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- Published on Thursday, 28 April 2016 07:03
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The term “American civil or cultural religion” shares a set of particular fundamental beliefs, holidays, values, and rituals by the people who lived in the United States of America. The shared aspects are based on independent and parallel theological tenants of every specific religious or denominational belief. This notion of the “American civil or cultural religion” was adopted in the United States of America as a result of being a nation with diverse religious beliefs.
The American religious history is unique due to its various backgrounds from the pilgrim founders, puritan groups, and other many groups that were freeing religious persecutions. With such a set up, a system had to be developed to allow for the maximum freedom of religion for these groups and at the same time preventing any religion from dominating others. The nation had to develop a protestant religious set and ethos of values based on religion and not entirely derived from any one native or foreign tradition. This essay will define the term in a broad spectrum based on Robert Bellah’s book, “The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial.”
The term was first derived by a sociologist Robert Bellah in 1967, according to the information found on the essay writing service. The first article in which the term was first mentioned, “Civil Religion in America,” was received with the most controversial debated in the United States sociology platform. After the article was published, the subject matter became a major focus in religious conferences, books, and other articles on the same matter. The debate reached its maxima during the American Bicentennial celebration of 19761. The term cultural or civil religion was derived from the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract.
The term refereed to a belief system that supports the state’s political authority. With intent of favoring the endorsement of civil authority, Rousseau recommended for social harmony development through the pietas-piety concept of the Romans. The term holds a meaning that goes beyond the religious context and extends to correct the relations with friends, parents, gods, and fellow citizens. On the nature of God, piety is regarded as justice with regards to gods. In this context the American civil religion was originated as a means to permit a creation of a distinct set of national values that and no association with any specific confession, religion or denomination. The American civil religion allows the usual religion to shape the moral vision of the country but in a manner that removed the theological concerns from the public domain.
The term American Civil (or Cultural) Religion was finally invoked into the states doorsteps. There was supposed to be a separation between the church and the state which was the roadmap to prevent any form of interaction, either obscure or overt, between the government and the religion. The historians and sociologists closely scrutinized these interactions in the earlier decades under the “civil religion” guidelines in terms of the simple language of “public religion.” The works of Phillip E. Hammond’s on the separation between the church and the state facilitated the background of the freedom of religion in the US2. The works also gave an introduction to Robert N. Bellah’s work and saw the induction of “civil religion” language into the scholarly discourse.
With the publication of his book The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial in the mid 1970s, Bellah extended his commentary on his argument based on the Vietnam War context. From his point of view there has to be a form of religious nationalism that should be intrinsic and critical to the American society reflected in the monuments, political discourse, and shrines, consequently inducing heater debates in the academic arena. Such academic conversations were detailed in a series of conference papers that were edited and published under the title, “American Civil Religion” by Russel E. R., and Donald Jones. The phenomenon of civil religion was reflected in a particularized and comparative manner in a variety of civil religion by Robert N. Bellah and Phillip E. Hammond. In the mean time, the presence of civil religion is argued in the case of the American south by Charles Reagan W., “Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865–1920.” In this context, the “lost cause” was used to refer to the perspective of the south on the American civil war.
Bellah’s arguments was supported by other sociology researchers such as Ronald Wimberley (1976) who argued that civil religion is a distinct cultural phenomenon within the setup of the American society which is not integrated into the American Government or denominational religions. Some of the civil religious beliefs statements reflected in the research include “the president’s authority is from God,” “America is a nation chosen by God,” “social justice must come from both the religion and partly based on the laws,” “God can be known through the Americans’ experience,” “some holidays such as Fourth of July are both patriotic and religious,” and “God bless America.”
Researches were later conducted to determine the most civil religious among the Americans. Such studies were conducted by Ronald Wimbrey and James Christenson and concluded that a wider percentage of Americans upheld the civil religious beliefs but generally, political and religious liberals, and college students and graduates were less likely to be civil religious. Generally, Catholics and Protestants were observed to have a higher level of civil religiosity. However, religious movements that originated in the United States such as the latter Day Saints movement, the Pentecostals, and the Adventists manifested the highest level of civil religiosity. The Unitarians, Jews, and the pagans were observed to portray the lowest levels of civil religiosity. However, majority of the American population were observed to share the civil religious beliefs that were discussed by Bellah.
The Impact of Religious Rights and Political Activism on American Civil or Cultural Religion
In recent times, the religious rights political activism has in some ways changed the American civil religion landscape. This activism has resulted into a state of political and religious exceptionalism which has shattered the whole idea of political and cultural inclusiveness that is inherent to the civil religion. A reevaluation of the civil religious is apparently necessary as a result of these changes.
