Drama versus Ritual

“Societies, like nature, suffer from entropy, a breakdown of order over time. Religion is the great counter-entropic force that prevents the decay or disintegration of order by performative acts that renew the collective order of the group. A ritual is an enactment of meaning. That is what makes a house of worship not a theatre, and a congregation something other than an audience. A congregation participates in a ritual; an audience merely watches and listens. A congregation lives the reality encoded by the ritual; an audience merely suspends its disbelief while the play is going on, knowing that what it is seeing is a fiction. A ritual is an act in the world; a drama is not, it is a mere imitation of one.”

The Great Partnership, Chapter 10, p. 173