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Discussion 1 to A Miscellany 109
More on the concept of Opus Hominis

by: Zen Rajosta

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I´m the founder of the Opus Hominis. My self given name is Zen Rajosta. I am of German-Austrian origin and I live in Dublin.

Opus Hominis means work of humans instead of Opus Dei which means work of god. In my youth I came in contact with the Opus Dei and I have to admit I was soon annoyed by the Opus Dei because of its backward catholic theology and ultraconservative political approach. Growing older I saw the Opus Dei more and more as a challenge. The genius of the Opus Dei, of the founder Josemaria Escriva, lies in the fact that it states that normal lay people can remain in their jobs and sanctify their lives in the eyes of their  God. My dream became it to bring agnostics together to sanctify their lives in the eyes of fellow humans; to live an ethical and communitarian life in service to the community. Naming the order Opus Hominis is not a declaration of war against the Opus Dei but a homage, a very critical one though.

I regard atheism as a branch of theology but I don´t want to exclude atheists  from the order completely. In my plan a majority of the members should be agnostic. The rest should be as heterogenous as possible.  Agnosticism is here seen as the absence of  religious speculation and the commitment to social and political,- to democratic change, to further justice, freedom and self-determination. To some extent the order should mirror the open society the order wants to achieve; a just society and a free society. The purpose of the Opus Hominis is to cultivate and celebrate agnostic spirituality. It does so by teaching critical, analytical and creative thinking. It is analytical about the past, critical of the present and creative in regard of the future. I firmly believe that critical and creative thinking skills are the best cure for religious or ideological fundamentalism. The order will furthermore study and teach argumentation and debate because they are essential democratic arts. But the talents of every member will be put to use. You don’t need to be an academic to join. There must be a kind of what the religious people call a „Calling“ to serve the community. The order will be international in its scope and membership. The order will most probably be established in Ireland near Dublin somewhere between Boston and Berlin.

Not to believe in religious revelation means for me to find truth  in our minds, in communication processes and with the help of the scientific method.    I believe that analytical, critical and creative thinking give us the tools to find those truths or to come as close to those truths as possible.

I want an order that celebrates communitarian and sustainable living. But I believe that people might opt for communitarian living only for some stretches in their lives. I think people should be able to live in the order for a limited time or in a limited fashion. The Opus Dei is here a good inspiration.  The members will have to work in their jobs but maybe at some stage only part-time. This reality check will be useful.

I want to start the order in 2011 to leave enough time for discussion, meditation, dreaming and critical and creative thinking.

I hope you are interested in the project and maybe you want to drop me a line. Visit my webpage at www.opushominis.org or the German site www.menschenwerk.com.  I will soon establish a blog. Please contact me at opushomi@opushominis.org in confidence.