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I just read an article about PANENTHEISM that has me rather frustrated. I found myself arguing with the article pretty much all the way through.

 

It was saying basically "Panentheists all believe this and this and this", but I found myself responding "No I don't. No I don't. No I don't."

 

The arguments against Panenetheism, imo, were actually against Process Philosophy and not necessarily against Panentheism. That made me wonder:

 

Am I technically a Panentheist if I don't agree with all of Process thought?

Is Panentheism synonymous with Process Philosophy?

Borg is a Panentheist, but does that mean he also holds to Process thought necessarily?

Can you be a Panentheist and not have a Process view of God?

 

All these questions are basically asking the same thing, I know. I'm not too hopefull I'll actually get responses to these because I rarely do (guilt, guilt, guilt ;) ).

 

If you care to read the articles they are here:

 

Panentheism Part 1

Panentheism Part 2

 

PS - I found it amusing on the websight that after saying how illogical a bipolar God is in the article about Panentheism, the websight has a 4 part article on the "mystery of the Trinity". :P

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Am I technically a Panentheist if I don't agree with all of Process thought?

Is Panentheism synonymous with Process Philosophy?

Borg is a Panentheist, but does that mean he also holds to Process thought necessarily?

Can you be a Panentheist and not have a Process view of God?

 

I'll have to read the links later, but for the moment, my $.02 is that Panentheism and Process Philosophy/Theology are completely separate (though not exclusive) things. Borg, Spong, and Matt Fox all explicitly adopt Panentheism (as do I), but we vary in our degree of acceptance of Process thought.

 

Many theologians long past were Panentheists by definition (Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius, Gregory of Nyssa, Eckhart), but assuredly not Process thinkers.

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Aletheia, the articles I read gave me a headache (not exactly literally). The way they divide things up in their critique. For example:

"The idea of a God who is both infinite and finite, necessary and contingent, absolute and relative, is contradictory. A contradiction results when opposites are affirmed of the same thing at the same time and in the same manner or respect. For example, to say that a bucket is both filled with water and not filled with water at the same time and in the same respect is contradictory. Such a thing could never occur, for it is logically impossible."

 

This critique is so dualistic, I think if you evaluate panentheism from a very dualistic standpoint you are just going to give and get headaches!

 

 

As for your question re: Process thought, not sure, as I don't think I even know what it is even though I did look it up. However, I think that I am essentially a panentheist. Maybe just one with an undeveloped theological vocabulary! :-)

 

Btw, I thought the bipolar thing is funny as well. As for logically submitting any religious beliefs, well it doesn't fly. I'm sure this guy believes that Jesus was fully man and fully God.

That's not logical either.

 

--des

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I really tried to get to the bottom of this a while back. People do tend to mush everything together into the same category. To me, Spong's "ground of being" God is not the same as Borg's panENtheism. Borg's panENtheism is not the same as process theology. And process theology is not the same as Fox's creation spirituality. Ditto for dipolar theism. I've heard people criticize Borg's panENtheism as inaccurate too. So who knows.

 

The differences have to do with God's agency and how dependent God is on the world.

 

That meta library link I gave in another thread categorized them somewhat and I mentioned that already. It makes the distinction between process and nonprocess varieties of panENtheism.

 

But maybe you are looking for other opinions. Anyway, FWIW.

 

I will say that some of your posts, Aletheia, sound more like open theism than panENtheism.

 

I think I'm somewhere between panENtheism and open theism.

 

I still allow for a God that acts on the world. I believe God would still exist if the world no longer was. How that works I don't know.

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Fred and Des,

Panentheism and Process Philosophy/Theology are completely separate

I agree, but I needed a double check.

Aletheia, the articles I read gave me a headache

Oh yeah. I hear ya and feel it too.

I think if you evaluate panentheism from a very dualistic standpoint you are just going to give and get headaches

Exactly! That's why I got a chuckle at finding all the articles on the Trinity there.

 

Thank you for your replies guys. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I really tried to get to the bottom of this a while back. People do tend to mush everything together into the same category. To me, Spong's "ground of being" God is not the same as Borg's panENtheism. Borg's panENtheism is not the same as process theology. And process theology is not the same as Fox's creation spirituality. Ditto for dipolar theism. I've heard people criticize Borg's panENtheism as inaccurate too. So who knows.

