Philosophically, the Trinity is viewed as polytheism

Philosophy: Is God the Truth?

Lüke: Just as the human cognitive apparatus developed in the course of evolution in dealing with the reality to which it relates, so too was human transcendence consciousness emerging in dealing with reality, which we call transcendence. Even a pigeon did not need any aerodynamic knowledge in its evolution, and yet, without the pigeon knowing about it, they can be gained from their physique. The transcendent consciousness would then be the more and more dawning reflex of the reality that we admittedly more suspect than understand and which can nevertheless deeply shape us.

Kanitscheider: But a good counter-argument can already be found in the content of religion. If you go beyond the functionality of religions, into the metaphysical realm, and assume that all functionality is caused by a higher being behind it, then you will come into conflict with all those religions that do not even know any concept of God Take Buddhism, for example. The contents of the religions are so different, from extreme polytheism to the Christian trinity to very abstract forms. Think Confucianism and Taoism! In many religions you will find a supreme idea that can hardly be personalized, and yet Buddhism, for example, does its duty in terms of functionality just like theism.

Lüke: It fulfills this duty in a completely different way and just as little goes into a fully explainable functionality like the Judeo-Christian-Muslim religion.

Kanitscheider: It can be explained by the adaptation role in the same way as the monotheistic religions. But Buddhism is an atheistic religion! He knows no transcendence.

Lüke: Of course you can (have fun!) Invent a corresponding adaptation story for each religion in order to explain away what annoys you in a naturalistic way. Buddhism knows a nirvana, a nothing that - strictly speaking - eludes science and naturalism.

Kanitscheider: That is not a transcendence. That is the extinction of personality.

Lüke: Not just the end, but completion - in a nothing that is seen as something worth striving for. There is no need to associate a specific image of God with transcendence. Of course, the Buddhist has a category of transcendence. Without them, the doctrine of rebirth and nirvana would not be understandable.

Kanitscheider: Nirvana is not an ontological realm. It bears no resemblance to the Christian paradise, to the hereafter. It is the extinction of the karma path, the extinction of individuality, simply nothing.

Is there a common methodological basis at all for theology and natural sciences, above all a common concept of science? Mr. Kanitscheider had already said that theology assumes that Scripture cannot be changed, while in the natural sciences every statement is in principle always available.

Kanitscheider: I see a contrast there on a metatheoretical level, because at least Catholic theology ascribes the principle of infallibility to certain areas, that is, there are certain basic elements or texts that differ fundamentally from others from a methodological point of view. So theology works in part with a basis that basically cannot be attacked. In the sciences, on the other hand, the basic sentences can in principle also be revised. Even in mathematics, one can never be absolutely certain that a proof does not contain a deductive error.

So there can be no common science concept?

Kanitscheider: The principle of infallibility prevents it. The Church Fathers clearly stated that Scripture has a different status of knowledge than any knowledge of the nature of the world.

Lüke: I don't see things that simply here. In the Judeo-Christian religion, there was a centuries-long process of collecting scriptures. You can also find contradictions between certain concepts of God, in both the Old and the New Testament. No exegete sees this as a self-contained block. Another question entirely is how I handle the scriptures.

Kanitscheider: That's right. Reconstructing what is actually authentic in a very old script, including the historical context, finding the meaning on the semantic level, all of this is a problem - even when dealing with texts such as the metaphysics of Aristotle or the epics of Homer: What did that really mean? This problem is common to all ancient texts. But let's take what has been accepted as authentic and examine it for validity! There is a fundamental difference here: in philosophy we always have the option of recognizing a sentence, for example by Plato, as wrong and therefore simply rejecting it. In theology, however, this does not apply to the "revealed" scriptures.

Lüke: The scientific approach lies in the question of the methodical handling of the various texts. The subject is given in both cases, in theology as elsewhere.

Kanitscheider: You evade the question of validity. It's just about true or false. With a statement I can always ask the question whether it is correct or incorrect, whether it asserts something in agreement or disagreement with the object. And there is simply my question, whether you understand the sentence class of the religious basic statements - for example about the resurrection, original sin, the dual nature of Christ, the Trinity, all these basic assertions, which are formulated in language - whether you understand them in a revisable sense . In such a way that one could say: No, resurrection, we were wrong; or: Trinity - no, you're wrong, it is really a quintuple. Such a thing is always possible in philosophy. As Aristotle said: "I love Plato, my teacher, but I love the truth even more."

