Posts Tagged ‘logic’

A Logical Model of ‘God Concepts’?

December 17, 2007

For an honest person, choosing a religion is a bit like being stranded in a desert with thousands of sign-posts, all pointing in an opposite direction. There are thousands of concepts of God(s), naturally only one such concept can be correct, since they contradict each other on many aspects, thus most of them are mutually exclusive in their validity — that is to say, only one can be true whilst rendering others false. For instance, either there is one God or there are 10 gods, both of them cannot be true simultaneously. In this paper, we explore the various concepts of god, in particular trinity, and its relation to abstract reasoning.

God no doubt would have known of this, and yet God wishes for us to choose the right path. Upon examining animals, one observes that we have been blest with remarkable amount of wisdom and intellect, and that we seem to have a choice of choosing a religious path. Therefore a fair God, assuming He/She wants us to embark upon the right path, would have instilled in us some mechanisms or tools, which can be utilized for the objective of choosing the right path. Had this not been true, then it would have implied that God is not just and He/She placed us in a situation such that only randomness can be our source of aid. Not implanting in us some tools or mechanism for choosing the right path and yet expecting us to choose the right path is a form of oppression and unjustness from God.

So what tools are available to us? For sure, one of the most worthy, if not the only tool, is our intellect and utilization of it. We observe that we have a choice of choosing the right religion and we also observe that we are also blest with greater intellect whilst other creations are not. Thus, it would not be an unreasonable deduction that Logic and usage of wisdom and intellect is a tool that we ought to apply to eliminate wrong concepts of God. In this series of articles we shall be examining the various concepts of God under the umbrella of logic and natural deduction. In this article we shall be examining mostly Christian doctrines.

Some might however argue that God could use some other supernatural mechanism to guide one to truth — that is plausible, however, since most of us have not been visited by a Holy Spirit or some other supernatural spirit, we can be innocent in our disbelief and the whole blame can be put on the Holy Spirit (and God therefore), who are intended to guide us. For the rest of us, logic is the best tool for eliminating wrong concepts of God. Indeed, apart from logic and intellect there seems to be no universal tool for examining concepts of God.

1) Trinity mon-ity and and multi-nity

There are many religions, including Christianity and Hinduism, which assert that 1 God is of the form n-tuple, that is to say god forms trinity or a n-tuple, where n is a natural number. Hinduism, whilst believing in thousands of Gods asserts that it is in fact one god. Christians believe:

“Trinity Central doctrine of Christianity, according to which God is three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. There is only one God, but he exists as ‘three in one and one in three’.” — Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-Trinity.html

“In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one being who exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a mutual indwelling of three persons: the Father, the Son (incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth), and the Holy Spirit. Since the 4th century, in both Eastern and Western Christianity, this doctrine has been stated as “three persons in one God,” all three of whom, as distinct and co-eternal persons” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity

“Shield of the Trinity” or “Scutum Fidei” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-basic.png) also states that neither of the three are same or equal but they are all god. It states:

The links are non-directional — this is emphasized in one thirteenth-century manuscript by writing the link captions
“EST” or “NON EST” twice as many times (going in both directions within each
link), and is shown in some modern versions of the diagram by superimposing each
occurrence of the “is” / “is not” text on a double-headed arrow ↔ (rather than
enclosing it within a link). So the following twelve propositions can be read
off the diagram:
“The Father is God”
“The Son is God”
“The Holy
Spirit is God”
“God is the Father”
“God is the Son”
“God is the Holy
Spirit”
“The Father is not the Son”
“The Son is not the Father”
“The
Father is not the Holy Spirit”
“The Holy Spirit is not the Father”
“The
Son is not the Holy Spirit”
“The Holy Spirit is not the Son”

Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shield_of_the_Trinity

It is essential to understand that Trinity does not state that w + x +y = z, Trinity on the other hand states that x + x + x = x, where w, x, y and z are variables of different instance and sustenance. For example, it can be stated that Father, Mother and Son makes one family — this is a reasonable conclusion, however, to state that father + father + father makes ONE father is incorrect. Trinity asserts that, Father (who is god), son (who is god), Holy Spirit (who is god) makes one god (god + god + god = one god), it does not merely say that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make one god together and that the three entities are not god independently. Hence x+x+x = x is a valid symbolisation. For instance, 1 apple + 1 apple + 1 apple = 3 apples. However, using calculus derived of Trinity would certainly instantiate: 1 apple + 1 apple + 1 apple = 1 apple.

