American Institute of Holistic Theology (AIHT)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AAD, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    There are unique problems about Sedona and AIHT. There is no established standard for "holistic" and "esoteric" ecclesial training, so we have nothing to compare these to. Also, the whole New Age field is full of profit-seeking cranks and para-mental health cranks; evidently both online schools are accommodating these types. So, scepticism is certainly in order. Especially towards "PhD" programs; there's no legitimate religious reason to offer these.
  2. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    My apologies: ACROD seminary is called Christ the Saviour seminary, not Christ the King.
  3. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yes but it is also an issue of marketing. In Canada, many provinces (Ontario) forbid bible colleges from issuing degrees unless they are affiliated to an University.
    If all schools are restricted then there is no problem, people get a diploma and then problem is solved.
    The issue is in the US, if I want to open a bible college that only offers certificates when the vast majority offer degree programs, who will register in my school? At the end of the day, if I want a career as an ordained minister, it just looks better if I add MDiv or PhD in a business card as I might feel that this might bring me more customers for services such as funerals, weddings, etc. A simple Rev title is not enough in a credential inflation world.

    Ministers need to pay their bills too, If I rely on religious services for my income, the degree credential just serves me as a marketing tool. Most are aware that nobody will take these credentials seriously for a secular job but it just helps to make you more marketable.
  4. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I'm reminded of the sadly departed Kepler College which tried unsuccessfully to create a credible state-licensed but never accredited distance-learning masters program in Astrology.

    Here's a couple of their course descriptions and their course listing. Assuming that they covered these subjects reasonably well, I think that this represents an extraordinary curriculum in a decidedly non-traditional subject. (Better than anything the Ivy-league could offer.)

    I have to say that I considered enrolling in it our of personal interest, despite my not believing in astrology. I thought that it looked like a wonderful curriculum in the history of ideas. (Especially at the margins, where things are always the most interesting.)

    Their masters degree took five semesters and included a language requirement. They offered courses in Koine Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. Each of the language classes emphasized primary astrological writings in the original languages. Here's the Greek course description:

    Ancient Greek 1, 2 and 3
    (LS-393-G, LS-394-G and LS-395-G) (3 credits each)
    This course is an introduction to the vocabulary and grammar of Koine Greek. It will emphasize astrological terminology and the philosophical etymology from which these terms are derived. Readings will be chosen from the primary source texts of Hellenistic astrological authors such as Claudius Ptolemy, Vettius Valens, Paulus Alexandrinus, and Hephaistos of Thebes.

    Transmission of Astrology
    (GSC-501) (3 credits)
    This course examines the modes of transmission of astrological and other knowledge between ancient and medieval cultures, especially through trading routes. Students will examine philosophical overlaps between Vedic/Hindu philosophers and Hellenistic (especially Neo-Platonic), specific diffusion channels prior to the Alexandrian conquest, specific comparative ideas between Western and Indian philosophers and their astrological implications, and compare and contrast key components of Hellenistic astrology and their Vedic equivalents.

    The course titles:

    Transmission of Astrology
    (GSC-501) (3 credits)

    Library Research Module
    (GSC-502) (2 credits)

    Philosophy of History
    (GSC-503) (2 credits)

    Definitions of Religion & Modern Theories of Religion as of Celestial Origin
    (GSE-506A)(2 credits)

    Eastern Religions
    (GSE-506B) (3 credits)

    Comparative Mythology
    GSE-506C (3 credits)

    Studies in the Transmission of Ideas between Cultures
    GSE-506Z (3 credits)

    Astrology and its Place in the Ancient World
    (GSC-601) (3 credits)

    Qualitative Research Design
    (GSC-602) (3 credits)

    Religion in the Ancient World
    (GSE-606A (3 credits)

    History of Science and Mathematics in the Ancient World
    (GSE-606B) (3 credits)

    Indus Valley Civilization and Vedic Culture
    (GSE-606C) (3 credits)

    Hellenistic Astrologers
    (GSE-606D) (3 credits)

    The Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva) and the Upanishads
    (GSE-606E) (3 credits)

    The Hermetic Tradition
    (GSE-606F) (3 credits)

