Monday, May 07, 2018

"Blessed are the merciful" - Religion and Capitalism


Religion and Capitalism

According to Max Weber, Capitalism was realized based on Protestant Christianity:
Although not a detailed study of Protestantism but rather an introduction to Weber's later studies of interaction between various religious ideas and economics (The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism, and Ancient Judaism), The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism argues that Puritan ethics and ideas influenced the development of capitalism. The 'spirit of capitalism' does not refer to the spirit in the metaphysical sense but rather a set of values, the spirit of hard work and progress. 
The Vatican teaches that men's work to be accepted by God must be based on faith.  If work or labor is based on faith, there is nothing to discuss any more.  Because God loves those who live based on faith, so that such men will be surely accepted in Heaven.  Only you have to do is to have strong faith and work based on the faith.  But hard work itself does not promise anything. 

However, Protestantism taught no matter what faith a man had, it is unknown whether God accepts him into Heaven.  Men are put in a state of uncertainty and doubt.  But, men who are destined to Heaven by God must behave different than others who are not.  And such a difference should appear in their living.  They must have stronger faith in God than others.  Accordingly, their behavior must be stronger than others'.  Believing that a man will be accepted by God into Heaven, the man should show his status in strong behavior.

In Protestantism, it is not their faith or Vatican's judgement but God's discretion that decides a man will be accepted in Heaven.  And, if a man believes that he is accepted, he should live strongly and work harder as can be seen clearly, since there are no other ways to make distinction between those who can believe that they are accepted by God and those who cannot, since faith cannot be seen clearly from the outside as with men's insides.  Hard work may not be accepted by God as a reason for Him to accept men into Heaven, but hard work by those already accepted by God will surely rejoice God.

Therefore, men in a state of uncertainty in terms of their salvation by God have to work hard to conquer the fear of not being accepted by God as if they believe that they would be surely saved.

However, this hard work is not for material wealth or profit.  It is a kind of desperate work without material aims.  It is because a man thinks that if he knew that he was chosen and accepted by God, he should show his thanks to God through strong behaviors or hard work based on strong faith.  And, if a man cannot think that he is not accepted by God and he will fall into the hell, he will not live with strength based on faith.  Because whatever he makes, it will be useless.  Being lazy means being not accepted by God.

If you are chosen by God, you have to show the joy though hard work based on strong faith.  This is the start of accumulation of capital that is not directly linked to any desire.  Uncertainty about salvation can be only conquered by believing that he is chosen by God and showing the confidence through strong behavior such as hard work.

Muslims have no such traditions.  Accordingly, they did not accumulate capital.  They cannot start capitalism.  Judaists can accept faith and hard work, since hard work can be a way to stick to their belief that God chose them, although God sometimes puts them in difficult situations, since living is working.   They can understand that they may as well think they have to show more gratitude to God, which might lead to hard work and accumulation of capital.

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Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.