The Protestant Idea of the Calling
After comprehensive research and study of Franklin, Luther, and Calvin’s works, Weber concluded that the Protestant idea of the calling is the notion of a task set for people by God himself. Weber believed that the concept of the calling is somewhat voluntary and is “a strenuous and exacting enterprise to be chosen by himself,” which people pursue with religious responsibility. The calling can be defined as “the valuation of the fulfillment of duty in worldly affairs as the highest form which the moral activity of the individual could assume.” The concept is highly religious as the everyday obligations people have to fulfill are realized for the sake of God, not for their own benefit. Overall, protestants regarded this fulfillment of personal duty as the highest form of moral activity.
The protestant idea of calling embodied several religious notions that followers were expected to adhere to strictly. Thus, the concept of calling had worldly asceticism as one of its forces, non-created by changes in institutions and structures but existing entirely separately. It is a significant consequence of the Reformation and an important factor in the development of capitalism. The notion of asceticism stands against the enjoyment of accumulating possessions and restricts consumption, specifically, of luxurious products. The acquisition of items necessary for comfortable living is not prohibited by asceticism. Thus, it focuses on disallowing the irrational use of wealth, dependence on external things, and following the temptations of the flesh. Overall, asceticism, accepted in the idea of calling, serves to free people from needless and excessive acquisition and accumulation of wealth and presents it as one of God’s wills.