Max Weber - Religion and Capitalism
To prepare for the Lecture Volker Balli recommended Max Weber’s text “Wissenschaft als Beruf” to us students. In the Lecture itself though, after introducing Max Weber as a person, Mr. Balli came to talk about “Die Protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus” for only a couple of minutes.
Weber’s theory basically is that capitalism evolved from the reformation of the protestant church. Therefore the origins of all capitalist thinking and actions have come from religion itself.
In 1517, Martin Luther led the reformation to a point that I would call the “birth” of the protestant church. As soon as there was a separation to the Roman Catholic Church, the biggest and hardest step to religious freedom was done. A variety of protestant churches developed throughout the years and today there are non-countable numbers of liberal, free, official and independent protestant churches all over the world.
One hard problem new protestant believers had to cope with for over centuries, since Luther, was the lack of security of being saved. Originally the Catholic Church was the institution being able to calm Christian’s spirits through granting absolution. But since the reformation this security of entering heaven was missing. If absolution could no longer be received by the Pope in Rome there still was one simple guideline for Protestants, which was sticking to the Holy Book as good as possible. Being hardworking and loyal was a refugee a lot of Protestants fled to. This is where I think; having Weber’s theories in mind, “capitalism” in its purest form maybe found a start.
In 1 Corinthians 10:31 is an example of how fundamentalist believers might approach everyday life: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. Always working hard to please the Lord is an attitude that has been carried on for generations in a lot of Christian families. If this was thought to be the only way of