Max Weber’s Theory of Religion: Classical Sociological Theory

Sun, 02/09/2014 - 05:00 -- Umar Farooq

Max Weber’s Theory of Religion

Max Weber’s another contribution in the field of sociology is the theory of religion. The basic theme of Weber’s sociology of religion is that there is direct link between the economic system and the practical ethics of community. These two are interdependent on each other. The influence of both is positive.

Principles of Religion

The main principles in the sociology of religion are the following.

  1. Religion and economic system are in interdependent and influence each other.
  2. Neither religion nor economic factor alone can describe the facts of life.
  3. During the study of social life both the religion and economic system are variables.
  4. Weber believes in ideal type.

Weber takes practical ethics of religion as the basis for the study of its influence upon economic system. He studied the practical ethics of Protestantism (general masses) and is influence in the growth of capitalism. Weber takes the ideal types of both Protestantism and capitalism.

Influence of Protestantism upon Capitalism

According to Max Weber Protestantism has an influence and features upon the development of capitalism.

  1. Emphasis on industry: In Protestantism, labor and industry have been greatly emphasized pro5testantism teaches a man to be industrialist which leads to the prosperity of capitalism.
  2. Moderation in Life: Protestantism prohibits excessive satisfaction in sex and use of alcohol. Protestantism emphasis on the efficiency in work which influence capitalism. Life should be free from all type of excesses. Calvin says that, a man can know whether his soul will go to heaven or hell by achieving success in life.
  3. Legitimization of interest: The idea that money begets money is an essential feature of capitalism. Protestantism allowing the legitimization of interest which influence capitalism Protestantism is against the interest on something. So, we conclude that the philosophy of Protestantism causes the spirit of capitalism. We can see that in Europe, the protestant nations developed in the field of industries.