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Center for Process Studies Blog

I think I may be a metamodern Christian. At least I feel that way when I hear Brendan Graham Dempsey talk about metamodern Christianity. Or at least his version of it, to be developed further in a book. I am a process Christian, too. That is, I am very influenced by Christian process theology in my understanding of Christianity. But after hearing Dempsey give an overview of his vision of metamodern Christianity, it seems to me that Christian process theology is a kind of metamodern Christianity, seeking to integrate devotional, modern, and postmodern ways of thinking about God and the world into a unique and evolving whole.
The big question is, where is it all going? There’s no way to be certain, but it is useful and necessary to speculate, not to mention, fun. We can already see that as the evolutionary process proceeds on Earth, life transforms the inanimate world into an information processing network composed of a fabric that can feel. A single cell grew into a sentient web that now spans the planet, and that is just the beginning of a process of open-ended evolution and complexity growth. Through the spread of sentient beings, the universe is waking up and experiencing the fruits of its own creation.
We’re all in the process of making sense of our reality. Finding ourselves in an environment already filled with symbols, meanings, and stories, we naturally join in this meaning-making activity. We have moments of clarity on this journey in which the complex narratives that flood our world make sense. Contrasts find harmony, chaos finds a pattern, fragments find their place in the whole, scattered symbols find their sequence within a larger story, and we see our part in this unfolding beauty.
The relationship between Islam and process philosophy/thought as a philosophical system of thought, can be mutually enriched by a two-fold attitude: (1) to accept and work to highlight the commonalities while also (2) honouring the distinctiveness of each tradition and system of thought. That is, inasmuch as Islam offers a set of ideas that are universally valid, we would expect for them to surface in non-Islamic contexts, and welcome the way in which they can enrich an Islamic understanding of Islam.
The synthesis of Process and Buddhism, while being coherent and consistent, is necessarily incomplete (because it is an actual part of the very creative advance it refers to) and open-ended (because it is not an exception to its own rule/law/dharma that all things are open/empty), therefore it could never stand in for reality itself, but merely functions as a means of facilitating optimal, authentic, direct engagement with it. This synthesis can not only function as a potential ally to, but can be an actual agent of, ecofeminist revolution in order to aid in the realization of our planetary homecoming as an Earth Community.
The Marxist message to Whiteheadians is that the dialectical materialism of Marxism does not preclude the power of ideas, nor do Marxists necessarily deny individual agency. Marxists and Whiteheadians surely agree that a significant impediment to change is the entrenched notion of separateness we have in the West, but Marxists understand this ideological problem is in a dialectic with the material reality of living in the imperial core of global capitalism.
This manifesto encourages urbanites to transform their backyards into a forest for food and beauty for the coming years and their predicted climate-related issues. Like Whitehead’s forthcoming speculative ideal, the new vision must first be formulated. Something tangible is then able to come into existence based upon this new ideal.
I believe Muslim process theologians will retain a notion of Divine omnipotence, contra many of their Christian and Jewish colleagues. But, this will be a necessary move if their theology is to be taken at all seriously amongst both the religious authorities and the common believers. Despite the marked pluralism of theological (and legal) orthodoxy within the Islam, the understanding of God’s omnipotence is so central to basic Qur’anic theology that outright denial of this feature of God is tantamount to disbelief. However, this doctrine will not be without qualification for the Islamic process theologian.