I guess in the loose definition of panentheism, all of the above fits, but they are all different forms of panentheism. The problem I had with the article is that they use process philosphy and panentheism as if they were synonyms.

 

I would assume Spongs "ground of being" is impersonal and not process. Borg and Fox's panentheistic God is personal and not process. Dipolar theism as far as I can tell IS a synonym for process.

That meta library link I gave in another thread categorized them somewhat and I mentioned that already. It makes the distinction between process and nonprocess varieties of panENtheism ... But maybe you are looking for other opinions. Anyway, FWIW.

I must have missed that link, Wind. Would you mind posting it here again? :)

I will say that some of your posts, Aletheia, sound more like open theism than panENtheism.

I don't think open theism and panentheism are on a "line" where you are more one than the other. Like process philosphy fits within the umbrella of panentheism, so does open view.

 

I think it would be more appropriate to say that I sound more open view than process view (which would be true). :)

I think I'm somewhere between panENtheism and open theism ... I still allow for a God that acts on the world. I believe God would still exist if the world no longer was. How that works I don't know.

That is definitely an open view and is what I agree with.

 

I think a general definition of panentheism as "the universe exists within God" is fair.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I don't even know where to start...

 

It was fairly obvious that John Ankerberg (sp?) didn't have a clue about process philosophy and has probably only read a few encyclopedic entries providing a summary of process thought. For the record, PROCESS THOUGHT DOES NOT UNDERSTAND GOD TO BE A "CHANGING BEING"! This is so fundamentally opposed to process thought that... :(

 

Process theology is one form of panentheism. It is possible to be a panentheist without adopting process philosophy, and you can accept a form of process philosophy without being a panentheist. Process Theology is based upon rational conclusions drawn from process philosophy.

 

Process philosophy is a speculative philosophy - which means that it speculates or provides a model for describing reality - or explaining why we experience the universe as we do. It is a general scheme of ideas which has an ontology, an epistemology, and a cosmology. One can accept the model, revise the model, or reject the model, but to reject it because of John Ankerberg's ignorance... well, it may be better to ask if Whitehead's philosophy has met his own criteria:

 

1. Is it coherent?

2. Is it adequate to explain the facts of our experience?

3. Is it enlightening?

 

Open View Theology accepts some of the premises of Process Theology, but is not willing to abandon some of the traditional dogma of Christianity. Some of the dogma it is not willing to abandon is not even biblical - such as "creation ex-nihilo", which most proponents of Open View admit. Both the Bible and Process Theology understand creation out of chaos, rather than creation from nothing. Of course, as soon as we say "nothing" we have to bring our ontological understanding into the discussion. What is a "thing"? Understood from one perspective, the Process Theist can agree with "creation ex-nihilo". "Things" only exist if there is of enduring form or orderliness.

 

There is a fair amount of dialog between some Process Theist and Open View Theist (the labels are not realy clear, because Process Theology also holds that the future is "open"). I would recommend Searching for An Adequate God by Cobb and Pinnock to see where they are similar and where they differ.

 

What I find ironic, is that John Ankerberg tries to criticise Procss Theology from a rational or philosophical perspective when he is obviously underequipped for the job. He may try to prop up his own theology with philosophy, but the real foundation for his theology is a traditional interpretation of the Bible. Of course, all interpretations have an ontological, epistemological, and cosmological background (worldview). The question must be asked, what criteria do we use to judge other worldviews which are not our own? If we always judge another's worldview from within our own, we will always be at war with others.

 

As to whether God "acts" on the world...

 

Process Theology rejects the idea that God has coercive power. Coercive power can be described as "external power". My body can act upon other bodies only because it is external to other bodies. God is understood by Process Theology to be All-Inclusive (the single unique Universal Individual) and therefore can have no external power. However, God/dess does have unsurpassable internal, or relational power - sometimes called "persuasive power". This power can be described as the power of love. I believe I can make a convincing argument that of the two types of power (coercive and persuasive), the latter is, by far the kind of power which can produce the most change and is the most effective. Therefore, Process Theology understands that the "acts" of God/dess, although never coercive (God can never act as to remove the freedom of another individual), are absolutely the greatest acts using the greatest power of any existing individual.

