International Society for Science & Religion - Library Project

Reenchantment without Supernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion

by David Ray Griffin

Introductory Essay by Thomas Jay Oord

Demonstrating his commitment to the truths of both science and religion, David Ray Griffin offers an apologetic for process philosophy of religion. Reenchantment Without Supernaturalism addresses a wide range of topics pertaining to science and religion, and does so from a process theology/philosophy perspective.

For more than a hundred years, process thought has served as a valuable resource for both scientists and theologians in their quest for comprehensive resolutions to the central issues of science and religion. Griffin is a leading voice in the contemporary process thought movement.

In the opening pages, Griffin outlines what he contends are ten core doctrines of process philosophy. The first listed is “the integration of moral, aesthetic, and religious intuitions with the most general doctrines of the sciences into a self-consistent worldview as one of the central tasks of philosophy in our time.”

Another of the ten core doctrines of process thought, says Griffin, is “the Whiteheadian version of naturalistic theism, according to which a Divine Actuality acts variably but never supernaturally in the world.” This doctrine underlies the book’s title, whereby God is said to be always influencing but never interrupting (“supernatural”) the normal pattern of causal relations of the universe.

At the outset, Griffin identifies the key factors in the current debate about the relation between science, religion and naturalism. He rejects a theory of naturalism that requires sensationism, atheism, and materialism, and Griffin argues that neither science nor religion supports that version of naturalism. He proffers, instead, a theory of naturalism that is prehensive, panentheistic, and panexperientialist.

Griffin brings a process perspective to evaluating various theories of evolution, the problem of evil, mind-body problem, and divine action. He provides a full-length chapter and more on process thought’s particular form of natural theology, including various arguments of a cumulative case for why it is more plausible than not that God exists.

A good portion of the book suggests that process philosophy of religion can be highly resourceful for other crucial questions of our time. For instance, Griffin offers cogent reasons for his argument that process thought provides a preferable basis for speaking about a wide variety of religious experiences. Questions of culture and morality, as they relate to religion and science, are answered from Griffin’s own process perspective. Griffin gives chapter-length response to questions of language, truth, and foundationalism as typically discussed by analytic philosophers of religion. He affirms religious pluralism without endorsing extreme relativism.

Because of its novel formulations and responses to contemporary questions, I recommend this book to process “insiders.” Because of its novel formulations and responses to questions of scientific concern, I recommend this book to scientists seeking religiously and scientifically adequate answers. Because of its comprehensive presentation of process thought, I recommend this book to those who want to decide for themselves the merits of process theology.