Eastern and Western Religions — Rituals
One of the great divides and differences — morally and spiritually — between the Western world and the Eastern world is how people worship, what they believe about God and the universe, and what their rituals are. But how much substantive difference can truly be seen between eastern religions and western religions? This paper points to the major differences in terms of the rituals of four great world religions: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Confucianism.
Eastern Religions: Rituals of Confucianism
Author Jeffrey Richey points out that the oldest ritualistic practice in Confucianism is ancestor worship. This includes the remembering of (and revering of) a person — loved one — that has passed on. The commemoration of and the communication with that deceased person is considered a necessary ritualistic sacrifice, Richey explains. The writer makes clear that commemoration of a deceased person is not unique to Confucianism in East Asian religions; indeed, “one need not identify oneself as ‘Confucian’ in order to practiceâ€¦” ancestor worship (Richey, 2008). That having been said, the roots of ancestor worship are deeply held within the Confucian traditions.
Ancestor worship as a ritual has been part of Chinese life “since prehistoric times,” Richey explains; in fact the rulers of the Shang dynasty (1570-1045 B.C.E.) are known to have practiced ancestor worship. That is known because there are writings that document those details from the Shang dynasty. Meantime, there is a saying (documented by the Lunyu records) that aptly illustrates the importance of reverence for ancestors through worship: “Observe what a person has in mind to do when his father is alive, and then observe what he does when his father is dead.” And, the saying continues, “If for three years he makes no changes to his father’s ways, he can be said to be a good son” (Lunyu 1:11 / Richey). This is a good example of the importance of worshiping those that have gone before — especially a beloved family member.
Other rituals that are part of Confucianism include: bowing and being respectful to older people; taking off shoes before entering a house; and writing thank you notes to those who have helped you (Brockbaker, 2013). Moreover, it should be mentioned that Confucianism does not include worshiping a God or any deity; it is more of an ethical religion than a traditional one.
Eastern Religions: Rituals of Hinduism
The most common religious ritual in the Hindu experience is “â€¦the division between purity and pollution,” according to About.com (references used from the U.S. Library of Congress). There is an assumption in the Hindu faith that believers (or practitioners) have some degree of pollution or impurity in their spirit or their daily habits, and so, those impurities must be “overcome or neutralized before and during ritual procedures” (About.com). Hence, to remove those impurities prior to rituals one must be purified with water. Certain impurities must be removed by water prior to the rituals that will be explained in the next paragraph; those impurities might be eating animal flesh, taking the life of an animal, any association with a dead thing — or with bodily fluids — is considered an impurity (About.com).
So, once the impurity is cleansed with water, daily rituals may take place. Most Hindus practice their rituals at home, not in a building (or church). Typically, at the dawn of a new day, the women in the home “â€¦draw auspicious geometric designs in chalk or rice flour on the floor or the doorstep”; and following a bath, a common Hindu ritual is to worship gods at the family shrine (in the home) by lighting a lamp and offering food items to the gods while reciting prayers in Sanskrit (About.com). According to Religion Facts, Hindus that are more philosophical about their faith seek “Realization of the Self” by the ritualistic practice of “intense meditating.”
Western Religions: Rituals of Islam
The Muslim ritual that stands out as the most recognized ritual in the Islamic religion is the ritual prayer (called salat), which devout Muslims perform five times a day. According to Religion Facts, a devout Muslim prays at dawn, mid-day, in the afternoon, at sunset, and during the nighttime. Part of this ritual is not just getting down on one’s knees to pray, but also to face in the direction of Mecca (in the East).
Prior to the salat, a Muslim must ritualistically wash face, hands, and feet; and when there is no water available to wash hands, face and feet, sand is a worthy replacement (Religion Facts). Through the washing of face, hands and feet, a Muslim is performing the ritual of “ablution” (a kind of purification); and the prayers conducted five times a day are for the individual to glorify God (Religion Facts).
Another important ritual observed by devout Muslims is sawm, or fasting. The ritual of fasting actually is a commemoration of the revelation of the holy book of Islam, the Qur’an. In other words, when the Qur’an was revealed to the Islamic community, it was a time of great spiritual awakening. During Ramadan, which occurs in the ninth month of Islamic year, all adult Muslims are required to “â€¦abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse during daylight hours” (Religion Facts). The ritual of fasting is an important part of the Muslim spiritual experience.
Western Religions: Rituals of Judaism
While devout Muslims are asked to pray five times a day, Observant Jews are asked to worship three times a day, and Jews observe the 7th day as the Sabbath, which is the “â€¦epitome of sacred time,” according to Patheos. The Jewish faith has many rituals, and for devout members of Judaism, they are ritualistically obliged to “â€¦constantly remind themselves of God’s presence in their lives,” and they do this through an “â€¦elaborate system of daily prayers, benedictions for all occasions”; and that is done notwithstanding how seemingly ordinary and mundane the reason (Patheos). While the Roman Catholic faith — a Western religion to be sure — and Hinduism, have statues and human-like symbols, Judaism “â€¦vigilantly avoids the use of symbolic representations in worship” (Patheos).
There are other important rituals in the lives of Jewish people. For example, on the first Sabbath following the birth of a child, the father of that child is asked to come forward at the synagogue. When he is at the front of the congregation, he is asked to recite the “aliyah,” and request that the child and the mother be blessed with good health. For baby girls, they are given a name on the first Sabbath following her birth; for baby boys, they are given a name on the eighth day after being born, which is part of the rite of circumcision (Religion Facts).
A ritual for Jewish children that is well-known throughout the West is Bar Mitzvah for boys and Bat Mitzvah for girls. Jewish law does not require children to obey all the Ten Commandments (in the Old Testament); however, when a boy reaches the age of 13, and has his Bar Mitzvah, he is expected to know and understand and obey the Commandments. Likewise, when a girl is 12, and has her Bat Mitzvah, she is fully expected to obey the Commandments.
In conclusion, while there are great differences in the four religions described in this paper, and while the rituals in each of the four are vastly different one from the other, believers in all four of these religions share a common goal: to live up to the values and practices of their faith. Understanding and respecting faiths that are different from one’s own faith is a common human value that should always be emphasized.
About.com. “Hindu Rites & Rituals.” Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://hinduism.about.com.
Brockbaker. “Confucianism: Practices Rituals and Festivals.” PB Works. Retrieved December
10, 2013, from http://brockbaker.pbworks.com.
Patheos. “Rituals and Worship: Judaism.” Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.patheos.com.
Richey, Jeffrey. “Religion Library: Confucianism / Rites and Ceremonies.” Patheos. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.patheos.com.
Religion Facts. “Hindu Rituals and Practices.” Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.religionfacts.com.
Religion Facts: “Jewish Life Cycle Rituals.” Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://religionfacts.com.
Religion Facts. “Sawm: Fasting During Ramadan.” Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.religionfacts.com.
Religion Facts. “Salat: Ritual Prayer.” Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.religionfacts.com.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more