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Dan Silver

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- Weber:
o Religious Rejections
- Durkheim:
o Social Facts
o DOL in Society
Agenda + Structure
Function of DOL
- Weber was particularly interested in the puritan/protestant type of religion
o He was interested in the link between the rise of that religion & its influence on existing
relationships in the world
o How is this type of religion different from the world compared to other major religions?
- A particular category of religion that interested Weber was salvation religion
o ‘salvation’ derives from the Latin word ‘to save’
o Salvation religions promise people redemption
i.e., you will be saved from suffering & sin
o It saves them from something corrupt in the world & promises them a better alternative
higher world (e.g., heaven)
- Weber thought these type of religions were some of the most historically influential forces of
social change
o When people believe that there’s a higher world, that there are people/nations that
they’re potentially more connected to than their real blood brothers/nations, this
changes their beliefs & values completely
o These salvation religions can break down the previous strong holds of blood relations
E.g., people begin thinking in a more universal & global way
“Love thy neighbour” = love everyone rather than just love your next-
door neighbour
Religion & the World
Religion’s Orientation to the
Inner-Worldly (i.e., you have to
get out into the world; can’t just
stay inside the church)
Other-Worldly (i.e., you need to
withdraw from the world & just
stay in the church)
Active (i.e., you’re a tool for
God’s will)
+ God’s will won’t be done
unless you actively go out there
& change things
*Active asceticism (Puritan)
e.g., Jehovah’s witnesses,
Mormonism, missionaries
Monkish (live separated from the

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Passive (i.e., you’re a vessel in
which God pours his will into)
+ You don’t have to do anything
for God’s will to take place; you
can just sit there & meditate
Sacred wanderer
e.g., no actual plan of changing
the world, letting yourself be
carried away by the tides of
fortune; let fate take over
e.g., Buddhism
*The 2 polar & main types of religion (Active Inner-Worldly vs. Passive Other-Worldly)
Tension between Salvation Religion &:
- Economy
o Source of tension:
Economic transactions are impersonal
o Money is money no matter how it was acquired
o Capitalism can be very dehumanizing
Religion: relations between one another are supposed to be very warm,
loving & personal
o “Love thy neighbour” implies that you should care for each
o Ways of resolving this tension:
Puritan ethic method
To make the tension go away, you select a part of the overall salvation
religion & give that up / cross that out
You narrow down on who gets to exist within the universal moral
o Down to just a few people who have been elected by God to be
a part of that community
o You are no longer exploiting the good people whom you’re
supposed to love, since they’re all damned anyways >_>
Now there is no tension since you can say that the good people are the
ones making a profit & the bad people are the ones losing out
Now you can function in the economy & make as much profit as you
want without worrying about going against the universal ethic of
brotherly love
Mysticism method
You’re in the economy but you’re not of it
You withdraw from accepting profit
o You give away whatever you make
You don’t bother trying to succeed in the economic world
o Since economic success is bad
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