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Implausibility, Transcendence, and Atheism

Science is implausible to untutored human common sense, but that in no way casts doubt on the correctness of well-established scientific findings. Feelings of transcendence are simply that—feelings—and, as such, have no capacity to reveal truths about a world external to the people who have them.

In today’s Sunday Age, Michael Bachelard has a feature article on the world-wide trend towards outspoken atheism (the so-called New Atheism that we hear so much about), which he relates to the forthcoming Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne. (I am scheduled to speak at the Melbourne Convention along with far more celebrated writers and thinkers such as A.C. Grayling and Richard Dawkins ... and many others.)

Human Faces of Atheism

Most of Bachelard’s article tells the stories of various individuals who have turned away from religious belief: Damian Coburn, who was raised in an extreme offshoot of the Catholic Church; Anne Robinson, who began as a Christian but went through a spiritual quest that included dabblings with Buddhism, New Age magic, and Wicca; “Aam” (a protective pseudonym) who comes from a Bangladeshi Muslim family; Leanne Carroll, who was schooled by nuns, but had an atheistic moment of epiphany at the age of 12; and Joe Kilgour, who lapsed from the faith of his very religious Uniting Church family.

These are all interesting stories, and I’m grateful to Bachelard for making them public. I could recommend the article just for these stories, which give contemporary atheism not just one but several human faces.

However, some of the other commentators quoted in the article make observations that require a response. Strangely enough, I am more concerned about a couple of reactions from fellow atheists than the more-or-less predictable ones from various theologians and religious leaders.

Guy Rundle and “Missing the Point”

I’m most concerned by the comments from hardline political leftist Guy Rundle, who seems of late to have become a walking, talking cautionary example of how not to be guided by reason and reality. Not content with his naive, illiberal, and spectacularly wrong comments about the Bill Henson debacle a couple of years ago, he now blunders in—just as crudely—on the topic of contemporary atheism:

Writer and former editor of Arena magazine Guy Rundle, an atheist, believes the Dawkins-Hitchens version of atheism is “the most shatteringly empty creed to come along for many a year”. It misses the point, he says, goes out of its way to hurl insults, misunderstands how belief systems work, uses straw man arguments and is boring because it “takes the least sophisticated form of theism and beats it around the head”. It also fails to grapple with sophisticated theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth; and it is blind to the fact that, when science (quantum physics and cosmology) try to explain the origins of the universe, its materialist, atheist account is as mysterious and improbable as that of any religion. New atheism also, he says, refuses to concede that many people have feelings of transcendence that must be expressed.

This is so ill-informed and thoroughly wrong-headed that it’s hard to know where to start in straightening it out. How do you unscramble an egg? For someone who accuses others of missing the point—suggesting that he imagines he knows what the point is—Rundle appears awfully obtuse.

For a start, the trouble with religious explanations of the world is not so much that they are implausible, for their implausibility becomes apparent to many people only after a great deal of thought and against a background of accumulated scientific knowledge. Over the centuries, indeed, religious explanations have proved to be all-too-plausible for people who are attracted to them by their rhetoric, their association with wealth or power, or the comfort they provide ... rather than by actual evidence. Conversely, it is a gross misunderstanding to imagine that anyone thinks of quantum theory or cosmological theories as plausible in themselves. On the contrary, these theories, taken in isolation, are difficult and highly counterintuitive.

imageThe entire history of modern science, from Galileo, through Darwin, to the present day, has been one of replacing the common sense of medium-sized earthbound creatures such as us with explanatory theories that defy commonsense intutions—but are superior in their explanatory reach and conformity to the evidence. Scientific evidence, of course, does not fall from the sky without labour, like so much manna; instead, it is gathered painstakingly and incrementally, year by year, drawing on the professional efforts of many highly-trained individuals. Eventually, some of the evidence converges so powerfully as to support highly successful bodies of theory. Some of these are never likely to be overthrown, such as the theoretical finding that human beings descended from apelike creatures, that the Earth is billions of years old, that it revolves around the Sun (while rotating on its axis), that many diseases are caused by bacteria or viruses, and so on. None of these claims, taken in isolation from the evidence and from the rest of science, is especially plausible.

