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This is an excellent presentation on Process Theology and the teachings of John Cobb, who is perhaps THE most influential teacher of these principles which go back to many other sources, primarily Whitehead, James, De Chardin, and even back to the Greeks like Heraclitus, before Plato came along and made up dualism which then- in my opinion- "poisoned" western philosophy for a couple of thousand years of philosophers arguing about dualism.  ;)

As a young philosophy student at UCLA my roomate, also a Catholic as I was at the time, taught me a bit about it, and that led me to learn more and more about the principles Process Philosophy teaches.   I then went on to the City University of New York, Queens college which at the time was one of the "best" schools for process theology.

I grew to realize in a vague way that I needed a church that taught principles like this, as I learned more.

Later I found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and took the Moroni challenge when I realized that the idea of personal revelation was very compatible with Process Theology.

After joining the church I found out about the Claremont school of theology, and found that there were MANY connections between LDS philosophers/theologians- (which is kind of contradictory in itself- we do not have "theology" but we can call it "scriptural interpretation" and get away with it. ;)) and Claremont.

I came upon this presentation on Facebook, and wanted to post a link here.

It is a great summary we might discuss, and is the basis of my religious paradigms.   I am only a fan of Rorty et al because they fit very well with process philosophy.   Unfortunately though, at times, process philosopy tends to be a bit too metaphysical for me.  Phenomenology as well is very compatible with many of the ideas in Process P.

Anyway if I broke any rules by linking to Facebook let me know, mods, - I know you would anyway!  

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2244674231/permalink/10159336622369232/

 

 

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The executive director of the Cobb Institute, who produced that video, is my friend Richard Livingston. He used to be pretty involved in the Mormon philosophy and theology scene, but I don't think is active LDS anymore. He's obviously pretty big into process thought, and so whenever we get together we end up talking late into the night about why my Wittgensteinian self sees it as mostly non-sense.

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Interesting, yes I have heard of him.

So why do you see it as non-sense?   What's the big flaw?  I know there is still a lot of metaphysicical "poetry" in it, which I simply ignore.

I know W. sees Jesus as the story of a "life" through which we all pass- as Adam is Everyman in the fall etc.   I have no problem with that idea, for example, but I see it as one way of taking it.   Again for me, it is not about history or anything that "actually happened" necessarily- in that example for example - ;)  I see it as a valid way to see scripture- one way among many.

I don't see how anyone could turn Witt. into "dogma", by saying, that the above example is "true" and other interpretations are "false".

I see Process as a kind of way of seeing instead of a question of truth or falsity or sense or non-sense.   It's like W says - "Look here- it could be this way too"!

I really like the way Process connects with relational reality- it sees things in terms similar to James' "Radical Empiricism".  IF you cannot describe an idea's or object's relations and origins, I think you view cannot be fully "empirical".

 

 

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On Process Thought and LDS Theology, this was my introduction: 

https://sunstone.org/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/031-16-25.pdf

Ian Barbour has a nice introduction in Myths, Models, and Paradigms:

Quote

The Process Model

 

Four models of God’s relation to the world have been mentioned, patterned respectively after an absolute monarch and his kingdom, a clockmaker and a clock, a dialogue between two persons, and an agent and his actions. In the process thought of Alfred North Whitehead, a fifth model is presented: a society of which one member is pre-eminent but not absolute. The universe is pictured as a community of interacting beings, rather than as a monarchy, a machine, an interpersonal dialogue or a cosmic organism.17

 

The process view of reality is social in that a plurality of centers of activity is envisaged. It could also be called ecological in that it starts from a network of relationships between interdependent beings, rather than from separate beings or dialogic pairs. Neither God nor man can be considered in isolation from the total process. Instead of the one-way action of God on the world, there is reciprocal interaction; giving and receiving, God and the world affect each other. The God of process thought is not immutable and independent, but changing and never completed, even though his essential nature does not change. Temporality and becoming characterize all participants in the community of being.18

 

Between God and the world there is interdependence and reciprocity, in the process view, but the relationship is not fully symmetrical. God is affected by the world, but he alone is everlasting and does not perish. God is not self-sufficient or impassible, for he is involved in time and history, but he is not totally within the temporal order. Events make a difference to him, but his purposes are unchanging. Divine immanence is thus more strongly emphasized than transcendence, yet God’s freedom and relative independence are defended, along with his priority in status (though not priority in time). For nothing comes into being apart from God. Within the cosmic community, God has a unique and direct relationship to each member.

