Friday, September 8, 2006

Calvinist Bias? Talking Points Gone Wild

Is the work ethic worn out? Churches let up on praise of labor's virtues

By MARY A. JACOBS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

If you don't like the work ethic, blame the Protestants.

As the theory goes, Protestant ministers greased the wheels of the Industrial Revolution, preaching hard work as a path to salvation, thus priming the masses to toil away in hopeless jobs. This, in turn, put money in the pockets of greedy bosses. Calvinist notions of "salvation through hard work" turned the church into the ultimate capitalist tool.

But you can't blame the church anymore. As we celebrate another Labor Day, Americans may be working harder than ever – but almost nobody, it seems, preaches about the work ethic these days.

"I have yet to hear a sermon on the virtues of hard work," said Eugene McCarraher, a Villanova University professor of humanities. Even though he wrote an article this summer for Christianity Today titled "The False Gospel of Work," he admits he's arguing against an idea that isn't coming from most pulpits.

Click here for full article.

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