 

Spong's (and Tillich's) idea of God as the "ground of being" can be said to be true of the God of Process Theology - but not adequate as a full description of God. It is an abstract idea. All abstracts are derived from actualities (the ontological principle) and therefore can't exist as an idea unless it is attached to an actuality (ideas must have a ground) The concept of the "ground of being" must be "grounded" in necessary existence. All actualities are particular and therefore contingent. The only logical ground therefore, for "being", is not a particular contingent "being" (or actuality) but an entity which includes all actualities - the All-Inclusive Whole.

 

 

I know this is difficult to understand. Our language is based upon not only on our experience of reality, but a shared interpretation of experience - which in turn, is based upon a shared worldview with its own metaphysical (ontological, epistemological, and cosmological) understanding. Ironically, it will only become easier to understand when more people understand it. (See Rupert Sheldrake's theory of "morphic resonance" as a possible explanation of why this is so.)

 

I hope this has at least been somewhat helpful. :)

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I just read an article about PANENTHEISM that has me rather frustrated. I found myself arguing with the article pretty much all the way through.

 

It was saying basically "Panentheists all believe this and this and this", but I found myself responding "No I don't. No I don't. No I don't."

 

The arguments against Panenetheism, imo, were actually against Process Philosophy and not necessarily against Panentheism. That made me wonder:

 

Am I technically a Panentheist if I don't agree with all of Process thought?

Is Panentheism synonymous with Process Philosophy?

Borg is a Panentheist, but does that mean he also holds to Process thought necessarily?

Can you be a Panentheist and not have a Process view of God?

 

All these questions are basically asking the same thing, I know. I'm not too hopefull I'll actually get responses to these because I rarely do (guilt, guilt, guilt  ;) ).

 

If you care to read the articles they are here:

 

Panentheism Part 1

Panentheism Part 2

 

PS - I found it amusing on the websight that after saying how illogical a bipolar God is in the article about Panentheism, the websight has a 4 part article on the "mystery of the Trinity".  :P

AletheiaRivers:

 

I was unaware of the material on Panentheism and I want to thank you for the URL. I want to dig more deeply into the site, but I am currently involved in a study of "A Course in Miracles" which is also demanding.I intend to do both however, and you can be sure you will find me a ready responder to your posts.

 

Jeep

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Panta thanks for replying.

 

but to reject it because of John Ankerberg's ignorance...

 

I don't reject process philosophy because of Ankerberg. I accept some portions of process thought as well as some portions of open view. My metaphysics is something I'm working out on my own and when I find philosophies that agree with some of it, I get excited. Some process views fit. Some open views fit.

 

I am also trying to appreciate the differences between Hartshorne and Whitehead. I think (but don't know) that Whitehead's views, prior to being tweaked by Hartshorne, are closer to my own.

 

God/dess does have unsurpassable internal, or relational power - sometimes called "persuasive power

 

I believe God/dess uses persuasive power as well, but because she wants to, not because she has no other choice. I know this puts me closer to open view.

 

All abstracts are derived from actualities (the ontological principle) and therefore can't exist as an idea unless it is attached to an actuality (ideas must have a ground) The concept of the "ground of being" must be "grounded" in necessary existence. All actualities are particular and therefore contingent. The only logical ground therefore, for "being", is not a particular contingent "being" (or actuality) but an entity which includes all actualities - the All-Inclusive Whole.

 

I agree that all abstracts are derived from actualities. However, I've gotten the impression from MANY sources, that process philosophy teaches that, in a nutshell, God wouldn't exist if the universe didn't exist. Doesn't this make process theology's God an abstract?

 

I understand and agree with the necessity of the universe being contingent upon God, but not with God being contingent upon the universe.

 

The universe may be a necessary component of God. God may have always manifested the finite necessarily. But I don't think God would not exist if the universe did not exist.

 

I am not meaning to build up a strawman here. If I've got it completely wrong, please let me know. I am trying to understand. :)

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Boy, I think this is the best conversation I've had on panENthesim yet. Thanks gang.

 

I'm not all that interested in process vs open.

 

I am VERY interested in nonprocess panENtheism vs open.

 

I heard Aletheia say that open theism fits within the umbrella of panENtheism. That I will have to chew on. That might be one of the key pieces of the puzzle I was missing. Panta--would you agree with that?