God’s power is the power of persuasion rather than of coercion, of love rather than of compulsion. It is the lure of ideals which must be actualized by other beings. Whitehead rejects the image of God as the omnipotent monarch, the imperial ruler, in favor of what he calls ‘the Galilean vision of humility’, the idea of God as ‘the fellow-sufferer who understands’.19 God is like a wise parent whose educational influence on a growing child occurs through the love and respect he elicits and the ideals he holds up to the child. The power of love is its ability to evoke a response while respecting the integrity of the other.

In the Whiteheadian scheme every entity must respond for itself, and nothing that happens is God’s act alone. God does not act directly but rather influences the creatures to act. Each entity has considerable independence and its response is genuinely its own. Process thinkers reject both omnipotence and predestination. If there is genuine freedom and novelty in the world, then even God cannot know the fixture until decisions have been made by individual agents. Time is not the unrolling of a scroll on which everything is already recorded; alternative possibilities are open until choices are made at many centers of responsibility. God interacts with the world in time, rather than determining it in his eternal decree. He respects the freedom of his creatures.

Whitehead’s social model of reality is developed in a detailed metaphysical system; I can comment here on only a few features relevant to our discussion. He uses a set of very general categories which with suitable modifications can be applied to all kinds of entity. He thinks of every entity as a series of events, each of which is to be considered as a moment of experience that takes account of other events and responds to them. Causality, in Whiteheadian thought, is a complex process in which three strands are interwoven. Every new event is in part the product of efficient causation, that is, the influence of previous occurrences upon it. There is also an element of self-causation or self-creation, since every event unifies what is given to it by the past in its own manner from its unique perspective on the world. It contributes something of its own in the way it appropriates its past, relates itself to various possibilities, and produces a novel synthesis that is not strictly deducible from its antecedents. There is a creative selection from among alternative potentialities in terms of goals and aims, which is final causation. Every new occurrence can, in short, be looked on as a present response to past events in terms of potentialities grasped.

Now Whitehead ascribes the ordering of these potentialities to God. God as the primordial ground of order structures the potential forms of relationship before they are actualized. In this function God seems to be an abstract and impersonal metaphysical principle. But Whitehead’s God also has specific purposes for the realization of maximum value. He selects particular possibilities for particular entities. He is the ground of novelty as well as of order. He presents new possibilities, among which there are alternatives left open. He elicits the self-creation of individual entities and thereby allows for freedom as well as structure. By valuing particular potentialities to which creatures respond, God influences the world without determining it. God acts by being experienced by the world, affecting the development of successive moments, participating in the unfolding of every event. But he never determines the outcome of events or violates the self-creation of each being. Every event is the joint product of past causes, divine purposes, and the emerging entity’s own activity.

For Whitehead, God’s action is the evocation of response. Since man’s capacity for response far exceeds that of other beings, it is in human life that God’s influence can be most effective. God’s ability to engender creative change in lower beings seems to be very limited. He is always one factor among many, and particularly with respect to low-level beings, in which experience is rudimentary and creativity is minimal, his power seems to be negligible. Insofar as natural agents exercise causal efficacy, God’s ability to compel change is thereby restricted. But we must remember that God is not absent from events that monotonously repeat their past, for he is the ground of order. At low levels, God’s novel action may be beyond detection, though perhaps in cosmic history and emergent evolution there are signs of his creativity in the inanimate. Even when God does contribute to novelty he always acts along with other causes. We can never extricate the ‘acts of God’ from their involvement in the complex of processes through which he works. The Whiteheadian model thus leads to a metaphysical analysis which allows for the actions of a multiplicity of agents.

