It’s interesting to learn that the words tradition and treason both come from the same Latin word. “Traddutore” is the root word from which we get words like treason, traitor and betrayal. How fitting! This understanding helps bring into focus how easily human traditions can betray of the intent and will of God. “Traduttore” in the words of one writer “refers to the idea that translation is always a betrayal of the true meaning of the original.” This simply refers to the difficulty of accurately translating thoughts and ideas from one language to another. It seems especially apt when you consider how man’s traditions are so often a betrayal of the true intent of God. History shows that translating God’s will into religious traditions often distorts and betrays God’s true intention. Is it possible that this insight is relevant to the tradition of the trinity?
Man’s Misguided Love of Religious Traditions
There aren’t many things Jesus condemned more fiercely than the traditions of men. He looked Israel’s leaders in the eye and declared “it is written” before going on to condemn their traditions. Jesus knew full well that man’s misguided love of religious traditions would ultimately lead to His own torture and crucifixion. The rulers of Israel hated Him for pointing out that their love of traditions was actually treason against God! Could it be that devotion to the trinity is an example of people loving tradition to the point of treason? The sad truth is that it’s all too easy to put more faith in tradition than in scripture.
People Kill to Protect Their Traditions
People kill to protect their traditions and then claim they are doing it for God. Jesus said the traditions of Israel violated God’s will and portrayed her leaders as a band of traitors! Calling them vipers, ravening wolves and hypocrites was hardly the way to make friends. History shows that challenging religious traditions can get you killed…. and that is exactly what happened to Jesus.
The Tragically Violent History of Christianity
The tragically violent history of Christianity reveals that anyone who dares to challenge well-established church traditions (i.e the trinity, infant baptism, meaning of communion, etc.) stands a very good chance of getting killed. Over the centuries, multiplied thousands of Christians have been tortured and slaughtered by those who claimed to kill them for God’s sake. Simply disagreeing about things like the trinity or baptism (or even owning the wrong books) has gotten more than a few believers burned at the stake. Unbelievers see these things all too clearly. Is it any wonder so many of them want nothing to do with Christianity? Jesus meant it when said “By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”
Is the Trinity Theological Treason?
There is nothing more entrenched or fiercely defended in Christianity than the doctrine of of the trinity. History reveals it actually took threats of death, torture and banishment to establish the trinity as orthodoxy. On the other hand, we are of the opinion that God can take care of the truth Himself. He doesn’t ask His people to resort to violence on His behalf. Jesus never killed anyone and neither did His Apostles. The tradition of the trinity, on the other hand, would never have been established or come to dominate Christendom without violence. We suggest that the tradition of the trinity is much less a divine truth than an unfortunate mis-translation of God’s revelation. That’s why we wonder… Is the trinity theological treason?
Copyright 2023 by Bob Shutes