Process Theology: Economics and Religion

When I first read Process theology, I was put on alert by claims of God loving everyone unconditionally, that God experiences all experiences equally, thereby relativizing all human experiences, and therefore undermining any real claims by victims.  God experiences both the pains of the murderer and the murder victim alike, because God loves both.  So, as Creator, one can say that God has provided a vision in which life is sacred, but the murderer has rejected the vision and killed his/her fellow creature.

One of the disruptive claims that process theologians make is that God does not choose sides.  I have read it and heard it time and time again.  How this works out in economics? well, from the standpoint of looking at the economy from a non-theistic process thought, process theologian and Christian thinker John Cobb argues that the implications are enormous.  Rather than redistribute wealth (as Cobb thinks should happen), all that needs to happen (since the One favors neither the rich or poor), is for the amount of money fused in the economy to be increased (Mesle, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction, page 144).

Process theists challenge liberation theologians at the heart of their arguments: the preferential option for the poor. Rejecting any sort of special election by God, since God does not favor persons, it could be that the class biases of process theists, have a blind spot for the lower classes in society, sounding much like Rand Paul in an interview with CNN, that there is no “upper class or middle class, or lower class” (another proof for Joel and Scott I am not an ideologue):

From Gustavo Gutierrez, in his A Theology of Liberation, God does not choose the poor for the sake of the impoverished alone; God chooses the lowly of the world for both the high and the low, the foolish and the wise. God’s exclusive love for the oppressed is not for exclusion’s sake, but a manifestation of God’s universal love. What this means in terms of economics, I am still working it out.

0 thoughts on “Process Theology: Economics and Religion

  1. Tusk

    I’m glad you’re still working out what this would mean for economics, because this…

    “Rather than redistribute wealth (as Cobb thinks should happen), all that needs to happen (since the One favors neither the rich or poor), is for the amount of money fused in the economy to be increased (Mesle, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction, page 144)”

    Is a terrible idea.

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  2. Tusk

    It’s also scary if you think about the fact that it has already been tried in the past…and failed miserably.

    Economically speaking, currency is just as much a good as hotcakes. When more money is pumped into an economy, the value of that money decreases substantially. To flood the market with money, would essentially be meaningless. The buying power of a dollar would decrease. The nominal cost of producing goods amd rendering services would increase. Nothing class-wise would improve in the least.

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  3. Don Vande Krol

    While I think it is true that Process Theology understands that God does not choose sides (God sends rain on the just and the unjust), and that God’s love is unconditional, I don’t think that your conclusion, “that God experiences all experiences equally, thereby relativizing all human experiences”, is accurate. What seems to be left out, which is part of the “core” of Process thought, is that God has an “aim” which is given to every becoming event (but does not control the process of becoming). Thus God is the ground of all values. God does not enjoy the experience of the murderer and the victim equally.
    I came to Process Theology through Liberation Theology.

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