In Poland, the last two decades can be viewed as a period in which there has been a great deal of controversy and conflict, and which have coincided with the presence and use in the public sphere of religious symbols and values. Since the revolution of solidarity changed Polish society, those conflicts have been observed in different fields of social life: in politics, art, religion and even in science. In this article we decided to consider them, not only as a simple expression of a new culture of liberty in Poland, but we are also following an evolution of sociological knowledge about symbols and the conflicts which they involve. The main perspective in this text is concentrated around a theoretical point of view. We describe independent nature (Ricouer, Eco, Łotman) and the different kinds of symbols which take active roles in public discourse and in many social performances. We give special attention to the key symbols (Ortner, Turner, Łotman) which have a strong influence on present social situations and which are used in contemporary performative cultures to construct or dissolve conflicts. We do not forget about the power of a social context. For example, we consider how key symbols play dominating roles in the expression of social identity, within the dynamic of postmodern culture (Eco). We also describe how sociologists and anthropologists select and observe those central symbols when they are in social use. Using the example of Polish society we present the changeable nature of symbols and we do this with reference to the ritual and “quasi-ritual process”, which has been observed by many sociologists.