- Most of the time religion was ideological and therefore, inhibited the potential for social change.
- Religion - specifically, a Protestant religion called Calvinism - was instrumental in heliping bring about this major economic change in Western societies.
The ideological function of religion.
- Religions have at least on factor in common - they aimed to help people make sense of life by creating explanations for various types of inequality.
- Religion is ideological in two ways:
- (1) It have assurance to the powerful and wealthy by stressing that their position was natural or God-given.
- (2) It offered religious reasons for poverty and suffering in terms of themes such as wickedness, sins committed in former lives etc.
- Both these themes legitimate the status quo - they aim to preserve unequal societies.
- Religion prevents the possibility of any major social change that might bring about equality and fairness.
Religion as an agency of economic and social change.
- Weber did not accept the Marxist view that religious beliefs were always determined or shaped by the economic infrastructure of society.
- Religious ideas could be independant of that infrastructure.
- Weber rejects the economic determinism of Marx.
The role of Calvinist religious beliefs and practices in bringing about capitalism.
- While similar ecomomic conditions prevailed in China, India and Europe, capitalism only developed in the latter.
- Capitalism had developed in the late 16th century in those parts of Europe where a Protestant denomination known as Calvinism was dominant.
- The attitudes and orientations of Calvinism had greatly contributed to a "spirit of capitalism".
- Calvinism has provided the cultural conditions in which capitalism had developed.
- Focused on two elements of Calvinist beliefs which he claimed brought about this cultural climate:
- (1) Predestination:
- They were the elect who God had…