Charles Hartshorne follows Whitehead closely in his social model of reality but portrays a greater unity in the cosmic process. He holds that the world is in God (panentheism), a view which neither identifies God with the world (pantheism) nor separates him from it (theism). ‘God includes the world, but is more than the world.20 Hartshorne is willing to say that ‘the world is in a sense the body of God’.21 We are cells in the divine organism. The world-soul is immanent in the dynamic unity of the world, as man’s mind is immanent in his body. This view gives less scope than Whitehead’s does for the integrity and freedom of a plurality of individual agents. The objections to the analogy of the world as God’s body, advanced in the preceding section, seem to hold even if we grant that a cell in the body has considerable independence and ‘a life of its own’.

John Cobb, on the other hand, thinks that it would be compatible with Whiteheadian thought to speak of God as a ‘person’ in interaction with other beings. Whitehead himself ascribes personal qualities to God (consciousness, purpose, freedom, and creativity); his God is by no means an impersonal principle, as some of his critics have claimed. But Whitehead does refrain from calling God a ‘person’, which he thinks of as a succession of moments of experience with a special continuity. He allows for real becoming in God, and yet wants to treat God’s existence throughout time as a single occasion, since it involves complete self-identity and no loss of what is past. Cobb argues that it would be consistent with Whitehead’s own understanding of God’s becoming, as well as with the biblical tradition, to consider God a ‘living person’, an infinite succession of occasions.22 God would be the pre-eminent person in a community of interacting beings. Cobb’s writings develop the pluralism and personalism of the process model.

See https://www.religion-online.org/book-chapter/chapter-8-the-christian-paradigm/

Barbour also points the difference this view makes on the problem of Evil:

Quote

Process theologians have held that it is God’s goodness, not his power, which justifies reverence and worship, though presumably a totally impotent deity would evoke pity more than respect. In any case, the process God, though not omnipotent, is not dependent on the world as the world is dependent on him; his ideal purposes are not contingent on events in the world. Every being is indebted to God for its existence as well as for the order of possibilities it can actualize. In Whitehead’s words, ‘God is not before all creation but with all creation.’ Such a God is surely worthy of worship.

...

Process thought provides distinctive analyses of the problems of freedom and evil. The ways in which freedom is built into process metaphysics from the outset have already been indicated. If the classical ideas of omnipotence and predestination are given up, God is exonerated of responsibility for natural evil. If no event is the product of God’s agency alone, he works with a world, given to him in every moment, which never fully embodies his will. The creatures, and above all man, are free to reject the higher vision. Suffer in is inevitable in a world of beings with conflicting goals. Pain is part of the price of consciousness and intensity of feeling. In an evolutionary world, struggle is integral to the realization of greater value. As Teilhard de Chardin maintained, evil is intrinsic to an evolving cosmos as it would not be to an instantaneous creation. Suffering and death are not punishments for sin but structural concomitants of what he called ‘the immense travail’ of a world in birth.27

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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17 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

On Process Thought and LDS Theology, this was my introduction: 

https://sunstone.org/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/031-16-25.pdf

Ian Barbour has a nice introduction in Myths, Models, and Paradigms:

See https://www.religion-online.org/book-chapter/chapter-8-the-christian-paradigm/

Barbour also points the difference this view makes on the problem of Evil:

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Thanks for that wonderful quote!

I see my own personal journey there and how Process brought me here, today.

I think there is not a sentence above in your quote which cannot be connected to some LDS belief, and one fruitful direction for the thread could be to discuss those connections in some depth.

Imagine accepting that mode of thought for 10 years while looking for a church, and then finding the Book of Mormon.