In the scientific context, of course, “theory” does not mean “conjecture” or “speculation”—as it tends to in most everyday situations. It refers to a body of explanatory propositions, usually involving entities and other phenomena that can’t be observed directly (since science deals with the very small, the very distant, and the remote past). Sufficiently well-evidenced theoretical propositions can quite rightly be accepted as facts.

To somebody who is untutored in the relevant evidence, and ignorant of the rest of science, it may be far more plausible that diseases are caused by the activity of evil spirits than that they are (often) caused by micro-organisms. But that is in no way an argument to abandon the micro-organism theory of disease in favour of the evil spirit theory. Nor is it a reason to respect the rationality of someone who lives in a modern Western society, yet still favours the evil spirit theory.

In all, it is Rundle’s comments about the implausibility of science that are beside the point. Yes, science is implausible to untutored human common sense. It was already so 400 years ago when Galileo argued that the Earth rotates. That in no way casts doubt on the correctness of well-established scientific findings.

What Rundle does not admit is that only the most non-literalist kinds of theology—together with rarefied views such as eighteenth-century-style deism—are readily compatible with such parts of the scientific picture of the universe (and ourselves) as are now well-established. Obviously there are many religious claims that are plainly incompatible with well-established science, among them the claim that our planet is only six to ten thousand years old (the kind of age that can be deduced from the Old Testament genealogies, when calibrated against well-established dates in the secular historical record). However, even more sophisticated and supposedly “moderate” theologies (moderate about what?) are difficult to reconcile with the emerging scientific picture. When theologians make claims about human exceptionalism, divine providence, contra-causal free will, and so on, they paint a picture contrary to anything in the scientific one. Scientifically-minded atheists who point this out are not attacking a straw man. Rather, they are challenging mainstream Abrahamic theology—with all its centuries of accumulated prestige and influence.

It may well be true, as Rundle notes, that “many people” have “feelings of transcendence” (whatever, exactly that means; Rundle, of course, doesn’t tell us), but no one is arguing that the expression of these “feelings” should be suppressed. Most modern atheists are all for freedom of speech and expression (unlike Rundle, who would have been happy to restrict Bill Henson’s artistic freedom). It might, however, be beneficial if more people recognised their feelings of transcendence for what they are: i.e, they are feelings. As such, they have no capacity to reveal truths about a world external to the people who have them. Express away with all your heart, but don’t be surprised if you’re disbelieved when you attribute your feelings to contact with an unseen spiritual agency.

Of course, Rundle totally omits the central point—that religious organisations and leaders continue to exert social and political power, even in the supposedly enlightened nations of the West. All too often, they seek to control how we plan and run our lives, including choices about how we die. We still see intense activism from the religious lobbies of all Western democracies, and even in relatively secular countries, such as the UK and Australia, governments pander blatantly to Christian (and now Muslim) moral concerns. Here in Australia, we are confronted by the pathetic sight of our Boy Scout prime minister sucking up to the sanctimonious killjoys of the Australian Christian Lobby.

The situation is even worse—far worse—in the religiose US, where the popular forms of religion have nothing especially subtle about them. I hate to break the news to Rundle and his fellow accommodationists of religious faith, but the names of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth are not household words in the American Bible Belt.

In a different world, without the many religious leaders, organisations, and lobby groups that claim moral authority and exert actual political influence, contemporary atheists would feel less need to be outspoken. However, we don’t find ourselves in that world. Instead, the religious sects, even those that give lip-service to a separation of Church and State (a concept which they self-servingly misinterpret), typically lobby for their specifically religious moralities to be imposed by the secular law. When the religious do that, it is only natural for us to reply by asking what moral authority they really have. Are their holy books and traditions really repositories of supernatural moral wisdom, dictated or inspired by a higher being, or are they all-too-human constructs, reflecting the limited moral visions of their times? Surely it is the latter, and surely we perform a public service when we point this out—supported, where necessary, with evidence and argument. Which brings me to the comments attributed to David Nicholls.

David Nicholls and the Herd of Cats Theory

Bachelard reports Nicholls’ view as follows:

But it’s to the accusation that they are establishing a new, fundamentalist faith called atheism that the unbelievers react most strongly. They are free thinkers. Individualists. They will change their mind if the evidence changes. The only thing atheists agree on, says David Nicholls, the president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, is the lack of a God, “everything else is up for grabs”. “Atheism itself doesn’t say what it’s got to do … there’s no push, or movement or anything like that—it’s certainly not anything like [the] women’s liberation movement. ... [Atheists are] not good joiners, they don’t mass on ovals and wave copies of Darwin around.”

