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 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

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

Monday, October 25, 2021

Arthur F. Holmes - A Synopsis of Process Philosophy




A Synopsis of Process Philosophy

A great lecture by Arthur F. Holmes
Posted on September 18, 2016 by csl4d

At the end of my last post (no, not that last post!) I admitted to my predilection for Alfred North Whitehead, the father of process philosophy and theology. Unfortunately, his magnus opus, Process and Reality, is notoriously difficult.

Accidentally, I came across a playlist with a lecture series on the history of philosophy by Arthur F. Holmes (The playlist also includes lectures on Leibniz, Locke, Kant, Hegel and American pragmatism, which I will probably use as a background when I will deal with Churchman’s “The design of inquiring systems”).

I found the first lecture on Whitehead (there are three in total) greatly elucidating, especially after I made a concept map (see below) of the lecture. I also made a transcription of the lecture, which you can download here. What follows in this post is a short description of the concept map, so a very, very brief introduction to Whitehead’s process philosophy.

Best listen to the lecture, while keeping the concept map, the transcription, and possibly this post handy. You may learn something in a jiffy that others (really, really clever guys and gals) have taken months to master.


whiteheads-process-philosophy


Process philosophy

Is nothing new. Process notions can be found in many traditions, including Buddhism (India), and Taoism (China), but also in the ideas of the pre-Socratic Heraclitus (Greece, 535-475 BC). Process philosophy in its modern guise was formally launched in 1929 when Whitehead (1861-1947) published his Process and reality.

Alfred North Whitehead

Was a ground-breaking philosopher (of science), physicist and mathematician from Thanet in Kent, UK. His main influences as a philosopher were modern science, Hegel, 19th century Romanticism and the Alexandrian fathers. His prime concern is the distinction between science and ethics, the separation of value and fact, a problem that also troubled Churchman (hence perhaps my liking of the two).

Mathematician and physicist

While in Cambridge he wrote Principia mathematica with Bertrand Russell. While teaching at London University he wrote about quantum physics and relativity theory. He reformulated the relational implications of both in a number of fallacies of science, including the fallacy of misplaced concreteness (esp. in relation to mechanistic abstractions) and the fallacy of simple location (which is based on non-relational ideas).

Hegel’s influence

I came to Whitehead mostly through the work of F.H. Bradley, a British idealist philosopher, who rejected empiricism – as did Whitehead. Hegel´s philosophy is best characterized as evolutionary idealism, in which the ‘free, creative spirit’ unfolds into self-consciousness using the well-known triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. This spirit is not a substance or thing, but a process, which Hegel studies by means of a phenomenology of human existence and history. Whitehead borrows most of these ideas from Hegel, with the exception of the ‘spirit’ idea (idealism). He is staunchly monistic (as am I) and prefers his evolutionary process to be naturalistic.

The evolutionary naturalism

Whitehead emphasizes process (instead of substance), relations (instead of non-relational, atomistic things), and an organic world view (instead of a mechanistic universe). Whitehead also adopts a phenomenological approach to the study of process as the basic notion of reality. His main subject of phenomenological study is human consciousness, as it is most directly accessible to us.

Sense perception

paradigm-event
Of all the processes that make up human consciousness, Whitehead uses sense perception as the paradigm event to exemplify all the processes that constitute the universe. Whitehead’s theory of where our ideas come from differs from that of many of his predecessors. Sense perception follows from the intrusion of real, objective data (first step), which prompt us to consider a range of possibilities (second step) as to what this intrusion amounts to. In a third step, we select one of these possibilities or ideas as our ‘working hypothesis’. This hypothetical idea symbolically refers to the objective data that intruded upon our consciousness in the first place, be it by way of sound, touch, vision or otherwise. Whitehead is without doubt a realist (or naturalist) and not an idealist.

Eternal possibilities

The question now is as to where the possibilities of the second step come from? One could say it comes from our “stock of experiences”, as Dewey suggests. Whitehead prefers them to come from the so-called “logos structure” of God as developed by the Alexandrian church fathers such as Clemens and Origenes in the 2nd and 3rd century CE. These possibilities are possibilities of novelty that must have been created in some way. Without novelty no creative process is possible. To Whitehead God is the highest manifestation of creativity, whose stock of possibilities drives the cosmic process of creation. Whitehead does not claim any knowledge of the starting or end point of creation. On the basis of the evidence available to us there is only on-going creation.

Value

Can be observed at two points. In the first place in the range of possibilities, each of them being value-laden, whether it is for good or for bad. The second point is where we opt (or decide) for one possibility or the other. Whitehead wanted a cosmology that has a place for value. Modern science claims itself to be value-free by restricting itself to the facts and nothing but the facts, whereas Whitehead experiences aesthetic and moral value in the world and in nature. This experience of value is also expressed in Romanticism as exemplified by e.g. Wordsworth, whose poetry was a source of inspiration for Whitehead.

Process theology

Whitehead’s metaphysics has greatly inspired Christian theology and perhaps the theologies of other faiths. Important process theologians include Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) and John B. Cobb (1925), who co-founded the Center for Process Studies with David Ray Griffin (1939) in 1973. Dr. Cobb maintains a blog, answering questions regarding process thought and faith. A very pleasant introduction to process theology is the one by C. Robert Mesle. The Divinity School of the University of Chicago was the place where process theology developed for at least 60 years.

Criticism

Whitehead and process philosophy comes from a variety of sources. Whitehead’s early friend and collaborator, Bertrand Russell, obviously criticized the theological aspects of process philosophy, since he believed religion to be little more than often harmful superstition. Arthur Holmes (who delivered the Youtube lecture on which most of the concept map of this post based) thinks Whitehead may have stretched his *event-based monism too far by applying it to persons.

