Think Free


The Holy Trinity

Andrei Rublev's Trinity, representing the Fath...

Andrei Rublev’s Trinity, representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a similar manner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Christian theology, the Holy Trinity refers to the belief that God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit form a co-equal and co-eternal mystical union.

Each of the three parts is defined as a person. It remains somewhat mysterious as to just what this means.¹ Are the persons really human in form? Or do created human beings resemble the three holy persons of the Trinity?

According to one interpretation of the view that created human beings resemble the three holy persons of the Trinity, some individuals predominantly act as God’s hands, others as God’s mind, others as God’s heart and so on. Biblical support for this idea is often cited in Romans 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 10:17, and Collossians 3:15.

The notion of different types of people corresponding to different parts of the Divine Body is found in Emanuel Swedenborg‘s (1688-1772) The Universal Human and Soul-Body Interaction. Swedenborg believed he was further delineating the connection between earthly people and their heavenly counterparts. But it remains unclear whether Swedenborg’s vision was identical to other Christian beliefs.

The belief that different types of people correspond to different parts of the Divine Body is also fundamental to Hinduism, a religion which some scholars say has its own kind of Trinity, one quite different from the Christian Trinity. The Hindu Trinity consists of Brahma (Creator), Visnu (Preserver of the Universe) and Siva (Cosmic Destroyer).

But again, to contend that the Swedenborgian, Hindu and Christian Trinities are identical is a gross simplification.

Holy Trinity, Tattershall, Lincolnshire by Brian

Holy Trinity, Tattershall, Lincolnshire by Brian

The idea that the diversity of human beings resembles the Trinity raises important questions about the relationship between God and humanity. For most Christians it does not mean that God is humanity, and nothing more. Rather, the idea is that God, as Creator, is reflected by and present in humanity but still transcends the human condition.

The Christian Holy Trinity is often dismissed as a socio-historical construction, but those claiming to have been granted a vision of the Holy Trinity say that its mysterious character can only be fully comprehended through revelation. Most Christian saints who have experienced a vision of the Trinity say that theological formulas only point the way. True experience of the Trinity apparently unravels the mystery or, perhaps, clarifies it.

Rev. Glenn “Mac” at adds:

Since you mention Swedenborg, it might be worth pointing out that he explicitly spoke up against the idea of a trinity of persons. According to his theology (in, e.g., his book, True Christian Religion), Jehovah the Father and Jesus the Son were not only one God, but also the one and only one person of God. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is the activity of that person, and not a seperate person in its own right. This is somewhat similar to Michael Servetus’ ideas expressed a good deal earlier in his “Errors of the Trinity”. Swedenborg’s idea of a trinity of essentials, rather than of persons, should not be confused with modalism-the idea of there being one God that at various times takes on different functions or modes in sequence. To Swedenborg, the Father was literally God’s soul, the Son his body, and the Spirit his influence/activity, not by analogy, but actually.²

¹Wikipedia further outlines the standard theological wording, but it doesn’t really help much.


Related Posts » Arius, Brahman, Faith, Holy Spirit, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Logos, Monotheism

Leave a comment


Schliemann Trench at Troy by Julian Fong

Schliemann Trench at Troy by Julian Fong via Flickr

Troy is an ancient city with archaeological ruins located in Turkey. According to Homer‘s Illiad, it was attacked by the Greeks for ten years, a conflict commonly known as the Trojan war. In a space of 4000 years the city was rebuilt nine times.

For many years Troy was thought to be a mythical place, much like Atlantis. But in the 1870’s its ruins were discovered by Heinrich Schliemann.

Sadly, Schliemann’s ham-handed excavations did much damage to the ancient site. As the Wikipedia entry about him notes:

Schliemann began work on Troy in 1871. His excavations began before archaeology had developed as a professional field. Thinking that Homeric Troy must be in the lowest level, Schliemann and his workers dug hastily through the upper levels.¹

The fall of Troy, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1...

The fall of Troy, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769). From the collections of the Grand Dukes of Baden, Karlsruhe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael Wood‘s In Search of the Trojan War, an investigation into the myth and archaeology of Troy, is available on DVD and highly recommended. And the general idea of Troy has cropped up in TV and movies, most recently Helen of Troy (2003) and Troy (2004) with Brad Pitt.

Related Posts » Achilles, Aphrodite, Atlantis, Edgar Cayce, Projection

On the Web:

¹  In 2009 (the last revision for “Troy” at this Wikipedia entry was cited:

His career began before archaeology developed as a professional field, and so, by present standards, the field technique of Schliemann’s work leaves a lot to be desired. Thinking that Homeric Troy must be in the lowest level, he dug hastily through the upper levels.


Turning Against the Self

Papa Freud, conflicted, with cigar by Carla216

Papa Freud, conflicted, with cigar by Carla216

In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Turning Against the Self is a Freudian defense mechanism in which an original desire to harm others is directed towards oneself.

Freud’s psychoanalysis contained many of the key elements for this idea, but this particular mechanism was elaborated on by his daughter, Anna Freud.

