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

Monday, October 17, 2022

Process Cosmotheology and the Biological Universe, Part 2 - A New Philosophic-Theology





What is the definition of Cosmogeny?
  • Cosmogony / Cosmogeny / Cosmology (nouns; synonyms)
  • That branch of astrophysics which studies the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe
What is the difference between cosmology and cosmogony?
  • Cosmology is the study of the structure and changes in the present universe,
  • while the scientific field of cosmogony is concerned with the origin of the universe.


A New Philosophic-Theology
I Give Unto You

Part 2

by R.E. Slater


In the last post I introduced a type of thinking by scientific naturalists which is every bit as true for any religious thinker. Essentially, both science and religion may neglect to regard any philosophical underpinnings to their projected schemata or theologies. Statedly, whatever we study, or however we behave, ourselves towards one another or the world at large, there will always be found underneath all such activities a corresponding individual or societal philosophy within all social arrangements projecting outwards from ourselves upon other social arrangements being regarded.

Such projections (sic, unobserved conjections, hypotheticals, speculations, theories) are more than existential (sic, experiential, empirical, factual, observational, observed, pragmatic) or phenomenological (sic, intentionality, lived experience, world experience, meaning-making) or even phonological (sic, re regard to linguistics, semantics, things "acceptable, allowable, or correct"; morphological, syntactical, or well-formed traditional beliefs). Any scientist or theologian must consider the underlying philosophy (or, eclectically, philosophies) guiding their projections - whether personal, social, cultural, religious, or specific to their discipline such as the acclaimed tropes of bias towards or away from religion.

  • So, the very first, and best thing any scientist or scientific theory might do; or the very first, and best thing any theologian, preacher, congregationalist or their own creeds and theologies might do; is to both admit and discover the kind of philosophies influencing and guiding their thoughts, activities, and projected constructions of people, societies, nature, world, and universe.
  • Secondly, philosophy NEVER follows a construction... whether it is scientific or theologic. Philosophy is always the lowest base layer to whatever comes after it. Generally speaking, science may recognize this within itself even though it doesn't seem to recognize this as thoroughly as one might like when claiming "scientific objectivity". In answer to this, and as illustration, process philosophy's quantum-like disposition roundly criticizes scientific theory leaning into platonic forms of reductionism, mechanism, and syncretism.


  • Thirdly, church theologies produce this same error when always claiming their creeds and dogmas must underlie-and-guide any present day philosophies... including that of science. And yet, however-much a religion would exempt - or extract - itself from any forms of "worldly" philosophies, it cannot. All religious creeds and beliefs result from some form (or forms) of eclectic philosophies as well. The better thing to do is to recognize what that philosophy is and how any-or-all corresponding creedal statements and dogmas have been similarly affected by... and might be rectified or corrected... in light of this introspective knowledge. Again, process theology (as a subdiscipline of process philosophy) looks at the subject of God and resulting beliefs of God and similarly criticize those same traditional theologies claiming correctness when their only real claim can be that of conformity to previous philosophical beliefs.


Which is also why this website has become more focused on not only defining what a progressive theology may look like in Jesus, but also how it may behave in light of a given integral philosophy such as that of process philosophy.

Too, do not make the mistake that progressive evangelical theology is the same thing as progressive process-based theology. My background and training rests in the former but my present day direction occupies the latter. They are not one-and-the same thing. 

Certainly conservative evangelicalism can be shown to be inherently filled with processual qualities in it's theologies - including its natural theologies. However, today's WESTERN-based philosophies do more pronouncely inform conservative evangelicalism which has blended syncretized forms of Hellenistic, Platonic, Enlightened, and Modernistic projections (among others) upon it's current "traditional" theologies of God, society, and the world we live in.

And though we live in a process-world, and can read of that process world in the bible in its narratives and stories of processual events, one cannot really say that any of evangelical's preferred forms of Wesleyanism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, or Catholic projections (aka, theologies) are purely processual. They are not. However, any one of those projections can be examined and better spoken through a processual philosophy such as Whitehead's whose ideations reflected, gathered, and more thoroughly surmised, similar processual philosophies from ancient times until today.

One Other Observation

Here at Relevancy22, I, and others, are attempting to rectify our past religious training in light process philosophy as informed by process-versions of science, theology, ecology, psychology (sic, Jungian Archetypes) plus all other disciplines as they become better reflected by process thought.

Into this mold we have chosen to reflect more contemporary academia regarding knowledge of God, bible, society, culture, and religion.

So if the theology here seems more "liberal" it is NOT because of process thought but because of process theology's contemporary rapport with other disciplines. In it's own right it is how the world works. It does not claim to be a ready-formed epistemology per se, but can-and-will lead to forms of processual epistemologies.