My joy was/is indescribable 

Edited by mfbukowski
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I can see a lot of nice things in my very brief exposure to Process Theology via the slideshow.
I tend to think of LDS theology in terms of a very material perspective of reality (kind of a natural thing for a physicist to do). Yet, I can kind of see how the world that I conceptualize with that materialistic lens can also be viewed from a Process Theology lens. I suspect the latter is what most people would more easily identify with. The different perspectives will emphasize different things and perhaps clarify some aspects that one approach makes more clear than the other. So having the option/skill of being able to look at our theology from different perspectives is useful. Thank you!

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34 minutes ago, Nofear said:

I can see a lot of nice things in my very brief exposure to Process Theology via the slideshow.
I tend to think of LDS theology in terms of a very material perspective of reality (kind of a natural thing for a physicist to do). Yet, I can kind of see how the world that I conceptualize with that materialistic lens can also be viewed from a Process Theology lens. I suspect the latter is what most people would more easily identify with. The different perspectives will emphasize different things and perhaps clarify some aspects that one approach makes more clear than the other. So having the option/skill of being able to look at our theology from different perspectives is useful. Thank you!

Your very thoughts make it a process!!

There are not "things in the world" that you CAN think about without that stream of consciousness/experience!

You said "the world I conceptualize" and THAT is the world you/we all have before us.

We might be thinking about materialism and stopping for the red light and looking for McDonald's because we skipped breakfast, all at the same time.  The red light interfered with the materialism thought, now gone forever, while all through it is the deep rumble of your stomach. ;)

NOW is that stream of thought (= your " reality")  all material?

Is the world as you KNOW it- the only world you CAN know- your stream of consciousness - or is it your brake pedal your foot goes for after you see the red light?  Which is the "real world"?

Both!  Without the brakes you might be dead.

Without thinking about materialism you just might not be "the real, authentic you"!

Both are inseparably "the real you" and both are part of your reality as you construct it.

And the thoughts about materialism are all from the brightest minds, all mixed into that stew that IS your reality, the red light, materialism and your stomach all affect and create your reality as you are making it in that stream of EXPERIENCE!

And the light is "red" because your brain is synthesizing it that way, or so it is postulated

In fact ALL of the stew of experience  at that moment is being synthesized by your.... brain?...mind?..spirit?

By YOU!

The pool of human experience is all we can know about "the world out there"

So is it out there or in here? 

The two cannot be separated!

Gotta go get sumptin ta eat... ;) ;)

 

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1 hour ago, Nofear said:

Yet, I can kind of see how the world that I conceptualize with that materialistic lens can also be viewed from a Process Theology lens. I suspect the latter is what most people would more easily identify with. The different perspectives will emphasize different things and perhaps clarify some aspects that one approach makes more clear than the other. So having the option/skill of being able to look at our theology from different perspectives is useful. Thank you!

But by seeing it through different paradigms though it fits with total godless materialism and "everything is spirit" as well

We see it the way we have constructed our world.  The focus becomes human consciousness.

The brilliance of "Mormonism" is making God a Human Being.  That makes the LDS view humanism if we want to see it that way.

And the concept of "paradigms" itself is pure Pragmatism.

Paradigms are tools of thought that work for a while until they need to be changed

That makes the whole idea of paradigms and theories part of process thought!! 

The scientific method itself PRESUMES that reality as we know it, changes!

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 9/1/2022 at 2:59 PM, the narrator said:

He's obviously pretty big into process thought, and so whenever we get together we end up talking late into the night about why my Wittgensteinian self sees it as mostly non-sense.

Gotta drop that Tractatus stuff. ;)

But you fudged it with "mostly", dang it.

Thought I had ya! 🧐

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 9/2/2022 at 9:03 AM, Kevin Christensen said:

On Process Thought and LDS Theology, this was my introduction: 

https://sunstone.org/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/031-16-25.pdf

I had never seen that or knew it existed!  Thanks again!!