An example of Turning Against the Self would be an individual who burns him- or herself with cigarettes. Although considered a type of masochism, there are different interpretations as to why people burn themselves.

One interpretation is that harming oneself is a kind of misguided altruism. Alternately, it’s possible that an individual is dulled to pain because they’ve entered another type of consciousness where physical pain doesn’t matter or, perhaps, register.

As with most defense mechanisms, socially sanctioned activities like smoking would also fall into the category of turning against the self.

Freud, himself, was a heavy cigar smoker. When he contracted jaw cancer he didn’t stop smoking cigars, although it’s not clear if Freud knew about the correlation between smoking and cancer. As a leading medical man, one would think that Freud was aware of the harmful effects of smoking. In 1929 the German physician, Fritz Lickint, had published a paper outlining the link between smoking and cancer¹ (Freud died in 1939).

Digital Dame adds:

The link between cancer and smoking was discovered at least as early as the 1920s. I remember seeing an old B&W silent showing people on a float in a parade (maybe it was an anti-smoking rally?) dressed as skeletons, or the Grim Reaper, as an anti-smoking campaign. There’s an article on Wikipedia about the anti-smoking movement and the Nazis. Maybe because of its association with the Nazis, the anti-smoking movement never really took hold here? As late as the 1960s doctors were telling people it was good to light up, and many doctors themselves were smokers.²

English: Maternal anti-smoking campaign

Maternal anti-smoking campaign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Given our present day awareness, one could argue that all smokers are turning against the self with their self-destructive behavior. The same could be said with alcoholics, drug abusers, hydrogenated vegetable oil and aspartame consumers, etc.

As our knowledge of harmful substances grows almost daily, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between normal versus abnormal, as well as defensive, destructive or adaptive behaviors.

Related Posts » Deviance

¹ Hanspeter Witschi, “A Short History of Lung Cancer”

² See in context

Leave a comment


Relief known as "the three Tyches"—T...

Relief known as “the three Tyches”—Tyche is the Greek goddess of Fortune; since the Hellenistic period, each city has its own Tyche, represented with a crown of ramparts. This relief, found at the Via Appia, is known since the 18th century and belonged to the Borghese collections. It may come from the Triopius, the funeral complex built by Herodes Atticus for his wife Annia Regilla. Marble, ca. 160 CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tyche (Greek: luck) is the Greek goddess of chance or fortune. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Fortuna. Personifications of Tyche are unclear in the preSocratic period, but the abstract idea of Tyche is found throughout ancient literature.

Her imprint appears on ancient Hellenistic coins about three centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Tyche is often described as one of the Fates or as a daughter of Zeus. Temples for Tyche were, for the most part, built around cities. They offered protection or good luck. Alternately, Tyche was often blamed for natural disasters like floods, frost and drought. Even political misfortunes could be attributed to Tyche.¹

One source says she’s an Oceanid, one of a group of 3,000 nymphs who are daughters of Oceanus, the oldest of the Titans. In art she’s sometimes depicted as blind but her influence goes further than that.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum - Goddess Tyche...

Istanbul Archaeological Museum – Goddess Tyche holding in her arms Plutus (god of wealth) as a child (detail). Hellenistic art, Roman period, 2nd century AD. The coloring of the hair is remarkably well preserved. — Picture by : Giovanni Dall’Orto, May 28 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In medieval times

she was depicted as carrying a cornucopia, an emblematic ship’s rudder, and the wheel of fortune, or she may stand on the wheel, presiding over the entire circle of fate. In the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, Tyche became closely associated with the Buddhist ogress Hariti.²

As evident in the related articles, below, the name Tyche also appears in various marketing and media projects.

Related Posts » Taboo


² Ibid.

1 Comment

Rabindranath Tagore

English: Rabindranath Tagore with Mahatma Gand...

Rabindranath Tagore with Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi at Santiniketan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was an Indian renaissance man born in Calcutta, W. Bengal. Tagore is known throughout India and the world for his paintings, folk songs, verse, short stories, plays and novels.

In 1901 Tagore founded an open-air school at Santiniketan, West Bengal. Sometimes referred to as the ‘asram’ at Santiniketan, Tagore’s school integrates Eastern and Western approaches to education and has flowered into Visva-Bharati university, which offers a diverse curriculum in the arts, sciences and humanities while hosting students from abroad. The school is recognized by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, which funds qualified international students, particularly for graduate studies at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels.¹

In 1913 Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In his Presentation Speech Harald Hjärne, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, said

Amra Kunja by Paul Ancheta (Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan. Bolpur, Birbhum, West Bengal, India)

Amra Kunja by Paul Ancheta (Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan. Bolpur, Birbhum, West Bengal, India) via Flickr

Tagore’s Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912), a collection of religious poems, was the one of his works that especially arrested the attention of the selecting critics.²

Tagore’s worldly acclaim and social impact didn’t stop there. Knighted in 1915, he shocked India and the British Empire by resigning his knighthood in 1919 in protest over the British colonial presence in India. And he continues to inspire creative people of all ages.³

¹ As a Canadian, I was eligible. It was great to not have to worry about money for two years, and just study in such a unique environment (MC) .

