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Theory : Max Weber. “Senseless death has seemed only to put the stamp upon the senselessness of life itself.” (Sociology 156). Psychological Experience of Religion. Religious ‘virtuosos’ and the ‘unmusical’ Virtuosos: Prophets, saints, founders, reformers Unmusical: everyone else - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Theory:Max WeberSenseless death has seemed only to put the stamp upon the senselessness of life itself.(Sociology 156)

  • Psychological Experience of ReligionReligious virtuosos and the unmusicalVirtuosos: Prophets, saints, founders, reformersUnmusical: everyone elseTension between religious institutions and virtuososApocalypse IslandThe church, being the holder of institutionalized grace, seeks to organize the religiosity of the masses and to put its own officially monopolized and mediated sacred values in the place of the autonomous and religious status qualifications of the religious virtuosos. By its nature, that is, according to the interest-situation of its officeholders, the church must be democratic in the sense of making the sacred values generally accessible. (288)Routinization (297)*

  • Types of ReligiousIntellectualsThe rationalism of hierocracy grew out of the professional preoccupation with cult and myth orto a far higher degreeout of the cure of souls, that is, the confession of sin and counsel to sinners. Everywhere hierocracy has sought to monopolize the administration of religious values. They have sought to bring and to temper the bestowal of religious goods into the form of sacramental or corporate grace, which could be ritually bestowed only by the priesthood and could not be attained by the individual. (283)Monopolizing the means of the production of salvation*

  • Types of ReligiousRulersPolitical officials have distrusted the competing priestly corporation of grace and, above all, at bottom they have despised the very quest for these impractical values lying beyond utilitarian and worldly ends. (286)Chivalrous warriorsCharacteristic of them to pursue absolutely worldly ends and to be remote from all mysticism. Such strata, however, have lackedand this is characteristic of heroism in generalthe desire as well as the capacity for a rational mastery of reality. (283)Subject to the whims fate or the service of destiny*

  • Types of ReligiousPeasantsinclined toward magic. Their whole economic existence has been specifically bound to nature and has made them dependent upon elemental forces. They readily believe in a compelling sorcery directed against spirits who rule over or through natural forces, or they believe in simply buying divine benevolence. (283)However, they can be swept up in rationalized religious movementsThe civic classesA tendency towards a practical rationalism in conduct [...] conditioned by the nature of their way of life, which is greatly detached from economic bonds to nature. Their whole existence has been based upon technological or economic calculations and upon the mastery of nature and of man Thus, precisely for these, there has always existed the possibilityeven though in greatly varying measureof letting an ethical and rational regulation of life arise. (284)Active asceticism and God-willed action*

  • RationalismRationalism may mean very different things. (293)Systematic thought & world pictureTheology, philosophy, scienceMethodical and calculated attainment of a practical endPolitics & economySystematic arrangementRitual*

  • RationalismNot ideas, but material and ideal interests, directly govern mens conduct. Yet very frequently the world images that have been created by ideas have, like switchmen, determined the tracks along which action has been pushed by the dynamic of interest. From what and for what one wished to be redeemed and, let us not forget, could be redeemed, depended upon ones image of the world. (280)Defilement PurityFlesh SpiritBeing PeaceSin BenevolenceFate FreedomFinitude InfinityCycle of rebirth PeaceToil Sleep*

  • RationalismBehind them always lies a stand towards something in the actual world which is experienced as specifically senseless. Thus, the demand has been implied: that the world order in its entirety is, could, and should somehow be a meaningful cosmos. (281)MeaningRationalizationThe task of a religions intellectuals (281)*

  • RationalismModern rationalization (science) has so disenchanted the world that religion has moved increasingly into the space of the irrational (281)Mystic experiences: the limits of language (282)Even so, as practical life has been rationalized, there remains the negative space where the irrationality of religion once was (281)Wherever the direction of whole way of life has been methodically rationalized, it has been profoundly determined by the ultimate values toward which this rationalization has been directed. These values and positions were thus religiously determined. (287)