To this, Bachelard responds:

This makes for an odd lobby group. The most pressing questions regarding religion and society in Australia are political ones—tax exemptions for the religious, school funding, exemptions from discrimination law, public funding, religion in state schools. The Atheist Foundation of Australia and other humanist groups have long made their views known on these subjects, but there’s no evidence that more and louder atheists have made any difference to their power—they could not, for example, secure public funding for the March convention, even though the Parliament of World Religions was given $4.5 million.

imageHere, I totally see the point. Nicholls is absolutely correct that contemporary atheists are not “fundamentalists”. Indeed, this word and its cognates are thrown around by opponents in a manner that is both inaccurate and irresponsible. A fundamentalist atheist would be one who believes in the inerrancy of an atheist text—perhaps The God Delusion or God Is Not Great—even in the face of results from rational inquiry. However, no such people exist. There are no contemporary atheists who display the equivalent of a Young Earth Creationist’s insistence, against all the genuine, that the Earth is only six to ten thousand years old. Or if there are, their fundamentalism relates to something other than mere atheism—perhaps to a political quasi-religion of some kind (with Das Kapital or Atlas Shrugged as the holy text).

Sometimes when I make this point it’s replied that I am using an unreasonably narrow definition of the word “fundamentalism”, but that’s a specious argument. You cannot legitimately use a word in some broad or extended sense while at the very same time relying on connotations from the word’s so-called “narrow” sense. It’s an equivocation; it’s an anti-rational and unfair style of argument. What makes fundamentalism so wrong in the first place is a certain kind of literal-minded, irrational dogmatism. This may be shared by some Marxist or Libertarian idealogues who happen to be atheists, but it is not a feature of contemporary scientifically-based atheism such as espoused by Dawkins or Grayling. If you are going to use the word to mean something like “forthright” or “outspoken”, or even something like “interested in persuading others”, you have to put up with the fact that there is actually nothing wrong with being “fundamentalist” in those senses. Of course, the effect of using the word in these ways is to destroy its usefulness (in some cases, no doubt, that is the desired effect).

So far, I’m with strongly with Nicholls, but is it really true that there’s no atheist “push” or “movement”, however loosely structured? I think that’s going too far. Atheists may be freethinkers, more like cats who walk alone than like herd animals, but it seems obvious that something of an atheist movement really has developed in the past few years. It may not be an internally-coherent movement, or a hierarchical one, or one with a rich body of structured dogma—and the latter, especially, is all to the good. But there’s a strong feeling among many non-believers, tapped into by Dawkins, Hitchens, and others—and now becoming widely identified, shared, and discussed—that, well, we’ve had enough.

imageIf religious leaders and their organisations were prepared to stay within the private sphere, worshipping their gods as they choose and performing works of charity, we would have no great problem with them—live and let live! Unfortunately, they tend to lobby for government actions that would impose their moral views on the rest of society—whether it be views about homosexuality, abortion, artistic freedom, end-of-life decisions, blasphemy and vilification laws, or a raft of other issues involving precious individual liberties.

Against that background, there is at least a loose, minimalist movement to challenge the authority of religion. Individual atheists within this unstructured feline community may have widely differing philosophies and priorities, but one thing we could almost all agree on is that religion continues to obtain far too much deference in government decision-making, including when the decisions involve coercion and police powers ... and when they involve the large sums of public money. An obvious topic for discussion at the forthcoming Global Atheist Convention will be exactly what should be done to counter this political deference to religion.

Bachelard is, of course, correct, that Australian atheists and humanists have been weak, to date, as a lobby group. As he says, one might well judge by the failure to obtain public funding for the Global Atheist Convention itself. Still, it’s very early days, and this is the first such large-scale convention for a nascent and ill-defined movement. My hope is that broad consensus will be achieved on at least a lowest common denominator of goals. In particular, we can agree that our freedom of speech and expression is constantly threatened in Australia, usually with religious morality lurking in the background—whether it be attempts to suppress Henson’s photography, religious vilification laws, or the federal government’s dangerous plan to censor the internet. Our colleagues in other countries have similar problems.

