Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated leader. Such acts may involve honoring.
The word is derived from the Old English weorþscipe, meaning to venerate "worship, honour shown to an object, which has been etymologised as "worthiness or worth-ship"—to give, at its simplest, worth to something.
Worship in Buddhism may take innumerable forms given the doctrine of skillful means. Worship is evident in Buddhism in such forms as: guru yoga, mandala, thanka, yantra yoga, the discipline of the fighting monks of Shaolin, panchamrita, mantra recitation, tea ceremony, ganacakra, amongst others. Buddhist Devotion is an important part of the practice of most Buddhists. According to a spokesman of the Sasana Council of Burma, devotion to Buddhist spiritual practices inspires devotion to the Triple Gem. Most Buddhists use ritual in pursuit of their spiritual aspirations. In Buddhism, puja (Sanskrit & Pali: pūjā) are expressions of "honour, worship and devotional attention." Acts of puja include bowing, making offerings and chanting. These devotional acts are generally performed daily at home (either in the morning or evening or both) as well as during communal festivals and Uposatha days at a temple.
Meditation (samādhi) is a central form of worship in Buddhism. This practice is focused on the third step of the Eightfold Path that ultimately leads to self awakening, also known as enlightenment. Meditation promotes self-awareness and exploration of the mind and spirit. Traditionally, Buddhist meditation had combined samatha (the act of stopping and calming oneself) and vipasyana (seeing clearly within) to create a complete mind and body experience. By stopping one's everyday activities and focusing on something simple, the mind can open and expand enough to reach a spiritual level. By practicing the step of vipasyana, one does not achieve the final stage of awareness, but rather approaches one step closer. Mindful meditation teaches one to stop reacting quickly to thoughts and external objects that present themselves, but rather to peacefully hold the thought without immediately responding to it. Although in traditional Buddhist faith, enlightenment is the desired end goal of meditation, it is more of a cycle in a literal sense that helps individuals better understand their minds. For example, meditation leads to understanding, leading to kindness, leading to peace, etc.
In Christianity, a church service is a formalized period of communal worship, often but not exclusively occurring on Sunday (or on Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism). The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the "Word of God" (the Holy Bible) and encouraged in their faith. Technically, the "church" in "church service" refers to the gathering of the faithful rather than to the building in which the event takes place. In Christianity, worship is reverent honor and homage paid to God. The New Testament uses various words to express the concept of worship. The word proskuneo - "to worship" - means to bow down (to Gods or to kings).
Mass is the central act of divine worship in the Catholic Church. The Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican publishes a Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy. Roman Catholic devotions are "external practices of piety" which are not part of the official liturgy of the Catholic Church but are part of the popular spiritual practices of Catholics. They do not become part of liturgical worship, even if conducted in a Catholic church, in a group, in the presence of a priest.
Anglican devotions are private prayers and practices used by Anglican Christians to promote spiritual growth and communion with God. Among members of the Anglican Communion, private devotional habits vary widely, depending on personal preference and on affiliation with low-church or high-church parishes.
The external acts of veneration resemble those of worship, but differ in their object and intent. Protestant Christians, who reject the veneration of saints, question whether Catholics always maintain such a distinction in actual devotional practice, especially at the level of folk religion.
According to Mark Miravalle the English word "worship" is equivocal, in that it has been used (in Catholic writing, at any rate) to denote both adoration/latria and veneration/dulia, and in some cases even as a synonym for veneration as distinct from adoration:
As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, adoration, which is known as latria in classical theology, is the worship and homage that is rightly offered to God alone. It is the manifestation of submission, and acknowledgement of dependence, appropriately shown towards the excellence of an uncreated divine person and to his absolute Lordship. It is the worship of the Creator that God alone deserves. Although we see in English a broader usage of the word "adoration" which may not refer to a form of worship exclusive to God—for example, when a husband says that he "adores his wife"—in general it can be maintained that adoration is the best English denotation for the worship of latria.
Veneration, known as dulia in classical theology, is the honor and reverence appropriately due to the excellence of a created person. Excellence exhibited by created beings likewise deserves recognition and honor. We see a general example of veneration in events like the awarding of academic awards for excellence in school, or the awarding of olympic medals for excellence in sports. There is nothing contrary to the proper adoration of God when we offer the appropriate honor and recognition that created persons deserve based on achievement in excellence.
We must make a further clarification regarding the use of the term "worship" in relation to the categories of adoration and veneration. Historically, schools of theology have used the term "worship" as a general term which included both adoration and veneration. They would distinguish between "worship of adoration" and "worship of veneration." The word "worship" (in a similar way to how the liturgical term "cult" is traditionally used) was not synonymous with adoration, but could be used to introduce either adoration or veneration. Hence Catholic sources will sometimes use the term "worship" not to indicate adoration, but only the worship of veneration given to Mary and the saints.
Orthodox Judaism and orthodox Sunni Islam hold that for all practical purposes veneration should be considered the same as prayer; Orthodox Judaism (arguably with the exception of some Chasidic practices), orthodox Sunni Islam, and most kinds of Protestantism forbid veneration of saints or of angels, classifying these actions as akin to idolatry.
Similarly, Jehovah's Witnesses assert that many actions classified as patriotic by Protestant groups, such as saluting a flag, count as equivalent to worship and are therefore considered idolatrous as well.
Worship in Hinduism involves invoking higher forces to assist in spiritual and material progress and is simultaneously both a science and an art. A sense of bhakti or devotional love is generally invoked. This term is probably a central one in Hinduism. A direct translation from the Sanskrit to English is problematic. Worship takes a multitude of forms depending on community groups, geography and language. There is a flavour of loving and being in love with whatever object or focus of devotion. Worship is not confined to any place of worship, it also incorporates personal reflection, art forms and group. People usually perform worship to achieve some specific end or to integrate the body, the mind and the spirit in order to help the performer evolve into a higher being.
In Islam, worship refers to ritualistic devotion as well as actions done in accordance to Islamic law which is ordained by and pleasing to Allah (God). Worship is included in the Five Pillars of Islam, primarily that of salat, which is the practice of ritual prayer five times daily.
Thus, the innermost purpose of the creation of all rational beings is their cognition of the existence of Allah and, hence, their conscious willingness to conform their own existence to whatever they may perceive of His will and plan: and it is this twofold concept of cognition and willingness that gives the deepest meaning to what the Quran describes as "worship". As the next verse shows, this spiritual call does not arise from any supposed "need" on the part of the Creator, who is self-sufficient and infinite in His power, but is designed as an instrument for the inner development of the worshipper, who, by the act of his conscious self-surrender to the all-pervading Creative Will, may hope to come closer to an understanding of that Will and, thus closer to Allah Himself.
Worship of God in Judaism is called Avodat Hashem. During the period when the Temple stood, the rites conducted there were considered the most important act of Jewish worship. However, the most common form of worship was and remains that of prayer. Other forms of worship include the conduct of prescribed rituals, such as the Passover Seder and waving the Four Species, with proper intent, as well as various types of Jewish meditation.
Jewish sources also express the notion that one can perform any appropriate mundane activity as the worship of God. Examples would include returning a lost article and working to support oneself and one's family.
In Sikhism, worship takes place after the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the work of the 10 Sikh Gurus all in one. Sikhs worship God and only one God, known as "One Creator", "The Wonderful Teacher" (Waheguru), or "Destroyer of Darkness".
Wiccan worship commonly takes place during a full moon or a new moon. Such rituals are called an Esbat and may involve a magic circle which practitioners believe will contain energy and form a sacred space, or will provide them a form of magical protection.
In modern society and sociology, some writers have commented on the ways that people no longer simply worship recognised deities, but also (or instead) worship consumer brands, sports teams, and other people (celebrities). Sociology therefore extends this argument to suggest that religion and worship is a process whereby society worships itself, as a form of self-valorization and self-preservation.
The English term 'worship' itself derives from an Anglo-Saxon word for 'honour' (weorthscipe) suggesting again that worship is an action honouring one who is worthy.
A cappella ( US: , Italian: [a kapˈpɛlla]; Italian for "in the manner of the chapel") music is specifically group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It contrasts with cantata, which is usually accompanied singing. The term a cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century, a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music. The term is also used, albeit rarely, as a synonym for alla breve.Astarte
Astarte (Greek: Ἀστάρτη, Astártē) is the Hellenized form of the Middle Eastern goddess Astoreth (Northwest Semitic), a form of Ishtar (East Semitic), worshipped from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity. The name is particularly associated with her worship in the ancient Levant among the Canaanites and Phoenicians. She was also celebrated in Egypt following the importation of Levantine cults there. The name Astarte is sometimes also applied to her cults in Mesopotamian cultures like Assyria and Babylonia.Christian worship
In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God. In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo ("to worship") which means to bow down to God or kings.Throughout most of Christianity's history, corporate Christian worship has been liturgical, characterized by prayers and hymns, with texts rooted in, or closely related to, the Scripture, particularly the Psalter; this form of sacramental and ceremonial worship is still practiced by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, as well as some Protestant denominations such as Lutheranism and Methodism.
In Evangelicalism, worship is viewed like an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception.
The term liturgy is derived from the Greek leitourgia meaning "public service" and is formed by two words: "laos" (people) and "ergon" (work), literally "work of the people". Responsorial prayers are a series of petitions read or sung by a leader with responses made by the congregation. Set times for prayer during the day were established (based substantially on Jewish models), and a festal cycle throughout the Church year governed the celebration of feasts and holy days pertaining to the events in the life of Jesus, the lives of the saints, and aspects of the Godhead.
A great deal of emphasis was placed on the forms of worship, as they were seen in terms of the Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi ("the rule of prayer is the rule of belief")—that is, the specifics of one's worship express, teach, and govern the doctrinal beliefs of the community. According to this view, alterations in the patterns and content of worship would necessarily reflect a change in the faith itself. Each time a heresy arose in the Church, it was typically accompanied by a shift in worship for the heretical group. Orthodoxy in faith also meant orthodoxy in worship, and vice versa. Thus, unity in Christian worship was understood to be a fulfillment of Jesus' words that the time was at hand when true worshipers would worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).Contemporary worship music
Contemporary worship music (CWM), also known as praise and worship music, is a defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary worship. It has developed over the past sixty years and is stylistically similar to pop music. The songs are frequently referred to as "praise songs" or "worship songs" and are typically led by a "worship band" or "praise team", with either a guitarist or pianist leading. It has become a common genre of music sung in many churches, particularly in charismatic or non-denominational Protestant churches with some Roman Catholic congregations incorporating it into their mass as well.Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when a country's regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. It is often seen in totalitarian or authoritarian countries.
The term came to prominence in 1956, in Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev, who was the First Secretary of the Communist Party – in effect, the leader of the country – criticized the lionization and idealization of Joseph Stalin, and, by implication, his Communist contemporary Mao Zedong, as being contrary to Marxist doctrine. The speech was later made public and was part of the "de-Stalinization" process the Soviet Union went through.Demonology
Demonology is the study of demons or beliefs about demons, especially the methods used to summon and control them. The original sense of "demon", from the time of Homer onward, was a benevolent being, but in English the name now holds connotations of malevolence. (To keep the distinction, when referring to the word in its original Greek meaning, English may use the spelling "Daemon" or "Daimon".)
Demons, when regarded as spirits, may belong to either of the classes of spirits recognized by primitive animism. That is to say, they may be human, or non-human, separable souls, or discarnate spirits which have never inhabited a body. A sharp distinction is often drawn between these two classes, notably by the Melanesians, several African groups, and others. The Islamic jinn, for example, are not reducible to modified human souls. At the same time these classes are frequently conceived as producing identical results, e.g. diseases.The word demonology is from Greek δαίμων, daimōn, "divinity, divine power, god"; and -λογία, -logia.Foot fetishism
Foot fetishism, foot partialism, foot worshipping or podophilia, is a pronounced sexual interest in feet. It is the most common form of sexual fetishism for otherwise non-sexual objects or body parts and is more prevalent in men than women.Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs.Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamental human right. In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths.
Freedom of belief is different. It allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not necessarily allow the right to practice the religion or belief openly and outwardly in a public manner.Idolatry
Idolatry literally means the worship of an "idol", also known as a worship cult image, in the form of a physical image, such as a statue. In Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity, Islam and Judaism, idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other than God as if it were God. In these and several other monotheistic religions, idolatry has been considered as the "worship of false gods" and is forbidden. In many Indian religions, such as theistic and non-theistic forms of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, idols (murti) are considered as symbolism for the absolute but not The Absolute, or icons of spiritual ideas, or the embodiment of the divine. It is a means to focus one's religious pursuits and worship (bhakti). In the traditional religions of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, Asia, the Americas and elsewhere, the reverence of an image or statue has been a common practice, and cult images have carried different meanings and significance.The opposition to the use of any icon or image to represent ideas of reverence or worship is called aniconism. The destruction of idols and images as icons of veneration is called iconoclasm, and this has long been accompanied with violence between religious groups that forbid idol worship and those who have accepted icons, images and idols for worship. The definition of idolatry has been a contested topic within Abrahamic religions, with many Muslims and Protestant Christians condemning the Catholic veneration and statues of the Virgin Mary in many churches, as a form of idolatry.The history of religions has been marked with accusations and denials of idolatry. These accusations have considered statues and images to be devoid of symbolism. Alternatively, the topic of idolatry has been a source of disagreements between many religions, or within denominations of various religions, with the presumption that icons of one's own religious practices have meaningful symbolism, while another person's different religious practices do not.Kali
Kali (, Sanskrit: काली, (IAST: Kālī), also known as Kālikā (Sanskrit: कॉलिंका) or Shyāmā (Sanskrit: श्यामा), is a Hindu goddess. Kali is one of the ten Mahavidyas, a list which combines Sakta and Buddhist goddesses.Kali's earliest appearance is that of a destroyer of evil forces. She is the most powerful form of Shakti. She is the goddess of one of the four subcategories of the Kulamārga, a category of tantric Saivism. Over time, she has been worshipped by devotional movements and tantric sects variously as the Divine Mother, Mother of the Universe, Adi Shakti, or Adi Parashakti. Shakta Hindu and Tantric sects additionally worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also seen as the divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation. Kali is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her. Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India.Lingam
A lingam (Sanskrit: लिङ्गम IAST: liGga, lit. "sign, symbol or mark"), sometimes referred to as linga or Shiva linga, is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva in Shaivism. It is a votary symbol revered in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects. The lingam is often represented within a lipped, disc-shaped platform. Lingayats wear a lingam inside a necklace, called Ishtalinga.Lingam is additionally found in Sanskrit texts with the meaning of "evidence, proof" of God and God's existence. Lingam iconography found at archaeological sites of the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia includes simple cylinders set inside a yoni, rounded pillars with carvings such as of one or more mukha (faces), and anatomically realistic representations of a phallus such as at Gudimallam. In the Shaiva traditions, the lingam is regarded as a form of spiritual iconography.Liturgy
Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
Technically speaking, liturgy forms a subset of ritual. The word liturgy, sometimes equated in English as "service", refers to a formal ritual, which may or may not be elaborate, enacted by those who understand themselves to be participating in an action with the divine; examples include the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy (Greek: Θεία Λειτουργία), and the Catholic Mass. Not every religious ritual is a liturgy; a proper liturgy is a service to God and God's service to the performers of it, a mutual ministry (service) and a duty incumbent on the worshippers.
A daily activity such as the Muslim salah and Jewish synagogue services would be ritual but not liturgy.Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple, located in Delhi, India, is a Bahá'í House of Worship that was dedicated in December 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city. Like all Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. The building is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides, with nine doors opening onto a central hall with a height of slightly over 34.27metres and a capacity of 2500 people. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and has been featured in many newspaper and magazine articles. A 2001 CNN report referred to it as the most visited building in the world.Phallus
A phallus is a penis (especially when erect), an object that resembles a penis, or a mimetic image of an erect penis.
Any object that symbolically—or, more precisely, iconically—resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic (as in "phallic symbol"). Such symbols often represent fertility and cultural implications that are associated with the male sexual organ, as well as the male orgasm.Place of worship
A place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. A building constructed or used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worship. Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are examples of structures created for worship. A monastery, particularly for Buddhists, may serve both to house those belonging to religious orders and as a place of worship for visitors. Natural or topographical features may also serve as places of worship, and are considered holy or sacrosanct in some religions; the rituals associated with the Ganges river are an example in Hinduism.