To state x + x + x = x, where x is an entity (personality) would be highly illogical in every sense! God (father) + God (son) + God(Holy Spirit) would make 3 Gods. Only way Father + Son + Holy Spirit can equate to one god is, if and only if, we accept that Father, Son and Holy spirit are not god independently, however, combined together they make 1 god, but this would contradict the teaching of Trinity as can be demonstrated by the above provided references, including the Shield of the Trinity. Indeed it is as such that when one prompts, is Jesus, independently of Holy Spirit, a God, then the reply given is “yes”.

Bearing that in mind, we can easily challenge the various explanations Christians give with the objective of logically explaining trinity. One such example is that of an Egg: yolk, white and shell accumulate to makes one egg. However, teachings of Trinity would assert that 1 yolk + 1 yolk + 1 yolk = 1 yolk and not 1 yolk + 1 shell + 1 white = 1 egg, as is evident from The Shield of Trinity. Christians try to bring such other ridiculous examples, such that of water being in three states, which do not even begin to explain away the contradictions in the Trinity.

Furthermore, if Jesus himself, independently is God, then what need is there of the Holy Ghost and Father? The other two godheads would be rendered totally useless as mere one is sufficient! If Jesus is God based on dependency of Father or Holy Spirit then not only would this contradict Trinity, but Christians would have to agree with the fact that Jesus is not God, Father is not God nor Holy Ghost is God, but 3 working together in unison makes 1 God — essentially, it would bottle down to 3 mini gods, even more of a nonsensical notion, which is even contradictory to the Christian theology and scriptures!

2) 100% God and 100% Man

Hinduism, Christianity and many paganistic religions cling onto the concept of anthropomorphism (i.e. God becoming a man). This argument establishes a connection between an omnipotent, infinite being immersing himself in a finite, limited human being. Christians assert that Jesus, for instance, was 100% and 100% God. That is One being, in a form of a human, exhibiting both (that is all) human characteristics and God characteristics. Thus, the individual would have to be simultaneously all-knowing and not-all-knowing; that individual would have to be limited in power and yet not be limited in power. However, it is contradictory to assert one can exhibit both such contrary characteristics simultaneously. To be God is to be totally divine, to be human is to be not divine, however it is not possible to be divine and not divine simultaneously. This argument can be proven formally thus:

In mathematics and logic, one can proof a proposition using many techniques and methodologies. Reductio ad absurdum/Proof by contradiction, is one such way, this is when opposite of proposition/argument is assumed and shown that such an assumption leads to absurdity, hence the proposition was incorrect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_contradiction provides more information on Reductio ad absurdum. Note: in mathematical and scientific community Reductio ad absurdum is an absolutely valid form of proof. It is as effective a way of making a logical conclusion as any. In the words of G. H. Hardy (A Mathematician’s Apology), “Reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician’s finest weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess gambit: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.”

Proposition: Human X is not God.

Fact 1: God is all knowing; Fact 2: Humans are not all knowing

Thus we assume the opposite of proposition; Human X is God. Now if X is God then X is all knowing, however since X is Human, X is not all knowing simultaneously. So X is all knowing and not all knowing simultaneously — an absurdity/contradiction. This means our assumption was wrong that “X is God”. Thus, it is shown that X cannot be God.

Therefore, the entire concept of 100% God and 100% man is highly ridiculous and does not deserve any intellectual attention.

3) “Son of God” /Begotten Son

If this “Son of God” meaning is metaphorical then it would have a completely different connotation. For instance, it would not be unreasonable to think that we are children of God, in a sense that God protects and sustains us, in a sense a father would. However, some religions such as Christianity assert that this sonship of God is not metaphorical but literal, if an individual differs from this literal interpretation then naturally he or she would be agreeing with Islam or Judaic teachings; contrary to Christian, Hindu or paganistic teachings. Upon accepting “Son of God” thesis to be literal, a series of questions should arise. Christians go as far as labelling Jesus as “Begotten son of God”. However, what does it mean to say “begotten Son”? Sonship implies sexual intercourse, how did God came to acquire a son, therefore? Does god engage in an animal act of sexual intercourse or does god have genitals?

Marian-Webster defines begotten as follows:
“Main Entry: be·get Pronunciation: bi-‘get, bE-Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): be·got /-‘gät /; also be·gat /-‘gat/; be·got·ten /-‘gä-t&n /; or -got; -get·tingEtymology: Middle English begeten, alteration of beyeten, from Old English bigietan 1 : to procreate as the father : SIRE
2 : to produce especially as an effect or outgrowth

Oxford(http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/beget?view=uk) defines begotten as:
“• verb (begetting; past begot; past part. begotten) archaic or literary 1 produce (a child). 2 cause. — DERIVATIVES begetter noun.

