Christian Identity with the Carpentry Community In Moratuwa

මොරටුවේ වඩුකාර්මික ජනසමාජය සමඟ ක්‍රිස්තියානි අනන්‍යතාවය

මොරටුවේ ජන ගී...

වඩු වැඩෙන් දිවි රකින - බෝ දුකින් කල් ගෙවන දුප්පතෙකී මං කිසිම වැඩක් නැති ම ලීය - අරගෙන මම කර වීරිය කපල කොටල ඉරලා මැදලා සදමි මේ පුටු

මොරටුවේ කිතුණු ජන ගීයක්...

ජේසු හිමි ළමා කාලේ - දුප්පත් ජෝසප් ගේ පට්ටලේ සිය අතින් සුනිමලේ - පුංචි වඩු වැඩ කලේ

වැඩ හොඳන් හිමි කලේ - කිසිත් නැත නරක් කලේ ඇඳ පුටු වැසූ ඵලේ නොතිඹුනේ එ පට්ටලේ

According to the findings of this research, it is clear that the carpentry community in Moratuwa is well integrated into the Christian faith. As a community, it has maintained a distinct integrity in the context of this faith. This existing reality in Moratuwa can be meaningfully analysed by the elaboration by modern sociologists of Durkheim’s idea on the functions of religion. This elaboration is given below:

1. Social solidarityReligion functions as a form of social cement. It unites the believers by regularly bringing them together to enact various rituals, and by providing them with the shared values and beliefs that bind them into a community.

2. Provision of meaning Religion provides a theodicy that gives meaningful answers to ultimate and eternal questions about existence. It offers explanations to human predicaments and gives purpose to a universe that might otherwise seem meaningless.

3. Social controlThe more important values and norms of a society – for example, those relating to human life, sexual behaviour, and property- tend to be incorporated not only in law but also in religious doctrine. The teachings found in such sacred scriptures as the Bible and the Koran would have far less force if they were regarded as the work of ordinary mortals. By powerfully reinforcing crucial values and norms, religion helps to maintain social control over individual behaviour.

4. Social change Religion can sometimes inspire or facilitate social change. Religious values provide moral standards against which existing social arrangements can be measured and perhaps found wanting. The civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, for example, derived much of their impetus from religious teachings about brotherhood and peace. New religious movements are particularly likely to be critical of the social order and to encourage their adherents to criticize or challenge it.

5. Psychological support religion provides individuals with emotional support in the uncertainty of the world. For example, it helps people during major events of the life cycle. Although puberty rites are no longer practised in the United States (the nearest equivalent is the Jewish bar mitzvah), birth, marriage and death are almost always marked by religious rituals such as baptism, wedding, and funerals.”

Religion provides the solidarity that is needed to bring a community together. In this regard, religion functions as social cement. It provides the common values and beliefs that are necessary to bring a community together. In this respect, Sinhala people are bound together by agricultural values in the context of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Against this background of Buddhism functioning as a social cement, the fact that the Lord Buddha hailed from a farming community played a vital role among the Sinhala people of Sri Lanka. This made them proud and confident in their agricultural way of life.

Similarly in the carpentry community in Moratuwa, the Christian faith was able to assure social solidarity to this community. As Jesus came from a carpentry family, rituals, beliefs and values were related to carpentry. In this community, the binding together of these rituals, beliefs and values happened as an integrated reality between carpentry and Christianity. As a community, they share these values, beliefs and rituals, and this makes them strong in their faith and trade. For example, the woodcarvings in the churches in Moratuwa are not a mere act of craftsmanship but a ritualistic act of worship of the Christians’ monotheistic God.“Social control” through Christianity is another social function that can be identified in the Christian carpentry community in Moratuwa. Human values, sexual behaviour, property issues and other such matters are not only incorporated into the legal system but also into its religious doctrines. In fact, in this community, these matters are more controlled by religious influence than by legal procedure. This happens for a number of reasons in this society. In these communities, in respective villages once a week, either on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, people meet as a village family in the church. Here they perform their religious rituals together and listen to a sermon given by a religious leader. In many churches, week by week, these sermons are often delivered in a systematic manner, touching the important aspects of day-to-day life.

These themes vary from family matters such as death and marriage to issues related to human rites and human justice, issues that they have to face in society. At the same time, there are other church-centred societies such as women’s guilds, youth fellowships and fathers’ guilds that bring like-minded social groups together in religious activities and social endeavours. For instance, in the Youth Fellowship of Holy Emmanuel Church, Moratuwa, the youth get the opportunity to learn leadership qualities such as how to organise a group and the different ways of addressing people from various social and cultural backgrounds. They learn these things by getting involved with communities such as the Urban Council minor employers and fishermen in the vicinity of Moratuwa. In the youth fellowship influential youth and their parents help the other youth to find suitable employment according to their qualifications and experience.

