Breaking News: Process Theologian Believes in God!

At HBC, Tripp has posted some sweetness from living legend, process theologian John Cobb.  If you harbor misconceptions about process theology, take seven minutes and read this post (plus, as an added bonus, Cobb accurately diagnoses the problem with mainline Christianity today):

John Cobb (via WikiCommns)

First, we believe that we are speaking of a real God. For two centuries, now, this has become increasingly difficult, and increasingly rare, in academic and intellectual contexts. Down through the eighteenth century, the question of God’s reality was assumed to be a metaphysical one. Either the word “God” referred to a reality independent of human thought, language, and belief, or else there was in fact no reference. If one adopted the latter position, one was an atheist. But atheism was rare in European society in those centuries. Although much about God could be known, many thought, only by revelation, the existence of God was evident to reason. [READ THE REST]

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  • Dan Hauge

    For me, this was the money quote:
    “Conservative evangelicals who interpret revelation in terms of the love embodied in and taught by Jesus Christ will not be too different from Christians in old-line churches who also understand God in terms of this same love. Both will strive to express that love in relation to other people and, indeed, to all other creatures.”
    He’s really doing quite a bit to build bridges between evangelicals and progressives in this address, which impressed me quite a bit.

    On another note, wonder what Peter Rollins would have to say to all this talk of affirming ‘God’s reality’?

    • Austin

      There is certainly quite a gap between the theology of John Cobb and that of Peter Rollins. Cobb is a constructive postmodernist/critical realist, Rollins is very much a deconstructionist. Cobb doesn’t totally reject the insights of deconstructive postmodernism (he takes them quite seriously), but he strongly disagrees with the idea that metaphysics is no longer possible or desirable. By ‘postmodern’ he primarily means rejecting dualism and anthropocentrism, moving towards a robustly ecological metaphysic, etc. You can read more about Cobb’s constructive postmodernism in his article here:

      You might also check out David Ray Griffin’s book “Whitehead’s Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy.” Great stuff.

      Feminist process theologian Catherine Keller (Cobb’s former student) might be thought of as blending some of the aims of Cobb and Rollins/Caputo, in that she is a post-structuralist process theologian who is perhaps equally influenced by Whitehead and Derrida/Foucault. Her very interesting and popular book is called “On the Mystery.” Oh, and I hear that a certain popular emergent/progressive Christian podcast will be featuring an interview with Keller very soon.

      • Dan Hauge

        Hey Austin, thanks for the info–I actually just finished an essay collection called ‘Polydoxy’ which was co-edited by Keller. Interesting stuff. I guess so far I find myself more on Cobb’s side than Rollins (at least on the question of whether we can still speak of the metaphysical, and whether that is significant).

  • I would have to read this article three times to even begin to say that I know what is being said. Seems like one would have to do some heavy process theology reading to begin to catch the article.

    Conservative evangelicals seem to be old-line to me unless the term “old-line” by the author is to reference Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, or Roman Catholic Christian traditions.

    I find the reference to the conservative evangelicals being wholehearted, but criminals an interesting statement. I am curious about the charges, and whether they are misdemeanors or felonies, and to who they have been committed against.

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