Under International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions, religious buildings are offered special protection, similar to the protection guaranteed hospitals displaying the Red Cross or Red Crescent. These international laws of war bar firing upon or from a religious building.
Religious architecture expresses the religious beliefs, aesthetic choices, and economic and technological capacity of those who create or adapt it, and thus places of worship show great variety depending on time and place.Quakers
Quakers, also called Friends, are a historically Christian group of religious movements formally known as the Religious Society of Friends, Society of Friends or Friends Church. Members of the various Quaker movements are all generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to experientially access the light within, or "that of God in every one".Some may profess the priesthood of all believers, a doctrine derived from the First Epistle of Peter. They include those with evangelical, holiness, liberal, and traditional Quaker understandings of Christianity. There are also Nontheist Quakers whose spiritual practice is not reliant on the existence of God. To differing extents, the different movements that make up the Religious Society of Friends/Friends Church avoid creeds and hierarchical structures. In 2007, there were about 359,000 adult Quakers worldwide. In 2017, there were 377,557 adult Quakers, with 49% in Africa.Around 89% of Quakers worldwide belong to the "evangelical" and "programmed" branches of Quakerism—these Quakers worship in services with singing and a prepared message from the Bible, coordinated by a pastor. Around 11% of Friends practice waiting worship, or unprogrammed worship (more commonly known today as Meeting for Worship), where the order of service is not planned in advance, is predominantly silent, and may include unprepared vocal ministry from those present. Some meetings of both types have Recorded Ministers in their meetings—Friends recognised for their gift of vocal ministry.The first Quakers lived in mid-17th-century England. The movement arose from the Legatine-Arians and other dissenting Protestant groups, breaking away from the established Church of England. The Quakers, especially the ones known as the Valiant Sixty, attempted to convert others to their understanding of Christianity, travelling both throughout Great Britain and overseas, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of these early Quaker ministers were women. They based their message on the religious belief that "Christ has come to teach his people himself", stressing the importance of a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and a direct religious belief in the universal priesthood of all believers. They emphasized a personal and direct religious experience of Christ, acquired through both direct religious experience and the reading and studying of the Bible. Quakers focused their private life on developing behaviour and speech reflecting emotional purity and the light of God.In the past, Quakers were known for their use of thee as an ordinary pronoun, refusal to participate in war, plain dress, refusal to swear oaths, opposition to slavery, and teetotalism. Some Quakers founded banks and financial institutions, including Barclays, Lloyds, and Friends Provident; manufacturing companies, including shoe retailer C. & J. Clark and the big three British confectionery makers Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry; and philanthropic efforts, including abolition of slavery, prison reform, and social justice projects.In 1947, the Quakers, represented by the British Friends Service Council and the American Friends Service Committee, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Solar deity
A solar deity (also sun god or sun goddess) is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. The Sun is sometimes referred to by its Latin name Sol or by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ.Synagogue
A synagogue (pronounced ; from Greek συναγωγή, synagogē, 'assembly', Hebrew: בית כנסת bet kenesset, 'house of assembly' or בית תפילה bet tefila, "house of prayer", Yiddish: שול shul, Ladino: אסנוגה esnoga or קהל kahal), is a Jewish or Samaritan house of worship.
Synagogues have a large place for prayer (the main sanctuary) and may also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the בית מדרש beth midrash "house of study".
Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of prayer, Tanakh (the entire Hebrew Bible, including the Torah) reading, study and assembly; however, a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Halakha holds that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. Worship can also be carried out alone or with fewer than ten people assembled together. However, halakha considers certain prayers as communal prayers and therefore they may be recited only by a minyan. In terms of its specific ritual and liturgical functions, the synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.Veneration of the dead
The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Some groups venerate their direct, familial ancestors. Certain sects and religions, in particular the Roman Catholic Church, venerate saints as intercessors with God, as well as pray for departed souls in Purgatory.
In Europe, Asia, Oceania, African and Afro-diasporic cultures, the goal of ancestor veneration is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living, and sometimes to ask for special favours or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration is to cultivate kinship values, such as filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.