The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism
In the anxiousness to have the woman he loved get to him one of my favorite singers says the line “be it train, plane, automobile, …get here. His feelings said by any means necessary I want the goal to be you here with me. Many things in our lives create this same goal driven feeling. Often to our detriment, we work tirelessly toward meeting this goal. This very behavior has trickled over to our spiritual lives. The problem is that the goal has shifted to how to ensure financial gain.
If understood correctly capitalism is private ownership of large entities that gains are funneled back to the owners. There is a difference in opinions on whether this type of society is beneficial to everyone. Some believe that there is a connection between the Protestant ethic and the start of such behavior. It is believed that this message was introduced into the church and encouraged through the thought that a successful business was Gods favor.
Slowly but surely the church has become a part of this capitalist thinking. There are goals to have control both financially and spiritually. The soul has been place to the side while we are more engaged in how the church can be a means to nice cars, private jets, and large houses. The poor being convinced that the more they give the more they will be blessed. The church is now a business a transaction away from casino. Salvation is preached less and money is preached more. The Bible teaches us that we should seek God and the things we need will be added unto us. It also teaches us that we are the church, so how can the church be of ownership to one set of people?
Opinion vs. Practice
Although each and every person has an opinion or theory what matters most is what you practice. We can only have a capitalist society if it is favored by the majority and we can only make changes if there is a new adoption of processes. The capitalist society is greatly favored therefore the practice will continue to be that those with money will also take control and make decisions over our economy. Those who favor giving the poor any type of control will be seen as wrong doers. Will this change? Can this change? Would we be better off if it changes? Are we ok in our current state? Each one of these questions can be answered differently by different people on each side of the spectrum. Can we as a country ever agree? Seems the answer is no. Therefore as the practice of controlling the economy continues so will capitalism.
Weber, Max, “The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism”California (2002).
Dr. Jason Clark, “Evangelicalism and Capitalism: A Reparative Account and Diagnosis of Pathogeneses in the Relationship” (2018).