There are one time rituals and there are rituals we do every Sunday (or even every day).taletotell wrote:I personally have wondered why God would ask for the rituals. From a psychological standpoint I see them tying us to the church, but not to God. I try to live by having charity and not judging myself or others too harshly.
I think the one time rituals help us remember things. I couldn't tell you what I did every day as a child because every day was largely the same... but I do have a few pieced together memories of the time I went to a hot air balloon festival.
We also have rituals that we do with a set frequency. Study scripture, pray at meals, pray before bed, partake in the sacrament, etc. Those might help us to develop discipline but I also think they help create an environment where we can channel the spirit. I went to a Buddhist service and it was 100% ritual. I talked about my experience with DW after I got home and she clued me in on some things I had missed.
Bowing, chanting, and even burning incense. Those are the rituals the Buddhists did when they were in the mode of trying to channel their spiritual side. If they do their rituals with enough frequency the very act of staring to chant, starting to bow, or even simply smelling the aroma of burning incense can help them get "in the spirital zone." Rituals may even help them tune out distractions or help people go on spiritual autopilot, making the process of clearing the mind come more easily.
It's my experience that western religions are comparatively light on rituals.
It's like when you pack the towel, umbrella, folding chairs, and cooler in the car and put on a floppy hat, sunglasses, and a stripe of sunscreen on your nose. The beach might be a two hour drive away but you're already there in your mind because you've started the "going to the beach" ritual.
On the more human side rituals can unite people. People want to belong to a group and aping others can help us feel like a part of the group. Rituals become these funny, shared behaviors to both show and feel a oneness within a group.