Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Contribution of Religion to Social Change.

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of religion to social change. (18 marks)

Weber found that religion could cause social change, such as the Calvinism and capitalism. The Calvinists believed in predestination, so God had already chosen the elect to go to heaven and the individuals who hadn’t, could not do anything to change that. They believed that God was far above and beyond this words and greater than any mortal, that no human could possibly claim to know his will. This left the Calvinists feeling an ‘unprecedented inner loneliness’. When this is combined with the doctrine of predestination, this created a salvation panic amongst the Calvinists. They also believed in asceticism; self-discipline and self-denial. Refraining from a life of luxury. So, instead of spending a lot of money, they put money back into their business. And they believed in the idea of a vocation or calling. Before Calvinism, the idea of a religious vocation (a calling to serve God) meant renouncing everyday life to join a convent or monastery. Weber called this otherworldly asceticism. Calvinists knew God’s plan for humanity, which came from the Bible and it revealed that that they were put on Earth to do glorify God’s name by our work. So, for the Calvinists, this meant constant, methodical work in an occupation and not a monastery. However, work could not earn salvation; this was simply a religious duty. This is the reason that the Calvinists led an ascetic lifestyle by shunning from luxury, worked long hours and practiced self-discipline. Their hard work had two consequences. Firstly, their wealth and success helped them cope with their salvation panic. They took their wealth to mean that it was God’s favour and their salvation. This contradicts…...

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