Trinity or Radical Monotheism—Human Liberty Hangs in Ballance

Found this article in my search for information on the doctrine of the Trinity and found it very provocative.

Trinity Versus Tyranny—Final Battle Over Fate of Man

This essay attempts to answer a baffling question: Why has the West for centuries dominated legal, artistic, religious and humanistic advances over the rest of the globe? The answer offered here is rooted in foundational theological concepts predominant in different religions. In brief, the claim is the doctrine of the trinity is a more powerful and subtle foundation for a society than radical monotheism, found in either Islam or Marxism.
The argument of this essay is Western man is threatened by the evil impulses of radical monotheism, jealously seeking to replace classic Western trinitarian society. Whether one thinks the successes of trinitarian society are an accident of history, or by design, will naturally reflect one’s own religious presuppositions.One cannot argue traditional Christianity was anything but beneficial to the arts, sciences, law, statecraft and liberty. In fact, the West was founded upon a 2,000 year old experiment in Christian society building, but now awaits the menace of radical monotheism threatening to send the West into a brutal new Dark Ages. Put blankly, in a society where a singular vision is established, disseminated and made the only legal belief system, there will always be brutal tyranny enforcing this vision.

I. From Trinity to Tyranny

A. Complex God of Judaism & ChristianityThe more singular minded a society, the less creative, free, safe or productive it is. For example, imagine working as an artist in Saudi Arabia, given extreme Islamic censorship. Or, ponder guidelines placed upon journalism in the USSR, done in the name of the Revolution—as described in Jeffrey Brooks,’ Thank You, Comrade Stalin!: Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War.

1. Yahweh: God of the Jews
In the history of the Church, one traces back to the Hebrew Pentateuch for an introduction to God, expressed both singularly and plural. For example, in Genesis 1:26-27, the author states:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Here we see God referring to Himself in both the singular and plural, and also as having male and female aspects. This offers a true complex godhead.

2. Trinity: Jesus, Father & Spirit
Later, in the New Testament the authors reveal a God of three persons in many passages. For example, John 1:1 states about Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Later in the same chapter (John 1:18) the writer says:

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

In both verses Christ is portrayed as the Word (Logos) Jesus and God Jesus, the Only Begotten. Jesus earlier had promised his followers to send the personal Holy Spirit when he left in John 14: 16-17.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.

B. Impact of Christian Anti-Trinity Heresy

Christopher Fitzsimons Allison describes the historic impact of mistaken Christian belief in The Cruelty of Heresy. He asks whether society should be oriented reflecting the one or the many? This was solved by the Trinity, which allowed both, key to creating a society which battles tyranny. Allison describes the tragic result of superficial responses to this issue, writing:

Simple solutions to the one and the many sacrifice the diversity and individuality of the many for an imposed and tyrannical unity of the one, or sacrifice the unity (family, nation, business, club, or church) for the sake of the pluralism and diversity of the many.

Allison describes how the image of God one chooses, or His utter rejection, massively impacts society, directly shaping the related image of humans in tribe, city and nation. For example, if mankind is created in God’s image, then one can claim rights reflecting this connection. Specifically, the Bible and Ten Commandments offer an argument humans have a right not to be murdered. For instance, in Genesis 9:6 it states as part of Yaweh’s covenant with Noah:

Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
as God made mankind.

When the biblical Trinity God is rejected, chaos ensues. For example, consider the 100+ million souls murdered in communist nations, innocent of any specific crime. Who was the “God” in these officially atheistic societies? Ultimately, just a human leader, such as Stalin, Lenin or Mao. We witnessed the massive cults portraying these leaders as super efficient, imbued with divine insights, and error-free.

Christian theologians claim the trinity offers a nuanced description of the universe, an example for democracy. The Three take counsel with Each Other, doing all things according to Divine Law. So trinitarian societies opened the door for human creativity, innovation and liberty. An application of the one/many trinity construct is federalism, a Hebrew innovation, recognizing the many and one within a political context, making more of each than either could on its own. Such is the history of covenant theology and political theory.