 

I wouldn't have issues with creation out of chaos. But maybe I don't really get all the issues involved in that either. I know it took me a long time to understand the many implications of panENtheism and I'm still probably ignorant of a lot of it.

 

Here's that Meta library link. Clayton is nonprocess panENtheism and as far as I can tell he still believes in a God that acts and would exist without the world. I have two of his books, but don't ask to explain the guy. Oh yeah, I've sampled Peacocke books too, a little bit of McFague. If I remember correctly Peacocke had a creation story that I liked a lot and I might have that in my notes.

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HELP!!

 

You guys, I hope you can help. I tried to google these things and don't get anything that would work to understand these concepts.

 

I understand about panentheism. But what is process thought (in 25 words or less). And Ground up? Matt Fox and Borg do define panentheism quite well.

 

I did get a pretty good definition of "open theology", and it is basically about the question Ani-man addressed on the forum. Do we truly have free will or does God know in advance everything. I think the definition I got was that God cannot know what has yet to happen.

Maybe that is only part of the definition as I think you could believe in any sort of God for that idea to work (panentheist, God as a guy on a throne, or pantheist for that matter-- they all don't know ahead of time). Maybe I am missing something?

 

BTW, read "answers.com" (perhaps should be wary of any site labelled that!) They said this:

"Panentheism is thought of as "God is within the universe as the soul is within the body".

Hmmm, I always liked the idea of the "body being within the soul!" (whoever said that-- was that Eckhart?). And I don't believe God is within the universe, unless you define that universe as "everything that is". The reasons are: 1 We know there could be millions of other parallel universes, wouldn't God be there too (unless there is some universe parallel in every way but with no God! But that gets too close to one of those headachey kind fo things) 2. What about before the universe was born? Did God create the universe?

Speaking of headaches!

 

Do I have to go to theology school to discuss stuff here!? Or can I just pretend. :-)

Thank you all.

 

BTW, welcome to new folks!!!

 

--des

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You guys, I hope you can help. I tried to google these things and don't get anything that would work to understand these concepts.

Don't feel bad Des, it's taken me months and months of reading and searching and thinking to even begin to appreciate/understand some of process thought, open theism, dipolar (dialectic) monism, etc ... and just when I think "I've got it" something comes along to confuse me again. It doesn't help that even within process thought there are a lot of different opinions.

I did get a pretty good definition of "open theology", and it is basically about the question Ani-man addressed on the forum. Do we truly have free will or does God know in advance everything. I think the definition I got was that God cannot know what has yet to happen.

I think you have it in a nutshell. :)

Maybe that is only part of the definition as I think you could believe in any sort of God for that idea to work (panentheist, God as a guy on a throne, or pantheist for that matter-- they all don't know ahead of time). Maybe I am missing something?

No, I think you've got it. I imagine you could have an open view of God and not be a panentheist. I don't know if you could have a process view of God and not be a panentheist or pantheist though.

 

Panta? Thoughts?

BTW, read "answers.com" (perhaps should be wary of any site labelled that!) They said this: "Panentheism is thought of as "God is within the universe as the soul is within the body".

Hmmm. I would say that the universe is within God, not the other way around: "The universe is within God as a fish is in the ocean" or "The universe is within God as a cell is within the body."

 

I guess you could say that God is within the universe in that (to go back to the fish analogy) the water in the ocean surrounds the fish and the fish breathes in and exhales the water.

Do I have to go to theology school to discuss stuff here!? Or can I just pretend. :-)

I don't think I or you need to go to theology school to discuss stuff here. I don't have any theological schooling, but I am interested in this stuff and love to discuss it. :D

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Panta thanks for replying.

 

I am also trying to appreciate the differences between Hartshorne and Whitehead. I think (but don't know) that Whitehead's views, prior to being tweaked by Hartshorne, are closer to my own.

 

Whitehead came to his view of God rather reluctantly. On the one hand he described God as the "chief exemplification to all metaphysical principles" and then he ended up making God a metaphysical exception. It is agreed by almost all who have followed Whitehead that Hartesorne made a needed correction to Whitehead in order to have a truly coherent philosophy. But, perhaps you can explain why you are more attracted to Whitehead's view than Harteshorne's?

 

 

I believe God/dess uses persuasive power as well, but because she wants to, not because she has no other choice. I know this puts me closer to open view.

