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tales from the woods

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The real Opus Dei

I came across a nice article in Newsweek about the real Opus Dei, as opposed to Dan Brown's dramatized version of this organization. Very often, we tend to throw the baby along with the bathwater when it comes to secretive cults like the Opus Dei, the Freemasons, or the Osho movement. However, there's a lot to be learnt from the basic philosophies of these groups, due to which they attract members in such large numbers. For example:-

So there's no "Opus Dei plan," as some speculate, to infiltrate the European Parliament in Brussels?
Based on my experience, moving around in this world, I just don't think it works like that. I just don't think there's an Opus Dei plan for European politics or anything else. I think there's a sociological reality, that the kind of people attracted to Opus Dei tend to be extremely hard working, tend to be pretty smart and pretty talented, and tend to be conservative, theologically and politically. Put these together and it's no surprise.

Why is work so important to them?
The prime directive of Opus Dei is the sanctification of work … they’ll use that work as a means of redeeming the world, bringing a distinctively Christian approach to law or politics. Part of what that means in their approach to things is a real emphasis on meeting the highest standards of excellence in whatever occupation they’re in because you can’t redeem a work if, in the first place, you don’t do it well.
Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7288539/site/newsweek/page/2/

Now, how many modern Hindu cults or organizations have you come across that lay such a strong emphasis on plain old hard work, eh?


  • Dan Brown dramatised a lot of events, organisations and people to arrive at "The Da Vinci Code". Which is why it should be considered a work of fiction. Alas there isnt much left in this world to unearth, discover or demystify. So a group like the Opus Dei are sensatonalised as cult groups with supposed covert missions,for the sake of fiction.

    Thanks for the link, Found it extremely interesting.

    By Blogger silverine, at August 26, 2005 11:19 PM  

  • You're welcome, Silverine. To give credit where it's due, although Dan Brown dramatizes several cults like the Opus Dei, he ends his stories with the truth, which balances out his exaggerations. The problem is that people selectively remember the sensational bits and ignore the non-sensational parts about these cults.

    By Blogger asli, at August 29, 2005 1:34 AM  

  • Apart from the Bharat Sevashram you mean?

    By Blogger Sinfully Pinstripe, at August 29, 2005 9:20 AM  

  • industrial-strength concoctions
    ha ha ha well said. You just described my Moms concoctions :))
    And now I understand the placebo effect since you have explained it so well. Guess there only so much cruelty the brain can take.
    Thanks for your comments and for the offer on the Book Club. I am already a member of two and am finding it hard to attend even one :)

    By Anonymous silverine, at September 02, 2005 12:05 AM  

  • Oh yes, Silverine. I've suffered the wrath of the kashaayam many a time as well :-)

    By Blogger asli, at September 02, 2005 1:37 AM  

  • Cults in any shape or size make me run away. But I did read the Dan Brown book, and it was OK kind, maybe because the ideas there were new to me.

    By Blogger Mridula, at September 06, 2005 12:45 AM  

  • Well, Mridula, i'm not a cult person either. However, what fascinates me is the sociology behind these cults. Why they came up in the first place, how they became popular, and other such.

    By Blogger asli, at September 06, 2005 4:49 AM  

  • Hello! Right now, I am here just for a polite "Thanks for visiting my blog". But I intend to read it "properly" soon.

    By Anonymous Anirudh, at September 06, 2005 5:36 AM  

  • "they’ll use that work as a means of redeeming the world, bringing a distinctively Christian approach to law or politics."

    I found this line very interesting. I agree that one must conduct his or her work with complete devotion. But what exactly would a christian approach entail?

    Religion according to me should ideally be a path to a god.....but sadly it appears today that religion has become bigger than god itself.

    By Anonymous Alex, at September 09, 2005 12:24 PM  

  • Alex, look at it the other way. Most people i've come across, especially the successful and hard-working ones don't have the time to think beyond their daily grind. Then, one day, they start questioning the purpose and goal of all their hardwork. The Opus Dei, in my opinion, gives many such people a "higher" meaning to their work and meaning to their success. It also gives them a "code" or a work ethic, if you will.

    This basic principle is actually not unlike many other philosophies such as Zen (living for the moment) or the principles of the Bhagavad Gita (code of duty and responsibility). Personally, i find this approach a much more effective way of getting closer to god.

    I do agree with you that the practise of religion nowadays has become bigger than god, and is more of a self-perpetuating machine.

    By Blogger asli, at September 12, 2005 4:00 AM  

  • I would confess I dont know much about the Opus Dei..so did a little reading up on them.

    Well for one why the secrecy?

    Second....if the doctrine says a true christians work is gods work what would you say about a doctor who does abortions? How does one judge the ethical implications of such a profession where something could be done for good as well as bad. And where the good being done itself could be questioned.

    Personally I am against abortions, but I know there are circumstances where one it may be necessary.

    Perhaps I am just too sceptical.....or perhaps I am just disillusioned with any form of religion

    By Anonymous Alex, at September 12, 2005 5:45 AM  

  • Well this might be unrelated but....

    I fail to understand a god who needs his followers to constantly venerate and praise him.

    I fail to see how God could be so conceited.

    I find it difficult to believe in any religion that makes us believe that all our misfortunes are tests of faith by God.

    I would like to believe in having conversations with my God and not just invocations and loud boisterous worship.

    I would like to believe that God is an entity that yields no control on our destiny and instead creates the circumstances from which we must rise.

    I would like to believe that nothing is written for us and we make what we are.

    Have I rambled too much.....sorry for making your blog a kind of writing board.


    By Anonymous Alex, at September 12, 2005 5:47 AM  

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