— ORIGIN Old English, get, obtain by effort. ”

Therefore, believing literally in Sonship would refer to the first definition of the word begotten, second definition would apply to all of us and is of course metaphorical in sense of the word “begotten son”. A logical contradiction arises when we take sonship literally: if God is eternal, and has no beginning then it would mean that god cannot be a son. To be son is to have a beginning, but to be god is to be eternal therefore an entity can either be a god or it can have a beginning. Father procures son, thus before the son was procured then there was no such entity “son”, thus that individual would have had to have a beginning and consequently not be eternal. In other words, if the son (god) was begat at time x then there was no god at time x-1 or time < x, which would mean god had a beginning and was not eternal. However, those corresponding religions simultaneously teach eternalship of god and that god has no beginning and yet they assert that the sonship is to be taken literally — this leads to a contradiction, the two cannot exist simultaneously. If the entity is God then it cannot be Son and if it is Son then it cannot be God — the two are mutually exclusive. To sum up the argument: Let x be the proposition that ‘god is eternal (has no begining)’, let y be the proposition that ‘Son has a beginning’ (this must be a consequence if the Sonship is to be taken literally) then it would mean: { (x IMPLY (NOT y) ) XOR ( (y IMPLY (NOT x)). In other words, only one of them can be true, so if Jesus or another being is a literal “Son of God” then logically it cannot simultaneously be a god and vice versa — or else there is contradiction in the definition of “god” or “son”. Naturally god being eternal is widely accepted and sonship not being literal and metaphorical would support Islam or Judaistic teachings.

Following on from the previous points, if Jesus is son then he cannot be always with the father (co-existing always), because father is always before son. To say Son is eternal is in itself a contradiction, as there must have existed a time when Father existed yet Son did not exist. This also challenges the “co-existing” clause in the trinity doctrine. If they were co-existing then if Jesus was a Son then Jesus was not son simultaneously (as he was ever-existing) — not only does this completely contradict the definition of Son and Father. this also leads to several contradictions, therefore can be proven to be false mathematically using the method of “Reductio ad absurdum”.

4) “God dying for our Sins”

“God died for our sins” is a phrase often exclaimed aloud by many Christians, Hindu and paganistic religion practitioners. God (man) dying theorem does not only apply to Christianity but also to paganistic religions who also have gods, who too died for our sins. This argument needs to be divided into 2 sub-sections because upon confrontation with logical questions, they assert instead that God himself did not die but a man died.

First, let’s analyse the premiss of God (not man) himself dying. If Jesus (God) part died for 3 days, then this would imply that trinity did not hold for that period of time, and Twinity (Father and Holy Spirit) existed only. Since Twinity existed, and yet all three godheads are co-existing then this would mean the Twinity should have perished too, nonetheless regardless of whether Father and Holy Spirit died along with Jesus, a question emerges: Who was the God whilst the God was dead and non-existing? This would mean God is not eternal, which would contradict corresponding religious teachings anyway. Furthermore, if Jesus is God, and if Jesus died, and if God’s action are independent (meaning all things in universe happen with his consent); it then follows logically (by implication) that God committed a suicide! If not, then it would imply that God did not die, but a mere, mortal, insignificant man died.

But upon realising ridiculous implications of God dying, many Christians alter their initial meaningless statement to “God part did not die, but the man part of Jesus died”, so essentially a man died. But then a mere man died, which is of no significance. The Christians would then state that “Jesus was sinless, whom we need for redemption and salvation”, but this is as meaningless a statement as any, the concept of sin and sinless is religion bounded; it differs from a religion to religion and from an individual to individual. Upon what criteria are we judging Jesus as sinless? Based on Judaic criteria? Based on Islamic or Hindu criteria? Based on my, Bob and Tom’s criteria? Jesus is not sinless according to any of the above stated criteria! Christians are rendering Jesus as sinless by tailoring the definition of sinless to his actions and thoughts. Whatever Jesus did is to be regarded as perfect, therefore it is a bit like comparing what ever he did with criteria “whatever he did was perfect and sinless”, and then concluding he was sinless. I can use this criteria to label myself as sinless too! Without a universal criteria or agreed upon criteria we cannot label anyone as sinless, therefore, since such set of criteria has not been found, labelling Jesus sinless is therefore meaningless and the significant question of why would God-Man wish to die and create this nonsensical drama, when he could just forgive as a forgiving God would, remains to be unanswered. Such sort of dying for sins is a bit like a transaction: Blood-For-Forgiveness, one would have to spent blood (instead of sincerity) in order to have one’s sins forgiven. This is more like a trading than a forgiving god. So in essence, this stance totally undermines the logic in the Christian doctrine of salvation.

