Rituals. I strongly dislike them

Rituals. Rituals of the kind where people gather for some purpose to perform some kind of function in a more or less predescribed manner. I strongly dislike most of them, and I cringe every time I have to participate. Even secular rituals and rituals that have nothing to do with any form of beliefs, like graduation ceremonies and the ritual singing of birthday songs. I participate in said ceremonies to show respect and support to the persons in the center of it all (although I dislike the fluff), but I hate being the centerpoint of rituals. For example, when getting married (secularly, of course), I made it a condition that it should be shaved down to the absolute minimum solution, i.e. the smallest possible number of people attending, the bare minimum of ritualistic things to go through, etc. Luckily, the wife is of much of the same opinion as me.

I grew up with a rather mild form of Lutheranism, although my mother made it quite clear that disbelieving was not an option. My father never really talked about religion; I have later come to think he wasn’t really religious, and just kept quiet about it. Even as a kid, I disliked rituals, in particular religious rituals of any kind, which made me feel some form of cognitive dissonance. On one hand, I felt that rituals were a necessary thing even if it felt uncomfortable - why else would there be rituals? On the other hand, I couldn’t understand why all the fluff and pomp and irrelevant ritualistic words and actions were necessary - “Just cut out all the fluff and proceed to the core of what you are trying to do!” It was only later, when I started philosophizing on my own, and learn about mathematics and the sciences (in particular physics, astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, geology, computational theory, and evolution) that it started to dawn on me that I have actually always been an agnostic or an atheist, and that religious rituals were nothing but pomp and feelgood words and actions to lull people into a comfortable believing zone.

As a child, I thought I believed in the christian god, because that was the only philosophical framework that was available to me. It was only much later, long after I self-identified as an atheist (and later tending towards antitheism), that I realized that all those conflicting thoughts i used to have (like “I just read the New Testament, but I find it full of contradictions - there must be something I have misunderstood”, or “I find these sermons quite ridiculous - what part of the picture am I missing here?”, or “Those blasphemic utterances of [other person] make sense logically, but boy is s/he wrong!”) were just a sign that I never really, actually, truly belived in a god. And once I came to that realization, it felt good to escape those religious rituals for good. Superplusgood.

So, what are your opinions/feelings about rituals (of any kind)?

1 Like

I think they’re an extension of the human desire for structure and routine. It can be harmless of course, and if so I don’t object. I’ve a touch of OCD myself, and always look to perfect even the most mundane of tasks. The downside is it often leads me to procrastinate as I find the planning of things often more satisfying than their execution. Plans can easily be perfected, whereas the reality of them is not so easy to perfect.

I was denied any ritual in the form of birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, Mother’s Day, etc.

I rather enjoy them.

I like them too. We have good food, good company, and it breaks up the usual monotony of the work week.

That was the kick-starter for a very young me realizing that organized religion was more social than piety.

My father was a Mason, and each month he would put on his best suit and his Masonic bib, and depart for the evening. I would ask him what he was doing, and he would offer a broad generalization on the evening’s activities. It was just rituals.

Not a fan. Family get-togethers yes, formal rituals no.

It depends what they are really. I mean getting together for xmas dinner, celebrating birthdays, having friends and family over for new years eve, these are rituals of a sort, and I think they’re pretty harmless.

Ritual blood sacrifice to appease the volcanoes spirit, not so much…:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

1 Like

I don’t think I have participated in any for a long time, not even the idea of breakfast, lunch and dinner, though I have been out to dinner with others on occasion. The most ritualistic things in my life are … 1. Work to live. 2. Attendance in a Poker game now and again. 3. Getting dressed in the morning? 4. Taking a shower once a year.

Now you’re just showing off…

It’s odd how we all have different structures lives though. I have worked full time my entire adult life, from the age of 16, that’s almost 40 years now, and I simply cannot go to work without a shower and especially without brushing my teeth in the morning.

I guess habits become hard to break…

As a catholic, the more important rituals are the mass and confession, I always hated both, even when I was believer. As an atheist, such rituals sicken me for the cant I think they truly are.

Hypocrite that I am, I was married in a Catholic church. Both sets of parents were devout Catholics and her parents were very rich. The church wedding was purely pragmatic. It literally paid off in the years to come.

BUT religious rituals have a purpose such as providing comfort, and a sense of community. The last rites comfort the dying and may remove some off the fear of death.

A ritual does not need to be religious.

I think there can be a fine line between habit and ritual; Eg it can be said there is a element of ritual in making tea the traditional way. This how I was taught: Take the pot to the kettle, not the kettle to the pot… One tea spoon of {leaf} tea per person and one for the pot. Water must be boiling. After making the tea allow the pot to stew for a couple of minutes. Add milk to the cup after tea. (not everyone agrees on this point) .

