- Religion and Philosophy
What if Religious Rituals Did Not Exist?
Looking at Rituals
Rituals remind people of traditions and help them focus on worship. Rituals are part of every religion to some degree and sometimes religions are made up almost entirely of rituals. Rituals and traditions have been around since the first generation of humans. What would life be like if rituals suddenly disappeared? Can humans live without rituals?
Christianity is usually viewed as a somewhat spontaneous and untraditional religion. Yet, there are many different denominations within the religion of Christianity and each vary on specific details. Evangelical Christianity has a few rituals and services can be rather unstructured. However, on the other side of the spectrum, Roman Catholicism is a highly structured and ritualistic wing of Christianity. For the sake of this argument, Evangelical Christianity will be the division of the Christian religion focused on. An Evangelical Christian worship service would most likely include singing and a sermon or teaching. Unless one would consider singing and teaching as rituals, Evangelical Christianity is not a ritualistic religion. Thus, if rituals were to suddenly disappear, Evangelical Christianity would only be slightly affected, if affected at all. However, other major denominations of Christianity where rituals play a significant part of worship would have serious problems and deficiencies were rituals to vanish. Overall, one cannot give a blanket statement and say that Christianity would, or would not be effected by a disappearance of rituals. Some parts would, and others would not be.
Judaism is one of several religions that date back a considerable number of years. And as with those other religions, Judaism is rooted in traditions and rituals. These traditions control most parts of a Jewish person’s lifestyle. Activities motivated by tradition include daily prayers, specific holiday celebrations, and certain food requirements. Although, just like Christianity, there are variations to the original Jewish religion, most still follow the original traditions and rituals. If rituals were to vanish, clearly the Jewish religion would suffer immensely, and might even vanish itself. Holidays such as Yom Kippur, Hanukah, and Pesakh are traditions passed down from generation to generation to help Jews remember what has occurred in the past. These kinds of traditions and rituals make up the Jewish religion. Thus, if rituals were to disappear so would much of Judaism. Other religion such as Buddhism and Hinduism would be in the same boat as Judaism because they are also both religions embedded in rituals. It appears that older religions, such as Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, are more entrenched in rituals whereas, more recent religions, such as Islam and Christianity, are based not so much on rituals and traditions as feelings, thoughts, emotions, and experiences, although, Islam has a fair number of ritualistic observances. Thus, an extinction of rituals would only affect older religions.
As one can see, the ramifications of a sudden disappearance of rituals in religion would be enormous because of the massive amount of people who follow the older ritualistic religions. Countries based on these religions such as Israel, Japan, and India would be thrown into chaos because of the sudden disappearance in what people know and love. Although religions such as Christianity and Islam would be affected, it would not be in a major way. All in all, if rituals and traditions were to vanish, life would be much different for many people around the world, but would it be different for you?
This article is written for fun, examining an implausible situation to gain a better understanding of other religions around the world. Post you thoughts and comments below!
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