Conclusion

Matthew Segall and Bruce Damer in their abstract gave a summation of the need for science to recognize and specify it's scientific presuppositions and metaphysics even as I am saying here that the church-and-its-theology must do the same and be honest in the process of doing it's own inquiries:

The Cosmological Context of the Origin of Life:  Process Philosophy and the Hot Spring Hypothesis, by Matthew David Segall and Bruce Damer, pp 78-79

3. Conclusion

"As was affirmed in our Introduction, natural science must be granted autonomy to pursue hypotheses concerning the modes of operation of the empirical world independent of the speculative postulates of philosophers and the sacred doctrines of theologians. And yet, in a time of paradigmatic upheaval, if the special sciences are to avoid degenerating into a medley of ad hoc hypotheses then they must themselves become philosophical by engaging in a thorough examination of their metaphysical presuppositions. 236 Without a ground-up re-imagination of entrenched materialistic assumptions, progress on questions like the origin of life (not to mention the origin of matter and mind) will remain stunted. Further, amidst an intensifying planetary emergency, philosophy and religion have an essential role to play in the translation of scientific findings into a meaningful and motivating worldview for an increasingly precarious civilization. In large part due to the truly unprecedented scope of our scientific knowledge and the technological power it affords, our species now finds itself on the verge of initiating a major evolutionary transition. The Anthropocene 237 is not the work of a god, but merely that of a conscious animal. Indeed, as we have seen, perhaps humanity’s vast endogenous and even vaster technologically augmented information processing capacities are dramatic amplifications of the social networks established by our progenitor ancestors. Whether the present anthropogenic metamorphosis in the Gaian system brings near-term extinction or creative advance for human beings remains to be seen. 238 The coauthors of this paper hope that their transdisciplinary collaboration has contributed some theoretical insight into the origin of life on Earth. As for the destiny of human life on this planet, there remains an urgent practical need to integrate science with philosophy and religion in pursuit of a viable pathway for our species through the great transformation in Earth history that is already underway."

In summary,

i) process philosophy is how to see the world for what it is; and, ii) contemporary theological study is to reflect that process world in as accurately a way as possible without being beholden to past traditional creedal beliefs and folklores.
As example, when process theology meets science, it is because process thought is reforming contemporary science around a much broader processual world than science's own reductionistic, mechanical, law-based projections. Thus this series of posts stated interaction with Steven Dick's scientific naturalism.

At the last, it is imperative to discover religious bias, then next  to deconstruct it in order to rebuild a theology's correspondent tenets and beliefs. This might be done as I have done over the years by first attending to all theology requiring attention, and then, at a later date - when realizing it wasn't the "biblical" hermeneutic which required attention but the underlying philosophy which had to be dismantled and rebuilt from it's inhibitive, inorganic, disjointed, nonrelational, and overly constructed sense of self to better comport with the philosophical-theologies at hand. Which, in this case, was process philosophy and not others forms such as Western or Continental philosphies per se.

By and by, it is mine own testimony that I had to wade my way across very deep and threatening waters of social conservatisms and non-progressive religious fundamentalisms / evangelicalisms. And then also do the same when analyzing Western thought (Platonic, Enlightened, Modernistic) as versus European Continental thought, before finally discovering Whiteheadian process philosophy with its antecedent forms of process theology. In sum, I chose to let process thought begin to reflect upon my Western-based evangelical Christianity.

Further, I am neither Catholic, Orthodox, nor some wanna-be form of religious enlightenment (sic, Buddhism et al; or New Ageisn et al). I simply wish to speak to my own experience and history in all its limitations as I know and understand it to be. Thus and thus, my interest in surmounting and solidifying my Western (Protestant-based) Christian cultural beliefs that they may be more helpful and instructive to others wandering the same lost roads I had once journeyed.

To the Lord's credit, He began my journey with the twin fellowships of doubt and uncertainty against the beliefs I was told never to doubt. And in so doing I learned to become teachable again and able to relearn new things which were anathema to my traditional faith.

Here then, at this website, post-evangelical and progressive forms of process Christianity will be spoken as it reflects, and rebuilds, upon a more loving, more immanent Godhead to us today and the world at large.





Conclusion

To conclude, I will next present in part 3 Steven Dick's expansive proposition for a Naturalistic Universe based in science and stripped of God. I do not wish to speak ill of him but to show a thankfulness to him for doing the hard work of presenting a credible, but non-theistic cosmology.

Dick's cosmology uses evolution in the non-God sense. One that is atheistic. However, it should be observed that Darwin himself, as a Christian scientist, developed his understanding of a rudimentary, processual-form of evolution with God in mind. A God-based evolution which came about through its processes because of God's creative and divine involvement.

Hence, as a new-thinking Christian, I had to admit evolution as both a God-filled activity as well as one which is fully, and thoroughly, processual in all of its components and inner-workings. The first action denies the traditional Christian perspective. The second action informs atheistic evolution of its need for God based upon a Christian-led processual philosophy. Thus and thus, both philosophy and theology were redeveloped and redirected towards a more palatable form of process-based Christianity.

And finally, we must remember to regard Dick's presentation as useful naturalistic presentation of cosmogeny. Though atheistic and without any form of "metaphysic" per se (sic, any metaphysic is a projection into a cosmogeny of value, ethics, purpose, identity, and so forth). In sum, Dick's study of the universe as a naturalized cosmogeny seems to be sufficiently broad and well thought out as a proposition which will be of help when re-orientating it towards a God-filled processual universe as Andrew Davis will be shown to have done in Part 4.

Peace,

R.E. Slater
October 16, 2022

One form of Process Theology can be summed up here when seeing God as all-loving instead of the all-too-common image of a God who sometimes loves us and oftentimes judges us: