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

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

Friday, August 19, 2022

Core Elements of Process Christianity





Core Elements of Process Christianity

The Missional Core of Process Christianity is to sow spirited crops of connectivity, curiosity, creativity, compassion, collaboration, contemplation, and such like, rather than traditional Christianity's previous forms of sowing conforming, crusading, counterproductive, counteractive religious beliefs. 
 
by R.E. Slater
August 19, 2022


I believe that Process Religion in general, along with my own version within this concept, that of Process Christianity, gets more to the place Bertrand Russell would declare himself to be in his existential moments of reflective thought regarding the spirit of creation and mankind itself. For myself, as for Russell, though we pronounce our aversion to all myopic forms of religion which demeaning and degrade healthier forms of civil societal constructions - especially that found in militant religious prescriptions, prohibitions, and political apartheidism if not genocidal pogroms themselves - yet, intuitively, non-Religious, Religious, and their accumulative subsets of Christian process thinkers, will more readily speak to the core of process thought when deconstructing their present socio-political Religious Age. And when done, hopefully impose over the tattered remnants of what's left, not a withdrawal from humanity but healthier socio-politico religious forms of being and becoming in which religious and societal contexts of fellowships which affectations might sow spirited crops of connectivity, curiosity, creativity, compassion, collaboration, contemplation, and such like, rather than previous earlier and contemporary forms of conforming, crusading, counterproductive, counteractive religious beliefs.

At least this is the hope of process-based deconstructionists in their active kinships of supportive eco-societal reconstruction, socio-political reconstructionist, and  alternative Religious/Christian reconstructionist projects given to enacting, performing, and forming practicum fellowships of humanitarian becoming having once determined on paper, and within their academic/religious discussions, what it is process thinkers are trying to achieve; what processual foundations actually consist of; and their many processual reasons for proceeding in concrescing projections of processual possibilities.

I should also indicate my furthering interest in Whiteheadian studies re Bertrand Russell lies in his relationship with Alfred North Whitehead who was his mathematical partner for a number of years as they set out together to write "Principia Mathematica" (Volumes 1,2,3 published in circa 1910-1913). Whitehead, for his part, must have been a philosopher at heart as a mathematician even as Russell was a philosopher who sought a form of mathematical construction of his philosophy across the very heart of creation itself. Each, in their own way, I surmise, were looking for non-Platonic forms of organic "mechanisms" (described essential as relational flows and rhythms) lying across all cosmic centers of being beginning with the language of science itself... that of mathematics. Afterwards, Russell went on to win a Nobel prize in literature in 1950 while his older mentor and partner, Whitehead, wrote out a Philosophy of Organism, at the ages of 62-68 when most scholars had become too old in their thoughts and conformities to have attempted such a colossal project. Even so, process philosophy (more generally described as process thought) was born and has been seeping into the many streams of science and society ever since.

R.E. Slater
August 19, 2022


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A History of Western Philosophy

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A History of Western Philosophy
History of Western Philosophy.jpeg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorBertrand Russell
LanguageEnglish
SubjectWestern philosophy
PublisherSimon & Schuster (US)
George Allen & Unwin Ltd (UK)
Publication date
1945 (US)
1946 (UK)
Media typePrint
ISBN0-415-32505-6

A History of Western Philosophy[a] is a 1945 book by the philosopher Bertrand Russell. A survey of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the early 20th century, it was criticised for Russell's over-generalization and omissions, particularly from the post-Cartesian period, but nevertheless became a popular and commercial success, and has remained in print from its first publication. When Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950, A History of Western Philosophy was cited as one of the books that won him the award. Its success provided Russell with financial security for the last part of his life.


Background

The book was written during the Second World War, having its origins in a series of lectures on the history of philosophy that Russell gave at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia during 1941 and 1942.[1] Much of the historical research was done by Russell's third wife Patricia. In 1943, Russell received an advance of $3000 from the publishers, and between 1943 and 1944 he wrote the book while living at Bryn Mawr College. The book was published in 1945 in the United States and a year later in the UK. It was re-set as a 'new edition' in 1961, but no new material was added. Corrections and minor revisions were made to printings of the British first edition and for 1961's new edition; no corrections seem to have been transferred to the American edition (even Spinoza's birth year remains wrong).

Summary

The work is divided into three books, each of which is subdivided into chapters; each chapter generally deals with a single philosopher, school of philosophy, or period of time.

