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A question about religious rituals, location and belief in omniscience

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Angilion, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 5, 2003

    Posts: 17,370

    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    Prompted by a theist's post in another thread, but I decided it was off-topic for that thread so I started another.

    In a religion which includes the belief in a god (or gods) that are omniscient, why does a believer care where they perform their rituals? It's not religious, since the religion includes the belief that the god(s) know whatever you're doing wherever you do it. Is it social? Is it political? My initial position is that it varies from person to person and it usually social or habit or a vague feeling of appropriateness, but I'd like to get opinions from more theists who follow religions that include belief in a god or gods who know everything or at least know everything about what all their followers are doing.
  2. Dis86


    Joined: Dec 23, 2011

    Posts: 23,861

    Location: Northern England

    I thought the exact same thing.
  3. Destination


    Joined: May 31, 2009

    Posts: 19,800

    I believe that is the conjunction of faith, in that god can be all knowing and all powerful, let allow free will to his subjects.
    Something that makes absolutely no sense.
    So one needs faith to overwhelm sense.
  4. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 68,468

    I agree with your premise but I think the answer is going to depend a bit religion to religion - IIRC the Bible for instance has several bits that set out a formality in terms of worship so it isn't so much down to what the believer cares as such.
  5. iamdjdz


    Joined: Nov 24, 2006

    Posts: 4,378

    In Protestant branches of Christianity the general rule of thumb is that fellowship and coming together to worship God is good, so that's why churches meet in places of worship. These vary in terms of traditions from large lavish cathedrals to school halls, it's not the place its the coming together. Communion is often taken together to remind people of the last supper and the sacrifice that Jesus made, and some denominations will permit this individually and some only with consecrated bread and wine in a place of worship led by a Priest.
    Protestant Christianity believes in the sainthood of all believers meaning that anyone who believes can petition God directly, whereas Catholicism doesn't so have to pray with a Priest or through a beatified Saint. Also Protestants generally believe in the priesthood of all believers meaning anyone who believes can teach or lead worship alone or for others, this differs between denominations in what is considered acceptable, for example woman preachers are still not allowed in some branches.

    Ultimately though its the unification of coming together to worship that means churches are important. And they worship on Sundays in western culture as this is the 7th day of the week (God's day of rest).
  6. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 68,468

    Across the spread of Christian denominations very few actually allow women preachers, etc. over the spread of groups various relatives are part of from my knowledge (though some might be a bit out of date and/or I only have limited 3rd hand experience of) women can't actively take part in the main readings and gospels, etc. only stuff like leading Sunday school type stuff and other events i.e. one group has an evening event every 2-3 weeks where anyone can take up a theme.
  7. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 5, 2003

    Posts: 17,370

    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    So do I and also from person to person in the same religion, which is why I said "I'd like to get opinions from more theists who follow religions that include belief in a god or gods who know everything or at least know everything about what all their followers are doing."

    But it has other bits which can be interpreted as saying that grouping together in a specific place for rituals is unnecessary or even undesirable. A large body of text is always widely open to interpretation.
  8. NVP


    Joined: Sep 6, 2007

    Posts: 7,327

  9. Mr Badger


    Joined: Dec 27, 2009

    Posts: 7,397

    How is organised religion supposed to amass wealth and power if everyone just runs around communing with god directly whenever and wherever they want?
  10. adolf hamster


    Joined: Oct 18, 2012

    Posts: 7,241

    i suspect as much of it is for the social aspect as anything else, regular attendance at a place of worship lets you meet up and socialise with other people in the community.

    in other words the place of worship is more for the human's than the deity's.

    of course that raises the greater argument of why an omniscient deity needs us to pray to them all the time anyway, but that's risking this becoming a much deeper conversation.
  11. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 68,468

    I find on both sides of the fence a lot of that interpretation is what people want to see in a passage in some cases to dismiss it in other cases ideology based, etc. and often missing the spirit of what that passage is saying. Kind of like with the COVID-19 stuff finding a loophole doesn't change the fact that the virus will still act indiscriminately.

    I'm not personally a religious person but I previously worked for a publisher who specialised in philosophical, religious and spiritual works doing digitalisation to preserve a lot of older material or stuff not economical to print or for easier seaching, etc. etc. and read quite a bit of the material and find it amazing just how much IMO is poorly understood by both people practising a religion and those that are critical of it. I had a good laugh as well in the supporting notes for one translation of the Bible where the writer warned of falling into certain traps but then stepped right into those traps themselves! (I'm probably one of the few people who've ever read all that material together in a somewhat objective context without an agenda).
  12. scooby75


    Joined: Sep 20, 2014

    Posts: 15

    I remember my college philosophy tutor, a bit of a nutter to be honest, teaching us about Islam. The ritual wash before prayers, he said, could be done without water. It was symbolic. It did not matter whether you were clean, only that you cleansed yourself, and doing that did not require water, soap or anything else besides the thought of cleansing.

    I have no idea as to whether this is true or not, but as an agnostic raised a Catholic, I would decry any deity who saved an 'evil' person for performing rituals above a person who did good but did not believe in that deity.

    My local priest (Roman Catholic) thinks the same. What we both think is that a lot of rituals started off as a way of telling a story and gradually became "truth" and required practice as a means of control and power, and that has now changed to an unneeded ritual in modern day society.

    I hated going to church as all I could see was hypocracy, and I decided I'd rather be damned for being me than try to be saved by being false. A friend of mine, who deeply believes in the biblical Jesus and the Christian god, said to me that Jesus wasn't religious and would abhor the religions set up involving his name.

    Given your question, assuming you haven't already read it, Jack London's The Iron Heel might interest you. Only halfway through it myself but it's interesting!
  13. Minusorange


    Joined: Nov 25, 2005

    Posts: 5,432

    The irony is a church/place of worship is supposed to be a place to spread the word of God, but one cannot spread word trapped inside a building or single spot on the planet, hoping that non believers will happen to enter, so it simply becomes an echo chamber

    God might be all powerful and all knowing but he is certainly not logical
  14. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 68,468

    In many cases previous i.e. pagan rituals and so on were absorbed and adapted to fit the new religion.

    One of my earliest memories of religion - I was at a wedding or funeral or something as a kid at one of my relatives churches I was kicking a football around on my own in the car park and kicked it under a car - while retrieving it one of the church elders dragged his wife out the back door and started calling her a ******* bitch and all kinds of names and getting physical with her - not 10 minutes before had been preaching forgiveness, etc. and someone my relatives looked up to. It is something that had a fundamental impact on me in terms of making me cynical, etc.

    You also get two different types of brethren/church groups - closed and open - some are very open and advertise others are very closed such as the Plymouth Brethren.
  15. enkoda

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 3, 2010

    Posts: 1,627

    Location: Hants, UK

    It's as simple as that.

    When believers claim God is omniscient, that definition usually comes with a whole load of conditions and limitations that basically render the word pointless. A bit like when they refer to 'truth' - what they actually mean is something that's true to them, a truth that requires no evidence but a bucket load of faith.
  16. LCG-xyz


    Joined: Jul 5, 2016

    Posts: 367

    Conditioning, indoctrination, superstition, fear, belonging, following the rules of the club, performing properly less they are smited.

    What always gets me about religion is that turn to their god for help, when things work out they thank them, when they don't they don't blame their god.

    I saw an interesting flow chart about this very topic recently.