The American civil religion is references to a divine being, God who is providence present in the independence declaration, in the constitution, and in any inaugural speeches given by the American presidents. With such an inclusion, Bellah disregards any suggestion that the American civil religion is based on a Christian doctrine origin or content, or cannot be regarded as a substitute for Christianity3. According to Bellah, the civil religion’s major role is to unify the American people, just like any other religion, but with a specific political course. The civil religion appeals to all Americans regardless of their religious affiliations and backgrounds.
According to Bellah, the American civil religion is an expression of the American history and experience in terms of a transcendental ethical vision. This explanation of the interpretation of the transcendental and universal is more meaningful if declared in relation to the destiny and the origin of the American people, and that of the United States, and its model of democracy and freedom. Further, he argues that the God of civil religion is not like the religious God of forgiveness and love, but that of freedom and order. This is a God that is basically concerned with the destiny and the history of the American people, and that of the United States.
The American civil religion is a real and functional phenomenon whose sole function is to unify all the American citizens and ideally separate the state from the religion. In doing so, no religion is considered superior and in contrast to some critics who argued that the Devine being, God is the same as the Christian God, the God defined in the American civil religion is a God of order and freedom, as opposed to the God of love and forgiveness as confessed by Christians. Based on Robert Bellah’s book, “The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial.”
The civil war and the Vietnam War, the civil God gave a feeling of what the civil religion is all about, and diverted its meaning from the religious God’s. However, modern times, the religious rights political activism has in some ways changed the American civil religion landscape. This activism has resulted into a state of political and religious exceptionalism which has shattered the whole idea of political and cultural inclusiveness that is inherent to the civil religion. A reevaluation of the civil religious is apparently necessary as a result of these changes.
1Bellah, Robert Neelly. "Civil Religion in America." Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Religion in America, 1967: 6 (1) (Winter 1967): 1–21.
2Neelly, Robert. The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
3Jones, Donald G., and Russell E. Richey. American Civil Religion. NY: Mellen University Press, 1990.
GEO- Global Warming Mitigation Dialogue.Exactly what is the matter, destructive impacts, that is actually harmed, trigger, any answers?
- Category: Reasons for Climate Change
- Published on Thursday, 04 June 2015 18:20
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Climatic change is an sluggish, persistent rise in the signify hotness to the earth’s outer sphere that results largely from individual pastimes (anthropogenic sources) and quite often from organic details (Archer, 5). Recently available discoveries by scientists and scholars across the world established that this gradual alternation in the earth’s hotness might have multiple damaging consequences. For this reason, steps really need to be constantly in place to countertop the advanced issue that has been of exceptional matter to humankind (Goldstein, 4). It increases resulting from significant power of fumes like co2 methane and dioxide within the earth’s room space, exactly where they style a heavy part, which changes the rays inside the direct sun light from turning out to be mirrored away from the earth’s floor time for space or room (Dennis and Singer, 7). Alternatively, this tier echos to come back the sunrays that had been diverted towards top of the planet so providing a regular growth of ambiance through this planet.
GEO- Global Warming Mitigation Chat.What exactly is the concern, adverse effects, who seems to be appearing harmed, trigger, any alternatives?
- Category: Factors That Cause Сlimatic Сhange
- Published on Thursday, 14 May 2015 17:22
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Global warming is known as a sluggish, ongoing surge in the signify hotness in the earth’s outer sphere that returns principally from human hobbies (anthropogenic sources) and quite often from typical important things (Archer, 5). The recent conclusions by scholars and scientists globally have established that the step by step difference in the earth’s hotness can have quite a few dangerous outcome. As a result, measures should really be ready to counter-top the complicated issue which has been of quality problem to humankind (Goldstein, 4). It increases due to very high power of gas like carbon dioxide methane and dioxide around the earth’s location, whereby they variety a dense layer, which changes the rays this direct sun light from truly being demonstrated from earth’s work surface here we are at place (Singer and Dennis, 7). Actually, this part reflects lower back the sunrays who have been diverted on to the surface of the world as a result producing a ongoing continuing development of heat through this environment.
GEO- Climatic Change Mitigation Discussion.Is there a difficulty, bad has an effect on, who is currently being harmed, generate, any ideas?
- Category: Factors That Cause Сlimatic Сhange
- Published on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:23
- Written by Super User
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Global warming could be the impede, consistent increase in the lead to hotness about the earth’s outer sphere that effects predominantly from man actions (anthropogenic options) and sometimes from 100 % natural elements (Archer, 5). Recent information by scientists and scholars throughout the world have established that step by step alteration of the earth’s hotness perhaps have a multitude of damaging outcomes. As a result, strategies require being ready to counter the challenging conditions that has been of incredibly good dilemma to humankind (Goldstein, 4). It evolves because of superior power of gases like co2 methane and dioxide in earth’s room or space, which is where they variety a thicker level, which changes the rays with the direct sun light from really being mirrored via the earth’s exterior returning to room space (Singer and Dennis, 7). In its place, this tier displays ago the sunrays which are diverted towards surface of the the earth due to this fact providing a uninterrupted continuing development of heat in this particular earth.