The women’s guild at the Church of the Healing Christ at Kadalana, Moratuwa, a rural area, provides training in handling everyday matters such as how to run a family and how to bring up children to be effective citizens of the country. At the same time, women often get expert advice on how to deal with their husbands if they take liquor and get intoxicated in society.

In these carpentry communities they perform daily religious rituals such as the lighting of lamps and observance of family prayers; these rituals control and guide their activities within the community. As these activities are mainly guided by biblical doctrines, the Bible has become a social norm for this community. In almost all Christian families in this community, the Bible is read and studied, and it is used for guidance for life in society. For example, on issues such as how to relate to your neighbour or how to treat strangers in the community, the guidelines are taken from the Bible. As the Bible teaches, Christians believe that they belong to a body similar to the human body. As the different organs in the human body perform various functions, they believe that each member of the community performs a function. The various organs of the human body, although differing in function and appearance, depend on each other.

Similarly, Christians believe that although the members of the community differ in function and appearance, they depend on each other. In the human body, different organs depend on each other but are controlled by the head. Accordingly, the belief of this community is that Christ, who is the head of the community, controls them.

By the very nature of Christianity, the religious leaders in the community take a personal interest in the people of the respective areas. For example, all the important landmarks in individual and family life are connected to a ritualistic performance in the context of the Christian faith. These are ceremonial customs such as birth, marriage, death, birthday celebration and age-attending ceremonies. Because of this close relationship between the religious leaders and the individuals and families in the community, the Christian faith in this community provides healthy social control for the existence of the community. This close relationship means that in times of crisis, whether of individuals or of the family or when social problems come up, the guidance and counselling of the religious leaders are sought by the community. This controls the community by minimising individual, family and social frustration. This factor guards against the social isolation of individuals and families in the community.

In Moratuwa religious festivals such as Christmas, which celebrates the nativity of Christ, bring Christians in the community together with happiness and joy. These festivals make a colourful change for monotonous lives, and gradually they began to control society by bringing the Christians together as members of one extended family.

Where social change is concerned, in many instances the Christian faith has provided the necessary inspiration to this community. Therefore the theory of Karl Marx that “religion thus reflects but does not change the society” was not always true for this community. But the theory of Max Weber, “…that under certain circumstances religion or other ideas could influence social change”, can be applied meaningfully to this community.

To understand the above sociological matter, this community can broadly be divided into two sections, namely the Protestant and the Roman Catholic carpentry communities. These sections of the community have contributed to social change in two different ways.

The Protestant carpentry community emphasises a personal relationship with a personal God. This is called the covenant relationship with God. In order to keep this relationship, the Protestants believe that the most important factor is one’s personal purity in society. Therefore they overemphasise personal purity to the detriment of community issues. For example, refraining from alcohol and tobacco is an important issue in their communities. They also believe that they have to work hard and that material prosperity is a blessing from God. As material prosperity is considered a blessing from God, they don’t use the whole profit that they get for their day-to-day living. Instead, they either reinvest part of the profit or save it to be used in the future.

These distinct qualities of this community have become the agents of social change in society. Overemphasis on personal purity has caused the fewer member of the younger generation of this community to take up liquor and tobacco. As many members of this community work hard and save or reinvest, many lower-class families of this community have, over the generations, become middle-class families in the community. The main reasons behind this change are that with their savings and reinvestments, they have given a better education to their children and improved their position and living standard in the community.

On the other hand, the Roman Catholic carpentry community has a strong sense of community feeling which binds them together. They firmly believe that they belong to the Body of Christ in which the different members depend on each other and where Christ is the head. Over the years this model has established the hierarchical system of administration in the Roman Catholic Church. In the above set-up, in this community, the “Contagion” in which the individuals lose their self-identity has become a functional reality.

In a situation of this nature, according to research done by Gustave Le Bon in 1895, the conscious personality of the individual members almost disappears by creating a “collective mind”. In this community, this “contagion” and the “collective mind” have become effective agents in social change, especially in matters relating to political and social issues. For instance, in the 1952 elections, when Archbishop Thomas Cooray requested the Roman Catholics to support the United National Party, because of this tendency of “contagion” or the “collective mind”, many Catholics voted for the United National Party.

In this manner, the carpentry community of Moratuwa, which comprises both Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians, has become distinct in its existence and influence on society.