Religion and culture

Like religion, culture is a matter of ultimate values, intuitive certainties, hallowed traditions, assured identities, shared beliefs, symbolic action, and a sense of transcendence. It is culture, not religion, that for many men and women today forms the heart of a heartless world. This is true whether one has in mind the idea of culture as literature and the arts, or as a cherished way of life. Most aesthetic concepts are pieces of displaced theology, and the work of art, seen as mysterious, self-dependent, and self-moving, is an image of God for an agnostic age. Yet culture fails as an ersatz religion. Works of art cannot save us. They can simply render us more sensitive to what needs to be repaired. And celebrating culture as a way of life is too parochial a version of redemption.

"Culture and Barbarism: Metaphysics in a time of Terror"