From Models of God to a Model of Gods: How Whiteheadian Metaphysics Facilitates Western Language Discussion of Divine Multiplicity

Philosophia 35 (3-4):329-340 (2007)
Abstract
In today’s society, models of God are challenged to account for more than the postmodern context in which Western Christianity finds itself; they should also consider the reality of religious pluralism. Non-monotheistic religions present a particular challenge to Western theological and philosophical God-modeling because they require a model of Gods. This paper uses an African traditional religion as a case study to problematize the effects of monotheism on philosophical models of God. The desire to uphold the image of a singular God tends to invalidate religious experiences that deviate from a given scientifically-verifiable norm. It also mischaracterizes the concept of divinity in religions that maintain divine multiplicity. That is, scholars of African traditional religions affirm that “polytheism” is not an accurate naming of their traditions; rather these religions affirm a community of gods. I propose a Whiteheadian process model that describes a community of gods that has active interaction with the temporal world. Such a model not only broadens conversations of religious pluralism for Western-trained religious scholars, but also acknowledges the Western context in which many practitioners of African traditional religions live
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