Date of Graduation

Fall 2015


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Kathy Pulley


religion, economics, capitalism, socialism, theology, origins, eschatology, pneumatology, Peter L. Berger

Subject Categories



The discipline of modern economics has been categorized as based in mathematics and thus dealing only with facts. Religion, on the other hand, is considered one of the primary institutions in society that engenders different values. The stark separation between these two fields is typical of the modern fact-value distinction. The goal of this project is to provide, relying heavily upon Peter L. Berger, a detailed analysis of the value-laden social functions of religion and consider whether economics, specifically capitalism, also carries out these functions. The thesis blurs the lines between economics and religion by showing that capitalism engages in one of the primary social functions of religion, namely the promulgation of a theology. The research has revealed that capitalism, though it eschews any role in producing value-laden beliefs, actually manufactures its own unarticulated theology, establishing certain values through doctrine. This theology of capitalism is displayed by evaluating economic literature produced by three different schools of capitalism. Comparing this economic literature to three standard doctrines of Christian theology has uncovered pieces of capitalism' s own theology heavily involved in shaping specific values. By shedding light on capitalism' s theology, this thesis has revealed that economics carries out the same social functions as religion and consequently problematizes the modern fact-value distinction.


© Daniel F. Sebastian

Open Access

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