    Cross-Cultural Studies in the Ancient World
    (GSE-606Z) 3 credits

    Astrology and its Place in the Medieval World
    (GSC-701) (3 credits)

    Quantitative Research Design
    (GSC-702) (4 credits)

    Religion in the Medieval World
    (GSE-706A) (3 credits)

    History of Science and Mathematics in the Medieval World
    (GSE-706B) (3 credits)

    Neoplatonism and its Impact on the Middle Ages
    (GSE-706C) (3 credits)

    Varahamihira– Brihat Jataka and Brihat Samhita
    (GSE-706D) (3 credits)

    Mantreswara –Phala Deepika and Kalyana Varma – Saravali
    (GSE-706E) (3 credits)

    Ficino through Campanella: Studies in Renaissance Astrology and Magic
    (GSE-706F) (3 credits)

    Cross-Cultural Studies in the History of Science and Religion
    (GSE-706Z) (3 credits)

    Astrology and its Place in the Modern World
    (GSC-801) (3 credits)

    Critical Thinking, Phenomenology and the Insider/Outsider Debate
    (GSC-802) (3 credits)

    Religion in the Modern World
    (GSE-806A) (3 credits)

    History & Philosophy of Science
    (GSE-806B) (3 credits)

    Theosophy: Its Impact on 20th Century Consciousness Movements and Astrology
    (GSE-806C) (3 credits)

    Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in Modern Practice
    (GSE-806D) (2 credits)

    The Four Elements: From Empedocles to Jung
    (GSE-806E) (3 credits)

    Neo-Vedic Astrology: The Impact of Western and Eastern Astrology
    (GSE-806F) (3 credits)

    Astrology and the New Age Movement: A History
    (GSE-806G) (3 credits)

    A History of Skepticism
    (GSE-806H) (3 credits)

    Cross-Cultural Studies in the Modern World
    (GSE-806Z) (3 credits)

    Thesis Research and Preparation
    (GSC-901) (12 credits)[/i]
  5. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    This. Also, tribal pride. For a long time, St. Sophia grads received STL diploma, while the Greek seminarians received a MDiv, covering approximately the same material. Making a (shockingly modest) living in the Church is a function of getting ordained and being assigned a viable parish (both by the Bishop), so degree nomenclature is less of an issue. However, the implication that priests from the heavyweight jurisdictions (who have a history of pushing us around) are somehow more educated than our priests does not sit well. So the school awards an MDiv now. Frankly, if someone has a problem dealing with this, I suggest they get over it.
  6. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Once more these things cannot be compared. Nations degrees were only a hundred dollars a year. Secondly most people thought they were rigorous, I myself find them extremly difficult.

    They also pursued accreditation aggressively. Changing and evolving, hiring experienced staff.

    Lastly they had a full roster of fully educated theologians.

    These schools do not. This is a simple fix, stop offering degrees.
  7. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Nope. They want to signal that their guys are equal in status to traditional Christian ministers; Reverend title and MDiv are ways to do that.

    Now, I can't find excuse for, eg., Sedona's Doctor of Metaphysical Psychology and Doctor of Metaphysical Counselling. Here, they signal equality with secular mental health practitioners, and I just don't believe they can back it up. Same with PhD and especially certain specializations. Looks like they are being misleading in these. Fishy, fishy, fishy.
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Yes, I've such answers in the past but I find them inadequate. Here's why. They leave unanswered these questions: They "might" compel....? Under what conditions might they compel? Which religious liberty considerations specifically? Then this, "...shun outside control" of what? Specifically what might an accrediting body try to control that would make accreditation prohibitive? I remain unconvinced.
  9. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    The issue is a moral one, does anyone here think a substandard degree is ok? Forget it being a religious school for a minute. If we were talking about a medical program would that be ok? No, it would not be. No amount of justifying these degrees will make them legit, you are only fooling yourselfs. Not all unaccredited schools are mills, most are though. But a one year (or less) doctorate degree? No amount of wiggling turns that into anything.

