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. Helez
    November 6, 2013 @ 5:29 am

    Dale, in your view, is someone an idolater if he believes the one true God is a Figure with five elephant heads, a pot belly and ten arms that rides a lion and sent his Son, Jesus the Messiah (who simultaneously had a divine, a human and an elephant nature and who died for our sins so we don’t have to reincarnate that often anymore), when this someone indeed says to believe in, receive, and love Jesus, lives right and loves others and as such is a genuine disciple of Jesus according to Zarley?

    How far-out can one’s beliefs about God and Jesus be, while still being a genuine disciples of Jesus, in your opinion?


    “But a time is coming—and now is here—when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23, 24)

    But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, or a different gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough! (2Co 11:3, 4)

  2. Helez
    November 6, 2013 @ 4:12 am

    One can fairly discuss whether the issue of the Trinity is an issue of salvation. There are proper arguments in favor of both sides.

    There is also a lot to say about professed Christians displaying un-Christ-like hate and swaggering self-righteousness in regard of others with whom they disagree.

    Confusing these two seperate issues is not a good idea. (“Don’t you dare to believe the Trinity is an issue of salvation, because if you do, you are a hatefull sectarian, a divisive person, at best immature and out of balance.” Argh…)

  3. Dale
    November 5, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

    “It’s called “‘Jesus’ Calling,” but often a day’s passage is written from the voice of God the Father or from the voice of God the Holy Spirit or intermixed.”

    I have long noted, and been bothered by this phenomenon. I think, actually, “Jesus” is ambiguous. Sometimes it means the man and Secord Person of the Trinity, and sometimes people simply use it as the proper name of the Christian God – which, given that they’re trinitarians, is the triune God!

    This is far more, btw, than an issue of academic pickiness. It is *unfitting* that Father and Son should be confused so often, and it is a way that evangelical tradition fails to live up to the NT. The scriptures don’t do this, as a rule, although a few of Paul’s uses of “Lord” are ambiguous. Normally, he means Jesus by that, but sometimes God. Still, it’s clear from his letters over all that he considers them truly two, as do all the other NT authors.

  4. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity | Eclectic Orthodoxy
    November 4, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    […] thought the Pontificator had died some seven years ago; but when philosopher Dale Tuggy chimed in with his enthusiastic thumbs-up of the Zarley article, I felt a tingling up and down my […]

  5. Fr Aidan Kimel
    November 4, 2013 @ 9:38 am

  6. Helez
    November 4, 2013 @ 5:16 am

    Hi Dale,

    A question one might ask is: “Can holding fast the tradition of men in contradistinction to what Jesus, the Messiah, teaches, make one’s worship to be in vain?” (Mark 7:7-8) Or: “Does one still follow Jesus when worshiping another God than Jesus did?” Does believing such ones are not genuine followers of Jesus, equals a display of un-Christ-like hate and swaggering self-righteousness, as you seem to suggest? Does believing it’s in fact a from of idolatry to worship a different God than Jesus’ God, means to damn and hate those who do?

    Do you, Dale, believe that believing in the existence of God and obedience to God is, in general, an issue of salvation? If someone believes it is, does this mean that this one damns and hates atheists and agnostics? Do you hates atheists?

    This sort of reasoning is so out of balance! By definition, any religion is “sectarian” in nature. Christianity is no exception.

    Peace to you,

  7. Anonymous
    November 4, 2013 @ 1:26 am

    Hi Dale,

    Could you please clearly define what you mean by ‘genuine Christian’? Thanks.

  8. Larry S.
    November 3, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    In my non-denominational Evangelical church (which is nominally Trinitarian), there’s this one pastor. He prays. And his prayers are so bad. They’re in the tradition of extempore prayer and he jumps around so badly. For me, the worst of it is he sloppily moves from Person to Person and then attributes the wrong things or makes the wrong petitions to the wrong Person within the historically understood roles and distinctives of the Persons of the Trinity. In the morning, my wife reads from the popular devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. It’s written in first person. It’s called “‘Jesus’ Calling,” but often a day’s passage is written from the voice of God the Father or from the voice of God the Holy Spirit or intermixed. Then the prooftexted verse to be read after is a different Person and a very, very different context of the original passage than what the author’s point of emphasis is. (Never mind whether either my pastor or author Sarah Young has read any of Athanasius or others as well.) I say nothing. People know that they know God (and know others are wrong) but yet can’t keep straight who’s who.

  9. pataphysicsofsimulacra
    November 3, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    Do we actually miss out on vital vantage points that Jesus’ human life grants us by theorizing him and his humaness? That this totally Human could be at the same time the Embodiment of God must have been totally paradoxical whilst undeniable for his Jewish brothers and sisters; something that must have changed them deeply, demonstrating just how deep the kingdom God goes. But instead of keeping it a mystery, not really being able to fully explain Him, we wet-blanket his vibrating humaness by theorizing his life.

    I made a choice a while back of keeping his divine humaness a mystery, letting Him be totally Human and totally God (with an expanded feeling of whom God really could be), and it has worked for me pretty fine. I don’t see it as anything other than what the first apostles and disciples probably believed.

    More “mystery” less theory. More love less hate.

  10. Dale
    November 2, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the comments. “humanizing Jesus” – I’m guessing you meant, “mere-humanizing” Jesus. Because the NT seems to strongly assert his real humanity. The catholic mainstream actually has a real problem with this – declaring him to be “man” but not a man – that is, to have all the components normally composing a human self, but because mysteriously attached to, or assumed by the Logos, they don’t form a self. So then, he is a divine self, which is “human” only because it, somehow, possesses a body and soul (neither or which is a self, and which don’t compose a self). It is interesting, re anathemetizing, what John says in 1 John 4:

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

    “come in the flesh” – I understand this to mean that Jesus was, in his ministry, a real human being. I take it this is directed against some early form of docetism. Of these, John flatly says, “They are from the world.”

  11. Dan Martin
    November 2, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    I appreciate this, Dale, especially your calling out of sectarianism as you’ve described it here. I would only add that trinitarian and unitarian aren’t the only positions to come to. I’m convinced that Jesus both described himself as divine AND as other than the Father, so that true unitarianism errs in humanizing Jesus as surely as trinitarianism does in failing to recognize Jesus’ submission and otherness. But I totally agree with you that this is an issue that, while important, is not worthy of the anathematizing of others that history has seen.