Q) Assess the view that religion inhibits (discourage) social change (33).
Sociologists have mixed ideas on whether religion promotes or inhibits social change. Weber focuses on Calivinists to explain how religion can lead to social change and so argues that religion is a source for social change. Other sociologists perspectives such as functionalists, marxists and feminists see religion as a conservative force in which it maintains the status quo. Sociologists argue that there are a number of situational factors that determine whether or not religion discourages social change or not.
- Weber argues that the religious beliefs of Calvinists helped to bring about social change- specifically the emergence of modern capitalism in Northern Europe in the 16th and 17th century. Weber argues that modern capitalism is unique and called this the 'spirit of capitalism'.
- According to Weber, this spirit of capitalism had an unconscious similiartity to the Calvinists beliefs and attitudes.
- The calvinists were a protestant group who had four main beliefs; pedestination, divine transcendence, asceticism and the idea of a vocation or calling. They believed that God predetermined whose souls would be saved and individuals had no input whatsoever about this. They believed that God was above and beyond this world and incomparable to any other human being. This created what weber calls a 'salvation panic'. The calvinists could not know whether they had been chosen and could not do anything to earn their salvation, however, they did not give up. They believed that their hard work and lifestyle could earn them a place in heaven. For example, ignoring luxury assets…