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

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

R.E. Slater - Gods After Gods

Gods After Gods

by R.E. Slater

Not long ago I put together a series of articles on metamodernism and contemporary radical theology. I suggested that process theology is much more comfortable in postmodernism and goes-to-die in modernism. Metamodernism is the pendulum which swings between the two *syncretically (*adverb; "combining or bringing together different philosophical, religious, or cultural principles between polarizing sides"). Example: "A vs B may grant --> AB, Ab, aB, ab"

Secondly, I also suggested there is a lot of similarity between process theology and radical theology where they both focus on one's faith and the good which it can do or, may not do, amongst church communities and individual works of grace and mercy. Ideally, they each stress acts of love and loving humanitarianism set within a creational world which responds best to love and not to unloving acts of indifference, unkindness, unthoughtfulness, carelessness or, harming acts of cruelty, feudel systems of discrimination, subversion, racism, genderism, xenophobia, and so.

We might term process and radical theologies as theologies which drive towards truer forms of loving faith than simply religious forms resting in their icons, idolatries, and illicit bigotries. The icon may be the Bible, God, Faith, Tradition, Church Orthodoxy, etc. In the Old Testament Aaron built a Golden Calf to represent God which God judged this act as idolatrous.

Though Aaron and Israel's act were well intention it missed the point that Israel did not know how to break from iconic religious belief held in socio-religious forms and functions which are a meaningless kind of belief measured by submittal to a god or power but not to a life reflecting loving service to others rather than to its iconography of itself.

In YHWH, Israel was to discover that it's God is a loving God who serves and sacrifices God's divine Self to that of creation - and to humanity within that creation - in continual acts of generative worth, salvation, valuation, and resurrection.

Creating a Golden Calf but made of God a brute judge and divine adversary more willing to bring curses and harm upon the earth and humanity; and when done, to then leave in abandonment to his creation.

Process theology in particular says "Not so." That God remains faithfully present to creation and all within it from the stars and moons to the sparrows and mankind. Ther is no other God than thus kind of God whose is unlike any image man might make of God. In God is loving sustenance, sustainability, helps, guidance, and divine empowerment to love others and nature where we couldn't before. This is process faith.

No less does radical theology teach to ideals of loving sacrificial service but from an atheistic perspective... that we and the universe is all that there is and within those cosmic-terrestrial-earthly structures lie all sorts of archetypical forms of goodness, badness, spirituality, human v societal ability-v-inability, including psychoanalytical sociological forms.

Now, as a process theologian, I am interested in what a radical theologian is saying. Why? Because perhaps they are seeing something that I am not willing to admit or address. Similarly with avowed atheitists. They are not my enemy but in some sense my outside eyes-and-ears to my own consuming faith journey. Their faith may be faith in the self or faith in humanity or faith in some cosmic sense but is not a faith in God, per se. Though again, No mere human can journey life "beyond" God as God is inextricably present in all of creation.

More likely, i) a faith either moving away from God or, ii) a faith needing to explore God from outside one's traditional faith community, are a few reasons some move to atheism. And in those wilderness treks some will stay close to the "metaphysical line" while other atheists must move to extreme directions from that line because of what they have seen or experienced.

The Death of God theologican Thomas J.J. Altizer would be such a type as he tried to reconcile God's death in Jesus within the forms of Christianity and Nietzschean Nihilism. I find his biography quite interesting as he struggled with the church's theodicy of good v evil. For Altizer, I'm not sure if God's onotological Being-ness ever died for him as much as God's presence in the church and the world. 

Paradoxical? Not really. I find God more present as my reality even as that reality seems so deeply lacking in the church and the world. But does that mean God is not here with us? The great ills and sufferings of the world seems to reiterate to us God's absence even though I subscribe to the belief that God is actively active in our deeply conflicted world. The fault lies in ourselves in not loving.

So then, when approaching radical theology I find the lives and words of radical theologians struggling publicly out-loud with what we may also be struggling with without a willingness to admit or recognize our failures within those admissions.

However, my caution to radical theology is to consider process theology instead. I find the Divine in process theology's subjects; love throughout process's foundations; and the need to practice-and-live what one believes and preaches... that is, in humanitarian ways of helps and service. Not in divisive politics of religion and culture, unless, of course, to speak against it and lead towards healthier forms of political expression. Expressions which can lean into loving service within multi-ethnic and polyplural multi-cultural forms of expansive democracy which I describe  as ecological societies and civilizations led by all the best of business, technology and eusocial humanitarian efforts.

I'll leave you with one a dialogue I had this week re radical theology. The dialoguer is a dear friend to me and one who is truly, in all aspects, a faithful Christian seeking a better faith than the one we currently are seeing in anti-democratic, and authoritarian, Trumpian Evangelicalism....

