return to religion-onlineWhitehead
(ENTIRE BOOK) The shortest and simplest introduction to Whitehead -- his life, his "process thought," and Christian Process Theology.
Constructive postmodernism of the Whiteheadian variety implies a program for public life, as well as that of individuals, that is quite different from the one that our modernist leaders are pursuing.
An analysis of Alfred North Whitehead by one of his best known disciples. While Whitehead is appreciative of the accomplishments of the modern world, he clearly recognizes its limitations, and points beyond them. Whitehead's postmodern sensibility is highly critical of the dominant leadership of the traditional religions, insisting that religion needs to be liberated from the shackles in which it is now bound. Cobb concludes with Whitehead's doctrine of God and understanding of the experience of "Peace."
While most Protestant theologians turned to Barth and other Neoorthodox thinkers, Cobb and a few others felt the need to deal directly with the question of God's reality, in a way that would not avoid philosophical issues. The author found decisive help in Whitehead, and, out of that, what has been called in later decades "process theology," was born. This essay deals with Whitehead's contributions to anthropology.
Whitehead's concept of reality can support the deepest insights of both the Buddhist and the Christian traditions. We do not have to choose between them; we can embrace both. This possibility of being both Buddhist and Christian is being lived out today by hundreds if not thousands, especially among Catholics in Japan, but not only by them. The author is convinced that this is a promising direction for the future.
Whitehead’s thought connects with that of "situation ethics." In this view, obeying moral rules is not the answer. What is truly right can only be determined in the full concreteness of the situation. As useful though knowledge of past reflection can be for acting in the concreteness of the situation, ultimately we must trust our own spontaneous intuition.
In the fifties and sixties, many people turned to non-academic psychology: Esalen and others. Some of these centers still flourish and help to provide meaning and guidance to thoughtful people. But they do not have the visibility they once enjoyed. Exploration and development of the personal inner life through psychological techniques has given way to, or developed into, three important currents to which the author gives attention. These are Buddhism, feminism, and the ecological movement.
ENTIRE BOOK A helpful and understandable presentation of Whitehead's thought, for people interested in learning how careful, reflective thinking can provide a basis for religious beliefs.