A hermeneutic approach to culture treats actions as texts, reinforcing religious symbols while separating them from their social context. An anthropological approach, on the other hand, seeks to balance subjective bias with a disciplinary approach. In both cases, religion is a construct of social structures, not of the individual.
Observable religion is the practice of religious beliefs outside conventional religion. Philosophers such as Niklas Luhmann have attempted to define religion as both an observable and unobservable phenomenon. They have found that religious communication differs from other forms of communication because it is based on a binary code that involves immanence and transcendence.