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Reappraising Political TheoryRevisionist Studies in the History of Political Thought$
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Terence Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198279957.001.0001

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The Survivor and the Savant: Two Schemes for Civil Religion Compared

The Survivor and the Savant: Two Schemes for Civil Religion Compared

(p.131) 6 The Survivor and the Savant: Two Schemes for Civil Religion Compared
Reappraising Political Theory

Terence Ball (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares and contrasts the schemes for a civil religion advanced by Auguste Comte and James Mill, which contrasts the former's illiberal and priestly views with the latter's liberal and low‐church conception of the role of religion in a modern and largely secular society. The purpose of Mill's civil religion is pedagogical: it seeks to impart civically useful knowledge and to instil a sense of civic responsibility and restraint. This stands in stark contrast to Comte's civil religion, which seeks to stifle criticism, manipulate the emotions, and procure assent to an authoritarian and undemocratic system of priestly rule.

Keywords:   authoritarianism, Auguste Comte, church, civic responsibility, civil religion, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, positivism, restraint, secular society

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