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Max Weber Sociology 100 A shell as hard as steel.

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Presentation on theme: "Max Weber Sociology 100 A shell as hard as steel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Max Weber Sociology 100 A shell as hard as steel

2 Origins of the Spirit of Capitalism It seems that the obvious way to understand the development of the spirit of capitalism would be to focus on the practical moral behavior of people, not on their abstract ideas – This, however, would be a mistake. The dogmatic roots of ascetic morality died (admittedly only after terrible struggles). But the original attachment to those dogmas left clear traces in later undogmatic ethics, and only a knowledge of the original thinking can enable us to understand how that morality was connected to the idea of the beyond, an idea which absolutely dominated the minds of the most thoughtful people of that time. (68-69) 2

3 Calvinism 5 points of Calvinsim – Total depravity of humanity – Unconditional election – Limited atonement – Efficacious grace – Perseverance of the saints 3

4 5 Points of Calvinism Total depravity of humanity – Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. (70) Humans, being sinful by nature, can neither work toward their own salvation nor even will that they be saved by conversion. Infinite gulf between God and humanity 4

5 Calvinism Unconditional election – By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men... are predestined unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death. (70) Predestined before the foundation of the world was laid, the elect are chosen by God in the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will and out of His mere free grace and love, not due to any foreseen good works or qualities, nor for any reason than the grace of God – Salvation and damnation of individuals destined before the making of the world by Gods free will and for His own reasons 5

6 5 Points of Calvinism Unconditional election – To apply the yardstick of earthly justice to [Gods] sovereign decrees was pointless and an affront to his majesty, since he, and he alone, was free, that is, subject to no law, and his decrees could only be understood or known in any way to the extent that he had seen fit to reveal them to us. These fragments of the eternal truth were all we had to hold onto; everything elsethe purpose of our individual fatewas surrounded by dark mysteries which it would be impossible and presumptuous to inquire into. – For the reprobate, for example, to complain about their fate as undeserved would be like the animals complaining because they were not born as men. (73) 6

7 5 Points of Calvinism Limited salvation and efficacious grace – All those whom God hath predestinated into unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His word and Spirit (71) The elect will heed the call of God to the faith, they cannot do otherwise Others, even members of the physical church, may believe themselves saved, but are not. Christ did not die for them, only for the elect. 7

8 5 Points of Calvinism Perseverance of the saints – The elect will always hold their faith. Those who lose the faith have not lost salvation, they were never saved Saints in the biblical sense, those close to God 8

9 Calvinism This doctrine, with all the pathos of its inhumanity, had one principal consequence for the mood of a generation which yielded to its magnificent logic: it engendered, for each individual, a feeling of tremendous inner loneliness. No one and nothing could help him. Not the preacherfor only the elect could spiritually understand the word of God. Not the sacraments, not the Church, not even God, for Christ had died for the elect alone. (73-74) 9

10 Calvinism The decisive question for us is how this doctrine was endured. (76) – One question inevitably very soon arose for every single believer, and forced all others into the background: Am I one of the elect? And how can I be certain of my election? – Calvin argues that one must trust in the will of God, and fundamentally rejects the assumption that one can tell from the behavior of others whether they are elect or reprobate, calling it a presumptuous attempt to penetrate the mysteries of God. In this life the elect are indistinguishable from the reprobate. – This is all very well for a religious genius like Calvin, but the broad category of ordinary people felt the need to relieve the psychic stress of Calvinist belief by looking for signs of salvation 10

11 Discipline, Labor, and Salvation In pastoral care, two main forms of counseling presented themselves – On the one hand, people were taught that they simply had a duty to regard themselves as elect, to dismiss doubts as satanic temptations – On the other, tireless labor in a calling was urged as the best possible means of attaining this self- assurance (77) 11

