Prayer (in Individual and Group Setting) Constitutes Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1216 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … prayer (in individual and group setting) constitutes a religious object according to the definitions of Dr. Roderick Ninian Smart. He shows how that prayer can be a ritual object even without a literal interpretation and practice of a particular custom.

As we see in our class reading prayer is a religious object according to the methodology of Roderick Ninian Smart. It is what Smart identifies as part of his practical and ritual dimension which specify what the adherents of a particular religion do as part of that religion. He argues that the act of prayer, in forms of hymns or individualistic spiritual meditation, is one of the most fundamental and spontaneous religious practices. As Smith points out, the practice of praying is an extremely experiential act. A leap of faith underlies the act of prayer. Prayers are not confined to the Christian faith, is constructed upon the belief that one is in conversation with superhuman beings or spirits ("Ninian smart's seven," 2010).

As Smart says, prayer constitutes private and solitary moments of quiet reflection on God. This might constitute noisy, group singing and chanting, usually while fully prostrate, while prayer is conducted by a priest. The ritual in Islam includes kneeling down, reciting memorized prayers bowing down repeatedly in direction of Mecca, chanting from the Holy Qur'an while they do so (ibid.).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Prayer (in Individual and Group Setting) Constitutes Assignment

Smart has especially argued for prayer as a religious object when prayer is seen as an element within the healing of the sick. This is accomplished by what Smart in one of his books calls the process of superimposition by an outsider to the religion. However, one can lump a great number of practices under the rubric of prayer from Torah study to Hindus meditating upon a yoga sutra to many other types of ritual practice. By recognizing that outside classification can be an imposition, one can realize that the scope of ritual activity can be virtually without limit. Therefore, Smart's examination of prayer is broad. It does not have to literally be the traditional definition of prayer and can encompass activities as broadly based as a monk cultivating their garden. In this way, one must realize that they do not need to be literal to see prayer as a religious object. Rather, it is necessary to use a broad definition of prayer in order to see it as a religious object that has ritual significance in a religious, ritual system. In this way, the view does not become wooden, but rather stays dynamic in nature (Smart, 1996, 74).

An example of not literalizing the view of prayer as a ritual object and that it has symbolic value can be seen in the Catholic Mass. While it does not represent a literal sacrifice as its ancient Judaic precedent in the Temple, it is still seen as and referred to as a sacrifice. While the literal sacrifice in Judaism may have disappeared (or for the Orthodox, is in abeyance), the status of the ritual as a type of sacrifice continues unabated in the ritual practitioners reckoning. Interestingly though, in an analog sense due to the spread of Christianity and Roman Catholicism. However, even in Judaism, since the Temple has been destroyed, the study about the ritual substitutes for the actual sacrificial ritual and prayer itself. The study of this ritual is an integral part of the daily Jewish worship service in the morning shacharit prayer. In this way, study and prayer has become a substitute for the literal real thing. In such a way, the superimposition of an analog type of interpretation upon what was originally a ritual practice enriches (but also complicates) the study… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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