The Department of Cooperative Spirituality

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Institute for Real God Cooperative Spirituality

OVERVIEW: The focus of THE COOPERATIVE SPIRITUALITY DEPARTMENT is the question:

What is the function of spirituality in the world?

This department provides education about the insufficiency of non-spiritual means (e.g., political, social, or military), in themselves, for creating a true and lasting world peace or world order. It provides education on how to draw the Divine Power into this otherwise mad world, both through the conversion of every aspect of one's individual life, and through the transformation of all relationships both on a local and a global scale via self-transcendence. Egoic principles such as "an eye for an eye" will never finally be overcome otherwise. It also provides education on the various forces in the world that actively work to suppress the real use of Divine Power, particularly in the form of discrimination against new religious movements.

The following diagram provides an overview to the curriculum in this educational track:

There is little point in discussing a spiritual basis for human affairs if we do not also simultaneously understand why, up to this point in human history, no such spiritual basis has ever been established, and what forces (both within ourselves and collectively) have actively worked to keep it that way. For this reason, the courses in this department are broken into two groups:

  • The first group of courses in this department (COOP101 through COOP105) focuses on the necessity of a spiritual basis for adequate handling of human affairs, both global and local. (These courses are co-sponsored by our sister organization, The COTEDA Institute for Global Accord.)

  • The second group of courses (COOP106 through COOP107) studies the political, social and other forces that have always tended to suppress and oppress spiritual forces whenever they have appeared on the world stage, and considers ways to effectively counter these forces. (These courses are co-sponsored by our sister organization, The Foundation against Intolerance of Religious Minorities.)

COURSES:

COOP101: Conventional and Spiritual Approaches to Global and Local Affairs When it becomes painfully clear that political diplomacy, military force, or free market economies by themselves have not (and cannot) bring about world peace (or any other form of global accord), what will? This course examines the view that human and spiritual maturity in the form of the transcendence of human egoity (to an ever greater degree) is the only base on which to build a new world order and a lasting world peace; all other means ultimately depend upon it. The course also consider the view that the only way human beings will ever be able to transcend their own egoity is through Divine Assistance and Spiritual Realization. This course examines these views in the context of twelve areas that largely define the state of the world: political stability, economy, technology transfer, education, population growth, health, culture/community/religion, energy sources and energy distribution, food, water, climate, and biodiversity. The course also considers how the degree to which egoity is transcended on the world stage is always a reflection of the degree to which we each have transcended egoity in our personal lives and communities. Thus the course considers what transcending egoity looks like on a personal and local scale, as well as a world scale.

COOP102: Toward a New Paradigm for Human Civilization In studying the history of Western civilization, we see that the primary paradigm shift over the last two thousand years has been the transition from the childhood of mankind to its adolescence, as the Christian religio-political world view (and the childish dependence of the people on the Church-State) gave way to the world view of scientific materialism and increasing importance was assigned to technological mastery of the world (from the beginnings of the Industrial Age to the 21st century) and anti-authoritarian self-reliance. As many have pointed out, our adolescence is wearing thin. This last epoch of Western (and now global) civilization is not only in its decline, but is also highly dangerous; globalization has amplified the consequences of our actions to the point where a single adolescent mis-step could now prove fatal not only for a few other members of our own tribe, but for the entire planet. This course examines the progression of Western civilization, and considers the next and much needed paradigm shift from the adolescence of mankind into its full maturity, its adulthood. The course posits that that shift is necessarily one of ever-increasing human and spiritual maturity, and considers what is required to bring that about.

COOP103: Let Wisdom Rule: On the Separation of Church and State This course provides a brief history of the "separation of Church and State" issue, from Plato to today, and in States around the world and throughout time. The difference between true freedom of religion where religion is openly expressive and freely exercised and the confinement of all expression of any religion or spiritual path that acknowledges the existence of a Greater Reality to "behind closed doors", which implicitly but powerfully advocates the religion of materialism (in violation of the establishment clause of the US Constitution's Bill of Rights). The dampening and darkening impact of the religion of materialism on the human spirit, and particularly on the survival of minority religions. Why world peace requires both human and spiritual maturity, and why those who have that maturity must require it of their leaders if there is ever to be a true and lasting world peace.

COOP104: Spirituality and Morality Conventional notions of morality range between the materialist's God-less universe in which morality is a purely human and social artifact, not in any way inherent; and the "mainstream religion" notion of God in charge, inherently good, and somehow directing the course of the universe in such a way that good "wins out" at least in the end despite the "problem of evil" in the interim. In this course, we examine a different notion: that God is not in charge, but even so the genuine Spiritual practice of communion with God (and ultimately Realization of God) goes hand in hand with being a naturally moral person who cannot help but serve the Spiritual liberation of all beings.

COOP105: A History of Cooperative Community This course provides a survey of the various experiments in cooperative communal living that have been either proposed or actually carried out throughout history: from the tribe to the hippie movement. The course will also study the purposes, higher aims, and greater benefits (relative to both the commonly available alternatives in their own time as well as now) either hoped for or realized of these smaller scale alternatives to (or building blocks of) the nation-state. An overall conclusion will be that the survival of such communities and their real ability to achieve their own high aims largely depends on the ability of the community's members and leaders to truly transcend their own egoity, in order to live and work together day to day, and, together, fulfill a higher purpose. A useful companion course is SF108: Spiritual Practice and Cooperative Community.

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COOP106: Discrimination Against New Religious Movements, Part 1: How to Construct a Tabloid Expose on Jesus Christ This course examines the reasons why the greatest beings who have ever lived (and who have offered the greatest hope for human kind) have invariably been denied and persecuted (even murdered through horrific means such as crucifixion, poisoning, or being burnt alive). It considers why Jesus, were He to appear again today, would be crucified not by wood and nails, but by indifference, scandals, and litigation. It also considers why discrimination against minority religions continues to be tolerated, even indulged, long after the women's suffrage and black civil rights movements have made discrimination in those particular areas "politically incorrect".

COOP107: Discrimination Against New Religious Movements, Part 2: Where Prejudice Still Runs Unchecked In the twentieth century, much progress was made against several longstanding forms of discrimination. Despite the need for even further progress, such groups as women, men and women of color, homosexuals, and the handicapped, have all made inroads in our society, sensitizing it to, and educating it about, many varieties of prejudice, both overt and subtle. But in one area discrimination against religious minorities and their founders the attitudes of our society are still extremely backward and prejudicial. Button words like "cult" and "cult leader" and knee-jerk associations with "brainwashing" and "exploitation" are used in all the media with the much the same abandon and insensitivity as "nigger" was used before the civil rights movement. This course chronicles the long history of persecution throughout the ages of religious minorities and their founders (including the persecution of Christianity in its infancy, leading to the deaths of Jesus and many of his disciples), and examines the origins of (and the motivations behind) such persection. The course also proposes five stages in the fight against intolerance of religious minorities, based on the successes achieved to date by the movements for civil rights, women's rights, homosexual rights, etc.


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