12 Discipline, Labor, and Salvation For the Puritans, the world exists to glorify God, and they can do their part by obeying his commands – God willed the social achievement of the Christian, because it was his will that the social structure of life should accord with his commands and be organized in such a way as to achieve this purpose. The social work of the Calvinist in the world was merely work in majorem gloriam Dei. Labor in a calling, in the service of the secular life of the community, also shared this character. (75) Productive labor as Christian charity – Love for another, but only through God – For everyone, without distinction, Gods providence has prepared a calling, and it is not a destiny to be submitted to, but a command of God to work his glory. (108) Life of a systematic and methodical character (109) 12

13 Discipline, Labor, and Salvation Puritan asceticism worked to enable man to demonstrate and assert his constant motivesin particular those which asceticism drilled into himagainst the emotions [...] The goal of asceticism was, in contrast to many widely held notions, to be able to lead a watchful, aware, alert life. The most urgent task was the eradication of uninhibited indulgence in instinctive pleasure. The most important means employed by asceticism was to bring order into the conduct of life of those who practiced it. (81) – Exactly like Catholic monasticism, only it is expected of everyone who wants to serve God – In this way the Protestant ethic discourages consumption, especially of luxuries, thus liberating the acquisition of wealth from the inhibitions of traditionalist ethics (115) 13

14 Discipline, Labor, and Salvation Feelings & moods are subjective and untrustworthy, faith must prove itself in its objective effects (78) Totally unsuited though good works are to serve as a means of attaining salvationfor even the elect remain creatures, and everything that they do falls infinitely short of Gods demandsthey are indispensible as signs of election. (79) – Putting faith to the test in secular working life (83) – Works are not the real grounds for the state of grace but only the grounds for recognizing it, and even this only when they are done exclusively for Gods glory. (96) 14

15 Discipline, Labor, and Salvation Just as he scrutinized his own conduct, so also the later Puritan examined that of God and saw the finger of God in all the vicissitudes of life. And, in contrast to Calvins authentic teaching, he therefore knew why God was disposed this way or that way. Thus the sanctification of life could almost assume the character of a business arrangement. (85) – The usefulness of a calling, and thus the degree to which it pleases God, depends on moral criteria, social importance, and of course in practice the most important... private economic profitability. (110) If the Puritan God, controlling all aspects of life, reveals to one of his children the opportunity to make a profit, then there is a purpose in this. Consequently, the believing Christian must follow this call by taking advantage of the opportunity. (110) 15

16 Modernity Those mighty religious movements, whose whose significance for economic development lay primarily in the ascetic education they provided, only developed their full economic effect after the pinnacle of purely religious enthusiasm had been left behind, the frenzied search for the kingdom of God was beginning to dissolve into sober virtue in pursuit of the calling, and the religious roots were beginning to die and give way to utilitarian earthly concerns. (119) – Becomes middle class morality of respectability, duty and profit ( ) 16

17 Modernity In Baxters view, concern for outward possessions should sit lightly on the shoulders of his saints like a thin cloak which can be thrown off at any time. But fate decreed tha the cloak should become a shell as hard as steel. As asceticism began to change the world and endeavored to exercise its influence over it, the outward goods of this world gained increasing and finally inescapable power over men, as never before in history. Today its spirit has fled from this shellwhether for all time, who knows? (121) – Victorious capitalism has no further need for this support now that it rests on the foundations of the machine. – Even the optimistic mood of its laughing heir, the Enlightenment, seems destined to fade away, and the idea of duty in a calling haunts our lives like the ghost of once-held religious beliefs. The individual today usually makes no attempt to find any meaning in work Economic coercion 17

18 Modernity No one yet knows who will live in that shell in the future. Perhaps new prophets will emerge, or powerful old ideas and ideals will be reborn at the end of this monstrous development. Or perhapsif neither of these occursChinese ossification, dressed up with a kind of desperate self-importance, will set in. Then, however, it might truly be said of the last men in this cultural development: specialists without spirit, hedonists without a heart, these nonentities imagine they have attained a stage of humankind never before reached. (121) 18

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