In his book, Christ before Creeds, Jeff Deuble writes
The other thing that happens when we adopt an adversarial approach, an us-versus-them mentality, is that we stop truly hearing each other or meaningfully engaging in conversation. We practice “selective” listening, where we have our agenda foremost and only listen to see if what the other person says aligns with what we already believe, and if it doesn’t, how we can counteract what they are saying. It’s not about understanding, it’s about winning the argument.
I find myself falling into this same trap. I really have to watch how I think. It would be difficult for me to listen to sermons or sing hymn that are based on concepts I no longer agree with.
My understanding is that the trinity as a teaching is not explicitly stated in the scriptures. It was conceived or inferred over time. When I read “When Jesus became God” by Richard Rubenstein, I was struck by the amount of back biting, excommunications, murders, etc. went on during that time, certainly not the kind of behaviour one would expect of followers of Jesus. Yet my experience is that people who believe in the trinity are often very adversarial towards us who don’t. Yet we believe in the same essentials, and did get to our understanding through much study and are very committed followers of Jesus.
It seems to be a characteristic of our social media era, where it is acceptable to denigrate people we do not agree with.
Joel Richardson has written a fascinating book on the return of Jesus based on prophecies in the old testament (he has also made several online posts about it). He believes the trinity doctrine and this in woven into his interpretation of the scriptures. Does that make it difficult to listen to him? Yes, it does jar a bit, but I have learned as lot from his work. He has shown by his work that he too is a committed follower of Jesus.
So, let us by all means listen to each other, and talk civily to each other, no matter if differ on how we interpret certain scriptures.
The great dragon was hurled down —that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
We believe in Jesus. God gave him the authority, and thwarted the Devil’s accusations that we are not up to scratch to serve in the Kingdom by the blood of Jesus. Let our testimony reflect this, rather than our disagreements.