Keywords: Weber, Sociology of Religion, Calvinism, Capitalism, Enlightenment.
In this essay the author discusses
the two paradoxical accounts advanced by Weber in his sociology of religion, particularly
in Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. The first account states that a particular religious
experience as that of Calvinist ascetic Protestantism contributes to generate the modern
disposition to rational acquisitive activity that is indifferent to ethic motivations and is substantially
irreligious. Furthermore, the individualism and the freedom derived from Puritan
sects, according to Weber, eventually result into their contrary: great economic powers and
rigid bureaucratic structures that force the individual into a condition of slavery which is even
more oppressive than the past.