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On 9/1/2022 at 3:48 PM, mfbukowski said:

This is an excellent presentation on Process Theology and the teachings of John Cobb, who is perhaps THE most influential teacher of these principles which go back to many other sources, primarily Whitehead, James, De Chardin, and even back to the Greeks like Heraclitus, before Plato came along and made up dualism which then- in my opinion- "poisoned" western philosophy for a couple of thousand years of philosophers arguing about dualism.  ;)

As a young philosophy student at UCLA my roomate, also a Catholic as I was at the time, taught me a bit about it, and that led me to learn more and more about the principles Process Philosophy teaches.   I then went on to the City University of New York, Queens college which at the time was one of the "best" schools for process theology.

I grew to realize in a vague way that I needed a church that taught principles like this, as I learned more.

Later I found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and took the Moroni challenge when I realized that the idea of personal revelation was very compatible with Process Theology.

After joining the church I found out about the Claremont school of theology, and found that there were MANY connections between LDS philosophers/theologians- (which is kind of contradictory in itself- we do not have "theology" but we can call it "scriptural interpretation" and get away with it. ;)) and Claremont.

I came upon this presentation on Facebook, and wanted to post a link here.

It is a great summary we might discuss, and is the basis of my religious paradigms.   I am only a fan of Rorty et al because they fit very well with process philosophy.   Unfortunately though, at times, process philosopy tends to be a bit too metaphysical for me.  Phenomenology as well is very compatible with many of the ideas in Process P.

Anyway if I broke any rules by linking to Facebook let me know, mods, - I know you would anyway!  

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2244674231/permalink/10159336622369232/

 

 

I was able to get an introduction to Process Theology at Claremont. I was fascinated with it. 

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5 hours ago, juliann said:

I was able to get an introduction to Process Theology at Claremont. I was fascinated with it. 

And if you understand it as one paradigm among many, it is perfectly possible for all of it to be perfectly aligned with LDS doctrine, not as a "theology" but as one tool of many for scriptural interpretation.  

The only way we can know our true/sweet path is by receiving a testimony.

I remember that Bertrand Russell, the poster boy for logical positivism ("every meaningful sentence must have evidence") freely admitted that it could not be proven or disproven that the world did not flash into existence 5 minutes ago, and all our memories and science are implants!

Bertrand Russell!

https://reasonsforgod.org/was-the-universe-created-five-minutes-ago/

So if you accept a basis of relativism and that we all need our own testimonies, and cannot judge what gives meaning to the lives of others, one could logically accept a young earth theory, or evolution, or any of many scriptural interpretations, and still be in harmony with LDS beliefs.

Believing that God organized the world for us as his children does not entail how long it took,  or how he did it, the question is WHY he did it and what was his purpose.  It is about WHY questions and not about HOW.

Process phil.  is about the FUNCTION of beliefs-WHY we believe what we believe.  And miracle of miracles, Alma 32 teaches the purpose of knowledge is SWEETNESS in our lives, why a belief becomes SWEET to us and therefore valuable and therefore "true"

And section 93 teaches that truth is about SPHERES of knowledge.

President Kimball's "Absolute Truth" tells us again that knowledge is in spheres

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-student-manual/section-93-truth-is-knowledge-of-things?lang=eng

Art history does not have much to with do chemistry, but it can!  Each discipline has it's own "truths", but what the have in common is that their beliefs/techniques have results which are "sweet" for their purposes.

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 9/4/2022 at 8:04 AM, juliann said:

I was able to get an introduction to Process Theology at Claremont. I was fascinated with it. 

Yeah, woulda coulda shoulda, but I was too busy being a Buddhist Communist during that period.  And I only live like 20 miles away from there!  Oh well, I needed that stage too.    🙄

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 9/4/2022 at 8:04 AM, juliann said:

I was able to get an introduction to Process Theology at Claremont. I was fascinated with it. 

Here's a link to sign up for an online presentation on Whitehead.   I think I am gonna do it, it's been a long long time.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2244674231/?multi_permalinks=10159362492274232&notif_id=1662946674439324&notif_t=group_highlights&ref=notif

 

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