Philosophy 1.2 Religious and Spiritual Experience

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  • Created by: maariya
  • Created on: 15-11-12 18:55

Public and Private Worship

Sunday worship 

  • May be structured or spontaneous. Many contain hymns/songs, bible readings and sermon. 
  • Roman Catholic/Anglican/Orthodox- structured and liturgial. Always contain Holy Communion/Mass.
  • Methodists- structred but non-liturgial e.g. hymn sandwich.
  • Pentecostal/House Churches- have spontaneous and charasmatic worship e.g. lifting hands and dancing.
  • Some hold services within their houses e.g. if Christianity is prohibited or is simpler. 
  • Many worship independenly at home e.g. from Grace to singing worship songs 

Inside a Church 

  • Altar- Most important part, holds Communion items. Is in the East end. 
  • East window- Often stained glass, behind Altar to draw attention to it.
  • Pulpit- Raised box where sermon is given from or talks to congregation.
  • Sanctuary- Raised part where important parts of sermon occurs.
  • Lectern- Stand for Bible, made from brass in shape of an eagle. 
  • Font- Holds water for baptsim. 
  • Nave- Where congregation sits
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Symbolism in Christian Worship


  • Cathedrals historically built at centre to represent God's kingship. Focus is always the Altar. 
  • Orthodox churches in the shape of a cross with large dome. Representing Christ's presence, eternity and nearness of Heaven. They are highly decorated. 
  • Free Chrurches- in simple halls where pulipt is centre of attention. 

Icons, Statues, Stained-Glass Windows

  • Icons- paintings of saints greeted with a kiss on entrance. Used to represent presence of saints. 
  • Stained-glass windows etc. depict biblical stories.
  • Cross- represents Jesus' crucifixion and risen Christ
  • Crucufix- reminder of Jesus' suffering 
  • Fish- Jesus called on his follwers to be "Fishers of men". Greek word for fish (ICTHYS) forms an accrostic for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour" in Greek. 


  • Hymns are important. Derived from scriptures.
  • Choirs are important in leading singing. 
  • Musical insturments used e.g. pipe organs, brass bands and guitars. It can be solemn and signified or loud and lively, denomination dependent. 
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Prayer and Meditation

  • Prayer is when believers mentally or vocally communicate with God in many forms. 
  • "Answered prayers" can be prood that God exists. 
  • "Unanswered prayers" 
  • God answers all prayers in his own time and way and has bigger plans.
  • Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest "My father, if it is possible, may this up be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." "cup" may represent suffering. 
  • Roman Catholics/Orthodox pray to saints for intercession as they can join in making it more effective. 
  • Protestants say that Jesus is the only mediator so don't need Saints' help. They shouldn't be prayed to as they don't in the Bible. 
  • Quiet time- Time spent alone with God. Reading Bible or praying.
  • Mediation- When believer clears mind of distracting thoughts and concentrates on God e.g. repeating prayer 
  • Contemplation- Not merely deep thinking but intimate wordless prayer where God's presence if sensed strongly. 
  • Rosary- String of beads attached in groups. Beads moved through fingers and prayers are read e.g. Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary and the Gloria. 
  • Icons- Used to help focus on God. Candle may be lit or they may kiss it. 
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Food and Fasting


  • Used for expression especially during festivals.
  • God is the creator so all food comes from Him. 
  • Fasting used for atonement or to focus on spiritual matters. 


  • Roman Catholics shouldn't eat meat on Ash Wednesdays and Good Fridays. They shouldn't eat an hour before Holy Communuion. 
  • Lent celebrated 40 days and nights of Jesus' fasting in wilderness after baptism. Few Christians fast however give up luxuries. 
  • Festival foods are more cultural than religious. Day before Lent is Shrove Tuesday where rich foods are eaten, in UK "pancake day". Easter Eggs represent new life. 'Christmas Dinner'- roast turkey with stuffing and Christmas Pudding. 
  • Mass is celebrated with bread and wine= body and blood of Christ. 
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