Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, September 9, 2013

Index - Science & Religion

 Index to Science & Religion

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Philip Clayton Introduction

(jmd) Network Thinking: Process Theology and the Intuitive Mind

Philip Clayton Part 5

Discussions in Science and Religion - Initial Questions

High Gravity Religion and Science Rundown Round-Up
by Jonnie Russell
September 3, 2013
The Rundown:
The next iteration of High Gravity is nearly upon us. The recipe has been altered a bit and a few new ingredients are being added in our last boil and fermentation process before we do the first tasting–week one begins Monday Sept. 9th @ 10am PST.  Sign up via missionsoulutions.com HBX Store.
First, as Tripp and Philip Clayton are both local in southern California, they will be engaging in person in a smart classroom in Claremont, which means 1.) hopefully a bit of the technical difficulty and occasional communication ‘lag’ that happens when people are dialoguing at a distance will be avoided, and 2.) They have nowhere to hide from each other and the tough questions that will inevitably arise.
Second, Tripp asked me to be a High Gravity specialist, which basically means I’ll be doing weekly posts after the initial meeting on Mondays (probably Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday) which will serve to do a bit of recap of the info covered that week, and more proactively, seek to prod us into further reflection on the week’s material.  The goal then, will be to post the info and what it stimulates in me, for the sake of stimulating response in you, the participants and general blog followers interested in the proceedings.  In this way, I’m hoping to start some comment dialogue and new questions/thoughts throughout the week after participants have had a bit of time to soak in the session.  It’ll be a time to react and Tripp will in-turn put these questions and reactions to Philip in the next session. The hope is to intensify the ability for you as respondents and processors to be heard and get true back-and-forth going.
By way of trying to stir the pot a bit and get the Religion and Science conversation going here, Tripp asked me to post what I’ve found to be some of the common points of tension discussed relating to Religion and Science in my time at Fuller Theological Seminary. We’re interested to see how they relate to his context over at Claremont. It will be interesting to see where’s there’s coherence and difference. I’ve listed them as ‘themes’ because they each cover a host of questions, some of which I mention under each heading.
Given my context, the majority of these will pertain particularly (though I hope not exclusively) to the Christian religion. Also, these are not necessarily my tensions (some certainly are), but my best attempt to clarify some generalizable biggies.

And your job is to reply with yours…hence the “round-up!”
Five Recurring Themes in Religion and Science Discussions

1- Divine Action:  Scientists often speak of ”the causal closure of the physical”–physical effects are only caused, or rather, quite easily completely explained by physical processes.
  • How can we have a robust conception of divine action in a world that scientists often argue is causally closed?
  • Yes the complexity of levels change, perhaps new emergent causes develop, but doesn’t this challenge the idea of miracles at least on some level, or God acting in any way beyond perhaps the most fundamental levels of quantum physics?
  • Is a God that can only set in motion (act on) slight variations through what scientists call quantum indeterminacy enough of a God, or one enough like the biblical one (for the Christian religion) to be likened to the narrative of the Judeo-Christian tradition?
2- Can Science be Postmodern?: Few progressive evangelicals (even fewer progressives) are still wary of letting science have any say or import into theological or hermeneutical questions related in theology or religion. Yes, the bible has its own outmoded scientific world that we can accept as right to be done away with, but these scientists seem to be way less postmodern and humble in their hermeneutic than we are!
  • Is there a way to let science in, for lack of a better phrase, without giving it the de facto upper hand in all matters as if it’s the new queen of the disciplines? This relates to the previous divine action question but in generalized form.
  • Can science be postmodern too?
  • And can it be a conversation partner without being foisted upon us as the arbiter of what stays and goes in religion?
3- The Question of the Soul: I recently went to present a paper at a conference at Oxford University in the UK where the whole conference (a three-day affair) was devoted to the question of the soul in conversation with contemporary philosophy, theology, and science. It’s a hugely hot topic. There’s five conferences worth of questions that this raises, but here are a few:
  • Are human beings composed of souls and bodies, mysteriously intertwined, or merely physical bodies–truly dust to dust? Can what appears to be a cold world of chemical and micro-physical determinations explain all the amazing features of consciousness and our dynamic experiential lives?
  • If we’re just bodies, how do we persist (continue to exist) before the fervently testified to bodily resurrection in the NT? What do we do with the bevy of distinctions between body, soul, and spirit in the bible and other religious texts?
  • Are these becoming passé terms suitable for Plato and the ancients but not us?
4- Moral Responsibility and Freedom: Science seems to be doing a pretty good job (at least they claim) at explaining a lot of actions and experiences we used to ascribe to “the mind” or “the soul” in terms of automatic actions in the body or chemical transactions between the brain and our nervous systems.  Some of these have even been shown to predate our conscious decisions to act in this or that way.
  • If the world is really governed by this kind of physical determinism, how can we rightly ascribe to ourselves freedom and moral responsibility?
  • Heck, can we even say we did this or that action or actually chose to act in the normal way we talk about our feelings, reasons, etc. guiding our actions?
  • Ugh, are reformed people right to a degree that they wouldn’t even want to be (i.e. severe determinism)?
5- The Image of God: Given the theory of evolution and its evidence for our deep and close kinship with the rest of the animal kingdom:
  • In what sense should this effect our understanding of the image of God humankind is said to bear according to the Judeo-Christian tradition?
  • If our rationality, perhaps the most oft-invoked locus of the image of God, is a slowly developing evolutionary quality that our close ancestors have to a lesser degree as well, is the image of God something we can still claim exclusively as human beings? Homo sapiens but not Homo erectus or other hominins have it?
  • How can we really take the human being to be so utterly distinct (and supremely important?) with a strong thorough going evolution? The Bible seems to make humans too distinct in this regard.
  • What would a non-anthropocentric gospel look like?

Index to past discussions -