Today, I was posting in a Facebook group designed for Muslims and Christians to engage in dialogue with each other. This particular thread was about the concept of the Trinity that some Christian faiths teach. In this conversation, one of my Muslim acquaintances, a guy named Walim, stated that he'd never been able to get a Christian to explain it to him. I decided to give it a shot and what you see below this paragraph was what I wrote to him. I'd love to hear how others view this issue and the concept of the trinity. It's very interesting to learn about how different people envision God.
Let's say you are a human and you were born with all of the parts that one might say a "normal human" has. You have 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 arms, 2 legs, 1 heart, 2 lungs, 2 eyes, 1 nose, 1 mouth, et cetera. These are all parts of the thing we call "Walim". Now, let's say you get into some sort of accident and one of your thumbs gets detached. Does this mean there are now 2 Walim's? No. It simply means that part of Walim is in one place and another part of Walim is in another place. However, they are all parts of the same being.
This thumb that was detached is not superior to the other thumb nor is it superior to any of the other body parts of Walim. However, it is an important piece. In fact an onlooker might look at this situation and wonder why in the world you would allow your thumb to become detached. Maybe there is a really good story behind what happened to your thumb. Some onlookers will see what's before them and decide you must be a really stupid person because you let your thumb get cut off. Now, you have a dead thumb and unless something is done to reconnect it with the rest of Walim, that thumb will remain dead. "What kind of fool allows this to happen to something so important to them?!" they exclaim.
Others will come in and see this situation and wonder why your thumb is lying there and they may take the time to hear your story. They may find out that your thumb became detached, because you were saving a small child from getting their hand cut off by a saw or a knife or an axe that was about to strike them. This explains why you would allow something to happen to your thumb, even though you didn't have to. Those people who take the time to hear what you explain will walk away with a very different conclusion than the one that the first onlookers held. The first onlookers walked away very confused, but this is only because they refused to take the time to listen to your explanation of the situation.
Thus, it is with the Trinity and how Jesus could die and be brought back without there ever being a period where God didn't exist. The Trinity represents how some people envision God.
It is just like when a biologist studies an organism and, for the purposes of learning more about the organism, separately studies three different parts of it. Perhaps, they decide to study the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the digestive system. They can view each of these systems without ever misunderstanding that these three systems, with different, but co-operating purposes, are all a part of one organism. The organism doesn't need to have been born with a little tag inside of its body that says "I am a trinity" in order for the biologist to view these three systems separately.
Now, some biologists will look at the same organism and view it quite differently. They may decide that they don't need to separately study the different systems of organism. Their research may be of a kind that only studies how the organism interacts with the outside world. The fact that they only study the organism as a whole doesn't mean that those who study the systems of the organism separately are somehow erroneous or illogical.
Each of these biologists are viewing the organism based on their educational background, the branch of biology that they are most closely associated with. However, all of these branches are still studying the same organisms.
Thus, it is with the different Abrahamic religions. We are all studying the same God, but because of our background, we tend to view this God in ways that can seem very different to those who only take a superficial look at the religions. I don't see God as a trinity and I never have. This is probably because I grew up in a faith tradition where the people do not envision God that way. I see Jesus and God's holy spirit/active force as divine, but not in the sense that they are God. When I use the word divine, I mean that they are from God.
You belong to a faith tradition where some of the adherents tend to get very nervous whenever they hear the word "divine" used in conversations about Jesus. This sort of thinking (the trinity) is outside of what you're accustomed to, so it seems very bizarre to you. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible for you to gain a very clear understanding of why some see God as a trinity. You wouldn't necessarily have to give up your faith or your traditional way of viewing God to get an understanding of the trinity.
I think that some people are so afraid of thinking in new ways, because they fear that this will mean they have to give up or compromise the beliefs they already hold. However, if someone is secure in their beliefs, they aren't afraid to understand the way others think and they have no need to belittle those that think differently from them. So, it really boils down to deciding what kind of person do we want to be.