A thought about the Listening Process

Centrists / Religion / Science

I’ve been spending my morning reading up on materialism and the various attempts both philosophical and theological that have tried to refute it. That reading led me to a long treatise on Process Philosophy.

The key point of Process Philosophy is that processes (like a storm) are at least as real, if not even more fundamental, than an object (like an orange.) Or I suppose you could say that waves and quantum states are more real than the particulate matter that we interact with at the macroscopic level if you hold to this.

One of the primary criticisms of the Listening Process (a process in the Anglican Communion to discuss different understandings of the role human sexuality plays in God’s Creation) is that it is open-ended with no clear end point. For some people in the Communion the process is the thing – and for others it is the final result.

I’m wondering then if the clash might be better recast into a conflict between Aristotelians and Process Philosophers… Classical Theology is based on Aristotelian methodology and categories. Process Theology (which is still emerging) is based more on this other strand of philosophical thought. Could this be part of the reason that arguments of one side get no traction with the other?

What do you think?

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 Comment

  1. I think this is probably true. Prior to reading this I had posted a piece at my blog on the distinctions between what I’ve conveniently labeled as idealism and realism. I made the same distinction between an Aristotelian Thomism and the more platonist-influenced process mode of theological reflection.
    I’m fairly certain that on one significant point the essentialist position and the process-relational position are butting heads, and that is the sexuality question. The idea that the essence of the couple lie in their individual sex rather than in the relationship between the couple is, I think, a big part of the divide. It also spills over into ecclesiology and just about every area of thought with a philosophical underpinning.

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