Sacred and Secular Activists Are Now Joining Their Strategies for Peacebuilding

Sacred and Secular Activists Are Now Joining Their Strategies for Peacebuilding

Philip Hellmich, Kurt Johnson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3032-9.ch002
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The common ground approaches of the new peace networks are based on an implicit trust in the human spirit, be that defined sacredly or secularly. When there is recognition of common humanity, innate spiritual qualities of tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, and love can be awakened. With these positive human qualities present, it is easier for people to shift their mindset. A new consciousness arises, one where they can start to discern that the “others” are not the problem, but rather that they may share similar problems, such as poverty, corruption, or political manipulation. From there, it is possible to face problems together instead of attacking each other. In essence, the approach was similar to a meditation practice: help a person move beyond fear, expand their identity or consciousness, and experience a sense of oneness or connection with other people and nature. This process opens people to their innate spiritual potential and allows them to tap into collective creativity and possibly higher states of consciousness to identify win-win solutions.
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Recent Transformations In The Context Of Peacebuilding

Conventional science itself has made strides in the last decade to join with a more holistic view of reality more prone to the foundations of peace. After more than a century of parroting the mantra of “survival of the fittest” and “the selfish gene”, a new mainstream paradigm has emerged emphasizing altruism. In the first of Yale University and The Templeton Foundation’s “Series in the Foundational Questions of Science”, Dr. David Sloan Wilson (Wilson, 2015), summarizing work by himself and Dr. E. O. Wilson (the father of Sociobiology) in the Quarterly Review of Biology, lay out proofs that “group” and “multi-level” selection in nature select not for processes and structures that serve self-interest groups but those that serve the well-being of the whole.2

This scientific revolution has spawned a surprising convergence between sacred and secular activists under a new rubric called “prosocial”.3 Prosocial combines secular activism motivated by the new science with the sacred activism visioned by “interspirituality” -- or global, universal, world-centric, and “multiple belonging” spirituality-- whose visioners (Teasdale, 1999). (Johnson & Ord, 2012) and (Johnson & Ord, 2013) proclaimed the following:

“We are at the dawn of a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to our life as the human family in a fragile world. This journey is what spirituality is really about. We are not meant to remain just where we are. We cannot depend on our culture either to guide and support us in our quest. We must do the hard work of clarification together ourselves. This revolution will be the task of the Interspiritual Age. The necessary shifts in consciousness require a new approach to spirituality that transcends past religious cultures of fragmentation and isolation. We need to understand, to really grasp, at an elemental level, that the definitive revolution is the spiritual awakening of humankind” (Teasdale, 1999, p. 4).

This view is identified in the message of over fifty major historical spiritual figures from across the multiplicity of our world’s spiritual and faith traditions4 and includes these fundamental shifts in global awareness necessary for a successful global shift, many of which, as noted, are already happening.

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