(excerpts are verbatum from: http://www.angelfire.com/pa/greywlf/trinity.html)
Robert Ingersoll makes the following comments in Ingersoll’s Works, Vol. 4, p. 266-67:
“Christ, according to the faith, is the second person in the Trinity, the Father being the first and the Holy Ghost third.
Each of these persons is God. Christ is his own father and his own son. The Holy Ghost is neither father nor son, but both.
The son was begotten by the father, but existed before he was begotten–just the same before as after. Christ is just as old as his father, and the father is just as young as his son.
The Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and Son, but was equal to the Father and Son before he proceeded, that is to say, before he existed, but he is of the same age as the other two.
So it is declared that the Father is God, and the Son and the Holy Ghost God, and these three Gods make one God. According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three time one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar: if we add two to one we have but one. Each one equal to himself and to the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity.”
Christians are faced with a dilemma. The Bible says in the Old Testament, “I, even I, am the Lord; and besides me there is no savior” (Isa. 43:11). “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord . . .” (Psalms 3:8. “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior . . .” (Isaiah 43:3). According to the Old Testament, only God can be the Savior. In order for Jesus Christ to be the Savior, he must also be God.
Trinity advocates use:
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30);
“. . .he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 17:22);
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God” (John 1:1);
“. . . that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me and I in Him” (John 14:10)
“. . .he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. . .” (John 14:9)
“. . .Holy Father keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John 17:11)
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 3:8,9.
The Bible has many more verses denying the Trinity than it has confirming it:
“Why callest me good? There is none good but one, that is God” (Matthew 19:17)
“. . .for my Father is greater than I. . .” (John 14:28)
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” (John 7:16)
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
“Who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God” (Peter 3:22)
There are, of course, more scriptures. The passages quoted are a representative of the opposing concepts.
Here is the dilemma. Christians know that in order for Jesus to be the savior of mankind, he must also be God. The bible says so. If he is not God, then he cannot be the savior. His death would be meaningless. So Christians have invented the Trinity to explain Christ’s divinity. He is man. He is God. He is both. He must be in order to be the savior. Unfortunately, he is ambivalent at best. Sometimes he claims to be one with God. Sometimes he admits God knows things which he doesn’t know and does things which he cannot do. Christians go to nearly any length to prove the Trinity including the declaration that its a “mystery” and we “just don’t have the mind to understand it”. Is the bible the perfect, inerrant word of God? The Christian created Trinity doctrine and the contradictions which must accompany the doctrine sound a resounding “No”! So how did the Trinity doctrine/dogma come into existence?
The origins of the Trinity doctrine are appalling. Like most historic issues pertaining to Christianity, there was much deceit and bloodshed. Many lives were lost before ‘Trinitarianism’ was finally adopted.
As many Christians know, the word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible. It doesn’t because it is a doctrine which evolved in early Christianity. It was a manipulated, bloody and deadly process before it finally arrived as an ‘accepted’ doctrine of the church.
Constantine – The Trinity Process Begins
Flavius Valerius Constantius (c. 285-337 AD), Constantine the Great, was the son of Emperor Constantius I. When his father died in 306 AD, Constantine became emperor of Britain, Gaul (now France), and Spain. Gradually he gained control of the entire Roman empire.
Theological differences regarding Jesus Christ began to manifest in Constantine’s empire when two major opponents surfaced and debated whether Christ was a created being (Arius doctrine) or not created but rather coequal and coeternal to God his father (Athanasius doctrine).
The theological warfare between the Arius and Athanasius doctrinal camps became intense. Constantine realized that the his empire was being threatened by the doctrinal rift. Constantine began to pressure the church to come to terms with its differences before the results became disastrous to his empire. Finally the emperor called a council at Nicea in 325 AD to resolve the dispute.
