conclude that just as Jesus is the Savior in Christianity, the Qur'an performs that very same function in Islam. The main point to understand is that word of God in both arguments has become physical : Jesus for Christians and the Qur'an for Muslims.

Both Christians and Muslims believe in the Holy Spirit - there are numerous references in both the Bible and Qur'an. Is it so difficult to believe in God, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God? That is what the Trinity really is - not three separate Gods.


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