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prometheus
12 Nov 2018, 07:12
Or at the least tritheistic? The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. Although said to be one godhead, so too is the Hindu Brahman the single godhead of many gods. So Christianity is no more a monotheism than is Hinduism. Add to this the way saints are worshipped, especially by certain Catholics, then it takes on a very polytheistic feel.

Is it perhaps a consequence of Christianity being influenced as it replaced native polytheistic thought in Europe?

Shahaku
12 Nov 2018, 07:56
There are two trains of thought in Christianity. The first, is Unitarianism, where the belief is that the father, son and holy ghost are one entity. In that situation, no. They are monothiestic.

The other is Trinitarian. The believe that the father, son, and holy ghost are constructs of a single deity. They're each able to act independently, and each holds divine energy, but together they for a single deity. I've also heard it explained as the father is the deity while the son and holy ghost contain divine power and are aspects of him, but not divine on their own. So again, no. They're monotheistic.

prometheus
12 Nov 2018, 09:06
Interesting. And which popular Christian denominations fall into which train of thought. I imagine Catholicism and Protestantism monotheist and Gnosticism Trinitarian? Where does Eastern Orthodox fall?

MaskedOne
12 Nov 2018, 12:23
Technically: It depends on which denomination you're dealing with and how you want to look at certain theological assumptions. You can in several cases argue until you're red in the face either way.

Practically: The Nicene Creed (https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/creeds/nicene-creed) starts with "We believe in one God..." and, despite all the hilarious ways that it complicates the issue, most Christians will agree with that affirmation.

Bartmanhomer
12 Nov 2018, 13:58
No. Christianity is monotheistic.

Corvus
14 Nov 2018, 07:48
On theological technicality no, they're monotheistic. Of course if it quacks like a duck... I've at least always thought Catholics were basically polytheists. Again though, there's a bunch of little, fairly complicated or semantic things, which are used to justify monotheism, at least among the orthodox church doctrine. I think the saint thing is very much influenced by previous pagan religion. The trinitarian heresies explicitly condemn what you have described the godhead as, however. Gnosticism is... well it's a bit of it's own thing and is obviously heretical, so really shouldn't be considered part of this discussion.

I would like to point out there have been arguments that Hinduism is monotheistic. The Hindu view on God is somewhat complex and not really definitive. There's some scholarship discussing various parts, like Hindu Theism which recognizing divine power as a manifestation of a singular creative power across multiple forms and levels. Hinduism is in large part pantheistic and in my opinion should probably not be compared so superficially with Christianity.

B. de Corbin
14 Nov 2018, 09:15
Imagine an entity existing in 3 dimensional space + time, appearing in 4 dimensional space + time.

Observing from 3D space, you can not see the entire entity - only parts... but each part seems (seen from 3D space) to be a separate entity. It is still one thing in it's natural space (4D) but you can't tell that in 3D space.

Think of it like that.

thalassa
15 Nov 2018, 08:48
No. The technical terminology is homoousios--there's not a good translation for this, but basically it means coessential/consubstantial, or of the same essence/substance. The aspects of the trinity are three hypostases in one ousia.

It would really be more correct to call the trinity three existences in one entity.

Rae'ya
17 Nov 2018, 04:33
Having been Catholic for the first 15 years of my life, including all the rites and being educated in a Catholic school... no, modern Christianity and Catholicism are not polytheistic. In Catholicism, the saints aren't God and they aren't worshipped... they are honored and revered but they are not worshipped. Nor is Jesus. Nor is Mary. You can pray to the saints, Jesus or Mary... but they are not God, not Divine within themselves and not worshipped.

As far as the Holy Trinity go... Shahaku, Corbin and Thalassa have given good explanations there and I'm too tired right now to rehash them.

There are some early versions of the Abrahamic faiths that are arguably polytheistic, but that's a completely different situation to the modern versions.

MaskedOne
17 Nov 2018, 06:03
Having been Catholic for the first 15 years of my life, including all the rites and being educated in a Catholic school... no, modern Christianity and Catholicism are not polytheistic. In Catholicism, the saints aren't God and they aren't worshipped... they are honored and revered but they are not worshipped. Nor is Jesus. Nor is Mary. You can pray to the saints, Jesus or Mary... but they are not God, not Divine within themselves and not worshipped.

As far as the Holy Trinity go... Shahaku, Corbin and Thalassa have given good explanations there and I'm too tired right now to rehash them.

There are some early versions of the Abrahamic faiths that are arguably polytheistic, but that's a completely different situation to the modern versions.

Eh, Jesus is God. He's just the same God (sort-of) as the Father. Treating him as not-God is more a Jehovah's Witness thing. Mary and the Saints are definitively not deities though under Catholic doctrine.

anunitu
17 Nov 2018, 07:37
i always thought that Catholic prayers were somewhat like ritual chants like hail Mary,or our fathers,kind of like pagan chants in a ritual,just my take.

