Civil Religion


Civil religion has been conceptualized as an integrative beliefsystem that transcends enomina-tional sectors of the society. However, this claim has remained unsubstantiated. Neither has it been tested whether the unchurched subscribe to civil religion or whether any differential levels of civil religion among religious groupings can be attributed to other social factors. In this study it is found that practically all the respondents share civil religious beliefs irrespective oftheir Christian religious identities. However, those who claim no church religious identity are exceptions to this consensus. So are Jews and Unitarians. Therefore, these findings help to qualify the hypothesis of a civil religious consensus. Furthermore, the civil religious patterns across the major religious groupings examined here seem minimally effected by extraneous social characteristics. Rousseau's (1762) dictate that a civil religion was needed to supplement national order, de Tocqueville's (1835) generalizations that American religion contributed to the mainte-nance of democracy, and Durkheim's (1915) attribution of an integrative religious core in society have helped laya sociological foundation for civil religion. In recent years, writers have discussed the idea of a common religion underlying the pluralistic organized religion

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