David Ray Griffin

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David Ray Griffin
Born (1939-08-08) August 8, 1939 (age 82)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Process Theology

David Ray Griffin (born August 8, 1939) is a retired American professor of philosophy of religion and theology, and a political writer. Along with John B. Cobb, Jr., he founded the Center for Process Studies in 1973, a research center of Claremont School of Theology which seeks to promote the common good by means of the relational approach found in process thought.[1] Griffin has published a number of books on the subject of the September 11 attacks, suggesting that there was a conspiracy involving some elements of the United States government.[2]

Life and professional career

David Ray Griffin is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara, California and was a full-time academic from 1973 until April 2004. He is currently a co-director of the Center for Process Studies and is one of the foremost contemporary exponents of process theology, founded on the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne.

Griffin grew up in a small town in Oregon, where he was an active participant in his Disciples of Christ church. After deciding to become a minister, Griffin entered Northwest Christian College but became disenchanted with the conservative-fundamentalist theology that was taught there. While getting his master’s degree in counseling from the University of Oregon, Griffin attended a lecture series delivered by Paul Tillich at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. At this time, Griffin made his decision to focus on philosophical theology. He eventually attended the Claremont Graduate University, where Griffin received his Ph.D. in 1970.[3]

As a student in Claremont, Griffin was initially interested in Eastern religions, particularly Vedanta. However, he started to become a process theologian while attending John B. Cobb’s seminar on Whitehead’s philosophy. According to Griffin, process theology, as presented by Cobb, “provided a way between the old supernaturalism, according to which God miraculously interrupted the normal causal processes now and then, and a view according to which God is something like a cosmic hydraulic jack, exerting the same pressure always and everywhere (which described rather aptly the position to which I had come)" (Primordial Truth and Postmodern Theology). Griffin applied Whitehead’s thought to the traditional theological subjects of christology and theodicy and argued that process theology also provided a sound basis for addressing contemporary social and ecological issues.[4]

After teaching theology and Eastern religions at the University of Dayton, Griffin came to appreciate the distinctively postmodern aspects of Whitehead’s thought. In particular, Griffin found Whitehead’s nonsensationist epistemology and panexperientialist ontology immensely helpful in addressing the major problems of modern philosophy, including the problems of mind-body interaction, the interaction between free and determined things, the emergence of experience from nonexperiencing matter, and the emergence of time in the evolutionary process. In 1973, Griffin returned to Claremont to establish, with Cobb, the Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology.[5]

While on research leave in 1980–81 at Cambridge University and Berkeley, the contrast between modernity and postmodernity became central to his work. Many of Griffin’s writings are devoted to developing postmodern proposals for overcoming the conflicts between religion and modern science. Griffin came to believe that much of the tension between religion and science was not only the result of reactionary supernaturalism but also the mechanistic worldview associated with the rise of modern science in the seventeenth century. In 1983, Griffin started the Center for a Postmodern World in Santa Barbara and became editor of the SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Philosophy between 1987 and 2004.[6]

Statements and publications on the September 11 attacks

Following the September 11 attacks, David Ray Griffin moved his focus from questions of philosophy and religion to ones of politics and history, specifically American expansionism and imperialism. He intended to write a book on the subject, presenting 9/11 in terms of "blowback" for aggressive United States foreign policies of the 20th century:

"Until the spring of 2003, I had not looked at any of the evidence. I was vaguely aware there were people, at least on the internet, who were offering evidence against the official account of 9/11... I knew the US government had 'fabricated' evidence to go to war several times before. Nevertheless... I did not take this possibility seriously... I was so confident that they must be wrong." [7]

After reading the work of Paul Thompson and Nafeez Ahmed, he became convinced that there was a prima facie case for the contention that there must have been complicity from individuals within the United States and joined the 9/11 Truth Movement in calling for an extensive investigation from the United States media, Congress and the 9/11 Commission. At this time, he set about writing his first book on the subject, which he called The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004).[8]

