Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

Home Screenshot Tabelle Begriffe

Religion: Religion is a system of beliefs and practices that relate humanity to spirituality and moral values. Many religions have organized communities of believers and some have sacred texts or scriptures. Some religions have no formal organization or sacred texts. See also Religious belief, Theology, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Word of God, God, Bible, Bible criticism.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

J.-J. Rousseau on Religion - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 378
Religion/Rousseau/Höffe: {Rousseau represented a] functional state religion, called "religion civile". As with Spinoza, it focuses on the moral core of natural religion, but unlike Spinoza, it does not recognize revelation as an also-legitimate approach. RousseauVsSpinoza, RousseauVsBelief in Revelation.
Belief: The core of the civil religion is a (civic) creed with which Rousseau rejects the two extremes: atheism and Christian-ecclesiastical dogmatism.
State Religion/Rousseau pro Hobbes: As with Hobbes, whom Rousseau praises for combining secular and spiritual power, the confession is determined by the sovereign and consists of a "spirit of togetherness, without which it is impossible to be a good citizen and a
Höffe I 279
faithful subject"(1). Admittedly, the sovereign cannot commit anyone to this faith.
Banishment: But anyone who rejects it may be banished, for in accordance with his understanding of the common will, Rousseau declares that whoever inhabits the territory of the state submits to the sovereignty that reigns there. One is banished not because one is godless, but because one "resists to be with one another"(2). >Death Penalty/Rousseau
Dogmas: For the dogmas of bourgeois or civil religion, Rousseau demands simplicity, small numbers and clear formulations.
HöffeVsRousseau: Although he undoubtedly fulfills these conditions, his creed is very demanding and difficult for purely secular citizens to accept.
Belief/Community/Dogmas/Rousseau: It is necessary to acknowledge the existence of a deity, and to attribute omnipotence, omniscience and charity to it. One must believe in the future life, in which the righteous are happy while the wicked are punished. The social contract and the laws flowing from it must be considered sacred. Negative dogma: prohibition of intolerance.
HöffevsRousseau: But because the positive dogmas may be excluded from this, tolerance is kept within limits.
Civil Religion/Rousseau/Höffe: [it should] a) (...) exclude any theological claim to sole representation, since this holds too high a potential for conflict. Now the claim to exclusivity results from an - allegedly - divine revelation and its authoritative interpretation on the part of a religious community. Consequently, the civil religion must do without any revelation. (RousseauVsRevelation Religion).
b) Its positive task is the foundation of political unity. The civil religion is supposed to create the inner coherence of a community, at least strengthen it and thus preserve it.
VsRousseau: The criticism associated with the civil religion
Höffe I 280
of the Christian Church has led to condemnations of Rousseau and his expulsion.
HöffeVsRousseau: Concerns also arise systematically.
For the civil religion tolerates neither atheists, whom Locke already denied the ability to be good citizens, nor the deism spread in the Age of Enlightenment, for example by Voltaire, according to which there is a deity, but he is not a person and does not intervene in the course of nature.
Neutrality/RousseauVsSpinoza: Spinoza's position of a religiously neutral state is perhaps not considered by Rousseau because he doubts its ability to achieve stable internal unity.
>Religion/Spinoza, >State/Spinoza, >Constitution/Spinoza.

1. Rousseau, The Social Contract (Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique), 1762, IV, 8
2. Ibid.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Rousseau I
J. J. Rousseau
Les Confessions, 1765-1770, publ. 1782-1789
German Edition:
The Confessions 1953

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016

Send Link
> Counter arguments against Rousseau
> Counter arguments in relation to Religion

Authors A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   Y   Z  

Concepts A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   Z  

Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-04-21
Legal Notice   Contact   Data protection declaration