5) “You are limiting God”

After speaking to many Christians about similar topics, the most common ‘answer’ attained is: “You are limiting God by saying what God can do”. However, of course God can do everything, but God does all that befits his majesty, for instance, would god rape a person? Would god cease to exist? Of course not! Let us take a logical approach to this, we use Reducto du absurdum again:

Argument/Proposition: God cannot do all things

Fact 1: God is all knowing and eternal.

Thus we assume the opposite of proposition: God can do all things, if this is true, then this would mean God can become not all knowing, not eternal, not perfect, even god can make me the new god and cease to become the god. However, the above mentioned statements would mean that god is no longer a god (i.e. does not have attributes attributed to a god, i.e. God ceased to exist) – which nullifies our argument, thus by Proof by contradiction — there are things that god cannot do.

That demonstrates that “God can do all things” statement is self-contradictory, because by accepting this statement as true then such scenarios can be formulated that would cause God to stop being god — hence shown that there are limits to what god can do, whilst remaining a god. Indeed, God is all perfect, god does all that befits his majesty, god acquiring a son, god becoming a man, having other partners in the godhead and god dying are all against the attributes of one possessing perfect qualities.

Islamic Model of God

Now let us analyse what Islam says with regards to God. Islam, incidently, states:

  • God/Allah had no Son

  • God/Allah had no partner(daughter, wife, father, holy spirit or any equal). Islam has no Trinity.

  • There is nothing like God/Allah, Allah has no co-equal.

  • God/Allah is eternal — has no death and no beginning.

  • There is nothing like Allah/God i.e. There is no creation like Allah, and consequently, Allah never became a man or any other of his creation.

There is a chapter in Quran dedicated to describing the concept of God, that chapter is called “Ikhlaas” (“Sincerity”):

[Quran 112:001] Say: He is God, the One and Only;
[Quran 112:002] God, the Eternal, Absolute;
[Quran 112:003] He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
[Quran 112:004] And there is none like unto Him.

Most of the theists agree on the first fact: God is one. However, they have tuples of God, which we have argued to be illogical in this article — Islam however does not have Trinity or “n in 1 god” concepts. Verse 112:2 states that Allah is eternal and absolute — once again almost all theists believe in this — however Islam asserts that God has no father/son hierarchy (since god is eternal), Islam consequently also affirms that God never died. Verse 112:3 states that God does not have a father/mother or son/daughter hierarchies — once again this has been argued to be a ridiculous notion in this article. Verse 112:4 states that there is nothing like god, indicating that there is no creation of God alike God himself — hence God is/was never a man (no 100% man and 100% god) dogma.

All of the above stated verses seems to be in perfect conciliation with the logical points raised in this article! Furthermore, all of the above stated verses seems to be in contradiction with Trinity and the similar belief systems — they also seems to be in contradiction with the logical points raised in this article.

Summary

There are many who continue in their blind faith, whilst agreeing that their doctrine is self-contradictory, illogical and even humorous at times. Such kind of mentality is backward and leads to a stern belief in blind-faith. If we cannot use logic to eliminate believes of ridiculous nature then one should have no difficulty in believing in Santa, unicorns, Mother Goose and flying monkeys. Such a person should furthermore have no faith in empirical evidence, observable reality and other logical notions. However, strangely enough they use logical methodologies when it agrees with stream of thoughts and discard their importance when it conflicts with their stream of thoughts.

Being born in a certain family ought not to mean one is destined for a life time of affirmation of the creed — however ridiculous it is. If this it to be adopted as our basis for defending blindly the outrageous believes then one has no power of reasoning with a person who is born in a family ascribing to the creed of god being a monkey or earth being flat — as such, both of these would require a logical perspective in to the respective notions. Essentially, one must exert some effort into contemplating upon his or her believes whilst utilizing the tools God has blest him or her with; the objective being the sieving out of the incorrect concepts of god.

“God is a miracle and unfit for our reasoning” are excuses which would only apply to an unjust god who blindfolded us into diverging alleyways, yet expecting us to converge to the right one, randomly, without any aid. Indeed, there can be no initial progress in ensuring the right religion is selected unless be it via the means for reasoning…

By invitation2learn

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