Both Bellahs idea of civil religion & theory of religious evolution contrast dramatically w/ Marxs view of religion.
Two key emphases in Durkheim & Bellah:
This authoritythis ultimate moral authorityis ultimately universal, not just American &, at its best, serves to judge, criticize, transform, & changeto make bettersociety, not to simply uphold existing order or justify status quo.
Civil religions construal & interpretationwhat is it?are objects in ongoing arguments among different public theologies, which arent same as civil religion. E.g., Jesse Jackson but also Jerry Falwell.
Civil religion is a living traditionits dialectical. At crucial points in time civil religion is a disputable, highly contested tradition about who we are as Americans & what America really means. But does "civil religion" really represent or stand for everyone?
Two major points about Marxs view of religion:
1) Focuses on religions relationship to social & economic classes & conflicts among them; &
2) Not one but two distinctive but related theories of religion.
Durkheims collective representation theory says religion symbolizes nature of social life. In contrast, Marx says, no, religion is more a reflection of social conditions.
Marxs projection theory of religion stresses way religious ideas, myths & rituals operate as tools, as "ideology," as weapons of class related, economically based social interests.
But Marx is not simply an economic determinist. To change structure of society, Marx holds, we must change ideas humans hold about society.
Marx denies, however, the independence or autonomy of religion & culture relative to economy. Economic & social life is not determined by consciousness, he says, economic & social life determines consciousness.