Adoration of the holy through enactment of a rite. The acts are promoted by the attitude of submission, devotion, respect and veneration of transcendent reality. It may be both an act of forming awareness and dedication within the worshipping community and a public drama of the reality and power of the holy.
Worship is conducted through public liturgies, prayer, sacrificial and sacramental rites in both designated "sacred" places and in the course of everyday life. Worship requires some symbols or objects as the focus of worship (material or conceptual) and some commonly accepted mythology illuminating the holy and describing the relationship of the worshipping community to the transcendent. Normally, but not absolutely, worship implies an interior attitude of reverence, belief and adoration reflected in the external social drama.
1. At the very minimum, worship is a rehearsal of the dynamics of being human. 2. Because human existence includes sociality, human beings cannot escape the necessity of an embodiment of their worship in the visible and historical institutions of a worshipping community. 3. Worship integrates society and creates specific groupings and associations.
1. If one denies the existence of any reality transcendent to human life, then worship immediately becomes an act of unreality, illusion and self-delusion -- the opiate of the masses. 2. Even within religious thinking however, worship can become idolatry when the nature of the objects at the central focus of worship become non-transparent and become themselves the objects of worship. 3. Although worship is theoretically opposed to magic, in practice it is difficult to determine where worship ends and magic begins. Worship may include aspects of superstition and magic, and magic may be an outgrowth of an exaggerated fixation or ritualization of worship. 4. Ritual in a fixed traditional form often stagnates and may smother the very religious fervour and experience which originally gave it birth.