II. Arabian Peninsula: Muslim Radical Monotheism

A. Development of Islamic Theology

Islam explains itself a continuation of Jewish and Christian biblical revelations. Yet, according to theologians, Islam rejects the biblical deity. From a Jewish perspective, it’s error to say God is wholly unknowable as His Word reveals His Person. From a Christian view, the radical monotheism of Islam represents not just a mistaken view of the deity, but an utter rejection of His personality and nature knowable in Christ.

John Paul II develops this criticism in Crossing the Threshold of Hope:

Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside.

B. Islam & Freedom

We have a conundrum. While today Muslim nations are repressive, yet Islam boasts a rich history of intellectual achievements. So which claim is true? In fact, both represent certain historical facts. Islam was an incubator of past innovations, technologies and arts, as well as heirs of the Greek classical literary canon. But whether Islam was a creator of unique intellectual achievement is a different story.

According to Edward Hungerford, in an essay in the Atlantic Monthly, The Intellectual Mission of the Saracens, the legend of Islam’s creativity is overstated. Instead, he claims as Islam swept across the Middle East, etc, Muslims preserved learning. But for original scholarship they left practically zero record of novel discoveries or intellectual breakthroughs. Their innovations were borrowed from previous cultures. Hungerford states,

The heights of culture actually attained were reached in spite of the restraints of Islam rather than through encouragement given by it. The religion of Mohammed, founded in opposition to liberal learning, never ceased to oppose that learning. Science made headway against a religious fanaticism which manifested itself in the destruction of libraries, the burning of condemned books, the persecution of philosophers. Imprisonment, banishment, popular violence, threats of house-burning, fears of death,—to these were men exposed who cultivated the ancient learning under the rule of princes, who, actuated either by their own prejudices or by the desire of popular favor, used their influence in the interest of religious intolerance.

But, if true—Why would this be?

C. Islam’s Lawful & Prohibited: Halal & Haram

An intriguing book illustrates the subject of Islam’s lost creativity, titled The Lawful & The Prohibited In Islam, by Yusuf al-Qaradawi. A brief summary reveals Islam generally only allows activity in areas already blessed by Allah under Shari’ah law. But such rules insulates society from innovation. In Islam, only prescriptively allowed activities are sanctioned. Contra, in the West, anything not forbidden is generally allowed. On this, the great orientalist Joseph Schacht claims Islam is a legalistic religion:

It has often been said that Islamic law represents the core and kernel of Islam itself and, certainly, religious law is incomparably more important in the religion of Islam than theology.

The preceding attests to the lack of the concept of liberty, freedom or human rights in Islam. One’s liberties are tied to one’s acceptance of Allah. But even for Muslims, human or civil rights are a fiction. Such notions were never contemplated in the Quran. The God of Islam is both unknowable and utterly separate from mankind, by design. Therefore, the worst sin is shirk, associating anything created with Allah. And since human freedom itself is opposed by the unknowable Allah, everything in Islam resists liberty.

III. Communism’s Secular Heresy

Secular humanism offers as its most characteristic aspect—monomania. “Monomania” is defined as: “an inordinate or obsessive zeal for or interest in a single thing, idea, subject, or the like.” Marxism is preoccupied with power over any ideals. In fact, no other truth exists for the dedicated revolutionary. According to P.H. Vigor in A Guide To Marxism, morality is an illusion to a Marxist, saying:

For ethics or morality, the fundamental point for a Marxist is that there is no such thing as an absolute Right and Wrong, being relative for a Marxist. A thing wrong at one time, and in one set of circumstances, will be right in another. It is therefore simply not possible to settle an argument with them by reference to ethical principles—by saying, for instance, that the consequence of a particular policy would be murder, and you cannot commit murder. From a Marxist standpoint, you can—in certain circumstances.

So modern leftism is characterized by a mono-maniacal view of power, rights, and authority. But where does this spirit of absolutist religion come from? We must trace the instinct for totalitarian religious humanism to a 12th century Italian monk named Joachim of Flora who created a humanistic interpretation of the Bible and history that socialism adapted as a template. This is why socialism and Marxism have a highly religious flavor.

