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Christianity Is Not A Monotheistic Religion


consiglieri

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I would suppose that too many Christians equate polytheism in any form with paganism, and so take the knee-jerk reaction that Christianity has to be monotheistic. It cannot be associated with paganism in any form. Hence the mystery of the trinity.

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Do they really refer to Jesus as A God, and The holy Ghost as a God? i thought they were all

the same being only magically differant?

:P

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Do they really refer to Jesus as A God, and The holy Ghost as a God? i thought they were all

the same being only magically differant?

:P

Though I would not want to speak for them, my impression is that they say there are three gods when they want to be Christian, but say there is only one God when they want to be Monotheists.

The confusion comes when they say them both at the same time . . . real fast . . . over and over.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I would suppose that too many Christians equate polytheism in any form with paganism, and so take the knee-jerk reaction that Christianity has to be monotheistic. It cannot be associated with paganism in any form. Hence the mystery of the trinity.

I agree with you that the underlying unspoken assumption is that the term "polytheism" is somehow anti-Christian, when in fact it forms the basis of Christianity as it developed

Now, if a Christian believes that Jesus was just a man, or even a very special man who became God's son when he was baptized, ala the early Adoptionists; then I can understand their maintaining a rational belief in Monotheism.

But I think there are few Adoptionists among the many Christians claiming Monotheism today.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

This is a great thread for Johnny. Him and I can continue here. We had quit the discussion.

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This kind of goes along with my thread...

http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=27611

They seem to believe the leaven of the Saducees.

Ironically, the Saducees (and the Pharisees) and most Jews could rationally lay claim to a belief in monotheism . . . at least after the Deuteronomist Reforms under King Josiah.

But why do Christians feel this rational claim of the Jews is so important as to make the same claim irrationally regarding Christianity?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

This is a great thread for Johnny. Him and I can continue here. We had quit the discussion.

Johnny is the last of the great rational irrationalists.

He also has a bumper sticker on his car that reads:

The Catholic Church said it. I believe it. That settles it.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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And whats even more Ironic and irrational... is that Christ himself admitted there where other Gods beside himself and his father.

John 20

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

John 10

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Yet they prefer breaking scripture when they admit to Monotheist.

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I agree with you that the underlying unspoken assumption is that the term "polytheism" is somehow anti-Christian, when in fact it forms the basis of Christianity as it developed

Now, if a Christian believes that Jesus was just a man, or even a very special man who became God's son when he was baptized, ala the early Adoptionists; then I can understand their maintaining a rational belief in Monotheism.

But I think there are few Adoptionists among the many Christians claiming Monotheism today.

Especially since Adoptionists were labeled as heretics by the councils. However, heresies have a way of persisting...

I suspect that some believing biblical scholars have a hard time dealing with the polytheistic roots of Christianity when they study it, and lose their faith (Bart Ehrman, for example). Unfortunately, too much of Christianity has decided to draw some doctrinal lines as absolutes, when those doctrines are on very shaky ground. It leads to problems when believers have to confront an absolutist doctrinal position of monotheism that isn't supported by the historical evidence.

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Yes, yes, and yes.

This is an interesting discussion we are having amongst ourselves.

I am hoping I have not framed the issue so sharply as to discourage the participation of any professed monotheistic Christians.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

I am quit certain that our new freind docwatson will join us. He is new to the board.

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite

of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

As best I can figure out, they remain tied to late second temple Judaism, which was thoroughly and

strictly monotheistic. That is to say, all of the previous henotheism of the Israelite past had been

re-worked in terms of Persian dualism, into angels and demons, leaving no "godlings" beside or below

YHWH. Whatever we might say about gnosticism, or the kabbalah, or the Qumranim, etc., the religion

of Jesus' day was ethical monotheism, pure and simple.

My personal thoughts are, that Mormon attempts to portray the religion of John the Baptist, or Jesus,

or the apostles, as being a profession of plurality of gods, are doomed to failure -- and that the LDS

theology of some future day will acknowledge that the apostolic religion was pure monotheism.

However -- as we can all agree -- the Israelite religion was NOT monotheistic, and a good deal of the

Hebrew Bible was either composed in the early henotheistic days, or made use of materials and old

traditions dating back to that period. Thus, despite its overlay of Deuteronomic monotheism, the

Hebrew Bible is largely a library of henotheistic texts.