 

Did you understand why coercive power is a a power which can only be used in relation to one fragment of reality against another fragment? And why it would be metaphysically impossible for a Universal Individual to have coercive power? I'm not asking if you agree with the argument... I'm asking if you understand it, and if you do and still don't agree, why not?

 

I agree that all abstracts are derived from actualities. However, I've gotten the impression from MANY sources, that process philosophy teaches that, in a nutshell, God wouldn't exist if the universe didn't exist. Doesn't this make process theology's God an abstract?

 

No. First, process philosophy doesn't teach that God/dess wouldn't exist if the universe didn't exist. It does teach that God wouldn't exist if 'a' universe didn't exist, but God is not dependent upon "this" universe. To understand why, we must go back to the basic process assumption about reality - we must abandon a substance ontology and accept an event ontology. If we do, we have also brought our thinking into line with the science of physics as well. Reality consists of energy EVENTS, not "things" or substance. As someone said recently (and this is very, very, important to underrstand), there is no MATTER, there is only ENERGY. We mentally project metaphysical "form" on events to interpret them as objects (see The Matter Myth, by Paul Davies.

 

So, to better understand why God would not exist if there were no universe, we must first understand that anything "actual" is an event, not a substance. Once an event "happens" it becomes an object which is included in other events. If there are no events, there are no actualities and apart from actualilties, as the ontological principle puts it, there is nothing, nothing, nothing.

 

Let me try another way to explain it: Do we have any existence apart from our experiences? If you think you are some kind of substance, you will think you do. You will imagine that you are an experiencer having experiences. But process thought says you don't. All events (down to the quanta) are experiencing events. Reality is created from drops of experience. Now, that's a tough one to swallow for many, but if it is not true, and if reality is simply an aggregate of vacuous (no subjective nature) entities then we have lost all causal explanation and we have to believe that nature has no intrinsic value. Unfortunately, we humans have a long history where we have regarded nature as having instrumental value only (but I digress :( ) So, from a process p.o.v., if you've never had an experience, you don't exist. And if all experiences of any kind (even the experiences of electrons) were to cease... that is, if all energy of any kind were somehow to be eliminated, God/dess would also cease to exist - because the process of creation - The Many (experiences) Become One (experience) and Are Increased by One (a new experience is added to the Whole)- applies to God/dess as well as any other instance of actuality.

 

Maybe another way to explain: Right now I am an integration of all the influences in my environment. Because my environment is in the process of "becoming" I too am becoming. And yet I am a union of these influences and not simply a conglomeration of influences. I include my environment in atomistic instances of "being". If I am listening to music, the music becomes included in the series of "beings" that constitute my self. As I read these messages, those who post messages to this forum become a part of me. God/dess includes the universe - there is nothing, nothing, nothing outside each instance of God's Being. If I don't have an environment, I do not exist. If there is no universe of some kind, God does not exist.

 

I understand and agree with the necessity of the universe being contingent upon God, but not with God being contingent upon the universe.

 

If God is the "ground of being", God must have Being. All "Beings" are contingent - because a "being" is a selection from among possibilities. A "being" is what happened - something else might have happened instead. A "being" cannot change. It is what it is. If it can change, it no longer is. But God cannot simply "be" and include a changing and growing universe. There can only be a series of "beings" or actualities, each becoming actuality including everything in the past. Each "being" has contingent existence, but the SERIES of Beings we often refer to as God, has NECESSARY existence.

 

Ken Wilber perhaps has simpler terminlogy. According to Ken Wilber, reality consists of Whole/Parts which are called holons. God/dess is a Holon just as we are (click here for site) - Holons.

 

I am not meaning to build up a strawman here. If I've got it completely wrong, please let me know. I am trying to understand.  :)

 

I'm trying to help. :)

Edited by PantaRhea
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Core Doctrines of Process Theology

 

(from Reenchantment without Supernaturlism)

By David Ray Griffin

 

1) The integration of moral, aesthetic, and religious intuitions with the most general doctrines of the sciences into a self-consistent worldview as one of the central tasks of philosophy in our time. By understanding “religious intuitions” broadly to include intuitions of moral and aesthetic values, this purpose can be stated more succinctly as the integration of science and religion into a single worldview.