    These schools listed in this thread are not of any quality.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2016
  10. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I would take a very serious objection regarding St. Sophia and Christ the Saviour. St. Sophia at least is standard Orthodox seminary, tightly controlled by the Synod. I imagine same is true for the ACROD school as well. Both denominations are part of Church of Constantinople (so sister churches to the Greeks as well as smaller Bulgarian and Romanian dioceses). As legit as it gets.
  11. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    I don't know enough about St. Sophia to truly comment but the ones mentioned earlier (AIHT and New Seminary) are not legitimate schools. I like everyone on this board, I just hope we can see that substandard schools helps no one.
  12. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I most emphatically opt for #2 there. I think that there are a handful of non-accredited schools that academically speaking offer very good programs.

    There are other objective measures, accreditation isn't the only one. I look at faculty listings, syllabi, publications (and their quality), recognition by those I respect in its subject area, facilities, collaborations, and at awards and grants won.

    Here's how I apply those criteria to a currently unaccredited "religious school" that I consider impeccably legitimate.

    It's the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.

    Degree Programs – Institute of Buddhist Studies

    The Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley offers three masters programs:

    Two are California-state approved and not formally accredited: an MDiv and a Masters of Buddhist Studies (MBS).

    The former and historically the latter serve for preparation of clergy for the Buddhist Churches of America, the IBS' founding denomination. (I consider the affiliation to a tangible denomination that doesn't just exist 'virtually' on the internet to be a strong plus.)

    Buddhist Churches of America

    The MBS is also aimed at individuals interested in the academic study of Buddhism who don't need an accredited degree for employment or doctoral admissions purposes. It allows them a freer choice of electives, I guess. (I think that the MBS syllabus is comparable to syllabi at many RA schools.)

    Master of Buddhist Studies Program Requirements – Institute of Buddhist Studies

    The third degree program is an MA, awarded jointly by IBS and the Graduate Theological Union (WASC and ATS accredited and perhaps the largest consortium of schools of religion in the United States). While not a 'member' school of the GTU, the IBS is recognized as a GTU 'affiliate'. (That affiliation and the joint degree program are certainly indicators of academic credibility in my opinion.)

    The GTU offers its own RA accredited PhD in Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion and all of the specialist doctoral faculty for the Buddhist Studies specialization in that particular program are drawn from the IBS:

    Buddhist Studies | Graduate Theological Union

    (That communicates a very strong message about how the GTU perceives IBS.)

    There's also an affiliation agreement with Ryukoku University in Japan, founded as a school for monks in 1639, that allows students at IBS with suitable Japanese language skills to study at Ryukoku. This is a private Buddhist university in Japan, fully accredited in the Japanese context, affiliated with the same 'Pure Land' form of Buddhism as IBS and BCA.

    IBS scholarly publications are numerous and impressive, quite influential in their academic context. Pacific World, their primary journal, is widely read and cited in the academic community.

    Publications – Institute of Buddhist Studies

    (Another strong indicator.)

    As far as grants and awards go, IBS is a recipient of a prestigious Numata Endowment for Buddhist Studies (along with peer institutions like UC Berkeley, Harvard U., U. Chicago, U. Toronto, U. Leiden, U. London and U. Oxford).

    Numata Programs in Buddhist Studies at Major Universities | BDK America

    Bottom line: Given this thing's reputation in the Buddhist world both here in California and internationally, and given its productivity and associations, I'd say that even their California-approved MBS is not only going to be credible, but perhaps even impressive.

    I would have no hesitation enrolling here and listing the MBS degree on my CV. Anyone who would have any interest in a Buddhist Studies degree in the first place could be expected to already know about this school. That's precisely why I often say that credible non-accredited degrees are most useful in niche applications, where anyone educated in the subject will already be familiar with the program in question.

    This is the kind of model that many other small non-accredited 'religious schools' should try to emulate, assuming that they are really serious about whatever it is that they are doing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2016
  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think you are missing the point about eastern religions. The point of Buddhism is that you don't reach enlightenment by reading books and writing essays like in western religious schools. This is reached by transcendental meditation and other techniques, a degree is useless for the purpose of teaching this religion.

    None of the teachers that I had for this were PhDs, MA or any other academic degree.

    What is even more ridiculous is that someone can actually learn this by just logging into the internet to a web site no matter how many accreditation the course has.

