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Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World [Paperback]

By Joseph A. Bracken & John F. Haught (Foreward By)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   155
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.32" Width: 5.34" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2006
Publisher   Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN  1932031987  
EAN  9781932031980  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"If someone were to ask, 'Where is God?,' how would you respond?"

Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., uses this question as a springboard to introduce the process-relational metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead and other process theologians as he reconciles the sometimes-conflicting views of traditional Christian doctrines and the modern scientific world. To present this material in an accessible manner to a wider audience, Bracken discusses Whitehead's "model" of the God-world relationship, showing that God is involved in an ongoing, ever-changing relationship with humans and other creatures. He also discusses the work of other contemporary theologians to help Christians come to terms with their role in our multi-dimensional pluralistic society.

Bracken examines divine and human creativity, the collective power of good and evil, divine providence and human freedom, prayer, and altruism, and he addresses the question, "What is truth?" He shows how Whitehead's process thought approach to these issues in fact "harmonizes" traditional Christian beliefs and contemporary culture, benefiting both faith and reason.

Understanding the God-world relationship subtly influences our attitude toward ourselves, toward other human beings, and indeed toward all of God's creatures, says Bracken. His study of Whitehead's metaphysical vision of a cosmic community shows how modern views of the world and God can be accepted and kept in balance with the traditional biblical views found in the Christian faith and how this balance can help Christians make better choices in a world shaped both by contemporary natural science and by traditional Christian spirituality.

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More About Joseph A. Bracken & John F. Haught

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Joseph A. Bracken, SJ, is a retired professor of theology and director emeritus of the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the author of seven books and editor or coeditor of two other works in the area of philosophical theology. His focus in recent years has been on the God-world relationship both as it figures in the religion and science debate and in interreligious dialogue. He is a long-time student of the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead but has modified it in some measure so as to make it more compatible with traditional Christian beliefs such as creation out of nothing, the doctrine of the Trinity, and eschatology.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Christianity and Whitehead's God  Mar 8, 2007
This is a book for which I have been waiting for some fifty years.
I have been reading some religious literature ("process theology") based on the great logician, mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, who is my favourite philosopher, but it did not convince me so far. My primary problem was the Holy Trinity, because Whitehead apparently furnished only a dual structure: the primordial and the consequent nature of God. Whitehead's placing creativity above God also made me uneasy.
Reading Bracken's book the other day, I was immediately captivated. Not only did I find a convincing answer to these two questions, but much more.
Bracken provides a splendid synthesis between Christianity and Whitehead. Actually, Whitehead's basic thinking is very favourable to Christianity. It seems he it is much easier to use for religious purposes than Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas had to do a tremendous job "christianizing" Aristotle. Now, Bracken did a similar job for Whitehead, which is easier though by no means trivial.
Bracken presents a highly convincing model of Trinity, based on Whitehead's theory of internal relations (Adventures of Ideas, Chapter X, sec. IV). For my taste, it is a little too close to tritheism, so my Jewish and Muslim friends may have difficulties. This is the classical "3=1" dialectic problem which is not a contradiction because God is infinite. Bracken almost invites critique of tritheism, because he constantly speaks of the "three divine persons". It would be less confusing to use established terminology: the "Triune God" (or simply "God") or "Trinity" or "Deity" or perhaps even the general old-fashioned term "Godhead". Anyway, this is mainly a question of terminology to which one might get used. (P.56, as well as p.69, is clarifying.) Generally, I like Bracken's model very much.
Another stumbling block in theology has been the "original sin", discussed throughout the history of Christianity. Bracken's wise treatment is very original and fine. Also his interpretation of creativity vs. God, another obstacle with Whitehead, is balanced and convincing.
Bracken's treatment of the theory of the Kingdom of God and of tolerance in terms of Whiteheadian societies (Chapter 5) is truly magnificent. (I like it better than Rahner's "anonymous Christians".) The same holds for the Chapter 6, "What is truth?".
The problem of time vs. eternity (Chapter 7) is another dialectic classic. It is said that Plato emphasizes eternity and Whitehead emphasizes the flow of time. This is true but Whitehead's "eternal objects" are very close to Plato's ideas and fit into Whitehead's "primordial nature" of God.
Whereas Thomas' God may be too static, Whitehead's God may be too time-dependent. So a synthesis of the two concepts should be welcome.
Bracken treats miracles very reasonably and provides a God who "hears our prayers", but naturally in His way and not necessarily in ours. His treatment of evil is one of the most convincing accounts on the "mysterium iniquitatis". His ideas on eschatology are
original and remarkable.
Summarizing I would like to say that Bracken' book for me was an eye-opener. It reads extremely well, avoiding or mitigating the notoriously difficult Whiteheadian terminology as much as possible, and it is a spiritual book rather than a philosophic treatise.
The book keeps increasing in depth, wisdom and intensity from the beginning to the end, like a symphony of Bruckner.
It appeals to both the interested layman and the specialist. For the priest or minister it can be a great source of topics for sermons. I highly recommend it.

Helmut Moritz, Graz (Austria)

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