The paper "Funeral Mass Ritual" is a good example of a literature review on religion and theology. "The adaptive value of religious ritual: rituals promote group cohesion by requiring members to engage in behavior that is too costly to fake. " Richard Sosis, American Scientist 92(2): 166, 2004. Rituals are performed for different most of which are meant to evince shared values and common destiny. There is a communication that is usually unique to a group that usually manifests in the rituals that they undertake. One would feel strange in a new set if they do not share the beliefs and actions that are carried out during a ritual.
This is especially the case with public rituals that have various symbolic acts that are arranged in a succeeding manner to create a continuous sequence of symbolic meaning. According to Turner (1988: 75), Ritual is not simply a standardized unit act but ‘ the performance of a complex sequence of symbolic acts. ’ This is what this paper will attempt to present and prove through an explication of the funeral mass ritual in a Taoist religious setting.
This will be intended to demonstrate the fact that that a funeral ritual is a manifestation of the ideal features of ritualism discussed in the text. A funeral mass is a religious event that is usually held for the dead also called requiem mass in most religions. It is presided over by a religious leader in the contemporary world who makes prayers for the soul of the dead person and also encourages the living. My interest in this event is because it is one of those events that have remained significant to people across religions.
It interests me to have to follow it up since at some point in our lives we all will be subjects of its convention. It is also one of the religious events that are treated with much care and reverence by both the bereaved and other mourners. This is true in Taoism as it is with Christianity which is the largest religion in the world. For most religions that care about the connections between the living and the dead or the after-life realm such as is the case with resurrection and reincarnation, it is common for prayers to be held on behalf of the dead.
I, therefore, may be curious to apply a theoretical perception of such an event given that it is usually a sad affair yet attracts many people. According to Turner, and as explained in lecture seven, altar ritual time is a sacred time. People come to this time with humility reflection and resignation. Those who participate do not engage in questioning the rationality of engaging in the actions. Events have existed among people ever since humans adopted a sedimentary life.
The events hold a certain significance for communities and families. One of the oldest religious events involved the carrying out of rites that culminate in disposing of a dead person. Theoretical postulations claim that people happen to have an inbuilt way of reacting to phenomena whenever they happen (Deflem 1991, 18). It so happens that by natural instinct, death will not be responded to as a birth. The response to phenomena entails creating certain procedures, processes, and rituals that will mark it. Furthermore, human beings design certain environments, language, and actions that will be manifested in a particular event.
As they are practiced for a while, they get conditioned to them and will perpetuate them unconsciously.
Deflem, M. (1991). Ritual, anti-structure, and religion: A discussion of Victor Turner's processual symbolic analysis. Journal for the scientific study of religion, 1-25.
Segal, R. A. (1983). Victor Turner theory of ritual. Zygon®, 18(3), 327-335.
Vallejos, T. (1983). Ritual Process and the Family in the Chicano Novel. Melus, 5-16.