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Max Weber and Protestant Ethics

My friend Michael raise an interest question on the latest cover story of the Times Magazine titled “Does God Want You To Be Rich”. He sent me a link to the article and commented it is wrong for the church telling people to get rich. Actually this phenonoma is not new, it has been around for at least a few decades. Probably Times runs out of better news stories and decided to pull it out from the archive. This version of the success gospel is very different from the traditional gospel that teach thu shalt love thy neightbour. It is more like a self-help program in a religious package. Many mega-churchs in the States are built on this version of the gospel. I don’t see that many here in Canada. Probably Canadian are more intelligent, so we don’t need God to tell us do the right thing or get rich, we can do it ourself. To make Michael feel a bit more easy to this new religious movement, I pointed him to read more on Max Weber and Protestant Ethics. According to the grand father of sociology, it is indeed God want us to get rich. This ideology drove the birth of capitalism, the industry revolution and all the great progress of human kind in the past two hundreds years. I don’t have enough knowledge in sociology to critize whether Weber is right or wrong, but this point of view definitely have some credibility. Put aside the economy aspect of the protestant ethics, actually I found the successful gospel is easier to sallow than fundamentalist or evangelist talk about salvation or rapture all the time. It is impossible to rational with someone who seek reward outside this world. Some of them maybe saints like Mother Teresa, but more of them are just plain stupid religious zealots. Those christians want to get rich maybe not saints, at least they are reasonable and their mind are bounded by the reality.

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