*Monism - all is one in differing manifestations rather than living in, or perceiving, a dualistic or many plural world. Monism is often used in relation to pantheism, panentheism (Whitehead), and an immanent God concept. (cf. Existence v substance monism, etc)

God

Whitehead leaves many questions on the nature of God unanswered. Perhaps he did so on purpose, to leave open the possibility of process naturalism as suggested by Mesle, who holds that

“the world of finite, natural creatures is unified,” but not “in such a way as to give rise to a single divine Subject” - even of a non-supernatural kind as in process theism. A naturalistic God then may be conceived as the subjective projection of a unified world of finite, natural creatures, i.e. an ideal without the unified existence ascribed to it by theists, but well worth approximating as a conception in one way or another.

Such a conception leaves ample room to position oneself as an atheist, agnostic or theist, all the while producing a lot of common ground between the three.

Appreciation

There can be no doubt that Whitehead’s philosophy is a valiant effort to bring value or the human quest for meaning and fact - or the scientific quest for truth - together in a single scheme. The scheme as a whole cannot be understood and appreciated by looking at it from a single angle. Taking human consciousness as a starting point for obtaining a phenomenological description of a paradigm event of cosmic process, both at macro-scale and micro-scale, as well of human as of divine reality,  was brilliant. Once theism is accepted, then the logos structure gives it a new twist (panentheism) that inspired many theologians, including Wieman and untold (not just Unitarian) others. There is also the romantic view of aesthetic and moral value in nature, which aligns well with this type of panentheism. Bertrand Russell, despite his criticism, could not possibly disprove of that.

Systems approach

What I like about the phenomenological description of the “paradigm event” of process is the way it fits with the systems approach. It is important to note that an event can be anything, from somebody’s biography (or life) to the history of the universe [sic, personal narrative v metanarratives: Continentalism - res].

A systems version of Holmes´ account of an event could be: a process (or project or policy) that experiences an intrusion of sorts (a “wicked problem”), which then may become the subject of an inquiry in a systemic way to suggest an infinite range of possibilities, which enables a decision in favour of one option or another.

Another aspect of process philosophy is its process-relational vision, its view that reality is relational, through and through. Reality as a social process. Freedom is inherent in the world. To be an individual is to be self-creative, i.e. to take decision after decision.

Furthermore, in Mesle’s words, “Experience is rich and complex. The clarity of sense experience is grounded in deeper but vaguer experiences of our relatedness to the world process. Adequacy to this wealth of experience [SH: which can be tapped by taking into account the perspectives of others] is the ultimate test of our ideas.” 

The value of the systems approach lies in its potential for finding better approximations to such adequacy.


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Index - History of Philosophy




Index - History of Philosophy


Philosophy Professor Arthur F. Holmes


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021

Tuesday, October 26, 2021



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All of Philosophy in a Simple Chart:



Raphael, The School of Athens



Index - Homebrewed Christianity




Index - Homebrewed Christianity
by Tripp Fuller



Tripp's 5 Loves (About Me)

Nerding Out 
I am a proud nerd, but not just a Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica type of nerd, I am a theology nerd who is committed to bringing theology to the people. This is how you end up a podcaster with a PhD in Philosophy, Religion, & Theology.

Teaching
In the classroom, pub, or congregation I love teaching. In particular, I love the energy of conversations where new ideas are encountered and better questions are posed. For those too busy to tackle giant texts, I read big books, so you don’t have to… but I may try and talk you into it.

The Church 
Unlike many of my friends I had some rather amazing experiences growing up in the church. It was in the church that I was challenged to grow in compassion, seek after justice, and invest in people. Knowing the potential power of a community centered in the way of Jesus I remain invested in the life of the church.

Humanoids 
For the last 200,000-ish years planet earth has been rocking humans. I’m not sure the other species have decided if we are much of a blessing, but in the meantime we may as well look into creating a more beautiful community of life together.

Purple & Gold
In an attempt to minimize my own tribal outrage and judgement on the vile uninformed masses, I try to use all that caveman juice in support of the Lakers. The NBA is the best professional sports league and the LA Lakers are the single superior team. In heaven Jesus will be wearing Purple and Gold. #LakerFundy #TeamMamba


   

 



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Soren Kierkegaard's Postmodern Relevance for Today

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Tuesday, November 2, 2021


Homebrewed Christianity - Walking with Soren Kierkegaard, Part 5 - incomplete

Homebrewed Christianity - Walking with Soren Kierkegaard, Part 6 - incomplete

Homebrewed Christianity - Walking with Soren Kierkegaard, Part 7 - incomplete

Homebrewed Christianity - Walking with Soren Kierkegaard, Part 8 - incomplete




Christianity 20 Years After 9/11

Monday, August 9, 2021




Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021
Christianity 20 Years After 9/11 - Session 6




Black Theology

Saturday, July 11, 2020
Homebrewed Christianity - An Eight Week Course Introducing Black Theology

Black Theology - Part 1 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 2 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 3 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 4 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 5 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 6 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 7 - incomplete

Black Theology - Part 8 - incomplete




Intersectional Theology

Friday, June 19, 2020
What Is Intersectional Theology? Let's Find Out.




Ethics & Empire in a Post-Truth Era
A Study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Study Class 1 - incomplete

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Study Class 2 - incomplete

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Study Class 3 - incomplete

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Study Class 4 - incomplete

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Study Class 5 - incomplete



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~ ~  MORE TO COME  ~ ~