 

2) Hard-core commonsense notions as the ultimate test of the adequacy of a philosophical position. Although this doctrine is in part, like the first one, formal, it is also partly substantive, in that it says that there are some hard-core commonsense notions, meaning notions that are inevitably presupposed in practice by all human beings. Insofar as they are inevitably presupposed, any philosophy that denies one or more of them violates the law of noncontradiction because it is guilty of explicitly denying what it implicitly affirms. This doctrine provides the primary means by which process philosophy avoids the complete relativism that is affirmed, whether explicitly or only implicitly, by much modern and postmodern philosophy.

 

3) Whitehead’s nonsensationist doctrine of perception, according to which sensory perception is a secondary mode of perception, being derivative from a more fundamental, nonsensory “prehension”. This epistemological doctrine, which involves the development of a central feature of William James’s “radical empiricism,” allows for genuine religious experience in the sense of a direct perception of a holy reality, moral norms, and also allows for the direct perception of some other things (such as causality, the past, and the external world) that could not be perceived if the sensationist theory of perception were true.

 

4) Panexperientialism with organizational duality, according to which all true individuals – as distinct from aggregational societies – have at least some iota of experience and spontaneity (self-determination). The affirmation of panexperientialism involves the rejection of the early modern dualism between two kinds of actual entities: physical actualities devoid of experience and mental actualities (minds) with experience. The addition of “organizational duality” provides the basis for avoiding the counterintuitive suggestion, which some versions of panexperientialism make, that self-determination and a unified experience are enjoyed by literally everything in the actual world, including sticks and stones. This doctrine is central to discussion of the mind-body relation and freedom.

 

5) The doctrine that all enduring individuals are serially ordered societies of momentary “occasions of experience”. [Things that endure are things which occur.] This doctrine, according to which enduring individuals, such as molecules and minds, are analyzable into momentary events, is fundamental to process philosophy’s reconciliation of final and efficient causation and, therefore, of freedom and determinism. The salient point is that each enduring individual, such as a living cell or a human mind, oscillates between two modes of existence: the subjective mode, in which it exerts final causation or self-determination, and the objective mode, in which it exerts efficient causation upon subsequent events. This unique doctrine is also central to the discussion of the mind-body relation, especially the issue of human freedom.

 

6) The doctrine that all actual entities have internal as well as external relations. This doctrine, according to which all actual entities are fundamentally relational – in the sense of first being internally (constitutively) related to prior actual entities, then externally related to (constitutive of) subsequent actual entities – has led some advocates of this position to call it “process-relational philosophy”. This relational doctrine of actuality is central to the doctrine of God/dess’s activity and immanence in the world and to the discussion of the relation between the individual and society.

 

7) The Whiteheadian version of naturalistic theism, according to which a Divine Actuality acts variably but never supernaturally in the world. This doctrine says that although there is a divine actuality that influences human experience and, in fact, all finite beings, this divine influence never involves an interruption of the normal pattern of causal relations, being instead a natural dimension of this normal pattern. The reason for this absence of divine interruptions, furthermore, is metaphysical, not merely moral, being based on the fact that the fundamental God-World relation is fully natural, grounded in the very nature of things, not in a contingent divine decision.

 

8) Doubly Dipolar Theism. Better known than process philosophy’s naturalistic theism is its dipolar theism, according to which the divine reality has two aspects, or “poles”.

 

9) The provision of cosmological support for the ideals needed by contemporary civilization as one of the chief purposes of philosophy in our time. Like the first core doctrine, which refers to the task of integrating science and religion, this one is purely formal. It complements the first one, however, by bringing out the fact that the overall purposes of process philosophy are practical as well as theoretical.

 

10) A distinction between verbal statements (sentences) and propositions and between both of these and propositional feelings. This doctrine is central to the discussion of language, knowledge, and truth.

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POWER & AUTHORITY

 

AUTHORITY: legitimate power; the right to influence

 

Types of authority:

1. Structural authority-- assent given because of person’s position

2. Authority of knowledge -- assent given because of person’s knowledge

3. Charismatic authority -- assent given because of person’s speaking or leadership gifts

4. Authority of Wisdom-- assent given because of person’s experience

 

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:25-27 (Also see Mk 9:35, 10:42-45; Mt 18:4, 20:28)

 

POWER: ability to affect the behavior of a group or another individual

 

 

TYPES OF POWER:

 

PERSUASIVE: The ability to influence and be influenced.

a. Relational

1) The other is treated as a subject

2) The other retains freedom.

