Civil religion  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The intended meaning of the term civil religion often varies according to whether one is a sociologist of religion or a professional political commentator. The following discussion includes both perspectives followed by a brief history of the concept.

Origin of term

Jean-Jacques Rousseau coined the term in chapter 8, book 4 of The Social Contract, to describe what he regarded as the moral and spiritual foundation essential for any modern society. For Rousseau, civil religion was intended simply as a form of social cement, helping to unify the state by providing it with sacred authority. In his book, Rousseau outlines the simple dogmas of the civil religion:

  1. life to come,
  2. the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice, and
  3. the exclusion of religious intolerance.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Civil religion" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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