Part One of the book looks at the events of 9/11, discussing each flight in turn and also the behaviour of President George W. Bush and his Secret Service protection. Part Two examines 9/11 in a wider context, in the form of four "disturbing questions." David Ray Griffin discussed this book and the claims within it in an interview with Nick Welsh, reported under the headline Thinking Unthinkable Thoughts: Theologian Charges White House Complicity in 9/11 Attack.[9]

Critics of Griffin's thesis, such as Chip Berlet, have said that many of the claims in the book are refutable.[10] Griffin has rejected these criticisms[11] and debated Berlet.[12]

Griffin's second book on the subject was a direct critique of the 9/11 Commission Report, called The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions (2005).[13] Griffin's article The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-page Lie summarizes this book, presenting 115 instances of either omissions or distortions of evidence he claims are in the report, stating that "the entire Report is constructed in support of one big lie: that the official story about 9/11 is true."[14]

In his next book, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (2006), he summarizes some of what he believes is evidence for government complicity and reflects on its implications for Christians. The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, publishers of the book, noted that Griffin is a distinguished theologian and praised the book’s religious content, but said, "The board believes the conspiracy theory is spurious and based on questionable research."[15][16]

In 2006, Griffin, along with Peter Dale Scott, edited 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, a collection of essays including Steven Jones' paper Why Indeed Did The World Trade Center Towers Collapse?.[17] Debunking 9/11 Debunking (2007) looks at the way mainstream media such as Popular Mechanics have sought to debunk the alternative 9/11 theories and the tactics he claims they employ to persuade the reader that they have done so.[18] In 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (2008), he presents chapters on 25 alleged contradictions involving elements of the "accepted story" of 9/11 and calls for Congress and the press to investigate and resolve them.[19]

David Ray Griffin has delivered several lectures that are popular within the 9/11 Truth Movement and has given interviews on alternative media shows such as The Alex Jones Show.[20] A lecture entitled 9/11 and American Empire: How should religious people respond?, delivered on April 18, 2005, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was aired by C-SPAN.[21] At the end of one of his lectures entitled 9/11: The Myth and the Reality Griffin was asked why a theologian would take such an interest in 9/11, to which he replied: "If 9/11 is not a religious issue, then I don't know what is."[22]

In a review published in the magazine The Nation, former Central Intelligence Agency agent Robert Baer dismissed the gist of Griffin's writings as one in a long line of conspiracy theories about national tragedies but stated that the Bush administration had created a climate of secrecy and mistrust that helped generate such explanations.[23] In the review, Baer said:

"As more facts emerge about September 11, many of Griffin's questions should be answered, but his suspicions will never be put to rest as long as the Bush Administration refuses to explain why it dragged this country into the most senseless war in its history. Until then, otherwise reasonable Americans will believe the Bush Administration benefited from 9/11, and there will always be a question about what really happened on that day."