3) Is loving.

b. Syncretistic (works with other power)

c. Horizontal (is a power in or with the other).

d. Reciprocal - active and receptive (works in two directions).

e. The end is open, indeterminate.

 

COERCIVE: The ability to control and dominate.

a. Non-relational

1) The other is treated as an object.

2) Always removes freedom from the other.

3) Is violent.

b. Monopolistic (power is not shared).

c. Vertical (Is a power over the other).

d. Is unilateral and non receptive.

e. The end is determined.

 

Every relationship of domination, of exploitation, of oppression, is by definition violent, whether or not the violence is expressed by drastic means. In such a relationship, dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things -- the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by lack of it. And things cannot love. - Paolo Freire, Education for Critical Consciousness Footnote on pp. 10,11.

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Oh boy. Whew! Ummm. Okay, let's see ...

 

But, perhaps you can explain why you are more attracted to Whitehead's view than Harteshorne's?

 

I probably shouldn't have said that because I'm really not sure. I guess because I too feel God/dess is a "metaphysical exception". I'm willing to let God/dess remain a bit of a mystery. If that means God/dess gets to break the rules, so be it.

 

Did you understand why coercive power is a a power which can only be used in relation to one fragment of reality against another fragment? And why it would be metaphysically impossible for a Universal Individual to have coercive power? I'm not asking if you agree with the argument... I'm asking if you understand it, and if you do and still don't agree, why not?

 

I can conceive of the universe existing within God/dess and also conceive that God/dess could "reach in" if you will, and influence the universe supernaturally, if she so wished. I believe she does not because free will is the greatest good for sentient life.

 

process philosophy doesn't teach that God/dess wouldn't exist if the universe didn't exist. It does teach that God wouldn't exist if 'a' universe didn't exist

 

That's what I meant. :P

 

must abandon a substance ontology and accept an event ontology. If we do, we have also brought our thinking into line with the science of physics as well. Reality consists of energy EVENTS, not "things" or substance.

 

That is where I knew we would diverge. I guess at this point I have not embraced reality as events and not substance. I will look into Paul Davies. I love that man! The Mind of God was one of my favorite books. I would imagine that you wouldn't agree with this quote:

 

Note that the process scheme is neither consistent nor inconsistent with experimental observations - it does not of itself give rise to any empirically testable proposals. Nothing in science attributes any sort of subjectivity to an entity like an electron, nor is such a postulate anywhere supported by experiment. Whitehead’s scheme is true ‘meta’-physics.

 

It is sometimes supposed that because Whitehead formulated his metaphysics at the time of the great developments in physics known as the second quantum revolution [The Schr?ger Wave Equation was published in 1926, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in 1927] and because both process thought and quantum theory require a somewhat unusual way of looking at the world, that therefore process schemes are particularly compatible with the new physics. But see Polkinghorne, J, Science and Christian Belief (London: SPCK, 1994) pp22-3 against this view.

 

As someone said recently (and this is very, very, important to underrstand), there is no MATTER, there is only ENERGY.

 

I can't be sure, but I think that was me. :D

 

But God cannot simply "be" and include a changing and growing universe.

 

I can imagine a relationship between God/dess and the universe where we exist within God/dess (in a "bubble" if you will). That which is within changes, but God/dess's essential nature does not. What changes within God/dess gives God/dess "experiences" but if all universes within God/dess dissappeared, God/dess would not.

 

I'm trying to help.

 

I totally appreciate our conversations. I worry about frustrating you. :( It could be that I'll come to embrace process theism someday, with perhaps a few modifications. :lol:

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Note that the process scheme is neither consistent nor inconsistent with experimental observations - it does not of itself give rise to any empirically testable proposals. Nothing in science attributes any sort of subjectivity to an entity like an electron, nor is such a postulate anywhere supported by experiment. Whitehead’s scheme is true ‘meta’-physics.

 

It is sometimes supposed that because Whitehead formulated his metaphysics at the time of the great developments in physics known as the second quantum revolution [The Schr?ger Wave Equation was published in 1926, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in 1927] and because both process thought and quantum theory require a somewhat unusual way of looking at the world, that therefore process schemes are particularly compatible with the new physics. But see Polkinghorne, J, Science and Christian Belief (London: SPCK, 1994) pp22-3 against this view.