A good start for future lobbying would be cohesive, active agreement that free speech and artistic expression are non-negotiable, and that we cannot trust governments to legislate wisely on what we may lawfully say, hear, and see. Except in absolutely compelling cases, freedom of speech should not be abridged.

This is a good time for atheist cats to gather and voice their disbelief, but it’s more than that. We should not accept intrusions on our freedoms, based on antiquated, often irrational, religious moralities ... and it is oppressive when these are imposed on us in such forms as extended government censorship. Atheist cats are not herd animals—that’s true—but we do need freedom to live the lives we choose, based on reason. In particular, we need guaranteed freedom to express ourselves, including through satire of religion and so-called blasphemy.

On something as important as that, we can have a collective voice, and we should be proud if we get it heard loudly this coming March, in Melbourne.

Russell Blackford Ph.D. is a fellow of the IEET, an attorney, science fiction author and critic, philosopher, and public intellectual. Dr. Blackford serves as editor-in-chief of the IEET's Journal of Evolution and Technology. He lives in Newcastle, Australia, where he is a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle.


If religious leaders and their organisations were prepared to stay within the private sphere, worshipping their gods as they choose and performing works of charity, we would have no great problem with them:live and let live!

Unfortunately, they tend to lobby for government actions that would impose their moral views on the rest of society:whether it be views about homosexuality, abortion, artistic freedom, end-of-life decisions, blasphemy and vilification laws, or a raft of other issues involving precious individual liberties.

I agree with both paragraphs (and with much of the rest of the article), and I have no doubts that you (Russel) believe in the fundamental principle of live and let live.

But somehow I still have the impression that many “New Atheists” are as bigot and intolerant as those they criticize, and that, if they had the power to do so, they would soon start telling people how they are supposed to think in the private sphere. And then, they would start forcing people to comply.

Bigots and control freaks in both the atheist and believer camps like to control the lives and thoughts of others. To this, there can be only one response: what a person does in the privacy of their head, bedroom, or church is not the business of others.

Note: I am an atheist. I have never believed in any supernatural god, and probably never will. But someday I may decide to join a church, just to affirm the right of everyone to free thinking.

Your analogy of cats and atheists is amusing but as cats have been real victims of superstition and religious persecution over the centuries, you may just be adding wood to the funeral pyre. Yet the analogy is sound, you have your Lions such as Dawkins with their pride roaring loudly and somewhat sticking together in a group, and you have your average Joe Leopard that walks alone and finds its own food for argument and debate.

Don’t get me wrong, I would readily stand up for the rights of the atheist and of freedom of speech, however Dawkins rants so much about old arguments, so fully debated to the point of exhaustion that folks stop listening. I guess this is the shortfall of having a biologist on the board. What’s required are some real philosophers and existentialists on the team, and maybe a real scientist or two, and some new material?

What I feel you really miss is that the term A-theism is applied for the counter belief against the religious beliefs of centuries old clubs. To believe in something, you band together and form a club and ensure political protection of rights and even place your claims for expenditures and funding, (why not, everyone else is claiming?) Yet to simply not believe in a thing does not entitle the same status. In the immortal words from Monty Python, “this isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction”.“no it’s not!”

So what do Atheists believe in? What type of club is this? Simply saying you do not believe with an established theistic foundation does not entitle funding or even governmental support does it? Of course it’s not all as simple as this as you correctly point out that religions have long established a seat and position of power, yet can you see my point? You may as well get folks to rally for an “A-science” or an “A-Big Bang” club and expect this to be recognised and acknowledged.


What an odd comment…

” I guess this is the shortfall of having a biologist on the board. What’s required are some real philosophers and existentialists on the team, and maybe a real scientist or two, and some new material?”

So biologists aren’t real scientists? meanwhile there are many philosophers “on the board” including (but not limited to) Grayling, Singer, Dennett and of course Russell Blackford. - They might use new rebuttals when theists make a new argument… a good message to take away from The God Delusion, which has been criticised as “first year philosophy” is that the arguments for the existence of god are invariably terrible - they barely need refutation at all.

And yet, religious organisations don’t just receive funding from the government, they regularly impose sectarian morality on those who don’t agree with even the premise of their belief systems. Atheists (and anyone else who bases their own ethics on something other than bronze-age theology) need to stand up to this!

