August 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
In 1905 Weber argued that Puritan ethics and ideas influenced the growth of capitalism. Weber clarified the paradox that religious devotion generally came with a rejection of wealth and possessions by defining spirit of capitalism as the idea that certain types of Protestantism favored rational pursuit of economic gain and that worldly activities had been given positive spiritual and moral meaning. Weber traced origins of the Protestant ethic to the Reformation, though he acknowledged respect for secular everyday labor as early as the Middle Ages. Durkheim (1915) deemed the boundary between sacred and the profane to be the fundamental distinctive of religion: “religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden.” The profane, in contrast, involved commonplace individual concerns. Durkheim explicitly stated that both sacred and profane could be either good or evil. Weber lamented the loss of religious underpinning to capitalism’s spirit led to an involuntary servitude of man to mechanized industry. It is within this context in which I see a need to position a research program. There is a huge need to use sociology of religion and organization theory to study the tensions between the sacred and secular, church and business.
The reason for an investigation is that the church fails to improve the business community’s gift of engaging with the sacred in daily business. The Church should be the best resource we have for leading an integrated and balanced business life; however competitive dynamics between the sacred and secular have led the church and business to separation. There needs to be a research program seeks to discover how church and business can work together for the profit of people both inside and outside the church.
Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, (1912, English translation by Joseph Swain: 1915) The Free Press, 1965., new translation by Karen E. Fields 1995
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and “The Spirit of Capitalism” (Penguin Books, 2002) translated by Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells, pp.9-12