an idea developed by the Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU in The Social Contract which was taken up by American sociologist Robert BELLAH to explain the development of RELIGION in America. In Bellah's usage, civil religion is a vague religious sentiment promoted by State institutions on the basis of common ideas held by all citizens and as such it avoids DOGMA, i.e. belief in CHRIST, and emphasizes an undefined BELIEF in GOD and PROVIDENCE.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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