First my friend's statement and then our dialogue within his fuller discussion:

The main reason I connect with Caputo's (and others) Radical Theology is its complete dedication and dependence on justice, the justice perfectly illustrated and demonstrated by Jesus. The justice that is too radical for many/most Christians to implement in their faith or their lives.
Here is a nice summary of Radical Theology
1) Radical Theology is parasitic to Confessional Theology… on its behalf. Radical Theology is being faithful to what is harbored in the name of ‘God’ – the event & not the tradition on the tradition’s terms.
2) Radical Theology reserves the right to ask any question. Because Confessional Theology is accountable to a tradition & its institutions there will be places where questions\conversations\operating conclusions will serves as “conversation stoppers.” Places in which that activity of critical thinking puts one out of the building. (ex. Trinity or Same Sex Marriage)
3) Radical Theology seeks to be EXPOSED to the Event w/in the Confessional Theology tradition but not PROPOSE a new articulation of the tradition.
4) Radical Theology rejects both the apathetic silence about the Big Other & the theist\atheist debate about the Big Other. The Big Other does not exist.
5) Radical Theology displaces the boundaries & certainty of ‘belief’ w/in Confessional Theology – the “how” w/out articulating another ‘what.’ Why? Whatever the ‘what’ is w/in a tradition doesn’t correlate to ‘how’ it is enacted.
6) Radical Theology affirms the Event contained IN but not BY Confessional Theology.
7) Radical Theology is a material (therefore a political) theology. God’s insistence is about our existence, here in the world, in relationships, & not about our continued or reanimated existence elsewhere. Radical Theology is about faith enacted for this world, not faith in another.
😎 Radical Theology leaves the logos of Confessional Theology behind for theo-poetics. For the Radical Theology there is no divine-logic to be learned or sacred syllogisms to be mastered. When ‘words’ are used to close the circle around the truth, the poet protests ‘words’ enslavement… their 'demonic' possession [so, to say] of the impossible possibilities that vanquished on behalf of the actual – the certain – the final – the verdict of Confessional Theology.

Myself - I put up similar observations a few weeks back but do not get #4, the "Big Other not existing"... unless it means exactly what it means. Too, I responded to this list positively using process theology with the exception that process asserts God's presence in all things. Thus my question re #4. Thx xxx.
Xxx - I was surprised in my own pilgrimage how easily I adapted to the idea that God does not exist. All concepts of God are human constructs, and none of them attract me, although Process Theology would be at the top of that list. Human constructs of the divine are going to be from the realm of experience of humans, so their God must have being. I just see God as being beyond existence, and outside of human comprehension. A metaphysical God is typically an opportunity for trouble, at least in the history of the Earth.
Myself to Xxx. Ok. I needed to hear this from someone who knows radical theology better than I. In many, many ways the version of process theology I've adopted - and have been writing up - is similar to, if not sympathetic to, radical thought except for the absence of God or [theism's] extreme transcendence part. The first because its simply impossible to prove atheism. And the second will find panentheistic process theology admitting to God's transcendence beyond creaturely understanding but in that case this kind of Other-Worldly God is worthless in It's absence. Hence process leans fully into inextractable presence while not denying Otherness. And to the Archetypes and psychological analyses of Radical Theology, I think it has helped to distinguish a "loving living faith" from an "unloving religious faith." And if speaking evolutionarily, I could also make the case that our sentient perceptions and sensory conscious awareness of the world hides from us the ontological dynamisms going on all around us. We live in our own human "holograms"... which help us survive and move us to act lovingly or unlovingly. But, I write for people and not for Gods, if you will... for practicality in faith and faiths full of practical love. Thank you for the help!
Xxx to myself - I have found solace in Panentheism, I often see in mentioned from the Radical theologians. The good thing about Radical theology is there is no need for certainties, doctrines, or creeds. Pure unadulterated open-mindedness.


R.E. Slater
June 28, 2023

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Gods after God
An Introduction to Contemporary Radical Theologies

Paperback : 9780791466407, 186 pages, June 2006
Hardcover : 9780791466391, 186 pages, January 2006

Paperback $31.95
Hardcover $95.00

An erudite but eminently readable guide to contemporary radical theologies.


Gods after God provides an accessible introduction to a wide range of contemporary radical theologies. Radical theology can be defined as talk about the divine that rejects the notion of God as a supernatural personal consciousness who created the world and who intervenes in it to accomplish his purposes.

In addition, radical theologies tend to reject the absolute authority of traditional sources of guidance such as the Bible and the tradition of a church.

Richard Grigg demonstrates that there is a discernible stream of radical theologies beginning in the seventeenth century and continuing to the present. He explores a host of rich and lively contemporary radical religious positions, including the radical feminist theology of Mary Daly, the deconstructive theology of Mark C. Taylor, the religious naturalism of Ursula Goodenough and Donald Crosby, the pragmatist approaches of Sallie McFague and Gordon Kaufman, the Taoist interpretation of Jesus of Stephen Mitchell, and the feminist polytheism of Naomi Goldenberg.

This in-depth examination asks, in unflinching terms, what challenges radical theologies face and whether they have a realistic chance of surviving in American society.

Richard Grigg is Professor and Department Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Sacred Heart University. He is the author of many books, including Imaginary Christs: The Challenge of Christological Pluralism, also published by SUNY Press.

Other Books By Richard Grigg

Related Resources (click anywhere to go to titled work)