Ancient Philosophy

Catholic Philosophy

Modern Philosophy

Reception

A History of Western Philosophy received a mixed reception, especially from academic reviewers. Russell was somewhat dismayed at the reaction.[2] Russell himself described the text as a work of social history, asking that it be treated in such a manner.[3] Russell also stated: "I regarded the early part of my History of Western Philosophy as a history of culture, but in the later parts, where science becomes important, it is more difficult to fit into this framework. I did my best, but I am not at all sure that I succeeded. I was sometimes accused by reviewers of writing not a true history but a biased account of the events that I arbitrarily chose to write of. But to my mind, a man without bias cannot write interesting history — if, indeed, such a man exists."[3]

In the Journal of the History of Ideas, the philosopher George Boas wrote that, "A History of Western Philosophy errs consistently in this respect. Its author never seems to be able to make up his mind whether he is writing history or polemic.... [Its method] confers on philosophers who are dead and gone a kind of false contemporaneity which may make them seem important to the uninitiate. But nevertheless it is a misreading of history."[4] In Isis, Leo Roberts wrote that while Russell was a deft and witty writer, A History of Western Philosophy was perhaps the worst of Russell's books. In his view, Russell was at his best when dealing with contemporary philosophy, and that in contrast "his treatment of ancient and medieval doctrines is nearly worthless."[5] A History of Western Philosophy was praised by physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger.[3][6]

The philosopher Frederick Copleston, writing in A History of Philosophy, described Russell's book as "unusually lively and entertaining", but added that Russell's "treatment of a number of important philosophers is both inadequate and misleading." He credited Russell with drawing attention to the logical side of Leibniz's philosophy, but questioned Russell's view that there is a sharp distinction between Leibniz's "popular philosophy" and his "esoteric doctrine".[7] The critic George Steiner, writing in Heidegger, described A History of Western Philosophy as "vulgar", noting that Russell omits any mention of Martin Heidegger.[8] In Jon Stewart's anthology The Hegel Myths and Legends (1996), Russell's work is listed as a book that has propagated "myths" about Hegel.[9] Stephen Houlgate writes that Russell's claim that Hegel's doctrine of the state justifies any form of tyranny is ignorant.[10] The philosopher Roger Scruton, writing in A Short History of Modern Philosophy, described A History of Western Philosophy as elegantly written and witty, but faulted it for Russell's concentration on pre-Cartesian philosophy, lack of understanding of Immanuel Kant, and over-generalization and omissions.[11] The philosopher A. C. Grayling writes of the work that, "Parts of this famous book are sketchy ... in other respects it is a marvelously readable, magnificently sweeping survey of Western thought, distinctive for placing it informatively into its historical context. Russell enjoyed writing it, and the enjoyment shows; his later remarks about it equally show that he was conscious of its shortcomings."[12]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Full title A History of Western Philosophy And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day – the indefinite article was deleted in the British editions.

References

Citations

  1. ^ Russell, B: "A History of Western Philosophy", page xi. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1972
  2. ^ Monk p. 296
  3. Jump up to:a b c Russell, B: "The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell", Routledge, 2000
  4. ^ Boas, G: "Review of History of Western Philosophy", Journal of the History of Ideas, 8(1947): 117–123
  5. ^ Roberts, L: "Review of History of Western Philosophy", Isis, 38(1948): 268–270
  6. ^ Erwin Schrödinger (1996). 'Nature and the Greeks' and 'Science and Humanism'. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780521575508.
  7. ^ Copleston, Frederick (1994). A History of Philosophy Volume IV. Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz. New York: Doubleday. pp. 270–272, 315. ISBN 0-385-47041-X.
  8. ^ Steiner, George (1991). Martin Heidegger. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 4ISBN 0-226-77232-2.
  9. ^ Stewart, Jon, ed. (1996). The Hegel Myths and Legends. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 383ISBN 0-8101-1301-5.
  10. ^ Houlgate, Stephen; Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1998). The Hegel Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. p. 2ISBN 0-631-20347-8.
  11. ^ Scruton, R: "Short History of Modern Philosophy ", Routledge, 2001
  12. ^ Grayling, A. C.: "Russell: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)", Oxford University Press, 2002

Sources

External links




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Book Description

Let us begin by trying to be clear as to what we mean by “free thought.” This expression has two senses. In its narrower sense it means thought which does not accept the dogmas of traditional religion. In this sense a man is a “free thinker” if he is not a Christian or a Mussulman or a Buddhist or a Shintoist or a member of any of the other bodies of men who accept some inherited orthodoxy. In Christian countries a man is called a “free thinker” if he does not decidedly believe in God, though this would not suffice to make a man a “free thinker” in a Buddhist country.

I do not wish to minimize the importance of free thought in this sense. I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out. I do not believe that, on the balance, religious belief has been a force for good. Although I am prepared to admit that in certain times and places it has had some good effects, I regard it as belonging to the infancy of human reason, and to a stage of development which we are now outgrowing....

Bertrand Russell


Free Thought and Official Propaganda

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Free Thought and Official Propaganda
Free-Thought-and-Official-Propaganda-bertrand-russell.png
AuthorBertrand Russell
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Subjectpolitical philosophy
Publication date
1922
Media typePrint

"Free Thought and Official Propaganda" is a speech (and subsequent publication) delivered in 1922 by Bertrand Russell on the importance of unrestricted freedom of expression in society, and the problem of the state and political class interfering in this through control of education, fines, economic leverage, and distortion of evidence.

Freedom of speech

Russell starts out by describing the more common use of the term "free thought" to mean that one does not accept unquestioning belief in the popular religion of a region, or ideally of any religion at all. But he goes on to say that a more important and global kind of free thought is the freedom of pressure to believe any specific ideas, that one be allowed to have and express any opinion without penalty.

He notes that this is not allowed in any country at all, with the possible exception of China at that time. One could not, for example, immigrate to the US without swearing they are not an anarchist or polygamous, and once inside must not be communist. In Great Britain he must not express disbelief in Christianity, in Japan of Shintoism.

Russell notes that countries like these may think of themselves as having freedom of expression, but that some ideas are so obviously "monstrous and immoral" that such tolerance does not apply to them. But, he points out, this is exactly the same view that allowed torture during the Inquisition, that all ideas must be allowed to be expressed, no matter how obviously bad.

Next, Russell describes incidents in his own life that illustrate the lack of freedom of thought.

  1. One is that his father was a Free Thinker (agnostic or atheist), who arranged for three year old Bertrand to be raised as a free thinker when he was dying, but that the courts had overridden this and forced him to be raised Christian.
  2. In 1910 Russell failed to receive Liberal Party nomination for Parliament when the party's inner circle had learned he was agnostic.[1]
  3. When he became a lecturer at Trinity College, Russell was not allowed to become a Fellow (like having tenure) because the establishment of the college didn't want to add an "anti-clerical" vote to the college government. When Russell subsequently expressed opposition to World War I, he was fired.

This repression by the political class, Russell notes, is not limited to religion. Believers in free love or communism are treated even worse.

Will to doubt

What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out.[1]

Next, Bertrand Russell describes importance of the will to doubt.[2] In 1896, American philosopher William James had written about the will to believe, and Russell uses this as a foil to express his own opposite position. James claimed that even without (or with conflicting) evidence, one might still simply choose' to believe in a thing — he cites Christianity — simply because one thinks the belief has beneficial outcomes.

Russell, along with Alfred Henry Lloyd and others, responds to this by describing the will to doubt, the choice to remain skeptical because it is the more logical, rational position that will lead to understanding more truth, while a "will to believe" will inevitably bind one into untruths in some way. "None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error. The methods of increasing the degree of truth in our beliefs are well known; they consist in hearing all sides, trying to ascertain all the relevant facts, controlling our own bias by discussion with people who have the opposite bias, and cultivating a readiness to discard any hypothesis which has proved inadequate."[3]

As an example of the benefits of this kind of actual skepticism, Russell describe's Albert Einstein's overturning of the conventional wisdom of physics at that time, comparing it to Darwin contradicting Biblical literalists of the previous century.

What, Bertrand asks, if instead of overturning physics, Einstein had proposed something equally new in the sphere of religion or politics?[2]

English people would have found elements of Prussianism in his theory; anti-Semites would have regarded it as a Zionist plot; nationalists in all countries would have found it tainted with lily-livered pacifism, and proclaimed it a mere dodge for escaping military service. All the old-fashioned professors would have approached Scotland Yard to get the importation of his writings prohibited. Teachers favourable to him would have been dismissed. He, meantime, would have captured the Government of some backward country, where it would have become illegal to teach anything except his doctrine, which would have grown into a mysterious dogma not understood by anybody. Ultimately the truth or falsehood of his doctrine would be decided on the battlefield, without the collection of any fresh evidence for or against it. This method is the logical outcome of William James’s will to believe. 

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is its exact opposite.[3]

Assuming that the need for rational doubt or fallibilism is understood to be important, Russell then goes on to address the question of why irrational certainty is so common. He says this is largely because of three factors.

  • Education — Instead of public education being used to teach children healthy learning attitudes, they are used for the opposite, to indoctrinate children with dogma, often patently false, even known to be false by the officials imposing the education.[4]
  • Propaganda — After being taught to read but not weigh evidence and form original opinions, children become adults who are then subjected to dubious or obviously false claims for the rest of their lives.
  • Economic pressure — The State and political class will use its control of finances and economy to impose its ideas, by restricting the choices of those who disagree.

References