Work is the new religion

BRITNEY Spears’ latest single Work B**ch is the most recent production in the new genre of motivational work music.

Spears’ lyrical efforts go like this: (You wanna live fancy? / Live in a big mansion? / Party in France? / You better work bitch, you better work bitch…

So it’s all about working hard, getting ahead, reaping the rewards. And yet the common story is of people working harder for less rewards in the hope that their jobs will not be taken over by technology. That’s the reality.

The world often seems divided into people who do things–and people who get the credit.

And we are still, in some ways, governed by the old Protestant work ethic that claims the poor deserve to be so.

According to the theory often espoused by the churches from the start of the Industrial Revolution, the way to salvation was through hard work.

There were early critics, such as John Wesley, who expressed concerns that the Protestant work ethic would produce riches that would increase pride, anger and love of the world.

In fact, there was a time when capitalism was almost an unthinkable concept. Christian churches once banned the charging of interest and rampant consumption was considered as sinful indulgence.

But progress in technology, affluence and lengthened life expectancy prompted optimistic attitudes about life and the world. Religions relaxed attitudes towards consumerism, and then embraced it.

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7 thoughts on “Work is the new religion

  1. No Bryan, the work ethic is not a protestant principle it is the principle of the Bible. Before the entrance of sin in the world, Adam was placed in a garden to “dress it and to keep it” in other words to work it. After the entrance of sin in the world, Adam was sent to till the soil and obtain his food in the sweat of his brows.

    The apostle paul also says that one who doesn’t work should not eat either. In fact the culture in which Jesus and the apostles grew in, regarded it as a sin not having a means to make a living despite one being a preacher, rabbi, whatever.

    The muslim world which took many customs from the Jews also regarded as sin, the practice of doing intellectual work without having some sort of trade one can fall back on in “the time of disaster” . Thus Sultan Murad was also a blacksmith, whilst Mehmet the conqueror (who brought down the Byzantine Empire) was a gardener.

    The protestant work ethic is a safeguard against temptation to sin.

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    • A safeguard agains temptation to sin, as in the devil finds work for idle hands? In moments of leisure great thoughts can strike, as Archimedes found in his bath tub.

      Also the great Christian contemplatives might have differed.

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  2. Dear Bryan (love your strapline btw “The greatest blog … in all the land” – wish I had thought of it) – thank you for this short piece. Long enough to suggest, brief enough so I have to do some thinking. And thank you Davinci as well for your comment. Made me stop and wonder why you are so certain, so black and white. Not sure I agree with your reply. But it made me re-look at Bryan’s piece again. So I am off to do some more thinking. What a great way to start the day! 🙂

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  3. Sad reality is there are people that juggle three jobs at a time and they still barely make enought for rent, and there are people who with very little effort makes millions of dollars.
    But work I wouldn’t say is like religion, it can also be poison, because so many people out there work themselves to death and it negatively affects their ways of life.

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  4. “And yet the common story is of people working harder for less rewards in the hope that their jobs will not be taken over by technology. That’s the reality”

    No that’s your opinion.

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  5. Interest was designated as a sin by God but man has decided since it is not a sin anymore. We are flooded with interest now and we can now see the harm interest does. Mention alternative banking without interest and people take great …. interest.

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    • Interest enables financial institutions to provide capital to persons or businesses who have capacity, but not capital. It allows financial institutions to vary the return on that capital in line with the risk in providing that capital. It allows investors an opportunity to receive a safe (if more moderate) rate of return on savings or other funds. It enables governments to regulate economic growth via monetary policy by raising or lowering the cost of funds. This provides measures to either stimulate a lagging economy or slow a highly inflationary one.

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