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Protestants versus Catholics

  1. Jul 14, 2004 #1
    When Max Weber published his famous hypothesis on the Protestant work ethic and the rise of capitalism, he linked it to the "rationalization" of society.
    Habermas continued this sociological thought and expanded it into his theories of increasing rationalism, technocracy and democracy.

    In recent decades, this hypothesis has been discredited as it is way too rigid and teleologic. We now see those same Protestant cultures turning increasingly to more "irrational" mindsets. (Take American society as an example.)

    Now here comes my thingie. I want to compare Protestantism and Catholicism as they manifest themselves in our contemporary societies. There's a growing cultural difference between the two credos.

    Anglosaxon protestantism is indeed becoming so obsessed with its "work ethic", which has permeated all aspects of their lives (it has even reached the bedroom and their sexuality, where competitiveness rules), that it is becoming more and more surreal and overtly irrational.

    Are we witnessing the reversal of Weber's thesis?

    I want to make a big photo essay showing these differences in a very politically incorrect way. No nuance. Only strong contrasts between Protestants and Catholics. The book would be designed according to a completely binary structure, with pure and exaggerated oppositions. Here are some I'm thinking of. Please suggest other forms of protestant irrationality and absurdity.

    (Catholics) Delicious carefully prepared menus, with lots of sensuality, French cuisine, care, diversity in its ingredients and tastes, finesse <-- versus --> (Protestants) cold, hard, industrial food, McDonald's; sensuality is sin; food is not to be enjoyed, it should only convey a feeling of being "full", hence "full" bodies; at best, food is money (for those who produce it industrially). But it sure can't be something you enjoy in a group of people.

    sensuality, samba, dance, mature intimacy, carnavale, collective orgiastic parties (symbol: picture of a Brazilian samba troupe, shaking sensual bodies with grand smiles) <-versus-> fear of real sensuality and sexuality, either porn all the way or excessive immaturity, but never mature relationships, accepting human nature and its "filthy little secrets" (symbols: American males' obsession with shaved female genitals, symptom of their fear of "normal, natural" genitals, sign of their infantile view on sexuality; American "No sex before Marriage Virgins" campaigning) :devil:

    warm, mysterious, trompe-l'oeil baroque (symbol: Italian Baroque churches) <-versus-> hard, dry, cold, rectangular empty boxes (symbol: black Scandinavian empty church; industrially produced pre-fab white American suburbia; all the same)

    relaxed, dolce far niente, not being ashamed of doing nothing for a few days a week, love lust life, no stress, work as a means to an end, psychologically healthy, tolerant, interested and able to cope with diversity <-versus-> stressed up, fvkked up, kids taking steroids to excel in sports, extremely high rates of psychological disorders, ADHD, depression, hysteria, competitive madness, work, work, work; doing nothing is sinful, laziness must be repressed, diversity is devilish, capital counts, stressed up, identity crisis, busy with empty businesses.

    A Catholic can commit a sin. He just goes to a priest and confesses. The priest says: "your sins are forgiven, now go". And you go away and you can sin, sing, drink, love and laugh again. <-versus-> Protestants: Oh no! Eternal shame! Once you sin, you will never be clean again. Carry the burden of God's rage forever on your shoulders! Oh no! Depression as a general condition.

    mother theresa la Grande Catholique spending all her life amongst the diseased and dispossessed, rarely giving interviews, out of the spotlight, although the entire world knows she's there, in Calcutta, no need for show <-versus-> princess Diana, flash show fake five minute charity visits to landmine victims, media figure, empty box, fake "charity"

    etc... etc...

    There are hundreds of hilarious examples. Please let me know if you have some I should add. :biggrin:

    Protestants and Catholics, two worlds apart.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2004 #2

    jimmy p

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    Gold Member

    This is extracting the urine. Weber must have been high or something! :smile: got any more?
  4. Jul 14, 2004 #3
    Nah, there are plenty of books already on the differences between Protestantees and Catholics when it comes to scatological habits. Urine's done. :wink:
  5. Jul 14, 2004 #4
    Weber was a great historian and sociologist. You have thoughts that have crossed my mind many times (esp. on work and sex). Unfortunately, I live in an Anglo-Saxon-dominated country where such thoughts are rare to find in print. And of course my thoughts are rather poor quality. Probably there are some modern French philosophers and intellectuals who have developed these ideas further. Look into it some more.
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