Protestant False Consciousness Summary

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In the early United States, it was hard to separate religion from the day to day lives of the people who lived here. For example, many of the pioneers (at least in the northern United States) left Europe for religious reasons. The Declaration of Independence mentions God, the United States Constitution speaks of religion, and freedom of religion was included in the original Bill of Rights. Furthermore, when the industrial revolution hit, people had been religious for centuries and weren’t ready to give it up. Because of the widespread nature of religion as capitalism was growing, Weber realized there was no way to talk about the early stages of capitalism without also talking about religion since the actors in early capitalistic societies were religious. As Weber says, religion is the “the decisive [influence] in the formation of national character” (Weber, 155). Such a decisive…show more content…
First, the capitalist tells the laborers that being a capitalist was a calling from God, which is why the capitalist must work so hard. Next, being a worker was also a calling, which means the workers must “accept [their calling] as a divine ordinance, to which [they] must adapt [themselves],” (Weber, 85). The Protestant laborer knows hard work is the best way to magnify one’s calling and thus begins to do so. Finally, the worker is reminded that he is forever trapped in his calling by God, because “the individual should remain… in the station and calling in which God had placed him,” (Weber, 85). Together, these three problems create the idea that ‘hard work pleases God’ while ignoring the fact that ‘hard work increases profits for the capitalist.’ The Protestant laborer is trapped in the false motives that the capitalist is feeding him: not only are the Protestant laborers working as hard as they can to please the capitalist and God, but they also have no other choice (unless they want to displease
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