Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Say Not Three Gods

A Reply To Sami Zaatari’s Counterfeit Trinity

By Anthony Rogers

In an article found here, which the reader is encouraged to look at before continuing with this paper, Muslim apologist Sami Zaatari thinks he has demonstrated that Christians are polytheists rather than monotheists. (Presumably that means it is open season on Christians, and the wonderful blessing of Dhimmi status may be dutifully denied to Christians in Muslim lands).

Whatever Zaatari thinks he has shown, I must confess at the outset, if he did not say in the article that he was attacking the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, I would have thought that his article was against Mormonism or some other heretical perversion of the Biblical faith. The fact is, the idea that God is "made up of three people", as Zaatari styles it, and that this is, pardon the grammatically awkward and theologically repugnant expression, "basically exactly like having 3 people in an office, Tom Dick and Harry", is hardly something that any orthodox Christian would recognize as the teaching of the Bible or as the God that he or she seeks to love with all his or her heart, soul, mind, and strength. Indeed, take away the Christian terminology of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”, which Sami grafted onto his counterfeit description of the Christian God, and substitute other more appropriate names in their place – such as al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat – and what Sami has described looks more like the gods that Islam’s prophet once proclaimed at the prompting of Satan than it does anything like the God of Christianity.

To make matters worse, after setting up his grossly inaccurate description of the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as inserting the requisite mock dialogue where a Christian is supposedly stumped and stultified by his Muslim interlocutor, who effortlessly (read: artificially) “proves” that Christians worship three gods, Zaatari proceeds to erect and tear down what he calls his favorite analogy of the Trinity, the so-called family analogy. Now there can be no doubt that Christians believe that some rays of God’s glory shine forth in the family, even as God’s glory shines forth in and is plainly declared by all the works of His hands – we live in a uni-verse,[1] after all – but they do not believe that anything perfectly and absolutely mirrors God’s triune existence, much less do they believe it according to the way Zaatari has attenuated it in his version of the family analogy.

In any event, the problem in all of the above traces back to the fact that Zaatari is either willfully ignorant or simply doesn’t know that Christians do not believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit stand in relation to one another or to the divine nature in the exact same way that three separate people, say, Muhammad, Umar, and Uthman, relate to one another and to human nature. Unlike the latter three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christian theology do not merely possess the same kind of nature as each other; rather, they possess one and the same nature or essence. Furthermore, unlike three human persons, the persons of the Trinity are not super-added to or separable from one another; in fact, in Christianity we believe that the three persons of the Trinity are not only always with one another but they mutually interpenetrate or indwell one another.

Since Zaatari didn’t even attempt to document what He was saying from reputable Christian sources, neither has it been my goal here to point him to the relevant Biblical passages that establish the doctrine of the Trinity. Not only have I and many others done this elsewhere, but given Zaatari’s own program as seen in the article where he simply asserts such things on his own authority, it is sufficient to simply point out that Zaatari has been inequitable in his handling of the Christian view, and has even been downright and inexcusably negligent, presuming to speak where he should be silent. At the very least, Zaatari has certainly not demonstrated anything that warrants the inflammatory and bombastic remarks that litter his article, saying such things as that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the way Christians contend for it is “a mess”, “laughable”, “bad and deceptive,” and that we ought to “throw this Trinity lie out the window.” The only thing that should be thrown out the window is Zaatari’s caricature of the Christian God.

In conclusion, and with all due respect to Sami Zaatari, against whom I have no personal animus, notwithstanding his reckless attack on and slander of the true God, but this was a really poorly written, poorly thought out, and poorly executed attack on Christianity. And so, if I could end on a word of exhortation to Sami Zaatari, the next time you want to attack Christianity – assuming that you want to have at least a slim chance of being effective with those who can see through the subterfuge – you would be better served (as would all of us), if you would not represent Christianity as badly as you have done in the article in question. Better yet, you would do yourself untold good, and all the angels in heaven would rejoice, if you would turn from your false understanding of the Triune God and embrace Him as He offers Himself to sinners in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.



[1] That is to say, the entire universe (uni = unity; verse = diversity) is characterized by both unity and diversity, rather than what we would expect if the ultimate explanation of all things were an undifferentiated unity, as in philosophical monism and religious unitarianism, or a disunited diversity, as in philosophical atomism/pluralism and religious polytheism. On the other hand, the universe is just what we would expect given the fact that God is Triune, that is, a diversity of persons subsisting in perfect unity.

In light of this, Christians may well smart from the comments of Muslims like Yusuf Ali who take note of the relevant observations or facts but then jump from there to the conclusion that it is all a demonstration of Islamic unitarianism rather than Christian Trinitarianism.

“…In this case unity is also stressed, because we have just been told about the Qiblah symbol of unity and are about to pass [to?] the theme [of?] unity in diversity, in Nature and in the social laws of human society.” Fn # 165

“Allah is One: and among His wondrous Signs is the unity of design in the widest diversity of Nature.” Fn # 166

“Everything in Allah’s creation has use and purpose, and fits into a Design…. Though so varied, it proclaims Allah’s Unity….” Fn # 1392

Similar remarks can be found in many places. Here are some choice ones that can be found online:

“In the Creation of Allah (swt) we see this wonderful manifestation of unity in diversity. From the atom to the solar system to the galaxies and beyond, there is this great fabric of diversity through which runs the common thread of unity.” (Dawud Khalil-Ullah, Muslim Community in America: Unity in Diversity)

“Islam teaches us that diversity is a fact of nature and it makes the nature beautiful. God has created this whole universe with diversity…. There is diversity among human beings. They have variety of genders, colors and languages and multiplicity of races and tribes. These diversities are considered natural and are called God’s signs in the Quran (30:20-22). They are indicative of God’s creative power and wisdom and are good and healthy since they endow human life with richness and beauty. God wants human beings to derive benefit from this diversity and not to allow it to generate unhealthy schisms and divisions in their ranks.” (Dr. Muzzamil Sidiqqi, Unity and Diversity: Islamic Perspective)