The Japanese tea ceremony is subtle and very complex, but strictly speaking not a religious ritual

There are ritualistic elements to the way I male coffee : Coffee beans must be as fresh as possible, and kept in an air tight jar away from the light. Use a burr grinder rather then a blade grinder. A burr grinder grinds coffee uniformly, a blade grinder does not. I blade grinder can get hot and heat the coffee.

There is also a lot of ritual associated with cooking. Some of it is very old and the stated reasons simply wrong. Have a look at a few older recipes and deconstruct them for sense.

The Japanese tea ceremony is a subtle and complex ,non religious ritual. (look it up)

Change that to ‘doubleplusgood’ and you’re using Newspeak, invented by George Orwell for 1984.

Rituals for some form of “spiritual” reason annoy me. Rituals for fun, some I like. I really like Halloween; I like the fall leaves, carving jack-o-lanterns, it not being 100 [F] / 40 [C] outside anymore (I live in Texas). I like the costume parties, and Halloween cartoons. There are also certain movies that I like to watch at certain times in the year.

However, if I notice that I am doing it because I usually do it and it stops becoming fun, I’ll hold off for a while. After seeing rituals in some catholic churches, you can tell those guys haven’t had fun doing that stuff for 1000s of years :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like


If you want to see rituals turned into an industrial-scale commercial enterprise, visit the Kawasaki Daishi Temple near Tokyo. They will sell you every kind of prayer, charm or spell for your health and good fortune. They have a series of stone pillars representing every temple in Japan, so you can do a nationwide pilgrimage in 10 minutes. They will write your prayer on a piece of kindling and burn it so your request floats up to the gods as smoke. They will even sell you blessed lottery tickets.

You can stand in front of an altar and pray after throwing money into the donation box. When I was there a priest solemnly told me that large-denomination paper money makes a far louder sound in heaven than mere coins.

This place is total-immersion wall-to-wall ritual. It’s ritual overkill turned into a vast money-making enterprise by men in fancy-dress. It’s the true face of religion exposed for all to see. And the architecture and art are amazing.


Halloween, Easter and xmas all have religious beginnings. Halloween is an ancient Celtic ritual called Samhain . Today also known as ‘all hallows eve’ and is sacred to wiccans*** The church tried to usurp the time by declaring 1 November all saints day

Before fireworks were banned here (you now need a licence here) my favourite ritual was bonfire night , 5 November. Commemorating the Guy Fawkes plot to blow up the British parliament in1605. He was executed in the most disgusting and excruciating way which could be devised at the time.

In modern times, he was burned in effigy on huge bonfires and fireworks were
set off.

The poem: (composed in 1805)

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!


***Wicca was invented by a retired British servant called Gerald Gardener and is based on what he thought he knew about druidism . Going by the Wiccans I’ve met over the years, they seem to be slightly woolly little old ladies of both sexes. Quite gentle and harmless as far as I can tell.

1 Like

Actually, that’s what I meant, but then my thoughts wandered onto Ruby Rhod from The Fifth Element with his “supergreen!”, and the damage was done :roll_eyes:

Wasn’t that actually Chris Rock? I seem to remember he got away with a lot with that character

I must admit I was distracted by the luscious Mila Jovovich

Nope, Chris Tucker.

OK. He was pretty good. A wonderfully outrageous creation.

GG was a perverted piece of shit along with his (for a time) bosom pal Crawley. Gairdener and his “Golden Dawn” was a just a vehicle to part women from their knickers and their purses, and gullible men from any vestige of propriety.

Crawley just regurgitated medieval legends, and ballads rewritten in the 18th and nineteenth centuries with a dash of the history of persecutions. Complete fraud. Wicca is a nonsense.

Crawley was a nasty little pervert

I’m aware. Another reason I like it so much is that it annoys the Christians around me who think it still carries some religious significance and refuse to do anything with it.

I am also a fan of Dia de Muertro, even though it has some religious roots. Being so close to Mexico we get some of their rituals here too. Tacos are considered just as much of a Texas food as BBQ with some even striving to make it our official state dish. Not that we invented it, but it is definitely big here.

I was not aware of this. The church was always trying to piss in everybody else’s cheerios.

I found this interesting: Discover the Birth of Halloween as We Know It - Drunk History - YouTube This was how Halloween was modernized in the US, and of course, told in the most American way possible; Drunk History.

Crawley? Is that parody or do you just not like Aleister Crowley? :stuck_out_tongue: It’s not a bad nickname.

I happen to like Crowley myself for being a playful, devious deceiver.

1 Like