process

Why is process philosophy on the margins?

Question: 
Why is process philosophy on the margins of philosophy? Is this a problem process thinkers should be trying to remedy?
Publication Month: 
December 2014
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Yes, we should be trying to remedy this. However, my approach is the reverse of what the questioner may have in mind. We should work for a large-scale change in the understanding of philosophy, rather than try to make our contribution fit into the narrow parameters of what is now academic philosophy. This no doubt sounds arrogant and pretentious, and it is indeed a serious critique of academic philosophy.

An Axiological Process Ethics

Author:

Rem B. Edwards

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How do Schleiermacher and Process relate?

Question: 
Schleiermacher's theology is very close to process theology, so could process be a bridge between American and continental theologies?
Publication Month: 
May 2012
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

This is a complex question. Let me first describe where I agree. Schleiermacher was certainly an important figure in German theology. He is often called the father of liberal theology. During the nineteenth century, along with Hegel and Kant, he was a major shaper of the tradition. His basic program was renewed by Rudolph Otto, and there are clear continuations in Paul Tillich. There are certainly today adherents of this tradition.

Process & the Light/ Dark Dichotomy

Question: 
I have a theological question. I understand the Divine as light, and energy. I understand energy as part of God's healing presence in the world. How does process theology come to terms with darkness? The whole darkness/light contrast contributes to racism, and, living energy still exists in the dark. There is the darkness in which we rest and sleep, the darkness which is the shade from the desert sun, the gentle dark.
Publication Month: 
March 2009
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

Process Sprituality

Question: 
Is there a process spirituality?
Publication Month: 
March 2002
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

Process Ethics

Question: 
Does process thought have a distinctive ethical slant?
Publication Month: 
June 2000
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

That's a good question and not an easy one to answer. Like so many good questions, it calls for an answer that says both "yes" and "no." Process thought suggests a distinctive approach to ethical issues, but it does not clearly support any one of the standard ethical theories over against the others. I'll try to unpack this a bit.

Process & Scripture

Question: 
"What role does the Bible have in process-faith/theology?"
Publication Month: 
June 2002
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

The questioner assures me that the issue is not how faithful process theology is to the Bible but rather, What does process thought say about the nature and authority of the Bible? Clearly a process thinker cannot affirm of the Bible inerrancy or literal historical accuracy. What does it affirm?

Process & Science

Question: 
The "young earth" folk and others have made great efforts to have their point a view on creation accepted. They believe modern science is incorrect in many ways, which is disconcerting. What does process thought have to say on the creation?
Publication Month: 
June 2003
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

Process thought and the challenge to modern science

Process thinkers are not supportive of "young earth" thinking. That sort of theory requires either the idea of very rapid and dramatic changes taking place in an evolutionary process or abrupt interventions by an omnipotent God. Process thought, on the other hand, is biased in favor of gradual development lured forward by God. A few billion years is not a long time for the extreme richness and complexity of the present order to emerge on a lifeless planet.

Are You Saved?

Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

John 3:1-17 

What did Jesus mean by salvation?

I have always found it difficult to answer the question, "Are you saved?" Indeed, the only answer I can give is another question: "What do you mean by 'saved'?"

Believers who ask whether one is saved often find that kind of response offensive. For some of them, "saved" has a perfectly clear meaning, one they suppose is established by the Bible. For me to respond with a question seems to them an academic dodge.

Process & Openness

Question: 
"What are the similarities and differences between process theology and openness theology?"
Publication Month: 
March 2005
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

1. Some Agreements

Process & 20th century Theology

Question: 
I've found a lot of synergy between process theology and the works of some neo-orthodox thinkers, particularly Bonhoeffer. Of course, it seems to me any 'theologians of the cross' are going to have a lot of common ground with Whitehead's 'co-sufferer who understands' but when I read Bonhoeffers' 'this-world Christianity' and his God who condescends and allows us the opportunity to get down and suffer with him rather than acts as some divine puppet master or deus ex machina (which he constantly rails against) I am constantly reminded of the whole process movement. I also think in connection with this the Teilhardian John Haught who contends that 'that which is most ultimate is that which is self-emptying', who finds connections between the revelation of God in Christ Jesus and the Tao of philosophical Taoism. Is this Bonhoeferrian and Niebuhrian synergy just my own projection. I know Niebuhr quoted Whitehead positively once, but he was also critical of him in The Nature and Destiny of Man,(but that was probably because Niebuhr was suspicious of any and all metaphysical 'systems', he was a Kierkegaard fan after all). Bonhoeffer didn't know anything about Whitehead, but he WAS a fan of William James, and studied him in the States, and so there may have been more kinship than one would first suspect. Am I just projecting here? Has anyone else written about or thought about Bonhoeffer's 'religionless Christianity' or his emphasis on the God that condescends over the Deus Ex Machina in connection with the conception of God found in process theology?
Publication Month: 
February 2008
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

This is a complex question, but it provides an occasion for locating process theology in the context of the major stream of mid to late twentieth-century theology. It was often viewed as an outsider to the central theological discussion. The truth and error of this view are worth sorting out.

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