To say that God is the truth is a logical confusion
(Bernulf Kanitschneider)

Lüke: You can argue about this with a dogmatist or exegete. I am responsible for philosophy. But the question of truth can be combined with the question of God. Your naturalism or the critical rationalism you mentioned must presuppose the concept of truth in order to be able to take even the smallest step in thinking. You can only decide whether the proposition that there is truth is true if it is true. It is at this level that theologians would apply the concept of God when they say that God is the truth. It is then what I can no longer investigate with the alternatives "true" and "false" because it generates these criteria in the first place.

Kanitscheider: This sentence is incomprehensible. God cannot be the truth because the truth is the correspondence of a sentence with a facticity.

Lüke: That is a definition of "truth", and you can only make this definition because "truth" is available to you from the outset as a regulative idea.

Kanitscheider: To claim that God is the truth is a logical confusion. "True" can only be a sentence about God. This is a matter of logic. Would you maintain the applicability of normal two-valued Aristotelian logic to key theological statements? The resurrection - did it take place or did it not take place?

Lüke: As a Christian, you obviously long for confessions, I say, I consider the idea of ​​resurrection to be credible, without being able to extemporize the how for you here.

Kanitscheider: So you are actually taking the theological context out of logic? Theology in the sense of speaking of God, because that means "theology", isn't it subject to Aristotelian logic in your eyes? The distribution of truth values ​​to certain sentences as true / false, does it not apply to theological sentences? If you accept that, I wonder what theology is actually claiming? It then loses its area of ​​expression, namely God. So I ask you again: is it a logical impossibility to know anything about God, or is it just practically impossible?

Lüke: With the range of our logic, which is always finite and linguistically conveyed, it is impossible to achieve comprehensive knowledge about God. On your path of thought, one may become godless, but one cannot get rid of God.

Kanitscheider: But then we have at least some knowledge. What is it?

The escape into mystery does not solve the problem of logic
(Bernulf Kanitschneider)

Lüke: It expresses itself in a form of existential experience. Wittgenstein said: "The solution to the riddle of life in space and time lies outside of space and time." And: "Of course there is something inexpressible. This shows, it is the mystical. "

Kanitscheider: The flight into mystery does not solve the problem of logic.

One last question: In our first interview, Mr. Kanitscheider took the position that it would be "more honest" for natural scientists to adopt an atheistic position and not an agnostic one, which today is part of the correct tone among scientists, so to speak. What do you think of that, Mr. Lüke?

Lüke: I think you can be a theist, agnostic or atheist with intellectual honesty, because each of these positions has to do with basic decisions that are more than just an intellectual summary. Only declaring the atheist position to be intellectually honest is a special form of missionary activity that does not take others seriously enough and for its part claims more than it is allowed on the basis of its own requirements.

Kanitscheider: To explain. The existence hypothesis of God is an assertion for which nothing speaks initially. And in this situation I behave as I do in all comparable cases of existence assertion. As long as nothing speaks positively for existence, I remain decided negatively, and that means with regard to the question of God, I am better atheistic than agnostic.

Lüke: I would like to describe the relationship between science and religion with one picture, namely by comparing the scientist and his methodology with a fisherman who fishes in the sea. The fisherman can vary the size of his nets and their mesh size, he can change the ejection distance, the immersion depth, the tensile strength and so on and in this way always make new catches. He finds fish that he has never seen before. And yet all he fishes out is not the sea. What he fishes out are living beings that indirectly refer to the sea as a condition of their possibility of existence. And maybe he realizes that this also applies to himself.

Kanitscheider: This poetic metaphor is based on the supernaturalist assumption that all concrete systems of the universe ("fish") are embedded in an encompassing frame ("sea"). It is precisely this transcendent embedding that is what is in question in the metaphysical discussion. From the point of view of the benevolent but critical skeptic, nothing speaks in favor of such a presumption.