Rae'ya
18 Nov 2018, 05:28
Eh, Jesus is God. He's just the same God (sort-of) as the Father. Treating him as not-God is more a Jehovah's Witness thing. Mary and the Saints are definitively not deities though under Catholic doctrine.

We were never taught that Jesus is God. Jesus is Jesus, and he serves a specific purpose in our relationship with God and our prospects of reaching Heaven. He is the son of God and more than mortal humans... but not God. There are also things like the Divine Flame and the presence of God within all people etc etc

Perhaps there are differences in Australian versions of Catholicism and American versions?

MaskedOne
18 Nov 2018, 06:48
We were never taught that Jesus is God. Jesus is Jesus, and he serves a specific purpose in our relationship with God and our prospects of reaching Heaven. He is the son of God and more than mortal humans... but not God. There are also things like the Divine Flame and the presence of God within all people etc etc

Perhaps there are differences in Australian versions of Catholicism and American versions?

Err, Nicene Creed on Christ is



We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation,
he came down from heaven:

Christ's status as divinity is pretty clear cut and the creed should be universal among Catholics. Interpretation of "one in Being with the Father" can be a little more interesting but True God from True God is pretty clear about his nature. I'm now distinctly curious about how this is presented in Australia.

Torey
19 Nov 2018, 01:22
We were never taught that Jesus is God. Jesus is Jesus, and he serves a specific purpose in our relationship with God and our prospects of reaching Heaven. He is the son of God and more than mortal humans... but not God. There are also things like the Divine Flame and the presence of God within all people etc etc

Perhaps there are differences in Australian versions of Catholicism and American versions?

There are certainly differences in interpretation geographically - even within Roman Catholicism.

I would also highlight the fact that it may be possible that, because you did leave the Church at a very young age, a more well-rounded teaching around the innate divinity of Christ would have been forthcoming had you remained in the Church.

From what I have read, the Roman Catholic (generalised) interpretation posits that Christ was both truly God and truly Man as he was God manifest in flesh and of both Heaven and Earth.

anunitu
19 Nov 2018, 02:07
there are many different takes between christian groups,some of the differences have been the subject of major tension between the branches of Christianity. the church I was raised in SDA(Seventh day Adventist) had some offshoots like the branch Dravidians that had negative effects,there had been violent reactions between the main church,and the Dravidians(Reference Waco)

MaskedOne
19 Nov 2018, 05:31
From what I have read, the Roman Catholic (generalised) interpretation posits that Christ was both truly God and truly Man as he was God manifest in flesh and of both Heaven and Earth.

This is the position that I'm familiar with. There are various logical shenanigans associated with the premise of a Triune God that come into play and, not being a serious student of theology, which I don't generally have good answers for but Christ being wholly God and wholly Man is generally the base premise that I've seen.

thalassa
19 Nov 2018, 08:16
From what I have read, the Roman Catholic (generalised) interpretation posits that Christ was both truly God and truly Man as he was God manifest in flesh and of both Heaven and Earth.

This has been my observation as well. My hubby could probably talk more on this, he's not been Catholic for a while, but he did attend an Capuchin seminary for high school (and an all boys boarding school at that), his great-aunt is a nun, and his mother lives in a convent in Nicaragua for 3-6 months every year...but from what I understand, they have a pretty strict Trinitarian interpretation, in terms of the official doctrine.

Rae'ya
21 Nov 2018, 01:25
It's very plausible that my Catholic education was limited by never being an adult in the Church. I had 8yrs of being actively taught Catholicism and a further 2-3yrs of being an 'inactive' Catholic. We were just never taught that Jesus was equated with God... and I was taught by nuns in a school run by nuns with it's own church and priests. But then Jesus was never the central figure of worship... he was God's son and died for our sins and taught us a great many valuable lessons on how to be a good person. We learned his life and his lessons and read the Bible (Old and New Testament). He had the Divine Spark of God, but then so did we all. We prayed to God and worshipped God, and we had a direct line to God and didn't need to go through Jesus to reach Him. The Holy Trinity was a thing but it was never a big focus. So perhaps we were just never exposed to the more esoteric concepts because we were children and teenagers rather than adults.

thalassa
26 Nov 2018, 07:53
I He had the Divine Spark of God, but then so did we all. We prayed to God and worshipped God, and we had a direct line to God and didn't need to go through Jesus to reach Him. The Holy Trinity was a thing but it was never a big focus. So perhaps we were just never exposed to the more esoteric concepts because we were children and teenagers rather than adults.

I think that is fairly commonly the approach in most Christian traditions when it comes to kids. Heck, I don't even know if it would be well-covered and understood by many adults... Most people aren't all that motivated to learn the minutia of doctrine unless they *have* to for some reason!!