The Social Contract - Book 4, Part 3 Summary & Analysis

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Book 4, Part 3 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 8, "Of Civil Religion"

The author begins this lengthy chapter with a summary of the history of religion. He describes how ancient peoples regarded nature as a manifestation of the will and power of several gods, how those peoples did not distinguish the laws of those gods from the laws of government, and how those peoples respected the existence of the other gods of other peoples. He suggests that monotheism (the belief in one god to the exclusion of all others) developed with Judaism and developed further with Christianity, the emergence of which, the author maintains, caused the separation of church and state. This, he writes, was the reason that Christians were persecuted. Their beliefs, and their ways of acting on those beliefs, were too dangerous to the (relatively peaceful) status quo. This perceived danger, the author suggests, was...

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This section contains 907 words
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