About philosophy, theology, and religion

  • A process Christology, Westminster Press, 1973, ISBN 0-664-20978-5
  • Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition, with John B. Cobb, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976, ISBN 0-664-24743-1
  • John Cobb's Theology in Process, Westminster John Knox Press, 1977, ISBN 0-664-21292-1
  • Process and Reality, Free Press; 2nd edition, 1979, ISBN 0-02-934570-7
  • Physics and the Ultimate Significance of Time: Bohm, Prigogine and Process Philosophy, State University of New York Press, 1986, ISBN 0-88706-115-X
  • The Reenchantment of Science: Postmodern Proposals (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State Univ of New York Press, 1988, ISBN 0-88706-784-0
  • Spirituality and Society: Postmodern Visions (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1988, ISBN 0-88706-853-7
  • Varieties of Postmodern Theology (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1989, ISBN 0-7914-0050-6
  • God and Religion in the Postmodern World: Essays in Postmodern Theology (Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1989, ISBN 0-88706-929-0
  • Archetypal Process: Self and Divine in Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman, Northwestern University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-8101-0815-1
  • Sacred Interconnections: Postmodern Spirituality, Political Economy and Art (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7914-0231-2
  • Primordial Truth and Postmodern Theology (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7914-0198-7
  • God, Power, and Evil: A Process Theodicy, University Press of America, 1991, ISBN 0-8191-7687-7
  • Evil Revisited: Responses and Reconsiderations, State University of New York Press, 1991, ISBN 0-7914-0612-1
  • Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy: Peirce, James, Bergson, Whitehead, and Hartshorne (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1993, ISBN 0-7914-1333-0
  • Postmodern Politics for a Planet in Crisis: Policy, Process, and Presidential Vision (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1993, ISBN 0-7914-1485-X
  • Jewish Theology and Process Thought (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1996, ISBN 0-7914-2810-9
  • Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1997, ISBN 0-7914-3315-3
  • Reenchantment Without Supernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion), Cornell University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8014-3778-4
  • Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought),State University of New York Press, 2000, ISBN 0-7914-4563-1
  • Process Theology and the Christian Good News: A Response to Classical Free Will Theism in 'Searching for an Adequate God: A Dialogue between Process and Free Will Theists', Cobb and Pinnock (editors), Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-8028-4739-0
  • Two Great Truths: A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, ISBN 0-664-22773-2
  • Deep Religious Pluralism, Westminster John Knox Press, 2005, ISBN 0-664-22914-X
  • Whitehead's Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy: An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance (SUNY Series in Philosophy), State University of New York Press, 2007, ISBN 0-7914-7049-0
  • Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism: Rethinking Evil, Morality, Religious Experience, Religious Pluralism, and the Academic Study of Religion, Claremont, Process Century Press, 2014

About the September 11 attacks

About the work of David Ray Griffin


  1. "About the Center". The Center for Process Studies. Retrieved December 14, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Powell, Michael (September 8, 2006). "The Disbelievers – 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Are Building Their Case Against the Government From Ground Zero". Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Directory of history departments and organizations in the United States and Canada. American Historical Association. 1991. p. 101.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. David R. Griffin (2007). Whitehead's radically different postmodern philosophy: an argument for its contemporary relevance. State University of New York.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Leslie A. Muray (2008). Liberal Protestantism and science. Greenwood Press. p. 97.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Kevin J. Vanhoozer, ed. (2003). The Cambridge companion to postmodern theology. Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 94.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Griffin, David Ray; Richard Falk (2004). The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. p. 13. ISBN 1-56656-552-9. Retrieved July 26, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Griffin, David Ray; Richard Falk. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. ISBN 1-56656-552-9. Retrieved July 26, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Native Forest Council: News
  10. PublicEye.org – Post 9/11 Conspiracism
  11. PublicEye.org – Response to Chip Berlet's Review of "The New Pearl Harbor"
  12. Democracy Now! | The New Pearl Harbor: A Debate On A New Book That Alleges The Bush Administration Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks
  13. Griffin, David (2004). The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 1-56656-584-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "David Ray Griffin's "The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-page Lie"".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Smith, Peter (2006). "Presbyterian publishing board criticizes own book". courier-journal.com. The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 28, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  16. Kane, Jason (2006). "PPC backs away from 9/11 conspiracy book". Presbyterian News Service. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Retrieved November 28, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Griffin, David Ray (2006). 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, Vol. 1. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 1-56656-659-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Griffin, David Ray (2007). Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 978-1-56656-686-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Thomsson, Lena (May 2, 2009). "25 frågor hela världen vill ha svar på". Gefle Dagblad. Retrieved May 26, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Alex Jones Interviews David Ray Griffin
  21. 911truth.org ::::: 9/11 and American Empire: How should religious people respond?
  22. "9/11: The Myth and the Reality" Lecture
  23. "Dangerous Liaisons," September 27, 2004)

External links