A. Modern Humanistic Tyranny: Socialism & Marxism

The essence of Marxism is sheer secularism. All human traditions and revealed religions are dismissed as meritless. Everything is based upon humanistic theories. Historian Richard Pipes defines communism as:

Full social equality calling for dissolution of the individual in the community. As social & economic inequalities derive primarily from inequalities of possession, communism desires abolition of private property.

As the individual dissolves into the community, his or her individual rights vanish. So no rights of free press or speech existed in communist nations. No dissent was tolerated. Most pointedly, religion was illegal in communist countries, as described by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand in Tortured For Christ. Communism proposes a total theory of life so no outside ideas are even theoretically acceptable. There existed no public forum for the discussion of dissenting opinions.

Conclusion: Trinity or Radical Monotheism—Human Liberty Hangs in Ballance

In Islam, all decisions are driven by theology, including politics. There is no room for human liberty, given God is unknowable, and only the Qu’ran and Shari’ah law offer direction. In Marxism, extermination of religion caused a reverse effect. Politics mastered all religious issues. Again all human choices are predetermined because, as in Islam, all decisions are forecast via secular holy writ. Both are mirror images of the same coin. Any world view which aggressively claims to uniquely and exclusively map all of reality cannot afford to brook dissent.

But only in a theologically diverse, trinity-respecting society where mystery is accepted, and human advancement encouraged are differences tolerated. Here, liberties are mandated as mankind is respected as created in the image of God, with potential for freewill choice, creativity, rights of conscience, and avenues to express minority opinion.


Kelly O’Connell hosts American Anthem on CFP Radio Sundays at 4 pm (EST).

Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech & Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico. Kelly is now host of a daily, Monday to Friday talk show at AM KOBE called AM Las Cruces w/Kelly O’Connell

Kelly can be reached


Rethinking Trinitarian Theology: Disputed Questions And Contemporary Issues in Trinitarian Theology
publisher: T&T Clark Int’l, published: 2012-03-01
ASIN: 0567225461
EAN: 9780567225467
sales rank: 1838684
price: $37.56 (new), $29.00 (used)

A collection of essays from leading theologians outlining current state of theological thought on the trinity.


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Trinitarian Resources


An altar in the church dedicated to the Trinity, Trampas, N.M. (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr












Those who follow this blog know of my appreciation of the Doctrine of the Trinity as central to the teachings of the Christian faith.  Trinitarian theology is more than simply an affirmation of a mystery (God is one in Three and Three in One).  It’s more than simply something we BELIEVE.  It is the well-spring from which we understand everything about God.

It is also a necessary corrective to the highly philosophical god of western thought (a god describe as “omnipotent” or “omnipresent” rather than with more intimate (and theologically accurate) terms like FATHER, SON, AND HELPER (Holy Spirit).

Over the next few weeks I am going to be searching the web to find links, articles, videos, audios, etc. that discuss the various facets of “trinitarian theology.”

I am not seeking to present this in any sort of “systematic” fashion.

Let’s start with a series of videos from Grace Life Communion by Baxter Kruger.

You’ll also find some suggested readings in these posts.

The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything
by: Fred Sanders
publisher: Crossway Books, published: 2010-08-04
ASIN: 1433513153
EAN: 9781433513152
sales rank: 92297
price: $10.94 (new), $10.94 (used)

The doctrine of the Trinity is widely taught and believed by evangelicals, but rarely is it fully understood or celebrated. Systematic theologian Fred Sanders, in The Deep Things of God, shows why we ought to embrace the doctrine of the Trinity wholeheartedly and without reserve, as a central concern of evangelical theology.

Sanders demonstrates, with passion and conviction, that the doctrine of the Trinity is grounded in the gospel itself. Written accessibly, The Deep Things of God examines the centrality of the Trinity in our salvation and the Trinity’s presence in the reading of the Bible and prayer. Readers will understand that a robust doctrine of the Trinity has massive implications for their lives. Indeed, recognizing the work of the Trinity in the gospel changes everything, restoring depth to prayer, worship, Bible study, missions, tradition, and our understanding of Christianity’s fundamental doctrines.