“Our failure to discern a universal good does not record any lack of insight or ingenuity, but merely demonstrates that nature contains no moral messages framed in human terms. Morality is a subject for philosophers, theologians, students of the humanities, indeed for all thinking people. The answers will not be read passively from nature; they do not, and cannot, arise from the data of science. The factual state of the world does not teach us how we, with our powers for good and evil, should alter or preserve it in the most ethical manner.” (Stephen Jay Gould, 1994)
There are two common mistakes. One mistake is to claim that science and religion are in eternal conflict. The other mistake is to claim that science and religion are different but complementary, as if both are needed to achieve a complete sense of truth—as a sort of yin and yang. The second view is particular popular among modern Christians who don’t want to oppose science. But there is a third view: science and religion can ignore each other.
Any sign of moral didacticism ruins art, if art is understood as its own autonomous social system. Art, in this sense, cannot be the servant of religion, education, philosophy, science any other kind of communication. These other systems can only use art parasitically.
In modernity, the universal validity of the law comes into question. The law is no longer simply God’s law or the monarch’s law or a reflection of Nature; the law is contingent, and it is not the same thing as justice. The law, like religion, is also only one function system among several. Justice is an idea, concept, aspiration, or topic of conversation, but the law is what society actually uses to stabilize normative expectations. Ibsen and Chekhov shared an interest in the question of morality–specifically, how a morality based on social hierarchy, or stratification, cannot survive in a functionally differentiated society.
Here is a poll that shows that the political system is not so tightly coupled with the religion system. Just 25 percent of Americans say
Religion is usually considered one of the function systems of society; it is one of ten described by Steffen Roth and Anton Schütz (2015) in “Ten