The Ritual Process
Anthropology bases rituals on a specific set of actions that are generally performed for their symbolic value. Rituals have played an important role in religion since the beginning of time. Generally, the common man does not see the act of praying as a ritual of his faith or the various actions associated with receiving a wedding as a means of ritual expressions.
Webster defines ritual as an act performed in accordance with religious law (Merriam-Webster, 2013). Some textbooks, on the other hand, define it as “a ceremonial act … used for specific occasions” (Cunningham, 2012). Rituals tend to play an important role in all religions, from Buddhism to the Catholic faith.
I think it is important to realize that the traditional actions of religious groups tend to eventually become a form of ritual. This is as true for groups as it is for individuals. A ritual by its very repetitive nature often imposes a psychological dependency on those who practice it. A psychologist would inevitably describe it as obsessive-compulsive behavior on the part of the practitioner.
We have discovered that the purpose of rituals is different from fulfilling religious obligations to satisfy practitioners’ spiritual needs (Cunningham, 2012). It is interesting to realize that ritual acts are not limited only to humans, but are also associated with animal species. Animals will always employ ritual actions when preparing to fight another creature or during their mating season.
In his book entitled, “Anthropology of religion: an introduction to religion and popular magic”, O & # 39; Neil mentions social functions that include funeral customs or secret initiations (O & # 39; Neil, 2009). These social functions tend to identify an individual with his chosen religious groups. To this end, I think we should legitimately include those functions such as the church meeting or the classes where people gather and generally offer support to one or the other. From a personal point of view, when I was a teenager I found that attending church functions was a great way to meet other people my age, especially those of the opposite sex.
We often see religion as a belief, but even more so because of the sacredness that defines the community of religions (Cunningham, 2012). We find that many religious groups identify so powerfully with their sacred beliefs that they are willing to end conflicts with other communities that are different from their own. A typical example from Northern Ireland is used and the ongoing conflict that arises from Protestant and Catholic followers.
We find semi-official state religions predominant in the Middle East and Asia more than in America. Although these various religious groups feel as strongly that their beliefs are the only correct ones, they do not cross the line of acceptance from other communities.
Even in the midst of a specific religion, we can often discover many different communities. An example of this would be the Catholic religion which has a varied number of orders that make up the faith. We find ourselves in the midst of other Jesuits, Marianists, and Maryknoll, as well as several hundred others. This does not mean that the other traditional religions also do not have their various sects or subgroups as well (Darring, ND).
Not having strong religious convictions, rituals have no meaning to me even though by definition I have rituals that I get an idea from. By the definition itself, one might view my daily coffee consumption as a kind of ritual (Cunningham, 2012). I have been involved in the ritual of marriage and its various associated secondary knowledge. I have been involved in various social groups both in the past and present which, by all rights, can be considered as rituals by nature, but from the strict basis of religion that has not taken place since my earliest days of youth.
It is interesting to note that several of the questions asked have either taken place in the past or are a current source of news (Cunningham, 2012). As an example, suppose we are asked to what extent our legal system can be taxed to accommodate religious religious communities. They ask where cities can impose restrictions on businesses to close on Sundays for religious reasons. As a child this was often done. It was called blue laws and it prohibited a business from being open on Sundays. Similarly, in the news, recently, a father and mother were jailed for their son’s death as a result of refusing medical treatment for the boy based on his religious convictions. We have seen these events in the past, We are seeing them in our present and with the strong emotions that require us to see them in the future. It remains an ongoing conflict over whether the needs of our society outweigh the needs of the religious community.