Thanks EM

Please note my comments were not intended to offend any parties, and certainly not be derogatory in any way, especially to Russell Blackford or anyone else involved with the GA convention. My phrasing could have been better.

My biological stab at Dawkins was intended somewhat tongue-in-cheek and to imply that maybe someone with stronger arguments should be leading the spotlight for the A-theistic debate. I am not a Dawkins fan(!!) Although I don’t suspect many physicists would stick their necks out thus far, and why should they? Thus it is left to the philosophical heavyweights to make the case?

And instead of digging up the age-old Darwinian arguments for and against the existence of God, perhaps the real focus of the arguments should be of the separation of Religions from any special moral and ethical high ground or status. Thus the silly argument whether God exists or not becomes irrelevant and is thus left to the freedoms of the individual and their pursuit of faith and belief.

There is certainly enough evidence to show that the existentialist viewpoints, especially the arguments for personal responsibility, are just as capable in promoting our ethical values as historical doctrines. Yet this is not to acknowledge that historically, religions have influenced greatly and positively, (bloodshed and wars aside), yet it may be shown that this is not a special case any longer, and that religions do not necessarily safeguard the ethics of man.

(I myself am not Atheist, I am agnostic and I sit on the Dawkin’s fence, wave my arms, and rant at him for lack of substance, and he needs us! : am looking forward to his next book)


Richard Dawkins - The Genius of Charles Darwin

For all parties interested, here is a link to the following documentaries presented by Richard Dawkins, aired last year on Channel 4 TV - UK. These are free to watch on Channel 4OD, no registration is required.

Forum link…

Here is the original link…

Atheists, please speak up, voice your disbelief, please. Only then, once we get past your lame rhetoric, can intelligent people truly see what a vacuous position, Atheism is, whatever your underpinning worldview maybe that allows you to arrive at your Atheist conclusion.

Any worldview that underpins Atheism, does not provide the metaphysical, moral or epistemological necessities in answering the various aspects of the human condition in which we find ourselves.

Commentators are correct when they hint that atheism as it exists today has no juice. But this should not be surprising since many who describe themselves as atheists are starting with one foot in a hole. The very word used to describe nonbelievers basically says nothing about their understanding; rather it declares what they do not believe. It seems the situation—of nonbelievers having almost no voice—is not going to continue much longer, however, for reasons that include what everyone here is noticing, namely, that atheism is having an easier time making it point—that we are material creatures struggling to comprehend our predicament, and we are beginning to develop a fairly sophisticated idea of who we are and of the world in which we find ourselves. Because it has evidence on its side, non-belief has a leg up on everyone who has built their worldview upon fantasies or superstitions, and religions are now feeling the heat. While many like to argue that religion has never been so public and abundant as it is today, it seems this phenomenon is much like the last blooms of a dying tree, a flourish of life before fading away. But if there is a fading of belief in our future, it still seems rather far away. Belief has buried its roots much too deeply into the human psyche, and, importantly, it continues to serve some cultural and psychological purposes particularly when people are confronted with chaos and uncertainty. So there remains a place for useful fictions like those scattered through most all religions although it’s becoming ever more clear that maintaining such psychological crutches exacts a heavy price. Just ask any survivor of a suicide bombing.

Nigel wrote:

“Atheists, please speak up, voice your disbelief, please. Only then, once we get past your lame rhetoric, can intelligent people truly see what a vacuous position, Atheism is, whatever your underpinning worldview maybe that allows you to arrive at your Atheist conclusion”

No doubt those who believe in Zeus would say exactly the same thing about your aZeusism. Can you demonstrate the difference between our disbelief in your god and your disbelief in every god that isn’t yours?

Wowbagger - the reasons why an atheist disbelieves are no doubt wide and varied, or maybe they are just variations on a couple of common themes, but more directly as to why believe in the Christian God, that is specifically the trinity of God, Jesus and the holy Spirit as opposed to other gods, I would summarize as follows;

Only the Christian God and the revelation to man via the 66 books of the Bible speak directly and consistently to creation, the nature of man, and the major aspects of life - that is how we integrate to the bigger picture and how we (are meant to) relate to each other.

Or more simply the human condition that we are self aware, creating, logical (for the most part), and have moral motions.