    Again, we are comparing apples with oranges.
  14. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    New seminary is not a one year program, it is a 3 year program and it leads to a DMin degree. A DMin degree is only 30 credits after an MDiv so the 3 year is very reasonable and at the same level as other accredited degrees.

    By the way, New seminary is prestigious for interfaith studies. If you get a degree from this school, you are very likely to get a job (an actual paid one) at an interfaith church.

    I was tempted to take an AIHT degree for personal development at some point but they were very expensive for an unaccredited degree. They wanted 7 to 8K for a PhD or DD. Sedona and other similar schools are 1K so you will be happy to learn that it appears that AIHT is out of business so you don't have to worry about their sticky new age graduates that will compete with your prestigious NationsU degree.

    Again, AIHT, Sedona and alike schools really lead to non paid positions. They are mainly for self development purposes. Metaphysical churches for the most part do not have any temples, organized institutions, etc. Most people with these degrees work at SPAs, spiritual centers, life coachs and other careers making almost poverty line wages so I don't think their 1 year PhD is really a threat to anyone. Don't like them, no problem just don't hire them. Why do they get a PhD? Simple, because most people in the business have one so it seems the minimum requirement to be in the business. A one year PhD in New Age religions do not equal to a PhD or MDiv from a RA school, they are meant for different purposes and are two different products. If you don't believe me, try to use a PhD from Sedona to become a priest in a Presbyterian, Baptist or other similar denomination and see how this goes. The one year for the Sedona PhD is already too much because it is practically useless in the real world.

    By the way, many people with MDivs have the same feeling of superiority over people with MTS, MA and other Masters' in Religion or Theology. An MDIv is a 3 year full time degree while others degrees are one year. When I was doing my MTS at NationsU few people mocked me because it was not an MDiv but an inferior MTS. The snobbery of religious degrees is unbelievable specially coming from people that claim to be spiritual and humble.
  15. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Then why do they need a degree title?
  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Again, Eastern religions do not equal to New Age, Metaphysical and alike religions. Eastern religions for the most part do not grant degrees. AIHT is not (or was) an Eastern religion but a Metaphysical school that is out of business due to the high demand of unaccredited PhDs (being Sarcastic).

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2016
  17. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    I never have said my degree from Nations is anything but what it is, an accredited Biblical education that lead to a degree. Nor do I make a claim that my in progress MTS from Liberty is any such thing. They are legit education that I can proudly use any where I want to.

    I wonder how you can lay claim to a school such as New Seminary being prestigious? Interfaith movement is a scary thing, I could not read the Bible and see it any other way. How could someone learn the teachings of Christ at Nations U and then think it's ok for people to follow another faith? We cannot force our faith nor should we, but it's our job to let people know they are going down a path to ....well you know where.

    Lastly, people of faith are just people, please read Romans 7 to see the struggles we humble and spirit filled people fight with.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2016
  18. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Sorry that was MATS, not MTS.
  19. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Not to worry, Neuhaus. I don't and I do.
  20. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I am not going to get into a religious conversation with you. I respect your faith and beliefs and don't question them. This is the wonderful thing about being free and having the freedom of religion, you can believe anything you want without fearing persecution and are protected by the constitution.

    I live in a multicultural city with people from different faiths. Interfaith allows me to explore other cultures and enrich my understanding of the world. Our interfaith service is growing everyday to the point that we don't have enough people to serve our members, our church does not mandate people to come to services like other faiths but people keep coming for a reason. There is something magical about interfaith that you would only be able to understand if you were able to experience it.

    Most interfaith places run with voluntaries from all over the world and with ministers that perceive no salary. There is something magical about being in an interfaith church that makes people giver their time for free and with no expectations.

    There is common ground among all faiths and this is the center of the training. Some people here question that it is not possible to learn all faiths in one program but interfaith is not about learning dogmas but goes deep into the roots and origins of religion and its philosophy. Instead of preaching dogmas, it is concentrated in a more philosophical approach to the understanding of God and does not preach a particular book but instead makes reference to all religions and also uses modern paradigms to the explanation of consciousness such as quantum physics, transpersonal psychology and other modern paradigms.

    All the best and again, it was all conversation and nothing personal against you.

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