The effect process philosophy has on American society
Process philosophy grew out of the Romanticism-Transcendentalism movement that lasted nearly 30 years in the mid 19th century (1830–1860). Followers of Romanticism-Transcendentalism believed in pantheism. One where God, Man, and Nature are one. This movement removed the supernatural God and replaced it with man. Once you remove the supernatural God and replace it with fallen men, terrible things can happen. What followed was the Revolutions of 1848, The American Civil war, and the mass emigration of people fleeing war zones.
This produced the view which has prevailed for the last century and a half that Glenn R. Martin calls the theology of non-theism and the religion of non-theism (Martin 2006). Instead of realizing that their philosophy was wrong and returning to a biblical worldview, the disciples of the Romanticism-Transcendentalism movement rejected the views of a God altogether and asserts that all aspects of society are subject to change. Removing God and inserting man as the only rational being, and relying on man’s intellect to perfect society has significantly affected the 20th and 21st centuries.
The effect process philosophy has had on education, I would argue, is a positive one. Although process philosophy puts us in a constant state of revolution, with no fixed truth, some things need to change. One hundred years ago, those that could afford to go to school were the only ones who could go. They either stopped going at a young age and helped work on family farms or businesses. This left education has a dividing line in society. Leading to greater equality and diffing haves from have nots. The idea of mass education as a positive good for society has led to a higher standard of living for the average American.
The ideas of process philosophy and education lead right into the fight for civil rights. There are absolute truths in the world, and I would argue that process philosophy, although always in a state of change, can occasionally hit the truth. Civil rights and treating people as you wish to be treated is a biblical idea that we should lean into more often as a society. The exclusion of Black Americans from schooling, home buying, and a list of things too long to list are unamerican and not right. The civil rights movement pushed us from a dormant state of being and helped move society along, allowing more freedoms to more people.
Another topic that falls within the process philosophy is one of the family and marriage. When we think of the family, we like to think of two parents, husband and wife, with children. This was the case for thousands of years. Sadly, when you stop believing in a supernatural God and allow a man to be the center of your worldview, you allow your freedoms to dominate others. Many women and men no longer find themselves wanting marriage and a family. Since there’s not an absolute truth in process philosophy, marriage has lost its importance. Children are born out of wedlock, and the government social programs play the husband's role, keeping women and children fed while driving them farther from God (Spalding 2012).
The changes in society that were brought along by process philosophy could have happened naturally. The ideas of education and racial equality are biblical principles that more people should have advanced. Deuteronomy 11:19 tells us to teach our children lessons throughout the day. Peter in Act 10:34 said, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality.” We can advance society and allow more freedoms to people without abandoning biblical truths. Without an absolute center point for your worldview, one that can stand the test of time, society and yourself will be in constant change and revolution.
When you abandon an absolute truth, such as God is the center of your worldview, man’s rationality becomes the center. This can lead you to a future with more education for children and advances in the civil rights of minority groups. It can also lead you toward a French Revolution cultural revolt where things change daily and live as you know it is uprooted.
Martin, G. R. (2006). Prevailing worldviews of western society since 1500. Triangle Publishing.
Spalding, M. (2012, September 21). Why the U.S. has a culture of dependency. CNN.