Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. Xavier
    March 27, 2012 @ 7:03 am


    Agreed. I thought what set the one God of Israel apart was the way He had revealed Himself to this nation which includes the uniqueness of His uni-Personal role in the Pagan world of antiquity.

  2. Jaco
    March 27, 2012 @ 3:55 am

    I tend to disagree with Dale on his application of the genetic fallacy where it comes to the trinity. Who God is and how he reveals himself, in the Judeo-Christian scheme, is through his holy prophets and finally through his son (Heb. 1:1-3). Such exclusivity in mode of revelation excludes the notion of revelation from foreign origin. Paganism cannot provide a better understanding of God, according to Judaism and Christianity and it is therefore valid to criticise the trinity or any self-revelatory understanding of God if it originates from a source God would never use as his line of revelation.

    Now someone would object, saying that since OT times many concepts about God were conceptualised using undeniably “pagan” language. God “riding on the clouds,” him “visiting mankind” and other expressions are expressions belonging to the ancient world surrounding the Israelites. Not to mention Philonic concepts of flesh/spirit dualism and logos theology in GJohn and Hebrews. It would be reductionistic, though, to use such occurances as a basis to validate any and all pagan influence on Judaism/Christianity, simply because degree of influence and formulation need to be considered. Secondly, even the obvious influences I mention and others we can add, were still taking place withing the time period and mode of revelation the ancient faithful would consider to be God’s acceptible time and way of revealing himself to us. Divine sanction of some sorts, if we can call it that. Most Christians would deny Nicea and the subsequent counsels and their doctrinal formulas being inspired. That is precisely so, placing them outside the inspired “divine sanction” of formulating divine revelation in pagan terms.

    Just my thoughts…

  3. Xavier
    March 22, 2012 @ 7:53 am


    Problem, is, pagan philosophers were right about some things!

    No problem unless you make it one bro. Truth be told, we’re supposed to take the good and throw away the bad. Something the NT authors understood very well since they quoted some poet/philosophers. ; )

    But I’m not willing to say that “the” doctrine (i.e. the 4th c. creedal formula) was somehow generated by pre-Christian sources.

    The Cappadocian “Fathers” were clearly Pagan-Gnostic influenced though.

  4. Dale
    March 20, 2012 @ 8:37 am


    Beware of this fallacy,

    Some claim X originated from pagan philosophy,
    Therefore, X is false.

    This is a fallacy of origin, or the “genetic fallacy”. Problem, is, pagan philosophers were right about some things! For example, their claim (most of them, but the sophists) that there are objectively right and wrong actions – most believed, like us, in what philosophers call “moral realism.” This is no small thing; it is a big and important thing to be right about . Or the belief in a just life after death. Or the common view that pagan mythology was just that.

    Still, it can be argued that Craig’s theory, which features three selves each of whom is equally divine, is not consistent with biblical monotheism. But it takes arguing to show this – not mere association with pre-Christian philosophy.

    I think there is demonstrably a Greek philosophical influence on early catholic theology, by way of Philo of Alexandria, and the general sort of middle platonism then current. But I’m not willing to say that “the” doctrine (i.e. the 4th c. creedal formula) was somehow generated by pre-Christian sources. Maybe that Hillar book will push me to take a stronger view. But in any case, given the point above, I doubt that the origin of Trinity doctrines is strictly relevant to their truth or falsity. It will always be open to the trinitarian to argue, like e.g. the Cambridge Platonists of the 17th c., that God providentially used pre-Christian philosophy to sort of clear the way for this new theology. At most, their original source might raise a suspicion of whether those theories really have a proper grounding in the texts.

  5. Xavier
    March 20, 2012 @ 7:15 am

    CORRECTION: …impossible to STRAY away…

  6. Xavier
    March 20, 2012 @ 7:15 am


    My hat off to Craig for his attempt to give intelligible and well-motivated content to the catholic formulas.

    My hat is off to Craig for revealing once more how it is impossible to stary away from the pagan roots of the Trinity in order to teach it.

    As for White, we have dealt with him for many years now and it is always interesting to see how Calvanism has turned this man, and many followers of Calvin, into such a “snickering”, boastful and ANGRY individual. May God have mercy!

  7. john
    March 19, 2012 @ 4:09 am

    Don’t you think there’s a certain irony in what you are saying?
    You query Dales Christianity on the basis that he will not accept an UNCHRISTIAN doctrine.

    There is NOT A SINGLE verse in the Bible which can be advanced as proof of The Doctrine of the Trinity.!
    It’s simply NOT scriptural

    The “Cerebrus’ analogy is ‘corny’ as are all Trinitarian analogies.
    Here were have a three headed dog in which one head calls the other ‘Father ‘and the other head calls the other “Son’, in which one head acts as ‘agent’ of the other. In which one head prays to another- the mind boggles and supposedly educated men in this century still perform gymnastics to rationalise it.
    Just proves that people will ‘see what they want to see” !!

  8. Jacob
    March 18, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    Great post, man. This (White’s response) is the kind of religious nonsense that drives me crazy. It suffocates honest inquiry and seems to me to smack of anti-intellectualism.

  9. Dale
    March 18, 2012 @ 5:58 pm


    To do that, I’d have to think Muhammad was a real prophet of the one God. I do not – and I have looked pretty thoroughly into the matter. Also, I’d have to believe that Jesus was not who he said he was – the messiah. But, I do. The issue between Christianity and Islam does not come down simply to the viability of some Trinity theory or other – despite what some trinitarians will tell you.

  10. NZapar
    March 18, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    Dale, i think you should become a Muslim. I mean, you’re a Unitarian anyway…why not just become Muslim, seriously…