Instead of grudging accommodation to externally imposed constraints, the content of religion must open itself up to normatively grounded expectation that it should recognise for reasons of its own the neutrality of the state towards worldviews, the equal freedom of all religious communities, and the independence of institutionalised science. This is the momentous step. For it is not just a matter of renouncing political force and religious indoctrination as means of imposing religious truths; it is also a matter of religious consciousness becoming reflexive when confronted with the necessity of relating its articles of faith to competing systems of belief and to scientific monopoly on the production of factual knowledge.

Conversely, however the secular state, which, with its contractual legal legitimation, functions as an intellectual formation and not merely an empirical power, must also face the question of whether it is imposing asymmetrical obligations on its religious citizens. For the liberal state guarantees the equal freedom to exercise religion not only as a means of upholding law and order but also for normative reason of protecting the freedom of belief and conscience of everyone. Thus it may not demand anything of its religious citizens which cannot be reconciled with a life that is led authentically “from faith”.