• SUNDAY READ

    The divine urge to find reason in our religion

    2

    Ricardo Saludo

    God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
    — The Gospel of Saint John, 3:16-18

    Trinity Sunday is the short name of today’s Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, which gives worship and glory to the Three Persons in one God adored by Christians: God The Father, Who created and sustains the universe; God The Son, Who redeemed it with His Death and Resurrection; and God The Holy Spirit, the Love between the Father and the Son, Whose grace and inspiration lifts our souls and our world to God.

    Now you know why many believers prefer to just call it Trinity Sunday.

    More than the multiplicity of words needed to describe what’s going on in the humanly inscrutable mystery of the Blessed Trinity, it is the utter inadequacy of language, no matter how voluminous it may be, to understand, let alone explain how God can have three distinct Persons, yet remain just one, not three.

    Those who have tried — vainly or foolishly — to contain this divine reality in human speech have said the Trinity is like water, which can appear as vapor, liquid and ice. Others go metaphysical, with the Father as the transcendent aspect of God separate from the world, the Son as His physical, historical presence on earth, and the Spirit as His wisdom, grace and power moving and empowering creatures in this life.

    This writer’s own dumb analogy likens the Triune God to the human body, with the mind imagining, reasoning, and willing; the body giving expression and action to what the mind envisions and wishes; and the intimate communication between mind and body. And this same mind-matter link able to reach out to other beings.

    If all that musing sounds vain and foolish, it’s only because the image of God in us, which endows man but not beast with reason, vision and intention, strives to understand the divine, even if it is beyond what creatures can comprehend.

    And just as humanity seeks absolute truth, we hunger and thirst for perfect justice, and strive to make lasting peace. Those strivings may seem vain and foolish in our fallen world, but as the Lord declared in His Eight Beatitudes, they are blessed from the vantage point of heaven.

    When religion finds reason
    So, even as we falter in finding rhyme and reason in divine mysteries, not to mention building a perfect world out of our flawed, sinful earth, it may well please our Creator, for our strivings show that His image lives and lords it over our lives, inspiring us to put order in chaos, reason in random, light in darkness, love amid discord, heavenly sanctity in earthbound humanity.

    Indeed, isn’t that exactly how God saved His world: by becoming one of us, mortal and weak, and lifting even the pain and ugliness of injustice, hatred, cruelty and ignominious death to the eternal holiness of total love and sacrifice. Thus, the crushed and bloodied corpse of the Crucified becomes the immortal Risen Christ.

    Hence, if our reason feels the divinely inspired urge to see the order and logic behind our religion, inspired and enlightened by the wisdom and grace of heaven, it cannot just be folly and vanity, but may well be the face and fire of divinity, like the flames that lit the brows of the Apostles on Pentecost.

    For sure, many a devout soul are rightly wary of furrowing the brow when kneeling in prayer should suffice. As the Lord told the proof-seeking Thomas, blessed are they who do not see — or reason — and yet believe. Yet, there surely is nothing wrong and maybe some good if one believes and, by heavenly wisdom and logic, for they God-given, finds religion reasonable.

    In seeking the rational in the spiritual, however, one must be willing to ponder all manner of reality, not just the measurable, reproducable, and tangible kind favored by our modern time so enamored of science and technology.

    What often skews the search for reason against faith is not reason itself, but the bias against things and events that are true, but cannot be replicated in the lab or affirmed by material evidence, as if all knowledge before the scientific method is false and useless.

    Take the idea of a Supreme Being creating the universe. How does that square with the Big Bang theory, which a superstructure of astrophysical principles and painstakingly measured evidence support as the event that gave rise to our expanding universe?

    Atheists argue that absent material proof of an entity triggering the Big Bang, it would be unscientific and irrational to believe that such a being existed.

    Yet as Christian apologist and preacher Ravi Zacharias explained, quoting his Cambridge physics professor, the exactness required to set off the Big Bang is akin to hitting a square inch of space at one end of the universe with a bullet fired from the other end.

    One can insist that such a million-to-one event was purely random, along with the intricate and vast order found in all creation. Or one can reason that this creative spark could very well have been the work of a being of far greater knowledge and power than mere mortals.

    Between these two arguments — one based on what cannot be materially proven, and another based on what is already seen in reality — which is the more rational?

    As we ponder the Three-in-One God Who created, saved and inspires us, seek logic in every corner of one’s life and world, not just the bits captured by calibrated instruments. Then the picture will be clear, full and true. Amen.

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    2 Comments

    1. The christian trinity is not proved by putting together words. Words are cheap and are easy to make. “Reason” to quote Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged) “is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses.” The belief in the christian trinity, to qualify as “reason” should meet 3 conditions to be reasonable: a) a belief must be based on evidence; b) a belief must be internally consistent; and, c) s belief cannot contradict previously validated knowledge with which it is to be integrated. The christian trinity is at best a “claim” based on “faith”, not reason. It is patently taken out of thin air w/o evidence.

      • Robert Arellano on

        I believe in a more supreme being, but I am careful of people/groups who take advantage of this concept to perpetuate their “influence and control” on other human beings. We both know what we are talking about. There are many of these groups across the world. At the end of the day, in my view, kindness is the ideal religion.