That is ONE part --

The OTHER part, is the very early belief in the divinity of Jesus --- not just that there was divinity

IN Jesus, but, as his own brother James wrote, that Jesus somehow was a MANIFESTATION of God.

In attempting to resolve the apparent countradiction of strict monotheism and trinitarianism, the

early Christians came up with a tri-theism clothed in monotheistic language.

The results are as you say ---

UD

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As best I can figure out, they remain tied to late second temple Judaism, which was thoroughly and

strictly monotheistic. That is to say, all of the previous henotheism of the Israelite past had been

re-worked in terms of Persian dualism, into angels and demons, leaving no "godlings" beside or below

YHWH. Whatever we might say about gnosticism, or the kabbalah, or the Qumranim, etc., the religion

of Jesus' day was ethical monotheism, pure and simple.

My personal thoughts are, that Mormon attempts to portray the religion of John the Baptist, or Jesus,

or the apostles, as being a profession of plurality of gods, are doomed to failure -- and that the LDS

theology of some future day will acknowledge that the apostolic religion was pure monotheism.

Hi, Unk

I would just point out that Second Temple Judaism or Middle Judaism is a little more pluralistic than this. I think your description would apply to the strand that ultimately turned into Rabbinic Judaism. Boccaccini, for example, uses a taxonomy that inclues Zadokite, Sapiental, and Enochic Judaisms. The Italian school that follows his line of thinking would argue that the Essenes split off from Enochic Judaism, while (a little later) Enochic Judaism became early christianity, replete with some of the angelic nuances that (as you point out) others had dropped. Barker certainly picks up on this theme as well, arguing that early Christianity was a restoration of those pre-exilic themes you argue were left behind. Eisenman, on the other hand would say that the Essenes represent the jewish-christian opposition wing to Paul and Roman Christianity.

I'm sure there is some wisdom in all of these lines of thinking. Anyone focusing on a single line in particular (LDS or not) may be missing some important things but is not necessarily "doomed to failure."

Regards.

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gotta be quick, the power on my island is being turned off for a few hours....

I believe the Bible is clear on this (no matter what ancient semites may have believed at various times)

there is but one God, there has never ever been any other "matter" that can be equated with God. He recognizes no such thing.

That God's incarnation in the Son may be difficult for us to fully comprehend does not negate its being fact.

I do not require that God make His thoughts and ways fully comprehendable to His creation.

be back when power returns

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[quote name='Uncle Dale' date='Aug 30 2007

My personal thoughts are, that Mormon attempts to portray the religion of John the Baptist, or Jesus,

or the apostles, as being a profession of plurality of gods, are doomed to failure -- and that the LDS

theology of some future day will acknowledge that the apostolic religion was pure monotheism.

UD

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

They do believe it. You're looking at it as 1+1+1=3 Gods, instead of 1x1x1=1 God

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Consiglieri,

The way I see it, Western Christianity is monotheistic in the same way that Hinduism is. In other words, can one be a monist without being a monotheist?

Eastern Christianity is monotheistic in a fingers-in-the-ears-chanting-la-la-la kind of way.

Jurgen Moltmann seems to place the Eastern system in the present, but heading toward something like the Western system in the future. Interesting to think about, anyway.

-Chris

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Hi, Unk

I would just point out that Second Temple Judaism or Middle Judaism is a little more pluralistic than this. I think your description would apply to the strand that ultimately turned into Rabbinic Judaism. Boccaccini, for example, uses a taxonomy that inclues Zadokite, Sapiental, and Enochic Judaisms. The Italian school that follows his line of thinking would argue that the Essenes split off from Enochic Judaism, while (a little later) Enochic Judaism became early christianity, replete with some of the angelic nuances that (as you point out) others had dropped. Barker certainly picks up on this theme as well, arguing that early Christianity was a restoration of those pre-exilic themes you argue were left behind. Eisenman, on the other hand would say that the Essenes represent the jewish-christian opposition wing to Paul and Roman Christianity.

I'm sure there is some wisdom in all of these lines of thinking. Anyone focusing on a single line in particular (LDS or not) may be missing some important things but is not necessarily "doomed to failure."

Regards.

Yes -- I am aware of what you're saying -- which is why I mentioned the Qumranim. Their view of two

coming messianic figures, one of which would be of the line of MelechZadek, tended to elevate that

mysterious figure to godly position -- a view not totally unlike the later rabbinic views of Metatron, etc.

But the Qumranim cannot be counted as normative Judaism, I think.

