atheist study theology
Someone who doesn't list his name, writing on a blog called "Why Evolution is True" wins the prize for stupid atheist tricks. He's talking about how he's reading theology, so he knows it's really stupid becuase he's reading it so he sees it's stupid. How does he know it's stupid? He doesn't understand it! Of course, if you don't understand it then it must be stupid. It can't possibly be that you haven't learned enough to understand what it's talking about can it?
Get that last paragraph. Weeeeeeellll dogies Uncle Jed, there ant no learn'n's thar cause I ant learned nutt'n.
Under the tutelage of the estimable Eric MacDonald, I have spent several weeks reading Christian theology. And so far, I have learned only three things:
1. I am spending my middle age reading drivel about beliefs that have no basis in fact. This seems a total waste of time. I could be reading books about real things instead.
2. Theologians can’t write. A lot of what they have to say is postmodern or obscure bafflegab, and I’m starting to believe that this obscurantism is deliberate because of reason 3 (below). I have for example, just opened my book (An Introduction to Christian Theology, edited by Roger A. Badham) to a random chapter, which turned out to be “Process theology and the current church struggle” by John B. Cobb, Jr. (Process theology holds that god is not immutable but changes over time, and so does his creation, not totally under his direction.) And there I find this, in a discussion of Alfred North Whitehead (one of the founders of this “school”):
But each occasion transcends the causality of the past by responding to it with more or less originality. This requires that physical prehensions are supplemented by “conceptual” ones. Thus, in addition to prehending past events, an occasion also takes account of possibilities ingredient in those events or closely related to them. Just how it relates these possibilities to the actualities it feels is its “decision.” That means that in a situation that is inherently indeterminate, there is a determinate outcome Other possibilities are cut off.
Believe me, the book contains paragraphs far more obscure and pretentious than this one. Can you imagine reading this stuff night after night? Do you see why my head feels about to explode? Eric, why are you doing this to me?
3. There seems to be no “knowledge” behind theology, and I haven’t learned anything—not even any clever philosophy. One gets the strong sense when reading theology (and granted, I am biased) that everyone is just making stuff up.
Of course he doesn't know who Alfred North Whitehead was because only an idiot uneducated hick would think there's NO learning behind something Whitehead helped to start. Whitehead was an atheist and Bertram Russell's partner in Pricipia Mathematics which is one of hte most advanced books ever written. what a fool one one have to be to make such dumbass assumptions.
Can't we see at this point what's going on? This is a movement of little unlearned louts who are angry as hell because learned people are getting away with something by being learned. They are just rebelling against against education. It's not about religion it's about hating learning. What kind of fool would assume that the whole 2000 year old tradition is transparent and if you don't get it and tape into it anytime you read any product of it then there's nothing there?
I'm telling you, I went ot seminary for three years. I studied process theology. It's utterly idiotic to say there's no learning there. The problem with it is clear too much learning. It's not transparent becasue there's so much there you need a full four year education in general liberal arts and scinece just to understand enough to be a beginning. The quote he uses above I guess sounds like gibberish to him. It has a meaning. I agree that process theology is bad about off putting language and dense think paragraphs with huge antecedent principles that have to be drug out which lie hiding behind innocent seeming phrases. A lot of seminary work seems designed to put off the unwary the uncommitted. I would echo that as a criticism of modern theology, it's the opposite of inviting, it's off putting. Yet it is just pure stupidity to say there's no learning behind it. Especially since his reason for saying it seems to be that the stuff isn't transparent to him; it doesn't even dawn on him that it might just because he's far enough along in educational achievement to understand advanced ideas. How does this guy respond to non theological philosophy?
Judging from the fact that he seems to think that proving evolution true is disprove of God, and that any sort of criticism of religion is a proof of evolution (the title the blog "why evolution is true" presumably refers to all the material on the blog) indicates that he doesn't know shit from shinola about theology or religion. One must know a lot of philosophy to understand process thought. One needs Hegel to understand process, and Hegel is pretty complex. I would be willing to get this guy has never read a page of Hegel of Whitehead.
The quote listed above is no the starting point for process. Before one can understand that quote one must learn a vocabulary specific to the process theology. "Occasions" are a specific concept for the process thinker. They deal with the appearance of entities in reality. What we are talking about here is sub atomic particles.
Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia
of Western Theology
Alred North Whitehead
Editor: Derek Michaud,
incorporating material by
David L. McMahon (1999).
Whitehead's metaphysical vision is grounded in the primacy of experience of the world. It thus seeks to unify in one conceptual scheme the perennial problems of the One and the Many, subjective and objective reality, and dynamic and substantive understandings of entities. The experience to which Whitehead looks is not merely the sensory experience of self-conscious organisms. Rather, such experience is seen as a rather complex and high-order manifestation of an even more fundamental form of experience. This primordial experience is the experience of becoming and of creativity, the experience of the world as a process in which each individual participates. It is an experience of both profound relationship, of contingency, of the dependence of the self upon the cast history of our cosmic epoch. Yet it is an experience which is subjective. While conditioned by the past, the individual experiences freedom in self-determination. Subjectivity and creativity are the fundamental characteristics of reality.
The fundamental constituent of reality for Whitehead is the actual occasion, sometimes termed the actual entity or occasion of experience. "'Actual entities' - also termed 'actual occasions' - are the final real things of which the world is made up. There is no going behind actual entities to find anything more real" (PR, 18). Actual occasions constitute the basic fabric of our reality. The laws which govern our reality, indeed time and space itself, are the products of the history of actual occasions in our cosmic epoch. Each occasion is an atomic and concrete entity. A useful analogy for the actual occasion is the pixel on a computer screen. The broader patterns are made up of individual points. Each point has an existence, a facticity of its own, but each also contributes to the elaboration of more complex structures. Reality is the coming into existence of such occasions. The world thus envisioned is dynamic, bubbling over everywhere with outbursts of creativity. Hand in hand with this vision of a dynamic reality grounded in actual occasions is the ontological principle. Whitehead states this principle in a variety of ways: "All real togetherness is togetherness in the formal constitution of an actuality" (PR, 32); "It is the principle that everything is positively somewhere in actuality, and in potency everywhere" (PR, 40). Perhaps the clearest explanation is Whitehead's simple assertion that, "The ontological principle can be summarized as: no actual entity, then no reason" (PR, 19). That is, to be real and to exert influence is to exist in an actual entity. As we shall see, the ontological principle is fundamental to the necessity of God in Whitehead's system.
From there my understanding of process is too weak to disclose the rest of the quote. What I do know is the stupidity of starting with that quote. One can make mathematics seem pretty stupid by starting with the advanced stuff.
E = mc2 what does that mean uncle Jed? that's just a bunch of hanckern's after what ant never was.
The new atheist movement is about ignorant uneducated people taking revenge upon educated people for their success. They lean to worship science and vest everything in scinece as the only form of knowledge, since they know nothing of philosophy, literature, art, or any other matter, they must tell themselves they are brilliant for hating God (atheism is about low self esteem) then they must wind up hatted education and wanting to destroy liberal arts. Their rebellion agaisnt religion and theology is just the place where the rubber meets the road in their lives; that's where the educated have rubbed their noses in it.
Here's a pretty intelligent article about Whitehead's ideas by someone who understands them and isn't reading them just to put them down.
from that article:
Yes there ant no learning behind Whithead feller's work. He's just one of stupid theology guys whut ant never been to school, like I have with my amazing six grade edgeamacation.
At Cambridge, Whitehead's formal studies were quite focused. He writes that "during my whole undergraduate period at Trinity, all my lectures were on mathematics, pure and applied. I never went inside another lecture room. But the lectures were only one side of the education" (Whitehead 1947, 7). Whitehead cultivated a coterie of close friends in a variety of disciplines, and they would spend their nights in lively discussion of a wide range of topics. Whitehead became particularly enamored of philosophy, claiming to have committed sections of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason to memory, and writing that "I have never been able to read Hegel: I initiated my attempt by studying some remarks of his on mathematics which struck me as complete nonsense" (ibid.).
Whitehead was awarded a fellowship at Trinity and began to teach there in 1885. He would continue to teach there, eventually rising to the position of Senior Lecturer, until 1910. During his tenure, Whitehead would make two acquaintances which would greatly influence his personal and intellectual development. First, in 1890, Whitehead married Evelyn Willoughby. The impact of Evelyn's presence in his life has often been cited by admirers and biographers, although it is perhaps best to let Whitehead speak for himself on the subject.