Process Theology or Process Yoga? Part 3a of 3

by Darren Iammarino

Point 3: (Too Christian) There is no good reason why Process thought ought to be so tightly linked to Christianity. In fact, all this has achieved is confusion and a dilution of the greatness of the Christian tradition and the Process tradition. If you keep Process under the banner of Christianity as some form of “progressive” Christianity, then outsiders will think that it is merely an extreme or fringe version of a message they are already all too familiar with and probably not too fond of! On the Christian side of things, by accepting Process thought, you are stretching and convoluting the meaning of Christianity in any of its more orthodox incarnations. I feel like Open Theism is as far afield as you can go and still be genuinely rooted in Christianity…when you cross the line into Process thought you are in a new world.

How can one really justify Process Theology, which denies miraculous or supernatural interventions, espouses a less than fully omnipotent and less than fully omniscient deity, with the millennia of tradition within Classical Theism that holds these three tenants as foundational? Yes, I am aware that the key point may be that God is love and process thought advocates for a more genuine understanding of a loving relationship between God and the world, but is that enough to keep the two tied so closely together? Applying a Process hermeneutic to the Bible may be an interesting challenge and spiritually rewarding for some, but let’s be honest; it probably does more harm than good.

A Process Christology will pull you so far off course from being situated in the hearts and minds of the 1st century Mediterranean worldview. Even if Jesus was perfectly in tune with God’s initial aims and thus, the ideal case of being human, he was speaking and acting out God’s will for the people at that time, in that place…but things are always in process, and God is always operative in all things! Maybe aspects of the message are no longer relevant, just as Jesus pointed out via his actions, if not always his words, regarding the older Mosaic Law.

The truth of the matter is that many of the people that were first drawn to Process thought decades ago were enculturated via a Christian paradigm and so it was natural for them to find ways to weave the two together…even Whitehead is entrenched in this cultural milieu. However, the central claims made in Process and Reality, Adventures of Ideas, and Creative Synthesis and Philosophic Method etc. are not well suited as Christian orthodoxy; they are clearly heterodox beliefs. This is not necessarily a problem, it just means that Process thought can and should be its own thing! I would like to think that the most relevant issue is not a low Christology of Jesus, which paints him as perfectly embodying the aim of God; the question is, if that was true, how can I be like that and can current orthodoxy fully bring me to that state? That is up to all of you to decide, but it has bearing on our next and final point.

For more ideas on how to put Process ideas into action check out Darren’s book Religion and Reality available via the following link:

If you are interested in audio albums on religious studies, philosophy or history, which feature Dr. Iammarino you may want to checkout the following albums: