Humanities Questions and Answers

1043 Words4 Pages
Q1. Take and defend a position in the debate around Weber's Protestant Ethic Thesis. According to Max Weber, the Protestant Revolution was a significant ideological development in the history of capitalism, not simply religion. The idea that salvation could be attained by works of the faith alone enabled people to separate their economic, secular life from their private religious life. "Contrary to medieval belief, religious vocations were no longer considered superior to economic vocations for only personal faith mattered with God" (Frey 2010). The uncertainty of faith also drove people to demonstrate their moral worth to the community: "Uncertainty about salvation, according to Weber, had the psychological effect of producing a single-minded search for certainty. Although one could never influence God's decision to extend or withhold election, one might still attempt to ascertain his or her status. A life that '... served to increase the glory of God' presumably flowed naturally from a state of election" (Frey 2010). This stress upon the benefits of work fueled capitalist development. However, critics of Weber point out nascent forms of capitalism had developed before Protestantism. They also believe that he misinterpreted Calvinism and Puritanism. But while some Puritans may not have been as economically-minded as Weber would suggest, there is no doubt that by the 16th and 17th centuries, preachers like John Cotton were advocating God "would have his best gifts
Open Document