Critical Evaluation of Examples Civil VVV





Critical Evaluation of Examples Civil Religion in America

Robert Bellah’s 1967 article argued that The United States had a civil religion that was different as the religion found in mosques, churches, synagogues, or temples. However, the American Civil Religion was definitely influenced by them. According to Bellah civic religion is a system of established metaphors, rituals, symbols, values, norms, and allegiances from abstract ideas about God and human goodness, become driving imperatives shared by every American thereby binding people together and giving them a sense of spiritual unity.

Bellah described how the civil religion provided a religious sanction for the political order and divine justification of and support for civil society and nation’s practices. He also discussed how the religion’s theological ideas influenced what it meant to be an American and how public religious dimension involved belief in God but not dictating that one would either practice or shun it.

In defining this theory about how civil religion did work, Bellah’s works were influenced mostly by theories of other writers of how their ideas did bring civil religion to life. He drew the definition of Civil Religion in America from French sociologist Durkheim 1912who in consideration of religion sacred and non-sacred beliefs, practices/rituals and things such as food or clothing had to be agreed upon.

In the case of American civil religion, Bellah pointed out that there were certain stories and archetypes, which while originating in Christian and Hebraic traditions, which were deeply familiar to all American people, regardless of their private ideas about religion. These ideas include the Exodus story of Moses and the Hebrews leaving Egypt, the concept of a promised land, and an act of sacrificial death and rebirth to make way for a new world. Using this idea America was seen as the Promised Land to which European colonizers came to be rid of persecution from the English monarchy. When they got there, they realized that they were special people. Until the Civil War, the American civil religion had concentrated mainly on the Revolution, which was viewed as the last demonstration of the Exodus from the old grounds over the waters. The Declaration of Independence and the constitution were the holy sacred writings and Washington the divinely appointed Moses who drove his kin outed of the hands of oppression.

Bellah made it clear the term civil religion was coined by A Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1762 book, The social contract. He noted that Jean was a contemporary to the American thinkers during the American Enlightenment Period as there were some shared ideas between them. These ideas were belief in existence of God, afterlife and that good deeds would receive a reward and evil ones to be punished. These mainly were practiced by a majority of the American citizens.

Bellah illustrated the presence of theological underpinnings of American civil religion through a number of speeches and writings from important thinkers and leaders from Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, who were his contemporaries.

The words and demonstrations of most presidents, shaped the frame and tone of the common religion, by presiding over the nation’s rituals and reaffirming its creeds, having served as the prophets and priests of this civil religion thereby acting the role of Civil Religion leaders, as it has been kept up from that point. Reflecting to Kennedy’s inauguration, he pointed out to the religious aspect of the Declaration of Independence where there were references to God. These statements embodied the entity of all people’s independence, fundamental legitimacy of inalienable rights provided by God, the supreme judgment towards people’s intentions and the firm dependence on the insurance of heavenly Providence. Through this religious notions reflected in the statements, there was indication of biblical God who watches over the world. Examples of American civil religion, are the components of social and political life that associate with a higher reason and significance, regularly holding the general population of a country together. American civil religion is associated with being extraordinary and favoured by a higher power. From its beginnings, some religious leaders building up themselves in the United States saw the nation as having an extremely uncommon reason in sharing their ethical qualities past their own groups. Political leaders also observed the United States as demonstrating powerful democratic values.

Civil religion in public schools could be seen in such daily rituals as the pledge of allegiance; in occasion observances, with exercises such as music and social studies, history, and English curricula program. Common religion in schools assume a double part: it mingles youth to a typical arrangement of understandings, yet it likewise sets off subgroups of Americans whose foundations or convictions keep them from partaking completely in common religious services.

The civil religion is clearly engaged with the most squeezing moral and political issues of the day. But it is also caught in another kind of crisis, hypothetical and religious, of which it is right now generally unaware. God has clearly been a focal image in the common religion from the earliest starting point and remains so today. This image is similarly as key to the common religion as it is to Judaism or Christianity. The civil religion has been a state of articulation between the significant duties of Western religious and philosophical convention and the normal convictions of ordinary Americans.The role of the soldiers prepared to sacrifice their lives to safeguard the country is another example of civil religion. Armies plays a critical role in protecting the country against external attacks. They are memorialized in numerous monuments and semi-holy days, such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Soldiers are kind of Messiah, who epitomizes the union of common religion, and the Christian standards of forfeit and redemption. In Europe, there are various graveyards only for American fighters who battled in world wars. They have turned out to be American sacred spaces.Bellah was able to convey the message that civil religion offers shared values and certain practices or rituals that reinforce American values through fostering a sense of gratefulness among its citizens, and establishing the fact that the nation itself is subordinate to something greater than itself which creates a sense of social justice. Americans all benefit from holding in common the rights and values of every distinctive individual. They work for the benefit of all when submitted to the rule of law, and work to change unjustifiable laws. They may differ on the criteria by which they value the fairness of laws, yet they concur that flexibility is found for individuals under the rule of law established by a representative form of government.In conclusion, civil religion include convictions, occasions that appear to uncover God’s motivations notably the American Revolution and the Civil War, prophets who were the American Presidents, such as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, sacred places, for example, sanctuaries to Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt; Bunker Hill, consecrated messages such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, ceremonies such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, and the pomp of presidential inaugurals, hymns such as God Bless America, rituals such as prayers at public events such as inaugurals.

Work cited

Wagner, Sarah, and Thomas Matyók. “Monumental Change: The Shifting Politics of Obligation at the Tomb of the Unknowns.” History & Memory 30.1 (2018): 40-74.

Chazan, Barry, Robert Chazan, and Benjamin M. Jacobs. “The Culture of American Jewish Schooling.” Cultures and Contexts of Jewish Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2017. 83-115.

Andersen, Anniken. ” God has favored our undertakings” American Civil Religion Political significance and global aspirations in contemporary national politics in view of theories of civil religion. MS thesis. 2015.