The powerful influence of Teilhard de Chardin on recent Catholic theology is matched by the similar influence of Whitehead and Hartshorne on Protestant theology. Both tendencies are rooted in the process philosophy of Bergson. It was no accident that the redoubtable Thomist Jacques Maritain battled early and late against this process philosophy and its theological influence. To Maritain it seemed that Thomism and Bergsonianism in both their epistemology and ontology were radically opposed systems.

Whatever the merits of this polemic, my concern and method in this paper are very different. Dialogic ecumenism has provided us with a non-polemical method of confronting one system of thought with another. In a time of philosophical and theological pluralism little is gained by emphasizing the radical opposition of systems. Instead the adherents of one system must attempt to listen to the problems raised in another system. Then they must seek to discover a solution to these problems in terms of the principles of their own tradition.



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