Chapter

Faith and Public Affairs

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.003.0011
Faith and Public Affairs

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This chapter explores the public role of religious faith, or what some have called “public religion.” To identify as public religion implies, of course, that there must be something else that we might term “private religion.” Our culture provides for a much cleaner distinction between the public and the private. We shield our deepest convictions from the public eye. And yet we know that religious faith is present in the public arena as well. It has been throughout our nation's history, and it undoubtedly will be in the next century. Most observers, in fact, argue that our society would be diminished if religion were not a part of our public values, but there is also disagreement about what its role should be. This chapter discusses civil religion in America and also looks at the discernible gap between those who define themselves as religious liberals and those who think of themselves as religious conservatives.

Keywords: religious faith; public religion; religious liberals; religious conservatives; private religion; civil religion; America

Chapter.  5682 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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