This book is a must read, but in the end the enigma of protestantism is likely to elude sociological analysis: we must consider that even brain-dead Protestantism is still a spiritual movement, a statement whose meaning is ambiguous, and which means that it is has a perhaps lost connection with a larger domain of higher material reality, to put it in samkhya terms. But the scenario is of a spiritual dimension lost.
We should remember the world of the Reformation and Munzer; an attempt was made, so contrary to this portrait’s picture of later decay, to create a radical communism movement. So we suspect in many ways the whole religion is a lost cause.
That makes sense in terms of the ‘macro effect’: suddenly xtianity is under the impress of a macro transformation, and it creates a whole series of outcomes all the way up to the era of abolition: so it is not easy to generalize about the core. It would seem probable that the economic rationalization of Protestantism is simply that of a derelict movement in terminal decay, as it drifts from its Reformation roots to a chameleon adaptation to capitalist civilization. That is a little simpler, maybe not simplistic, as explanation than the elaborate attempts at social/causal analysis. The point is that much of what we see is simpler a frozen stage of ‘evolution’ as the breaking front moves on.