About the Author

Kenneth Cauthen

A better place to begin is: Theological Essays
I spent my career as a teacher of theology, philosophy, and ethics, following a two-year pastorate in a Baptist Church in Georgia. I taught at Mercer University, at Crozer Theological Seminary, and at Colgate-Rochester/Crozer. I am the John Price Crozer Griffith Professor of Theology, emeritus.

I have written sixteen books and numerous articles. Fourteen have been published. and two more are scheduled to appear during 2002 and 2003.  One more is under consideration. When I was in my thirties, I published almost a sermon a year. The most recent book to be published appeared early in 1999.

A List of my Published Books
A Brief Sketch of my Life
Since my retirement I have continued to write. I have completed five manuscripts. The first is The Many Faces of Evil. The thesis of this work is that, in addition to the suffering of body, mind, and spirit, we need at least four other categories to account for the many varieties of evil: (1) injustice, (2) the tragic, (3) the demonic, and (4) the ambiguous. This book was published early in 1997 by CSS Publishing Company of Lima, Ohio.

I define the four faces of evil as follows: (1) INJUSTICE: the denial of deserved opportunities and benefits in our relations with others, (2) THE DEMONIC: the destructive power of the past living on in personality formation and social structures that enslaves people to misery and wrong, (3) THE TRAGIC: suffering to the extent that it is unavoidable and/or irredeemable, and (4) THE AMBIGUOUS: the inseparable mixture of good and evil in many events and choices.

In The Many Faces of Evil I illustrate how one or more and sometimes all four categories illuminate events taken from my own experience, history books, and the daily newspapers: abortion, welfare reform, violence, poverty, divorce, affirmative action, oppression of sexual minorities, assassinations, acts of terrorism, crime, racism, tornadoes, disease, and on and on through a long list. Along with the larger book I published a smaller study guide that could be used in an adult education setting in churches.

The second is a collection of essays under the title Toward a New Modernism. Some of them appear on these pages. This book was published by University Press of America of Lanham, Maryland in 1997.

The third is "I Don't Care What the Bible Says": An Interpretation of Southern History. In this work I employ the categories of the morally wrong (injustice), the demonic, the tragic, and the ambiguous to interpret certain aspects of the history of the South. It is now under consideration for publication. The title comes from an incident in my ministry in which I declared segregation to be unjust and defended the view on the basis of the Bible. A Baptist deacon -- a very decent and good man of deep religious faith -- argued the point with me and finally said angrily, "I don't care what the Bible says, we are not going to allow our schools to be integrated." Reflection on his statement led me to believe that injustice, ambiguity, the tragic, and the demonic were all in full display. It is now under consideration for publication.

The fourth is an argument for assisted death with the title The Ethics of Assisted Death: When Life Becomes a Burden too Hard to Bear (Lima, OH: CSS Publishing Co, 1999).

The fifth is The Ethics of Belief: A Bio-Historical Approach, 2 volumes (Lima, OH: CSS Publishing Co, 2002).

A collection of sermons  produced over many years Rejoicing in Life's "Melissa Moments:" The Joys of Faith and the Challenges of Life will be published Spring 2003.

As a theologian and philosopher of religion, I practice a left-wing version of process-relational thought of an empirical variety in the tradition of Wieman, Meland, and Loomer. This leads me to a form of naturalistic theism that holds to a Limited, Suffering, Struggling God whose creativity has produced all the varieties of life with their urge (eros) toward fulfillment. God is the Life of the World; the World is the Body of God. Primordially, God is a union of Eros and Ideal Possibility (Desire and the Good) generating a creative process that functions at the border of structure and surprise, order and chaos, stable pattern and adventurous novelty to unfold the spectacle of cosmic evolution and the historical emergence of life and humankind . These ideas are developed in my Theological Biology and in Toward a New Modernism.

My interests are in "the Chicago School of theology," empirical theology, theodicy, theology and science, evolutionary theory, southern history and culture, politics and economics especially as they relate to poverty and injustice, the sociology of knowledge, pragmatism, the Atlanta Braves, the North Carolina Tarheels basketball team, and southern pork barbecue -- and somewhat in that ascending order!

An abiding concern of mine is theodicy -- the problem of evil. I conclude that God operates opportunistically through the drive in all life toward fulfillment (eros) in an effort to achieve the best in every situation. This means that God is perfect in love but limited in power. God works in and through the structures and processes of nature, life, and human freedom to accomplish the best possible outcome given the circumstances. God does not and cannot interfere with or redirect by divine fiat the law-abiding processes of nature or the operation of human freedom. These ideas are developed in four of my books: Science, Secularization and God, Theological Biology, The Many Faces of Evil, and Toward a New Modernism.

This site contains a series of theological essays. The best place to begin is with the first link below, which takes you to my Home Page with a complete index.
Theological Essays
I invite responses. Contact me at:
My E-Mail Address
Following is a partial list. The complete list can be found at:
About the Author
A List of my Books
Interpreting the Bible Today
The Authority of the Bible
Using the Bible with Integrity
Natural Law and Moral Relativism
What is Truth -- and Does it Matter?
A Doctrine of God (Short Version)
A Doctrine of God (Long Version)
Trinity: God, Christ, Spirit
God as Masculine and Feminine
Theodicy: the Problem of Evil
Theodicy: A Heterodox Alternative
The Many Faces of Evil
Christ and Christians
A Critique of Niebuhr's Christ and Culture
The Incompatibility of Christianity and Civilization
Christian Ethics
Process Christian Ethics
The Ethics of Belief
Relativism, Morality, Belief
Capital Punishment
Physician Assisted Suicide
Bioethical Decision-Making
Drug Policy
Theology and Ecology
Religion and Politics
Science and Theology
Church and State
A Short Biographical Sketch
For something on the light side, I have rewritten some ancient rhymes for the computer age:
Mother Goose Goes Electronic
First in the family to have a website was my son:
Paul Cauthen
The most recent family entry is that of my son-in-law and daughter:
Ric Brown and Nancy Cauthen
Both are creative and interesting sites. They would welcome a visit.
Last updated Wednesday, June 13, 2001, 5:00 PM