Only the Christian God tells us that we are created in God’s image, that is, our creative process is we think, choose, then act, which, is the same creative process that is used by God and described in Genesis.

The Christian God is also the only God, that has an insane amount of archeologist confirmed historical accounts, and that created ex-nihlo. This is one diff with Humans, we do not create ex-nihlo.

No other god has all of the attributes required to be consistent with what we experience as humans or talks so consistently to the moral aspects of our life that when followed actually improve rather than detract from life.

Which is pretty amazing, if you take the position like most atheists, that God is just some invention of some tribal nomads or “bronze age” people as the Jewish nation is often referred to in these discussions.

Nigel, please try to get some kind of a grasp on reality. Seriously. Basically your argument reduces to this: We are [insert supposed human attribute], therefore god did it.  It’s amazing how childhood indoctrination can turn a man’s brain into mush.

I thought it was amusing that everything Nigel wrote about “only the Christian God” could equally be said by a Jewish person about the Jewish God. (And it doesn’t take a Jewish person or even a believer to point that out.)

8itchin - of course you can make that assertion, but it is wrong on several aspects 1) I was actually Atheist, until I took off my blinders of self worth and looked at the evidence, 2) the position is rather that of all the options in the marketplace of ideas only the Christian system is consistent internally, consistent with our humanity and able to be practically applied to our lives with positive impacts.

It’s amazing how pride, going string since the fall of man, is still the ultimate obstacle to finding truth.

Frank - of course what I wrote about the Christian God could be said about the “Jewish God” they are one and the same - so what’s your real point.

If you want to say that the Jewish God and the Christian God are one in the same, then I’d like to say that the Christian God and the Mormon God are one in the same. Then I could say, “Only the Mormon God and the revelation to man speak directly to creation, the nature of man, and the major aspects of life… Only the Mormon God tells us that we are created in God’s image.” could say that, however, the Mormon position also relies on the book of Mormon, so whilst you may be able to find a Mormon that says their God is the same as the Christian God, their approach to salvation and the importance of reconciling to said God differs greatly from the Christian position.

If that’s the case, then here’s the Jew’s response: the Christian position relies on the New Testament, as opposed to Scripture, and their approach to salvation and the importance of reconciling to said God differs greatly from the Jewish position.

“ could say that”

I could say that over and over, actually, but I don’t think you’d let it sink in.

In these “discussions” all I ever see is warring memes. I don’t see where the individual point of view, the human (host’s) thought, is in any discussion about religion, or where it even could be; by definition there is no point of view other than that of the memes - and that of rationality and logic on the opposite side, which allows famously little room for opinion; there’s not much to argue about demonstrable facts and unassailable logic, is there?

If you disagree, as many or probably most of you religious types do - as you must - have you ever suspected you actually might be pwned by memes. I’m happy to inform you, you are, no matter what you think or how you want to rationalize your belief.

Religious minds are minds (computational systems) that have been rootkited.

You aren’t aware of it because you’re not supposed to; that’s how they work, by design.

“have you ever suspected you actually might be pwned by memes. I’m happy to inform you, you are, no matter what you think or how you want to rationalize your belief. “

And you’re not. uh huh.

Frank- Let’s start with I agree that the Christian approach to salvation and reconciling with God differ greatly from the Jewish position which relies on three main components, an alter, sacrifices and the priesthood. It could be argued that true Judaism ended in about 70AD with the destruction of the temple by the Romans - but that is another topic.

Your assertion, however, was that the Christian God and Jewish God are different, here you are clearly wrong.

@Rootkited - if the theory of memes was true in reality and not just some weak attempt to explain ongoing human “behaviors” such as too are subject too them, e.g. the Atheist meme.

Further if this is the case, then it would seem pointless, logically inconsistent and evolutionarily a backwards step to even try and interfere with the process of evolution and natural selection that continues to propagate said memes - your efforts are retarding the next great species 😊 How selfish!!!

BTW - can’t wait for the first court case where some murderer blames their “meme’s” or their evolutionary hard wiring for their actions - do you lot ever think to the logical conclusions of your positions?

Numbers 23:19, King James Version—>
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent”

Ahh, yes, a clear reference to the Trinity.

(Oh, and that part about the three main components is a popular misconception about Judaism, but that is another topic.)

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