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Life history of John B, Cobb

John Cobb was born in February 1925 and he was the youngest of the three children. His parents were the Japanese missionaries who existed during the time period of about forty six years (1919 -1965). John Cobb lived in Hiroshima and Kobe in Japan since the time he was born until 1940 when his parents moved out of Japan. Then, he moved to Georgia where he attended high school and a junior college called Emory at Oxford. At this time, he held a pietistic faith that the living had a very big impact on his ascetic personality and his moral convictions. While in junior college, his pietism involved extremely an ascetic dimension; for instance, the money that might have been spent fare was sent to the mission for lepers in Sudan. His pietism also contributed to moral convictions; he brought blacks to the Georgia church and publicly countered the lies in anti-Japanese propaganda after Pearl Harbor. In the year 1944, John Cobb joined the US Army where he was exposed to the many intellectuals such as the academic-minded Jews and the Irish Catholics who revealed a wonderful world of different perspectives expressed by them to John Cobb. His much religious experience and his intellectual friends in the army made him enter a world of the intellectual i.e. the University of Chicago where he chose an interdepartmental program with the aim of exposing himself to the objections to Christianity that are produced by the modern world. He also experienced the total shattering of his own convictions of the Christian faith, especially his own vision of reality which was based on his prayer life. This shattering made him have some sort of intimacy with Thomas Altizer who always claimed the death of God (Cob B, Ray D and Hough J. 1991)


One year later, Cobb changed his mind of studying for Christian ministry at the Candler School of Theology and he instead entered the University of Chicago Divinity School with the hope for affirmative religious study, where he realized that some of the members in the faculty had dealt with the same challenge that he had. Then, he started struggling with the modern world view to rebuild his own vision of reality with the help of two people i.e. Charles Hartshorne and McKeon Richard.  Richard McKeon, a professor of the philosophy department, introduced philosophical relativism to John Cobb, which claimed that each of the numerous systems was capable of handling some philosophical difficulties in a better way from their perspectives and that all the serious criticisms of major systems were primarily a function of approaching those systems with some alien presuppositions. Charles Hartshorne introduced Cobb to a Whiteheadan metaphysics which made understand and take the issue of God seriously (Cob B, Ray D and Hough J. 1991)  

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Trajectories of John Cobb

In his journey in theology, he had the following three trajectories. The first trajectory was related to John's attempt to rebuild a Christian vision for him by making use of Whitehead cosmology. Here, he was required to interpret and apply the Whitehead's philosophy to the rebuilding of the Christian theology. Then, the second trajectory was initiated with Cliff Cobb who was his son which was about the ecological crisis and the final trajectory of was related to his idea of theology in church' service (Farmer L. 1997)

John's position seems to open a way to beneficial debates without loss of Christian identities which are found in some of the pluralists.

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