 

I not only don't agree with it, I think it is kind'a funny. Nothing in science attributes any sort of subjectivity to ANY entity - even the human individual! There has been a "taboo of subjectivity" in science for quite awhile.

 

DesCartes thought he had protected spirituality from science (especially Newton's science) by splitting reality into two types of reality. But, as I've mentioned before I think, this left the problem of trying to understand how one kind of reality can have any influence whatsoever on the other kind. We move into the area of magic and away from science with that kind of supernaturalistic or dualistic view. Supernaturalism leaves us unable to rationally integrate science with values.

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One more thing before I have to quit... a quote from Paul Davies in his "The Mind of God":

 

I belong to the group of scientists who do not subscribe to a conventional religion but nevertheless deny that the universe is a purposeless accident. Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact. There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation. Whether one wishes to call that deeper level "God" is a matter of taste and definition. Furthermore, I have come to the point of view that mind - i.e., conscious awareness of the world - is not a meaningless and incidental quirk of nature, but an absolutely fundamental facet of reality.

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I not only don't agree with it, I think it is kind'a funny. Nothing in science attributes any sort of subjectivity to ANY entity - even the human individual!

I think that's the point. :unsure: The person is saying that there is nothing in science to say or not say that electrons are events rather than entities. I think the person is saying that science does not prove Whitehead, but it does not disprove him either.

DesCartes thought he had protected spirituality from science (especially Newton's science) by splitting reality into two types of reality. But, as I've mentioned before I think, this left the problem of trying to understand how one kind of reality can have any influence whatsoever on the other kind. We move into the area of magic and away from science with that kind of supernaturalistic or dualistic view. Supernaturalism leaves us unable to rationally integrate science with values.

I don't agree with the radical duality as espoused by Descartes, but neither do I necessarily believe that, if a seperate spiritual realm does exist, it might not be able to influence the material world. Just because we don't understand something doesn't make it impossible.

I belong to the group of scientists who do not subscribe to a conventional religion but nevertheless deny that the universe is a purposeless accident. Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact. There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation. Whether one wishes to call that deeper level "God" is a matter of taste and definition. Furthermore, I have come to the point of view that mind - i.e., conscious awareness of the world - is not a meaningless and incidental quirk of nature, but an absolutely fundamental facet of reality.

Thank you for the quote from Davies. I no longer own the book. I remember coming away from the book with the impression that Davies believes in "God" and that evidence for God's existence can be found in the natural world. Also, the universe organizes towards the evolution of conscious beings with minds.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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A simple view is to reduce everything down or up to one. The infinite is everything because everything is within it, but if we look at the word infinite we see that the infinite is in the finite (in-finite).

Another way to explain this would be the infinite is an ocean of pure consciousness and creation or finite are ice burgs in that ocean of pure consciousness. Both are pure consciousness as h20 is in both the ocean and the ice.

I don't know which ism this relates to, but I feel it can be explained with science and metaphysics.

 

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FYI, I'd like to offer the following resource to help people learn more about panentheism and Process theology:

 

The Center for Process Studies - A Relational Worldview for the ...

The Center for Process Studies was founded in 1973 to encourage exploration of

the relevance of process thought, which is based on the philosophy of Alfred ...

http://www.ctr4process.org

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PantaR, thank you for your exhaustive explanation. I think I'll need that PhD to understand it. :-) Nevertheless, I did want to comment on one point-- the idea that the has to be a universe for God to exist (or vice versa). (BTW, since to me God is not male or female, I don't need to add /ess to God. But I understand the male biases that have gone on.)

 

Anyway, I believe that God does not need to universe to exist, otherwise you could not have a creation event (and however you define your creation myths a creation event did apparently exist). So what happened *before* creation took place, God would have to have been in some type of statis or something. Also what if there are tens to billions of parallel universes, does that make there tens to billions of Gods (one for each universe)?

 

OTOH, I believe God *needed* the universe. And God needed sentience. Without the universe (and sentenience there is nothing to love and a situation of God only loving God, which is kind of strange, imo).

 

Unless you say that the "universe just means all that is". In that case then the universe *is* God. But I think that is a kind of pre-20th C understanding.

 

--des

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