The empty rituals of daily lives

Just as religious rituals move the practitioner away from the immensity of faith, secular rituals move citizens’ attention away from real issues
Serious religious thinkers have tended to distinguish between ritual and religion. Some, of course, have distinguished between spirituality and religion too, mostly because they have associated religion with rituals.
Now, rituals have their uses, as long as we employ them in the full awareness that they are arbitrary and man-made. This applies to secular matters as well as religious ones: I like my ritual of a morning cup of coffee with a biscuit or two, but I do not assume that this is god-ordained or that my day will not commence unless I have my cup of coffee. So, I am not talking of rituals of this sort. I am talking of rituals that are made ‘essential’ to either religion or secular life.
The matter with religion is clear enough. The reason why religious but nonconforming thinkers, like Kabir, railed against rituals was that they perceived how rituals are used, in the name of religion, to control, influence and exploit people. They also felt that rituals are worldly matters and have nothing to do with the divine. The priestly classes insist on rituals, as if god would care about the colour of your dress, the posture of your prayer, the number of your beads, etc. Rituals proliferate in religions because they allow the priestly classes to control and exploit ordinary believers. Instead of being used as an option, the coffee cup ritual becomes a necessity imposed on the ordinary believer, often at great cost.
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