  • Two Forms of Rejection of the WorldActive asceticismGod-willed action of the devout who are Gods tools (325)Operates within the world; rationally active asceticism, in mastering the world, seeks to tame what is creatural and wicked through work in a worldly vocation (inner-worldly asceticism). (325)Proves itself through action, rejects contemplative flight as indolent enjoyment of self (326)Mysticism (passive asceticism)Intends a state of possession, not action, and the individual is not a tool but a vessel of the divine. Action in the world must thus appear as endangering the absolutely irrational and other-worldly religious state. (325)contemplative flight from the world (325)He proves himself against the world, against his action in the world (326)Views active asceticism as an entanglement in the godless ways of the world combined with complacent self-righteousness (326)*

  • Religion vs. the Natural CommunityOrganic communal & family ethicIn-group morality vs. out-group moralityExample: no haggling with insiders; right to expect assistance from insiders, but no obligation to provide it to outsidersReciprocityReligious ethicExtends in-group ethic into universalityNeighborliness and brotherhoodIt is taken for granted that the faithful should ultimately stand closer to the savior, the prophet, the priest, the father confessor, the brother confessor, the brother in the faith than to natural relations and to the matrimonial community. (329-330)Example: Luke 14:26: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."


  • The Economic SphereMoney is the most abstract and impersonal element that exists in human life. The more the world of the modern capitalist economy follows its own immanent laws, the less accessible it is to any imaginable relationship with a religious ethic of brotherliness. (331)Active ascetic response: Puritan ethic of vocation, rejecting universalism of love and accepting the routinization of the economic cosmos, which, with the whole world, it devalued as creatural and depraved. This state of affairs appeared as God-willed, and as material and given for fulfilling ones duty.Mystic response: rejection of the importance of economic goods. However, the ethic of universal love is impersonal: the benevolent mystic gives his shirt when he is asked for his coat, by anybody who accidentally happens to come his wayMysticism is a unique escape from this world in the form of an objectless devotion to anybody, not for mans sake but purely for devotions sake, or, in Baudelaires words, for the sake of the souls sacred prostitution. (333)*

  • The Political SphereA tension between universalist religion, (especially under a god of love) and the necessities of the political orderThe state is an association that claims the monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, and it cannot be conceived in any other manner. (334)The mutual strangeness of religion and politics, when they are both completely rationalized, is all the more the case because, in contrast to economics, politics may come into direct competition with a religious ethics at decisive points. (335)Resist no evil vs. You shall help right to triumph by the use of force (334)Identity, meaning, & death (335)*

  • The Political SphereActive asceticism: It interprets Gods [incomprehensible] will to mean that these commandments should be imposed upon the creatural world by the means of this world, namely, violencefor the world is subject to violence and ethical barbarism. (336)Crusading orientation toward the world, sacrificing universal brotherhood (340)Mysticism: a radically anti-political attitude, his quest for redemption with its acosmic benevolence and brotherliness. With its resist no evil and its maxim then turn the other cheek, mysticism is necessarily vulgar and lacking in dignity in the eyes of every self-assured worldly ethic of heroism. (336)It withdraws from the pragma of violence which no political action can escape. Otherworldly orientation.*

  • The Political SphereAbsolutism or pragmatism?To what degree do consequences matter?The Christian does right and leaves success to God. (339)Rational in principle, but irrational in effects


  • The Aesthetic SphereSince its beginnings, religion has been an inexhaustible fountain of opportunities for artistic creation, on the one hand, and of stylizing through traditionalization, on the other. (341)The relationship between art & religion will remain harmonious for so long as the creative artist experiences his ability as resulting either from a charisma of ability (originally magic) or from spontaneous play. (341)But the development of intellectualism and rationalization means that art becomes a sphere of life separate from religion, as art takes over the function of a this-worldly salvation from the routines of everyday life, and especially from the increasing pressures of theoretical and practical rationalization. (342)From the point of view of religion, art becomes an idolatry, a competing powerIconoclasmBut historically, the psychological affinity between