On the Nature of Worship from a Whiteheadian Perspective

On the Nature of Worship from a Whiteheadian Perspective

Posted on:Jan 20 2009
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Bibliography: Whiteheadian Thought as a Basis for a Philosophy of Religion by Forest Wood, Jr. http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=2736&C=2475

A far better view is found in Hartshorne’s suggestion: “Worship is the integrating of all one’s thoughts and purposes, all valuations and meanings, all perceptions and conceptions.”3 Worship is a consciously unitary response to life. And God, the object of worship, is”…the wholeness of the world, correlative to the wholeness of every sound individual dealing with the world.”4 The term “individual” in his comment applies not only to people but to any entity whatsoever: “Any sentient individual in any world experiences and acts as one. . .”5 These ideas of Hartshorne’s do not stand in isolation; rather they are part of a Whiteheadian world-view in which each individual entity is an integration of parts into a whole. Whitehead’s principle is “The many become one, and are increased by one.” (Process and Reality, Corrected Edition, ed. Griffin & Sherburne, New York: The Free Press, 1978, 21)

Hartshorne makes another major contribution to our understanding of worshiping and serving God. The insight is a surprising one. Hartshorne argues that people (and other things) contribute”…value to God which he would otherwise lack.”6 God is a real recipient of our actions. This notion is consistent with the Whiteheadian metaphysic that each entity contributes value to other entities. Each entity in the universe (including God) is internally related to other entities. That people (and other things) contribute value to God gives real meaning to the lives of people and the events of the world.


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