Psychology of Religion - Religion and Ritual

Religion and Ritual

Another significant form of religious practice is ritual. Religious rituals encompass a wide array of practices, but can be defined as the performance of similar actions and vocal expressions based on prescribed tradition and cultural norms. Examples include the Jewish Bar Mitzvah, Christian Holy Eucharist, Hindu Puja, and Muslim Salat and Hajj.

Scheff suggests that ritual provides catharsis, emotional purging, through distancing. This emotional distancing enables an individual to experience feelings with an amount of separation, and thus less intensity. However, the conception of religious ritual as an interactive process has since matured and become more scientifically established. From this view, ritual offers a means to catharsis through behaviors that foster connection with others, allowing for emotional expression. This focus on connection contrasts to the separation that seems to underlie Scheff’s view.

Additional research suggests the social component of ritual. For instance, findings suggest that ritual performance indicates group commitment and prevents the uncommitted from gaining membership benefits. Ritual may aid in emphasizing moral values that serve as group norms and regulate societies. It may also strengthen commitment to moral convictions and likelihood of upholding these social expectations. Thus, performance of rituals may foster social group stability.

Read more about this topic:  Psychology Of Religion

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Famous quotes containing the words religion and, ritual and/or religion:

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