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Religious Studies

II. Historical Occurrences: Historical events such as the revolution also played a part as the Father's desired a 'break' from the traditionalist British religions. The American Revolution itself has sacred tales of origins, the centre and the source for an American civil religion. (pp. 297, 298).
III. Unity and Nationalism: The need for a 'one religion and many religions' also enforced the founding father's to adopt the civil religion. As early as 1749, Benjamin Franklin was already speaking about the need for 'publick religion' (p. 284). Deliberations of the continental congress 25 years after that birthed the US were filled with attention to religious details (p. 284). They adopted a religious system with a 'theology, creed and set of symbols related to their political state existing alongside the churches' (p. 284). They sought to promote nationalism. Civil religion was designed to 'unite many people from many different nations into one state (a political state)' thus creating nation and a nation state (p.285). By the time George Washington took his first oath of office in New York, civil religion was in place. It had arisen out of England Puritanism, but especially out of a union of Puritanism with the engagement of Americans (p.285).
Roman Catholism was "introduced into America by Spanish, French missionaries" and introduced to the new world sacramentalism. "Sacramentalism did not end with the seven sacraments; it was a means of understanding the mystery of the church, human life, and the natural world". From sacrament perspective "the sign of God's reality was God's presence among humans". The Pope of Rome was that presence, "the sign of the church: representing the reality of God and acting as a conduit through whom God communicated with human". He was "Vicar and stood equal to the bible as a source of spiritual authority". The Catholic Church "unlike a sect or denomination" sought to include ideally all the "human race not withstanding territory or culture". It sought to include all saints and sinners. "The church was the sign of God's presence in the world". (pp. 66, 67)

4. Do you think that it's possible for modern Americans to return to the primordial religions of their ancestors Why or Why not
Religion in the United States evolved over centuries from the religious beliefs of the Native American to the dominant Christianity. From Protestantism to Scientology most modern Americans are still trying to find a balance in the many denominations and sometimes adopting new ones, clearly according to their beliefs, convictions or lack of 'faith' in others. For the native Americans "culture was tradition was religion" (p. 21), while in contrast for modern Americans "religion transcended culture" (p. 21). The current era of coexistence of "one religion and many religions is a fact of American life" (p. 371) and provides solace for Americans uprooted by a ...Show more

Summary

I. Religious Beliefs: Many of the Founding Fathers were Religious. Amongst them were current or former full-time preachers, sons of clergymen, and active churchgoers and so sought a declaration that would recognize God as the source of strength of the country…
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