Only a fraction of existing bishops, 318, attended. This equated to about 18% of all the bishops in the empire. Of the 318, approximately 10 were from the Western part of Constantine’s empire, making the voting lopsided at best. The emperor manipulated, coerced and threatened the council to be sure it voted for what he believed rather than an actual consensus of the bishops.
The present day Christian church touts Constantine as the first Christian emperor, however, his ‘Christianity’ was politically motivated. Whether he personally accepted Christian doctrine is highly doubtful. He had one of his sons murdered in addition to a nephew, his brother in law and possibly one of his wives. He continued to retain his title of high priest in a pagan religion until his death. He was not baptized until he was on his deathbed.
The First Two-Thirds of the Trintiy – The Nicean Creed
The majority of bishops voted under pressure from Constantine for the Athanasius doctrine. A creed was adopted which favored Athanasius’s theology. Arius was condemned and exiled. Several of the Bishops left before the voting to avoid the controversy. Jesus Christ was approved to be “one substance” with God the Father. It is interesting that even now, the Eastern and Western Orthodox churches disagree with each other regarding this doctrine, the Western churches having had no influence in the ‘voting’.
Two of the bishops who voted pro-Arius were also exiled and Arius’s writings were destroyed. Constantine decreed that anyone caught with Arius documents would be subject to the death penalty.
The Nicaean Creed read as follows:
I believe in one God: the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God: begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made. . .
Even with the adoption of the Nicaean Creed, problems continued and in a few years, the Arian faction began to regain control. They became so powerful that Constantine restored them and denounced the Athanasius group.
Arius’s exile was ended along with the bishops who sided with him. It was now Athanasius who would be banished.
When Constantine died (after being baptized by an Arian Bishop), his son reinstated the Arian philosophy and bishops and condemned the Athanasius group.
In the following years the political foes continue to struggle and finally the Arians misused their power and were overthrown. The religious/political controversy caused widespread bloodshed and killing. In 381 AD, Emperor Theodosius (a Trinitarian) convened a council in Constantinople. Only Trinitarian bishops were invited to attend. 150 bishops attended and voted to alter the Nicene creed to include the Holy Spirit as a part of the Godhead. The Trinity doctrine was now official for both the church and the state.
Dissident bishops were expelled from the church, and excommunicated.
The Athanasius Creed Completes the Triune Godhead
The Athanasius (Trinitarian) Creed was finally established in (probably) the 5th century. It was not written by Athanasius but adopted his name. It stated in part:
“We worship one God in Trinity . . . The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet they are not three gods, but one God.”
By the 9th century the creed was established in Spain, France and Germany. It had taken centuries from the time of Christ for the trinity doctrine to catch on. Government and church politics were the reasons the trinity came into existence and became church orthodoxy.
As you have seen, the Trinitarian doctrine came from deceit, politics, a pagan emperor and warring factions who brought about death and bloodshed.
The Christian Trinity – One More in the Parade of Trinities
Why the original clamor to elevate Jesus and the holy spirit to positions equal to the Christian/Judaeo God? Simply, the pagan world was quite used to having “three gods” or “trinities” as their deities. The trinity satisfied the majority of Christians who had come from pagan backgrounds. Christianity didn’t get rid of the pagan trinities, it adopted them as it did so many other pagan traditions.
Hinduism embraced the triune godhead of Brahma, the god of creation ; Vishnu the god of maintenance and Siva the god of destruction. One of Egypt’s many trinities was Horus, Isis and Osiris.
The founders of the early Christian church had no idea that the Trinity concept would evolve, be voted upon by politicians, forced by emperors and eventually become an integral part of Christianity such as we have it today. Is it any wonder that its “difficult” to explain?
Is there one Christian God or Three In One? The majority of Christian churches hold to the Trinity doctrine but there are still Christian church holdouts who reject the teaching. We now enjoy the freedom to believe either doctrine but at risk of ridicule if we choose non-Trinitarian beliefs.
Just like at Burger King, “you can have it your way”.