Religion is tolerated because it absorbs painful disillusionments in society, neutralizes obscure anxieties, and silences dangerous memories and unmanageable hopes within social life. In short, it is tolerated because it brings a more or less welcome stabilization to complex societies. However, if this functionalization of religion and of the church were to be perfectly achieved it would be the death of them. The church will be able to ward off this danger in the long run only if it lives as a religious communio in which everyone has become subjects, that is, in which an identity has been developed that does not originate simply from above but from out of people’s religious experiences themselves.
Johann Metz, Faith in History and Society: Toward a Practical Fundamental Theology, 142.