Peter Beyer: Religion, residual problems, and functional differentiation:
an ambiguous relationship
(1) Such ambiguity is not unique either to modern/global society,
or to modern religion. See Victor Turner's analysis of parallel
situations in societies with relatively little functional differentiation
in Turner 1969. Elsewhere I attempt to apply Turner's starting point
to certain contemporary religious movements. See Beyer 1998a.
(2) For more extended discussion of various aspects
of religion as a functionally systemic form, see Beyer 1997; 1998b;
(3) Webers analysis of priestly versus
prophetic, charismatic religious (1972) leadership resonates with
my argument here. The dilemma of systematization is in some ways
parallel to Weber's routinization of charisma. Given Weber's central
concern with modernization or rationalization, such a parallel is
hardly surprising and shows the degree to which this question permeates
his entire sociological enterprise.
(4) The most salient works are Luhmann 1977;
1985; 1987b; 1989; 1995. In spite of its brevity, the last work
has the most direct relevance for the overall theme of this article.
(5) A good artistic rendering of the temptation
and the dilemma is to be found in Arnold Schönbergs opera,
Moses und Aron, in which Moses does not sing but searches only for
the elusive Word ("O Wort, Du Wort, das mir fehlt!").
Indeed, a parallel analysis to the one offered here for religion,
could be made for the modern artistic system. On a more strictly
religious note, and carrying the image further, as Alfred Loisy
and the Catholic "modernists" of the late 19th century
realized, even if the "Word is made Flesh", that in itself
is not much good if there does not follow the church