Call that Broadhurst's bias, or some such thing -- but I see a "golden thread" of pure monotheism woven

through Israelite/Jewish religious society from Jeremiah down to Jesus. To me, that is normative Judaism,

and I think that the vast majority of Jews around today would back me up in that assessment.

Judaism's pluralistic nature -- at the time of Jesus -- is almost a preshadowing of the later JS question:

Which of all these churches should I join? Josephus says that he investigated several of them. Paul

writes as though he is at least aware of a few of them. It must have been a complex situation.

But, my own stance is not merely intellectual, nor based upon a certain doctrinal school, nor that sort of

deductive reasoning --- there is also an experiential element to my professions.

Can I speak for all of the religionists of 2000 years ago? Of course not -- but I give my "take" on the

situation and leave others to reach their own conclusions.

UD

.

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

In my discussions with evangelicals, I have found that the average evangelical who is curious enough to study the issue (because lets face it most ev's and mormons have no interest to study their religion) do not believe in 3 gods. They do claim to believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, who are one God. Does it make alot of sense? No. That is why they are required to employ so many strange analogies to explain the doctrine.

But I think that where words fail the mind is capable of at least partially comprehending the doctrine. All three of them are part of the same being, but are three seperate individuals. They are three different persons/individuals who together make up only one being/entity, who is called God.

No, it doesn't make alot of sense. I once heard a guy argue that it is like a singer, guitarist, and drummer in a band. I couldn't help but laugh at that one.

Sargon

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consiglieri,

It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

Christians believe in one God just like the Bible reveals. The Bible does not reveal "three Gods" like Joseph Smith revealed.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

Your elementary school math is not consistent with scripture. The Bible reveals three distinct persons and the bible reveals one God. The Bible does not reveal three distinct and seperate Gods.

Jesus did not correct the Jew when he said "the truth; for there is one God; and there is none other but he". Jesus did not say elementary math holds true and there is three Gods" (Mark 12:29,32).

Mark 12

[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

[32] And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it

Christians claim it because they believe the Bible.

I believe like Thomas, Jesus is 'My God" and "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (John 20:28). When Stephen called upon God, he said "Lord Jesus" (Acts 7:59).

I believe like the Apostle Paul, he says "there is none other God but one ... one God, the Father ... one Lord Jesus Christ" and there is "that are called gods" (1Cor 8:4-6).

Though I would not want to speak for them, my impression is that they say there are three gods when they want to be Christian, but say there is only one God when they want to be Monotheists.

Christians believe in one God, they believe what the Bible reveals (1Cor 8:4-6)). The Bible does not reveal "three Gods" like Mormonism.

1Cor.8

[4] As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

[5] For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

[6] But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

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Jesus didn't need to correct the Jew... however you are bassing your Doctrine squarly on the Leaven the Lord warned us against.

Jesus claimed there was a God above him...

John 20

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

as well as many gods below him.

John 10

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

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Zakuska,

Jesus didn't need to correct the Jew... however you are bassing your Doctrine squarly on the Leaven the Lord warned us against.

I am basing it on the Old and the New Testament. The Bible does not reveal "three Gods" like Mormonism reveals.

Jesus claimed there was a God above him...

The Son of God has a God. That does not mean that there are "three Gods", the Apostle Paul makes this clear in 1Cor 8:4-6).

1Cor.8

[4] As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

[6] But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

as well as many gods below him.

Satan is called "god", Satan is below him (2Cor 4:4) ...

2Cor 4

[4] In whom the god (Satan) of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

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It strikes me as odd that many Christians claim to be monotheists when they believe in more than one God.

They believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

If my elementary school math still holds true, that looks like three gods to me.

And yet, in spite of this, many of these same Christians will also claim to be monotheists . . . absolute monotheists . . . monotheists without any disclaimer or qualifier.

My question is this:

What is the cachet associated with Monotheism that causes many Christians to claim it in spite of the fact that they do not believe it?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Easy enough. Because Jesus said there was only one, true God (Jn. 17:3). Yet, when we look at what he also said about himself, and what the rest of Bible has to say about him and the Holy Spirit, we note that there are at least three persons which comprise the constitution of the one, true God. Hence, there is only one, true God, yet that one, true God is manifest in three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. And as soon as you start understanding that from the Trinitarian/Monotheistic point of view, and not from a Modalist that you're trying to pin on Christians, the easier it will be for you to ask about something else. :P

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