² See

³ See, for example, this great video made for a school project:

Leave a comment

Urban Legend

Image via Tumblr

Urban Legend is a kind of modern folk tale of dubious truth, but it’s usually told as if true.

Urban legends often involve horror themes that attempt to evoke strong emotions. They’re transmitted by word of mouth, through the print media, TV, radio or the internet. Ghost stories, vampires and the idea of creepy things in city sewers would be some examples.

Wikipedia puts it this way:

An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true, and often possess horror implications that are believable to their audience.

Despite its name, an urban legend does not necessarily originate in an urban area. Rather, the term is used to differentiate modern legend from traditional folklore in pre-industrial times. For this reason, sociologists and folklorists prefer the term “contemporary legend”.¹

Image via Tumblr

The academic view may be more correct, technically. But the term “urban legend” has a cool ring to it that’s missing in the phrase “contemporary legend.” Maybe that’s partly why pulp fiction sells better than academic text books. The very term “urban legend” also plays into the mystique. And that’s probably what people seek when consuming this kind of stuff. A bit of excitement. Escape. Or as Carl Jung put it, an experience of the numinous.

Urban legend, especially regarding urban tales, differs from mythology. Traditionally, myths are said to carry some kind of supernatural connotation. Myths also are understood by modern people to be factually untrue. But with urban legend, the listener doesn’t know if the story is true or not. And urban legends do not necessarily have a supernatural element.

Urban legend is also said to differ from myth in that urban legends linger in the imagination as if they may be true, however exaggerated they might become through repeated telling.²


² This distinction seems debatable. Consider Hindus who believe that the story of Krishna is not myth but reality. Also, many Christians take aspects of the Bible literally, no matter how fantastic or limiting some Bible tales may be. And yet many see the Bible as just another myth. Alternately, many see it as a combination of myth, politics, prejudice, distant history and spirituality.

Related Posts » Ticket


1 Comment


English: Grainy B&W image of supposed UFO, Pas...

B&W image of supposed UFO, Passaic, New Jersey Edited version of Image:PurportedUFO NewJersey 1952 07 31.gif. By Bach01. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UFO means “unidentified flying object.” Because UFOs are unidentified objects, this leaves the door open for all kinds of possibilities. UFOs are usually taken as extraterrestrial spacecraft but they could be an energy or spirit field (or possibly being), like the many orbs that have been observed through camera and the naked eye.

Alleged UFO sightings have been reported throughout history. Since the 1950’s UFOs and aliens have been popularized by the news and entertainment media. Some authors like George Adamski and, more recently, Rael and Whitley Streiber claim to have encountered aliens.

Alien sightings and abduction accounts have increased in the media, especially on sci-fi TV networks and radio shows like Coast to Coast AM.

Also making the news was an apparent U.S. military cover-up of a crashed flying disc and its inhabitants at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) quickly modified an earlier announcement about a crashed flying disc, saying later in the same day that the disc was attached to a weather balloon. The Air Force has responded to charges of “controlling public information” by stating that there was “no evidence” of UFO air traffic over Roswell and the case has been officially closed.

Public figures like Dan Akroyd, however, continue to explore the possibility of a government cover-up.

Not everyone sees UFOs through the lens of conspiracy theories. Raelians believe that mankind was created by wise, loving aliens. And some contemporary writers believe that mankind is gradually being acclimatized to the reality of ETs through the media. Conversely, some Christian fundamentalists believe that aliens, and anything associated with them, are demonic.

Others take a middle path, believing that aliens may be benevolent or malevolent. Just as human history is a complicated mix of good and bad, it seems to reason that interstellar realities would be much the same.

Alien Possession Theory (APT) is the idea that some ET’s, embodied or disembodied, try to manipulate individuals through the use of psi.

Some UFO theories are quite bizarre. Hollow Earth theorists, for instance, believe that UFOs originate from the bowels of the planet, where an advanced civilization apparently resides.¹

Adamski's photograph, which is said to be of a...

Adamski’s photograph, which is said to be of a UFO, taken on December 13, 1952. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The depth psychologist Carl Jung (1875–1961) said that the disc shaped UFOs of the 1950s and early 60s could be real but he also viewed them as archetypal images of the self. For Jung, UFOs were a modern mandala. Meanwhile the respected author Jacques Vallée likens UFO lore to fairy tales and mysterious trickster beings.²

Since Vatican Council II (1962-65) was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church has endorsed inquiry into the possibility of ETs and UFOs. This makes the Catholic position on UFOs and ETs quite different from that of many Christian fundamentalists.

¹ See related entries in The Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends (London: Headline, 1993) and The Paranormal: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (London: Headline, 1992) by Stuart Gordon.

² Ibid.

Related Posts » George Adamski, Aliens and Extraterrestrials (ETs), “ET’s, UFO’s and the Psychology of Belief,” Foo Fighers, Moses and Monotheism, Possession, Michael Talbot, Neil Young


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,169 other followers