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Answering Jewish / Muslim objections to their faith, Christians frequently appeals to historical research, which illustrates that existence of "semi-god" or godly king etc. was not a strange thing to second Temple Judaism. So, Christianity keeps 2-nd Temple attitude and is not an idolatry., by including more than one person into Godhead. Judaism evolved since 2-nd Temple period towards strict monotheism, where God is not a "complex", but simple unity, and there is no special godly agent for any purpose. Question: why Christianity cannot evolve in the same way and to move towards strict monotheism, i.e. understanding God as a simple and not complex (formed by Trinity) unity.

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    "why Christianity cannot evolve in the same way and to move towards strict monotheism?". Jehovah's Witnesses would argue that it did. Other denominations would argue that true religion doesn't evolve. – Ray Butterworth Oct 17 '19 at 13:03
  • This happened at least 10 times and it never stuck. – Peter Turner Oct 17 '19 at 13:05
  • Could you add a definition for 'strict' monotheism'? – user20253 Oct 17 '19 at 15:02
  • Nice yorker @PeterJ 😅 Can be made even more so with scielo.org.za/pdf/vee/v34n2/06.pdf – Rusi-packing-up Oct 17 '19 at 16:29
  • In Judaism they have Mashiach, a Jesus-like future messiah. So if having a "special godly agent" makes monotheism non-strict Judaism did not evolve into strict one either. I am guessing, such intermediaries are psychologically needed to bring the abstract transcendent God closer to his worshipers, and make him more personally appealing. – Conifold Oct 17 '19 at 19:52
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Part of the issue here is that Christianity — unlike Judaism and Islam — was developed and organized within the Greco-Roman culture. In the ancient Greco-Roman mythology, it was normal and conventional for gods to manifest in physical form and create children with humans. As such, early converts to Catholicism would have expected a story along the line of Heracles/Hercules, and interpreted whatever teachings they received along those lines. Add that early Judaism was not itself strictly monotheistic — it demanded that Jews worship only Yahweh, but implicitly accepted the existence of other Gods that other peoples worshiped — and there was plenty of room for ambiguity. The notion of the Trinity was a way of rationalizing the idea of full monotheism with the folk-expectations of Greco-Roman culture.

Christianity does not violate the principle of 'strict' monotheism, since in the end Christians believe that Jesus and God are the same being. It calls for some conceptual juggling, obviously, but it has never been a contradiction in terms. There's no particular reason for them to rework one of the core tenets of their faith that is something that will remain as long as it is appreciated, and fall away into disuse when and if cultural attitudes shift.

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    "Judaism was not itself strictly monotheistic — it demanded that Jews worship only Yahweh, but implicitly accepted the existence of other Gods". How this can be proved? – Josef Klimuk Oct 22 '19 at 4:31
  • Err... read the Old Testament? The statement "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" seems pretty clear on the idea that there are other gods who might be put before him. – Ted Wrigley Oct 22 '19 at 4:57
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    It does not prove that other Gods exist. Consider: 'do not worship centaurs'. It does not implement that centaurs exist, but still it is (maybe even because they do not exist) forbidden to worship centaurs. – Josef Klimuk Oct 22 '19 at 6:31
  • I have heard this assertion that other gods were thought to exist from no less than C. S. Lewis (inspiration for the Bacchean party in Prince Caspian!), so I would very much like to hear more about it. However I cannot rationalise it with what I read in the Old Testament, since there are numerous passages talking about the deaf/mute/powerless gods of the nations around them - i.e. not real. (Isaiah 41 and 44 and many others, Habakkuk 2:19, Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18, etc) Of course you can just say they have different authors and come from different perspectives but I still don't see it. – Nacht Oct 22 '19 at 9:24
  • @JosefKlimuk — the task was not to prove that other gods existed. The task was to demonstrate that ancient Judaism allowed for the existence of other Gods.I could not prove that Baal exists any more than I could prove that Yahweh exists, but the Old Testament talks about them both as forces to be reckoned with. – Ted Wrigley Oct 22 '19 at 13:34

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