The Holy Formula

Arguing about religion is hard. Even talking about it can be tough, because people’s religious beliefs are often very deeply held and tied directly or indirectly to their value structures, which then are tied in to the rest of their beliefs. However, debating and conversing about religion is also difficult for another reason entirely: debate and religion are built on the totally separate foundations of reason and faith. This often leads to impasses when the subject of religion is forced into a discussion centered on the assumptions of reason, as most are.

In many parts of the Christian faith, arguments of reason are forsaken for affirmations of faith, but there’s one doctrine in particular that impresses me with its direct emphasis on faith over reason. This is the Christian idea of the Trinity. There is one God, but this God consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each of which are equally God, but at the same time entirely separate from one another. Since these Persons of God are at once distinct and the same, any sort of logical explanation of the Trinity is unavailable, and believers are left with the holy formula of 1+1+1=1.

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  1. I can’t believe I’ve never stopped and thought about this. Maybe it’s because I learned it somewhere early along the way of a K-8 Catholic education and I didn’t have the critical thinking capacity to be able to call out this dearth of logic. And then, when I did, the idea had been covered by a heafty layer of other faith-based sawdust and so I chose to question more consequential things.

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