chapter  3
14 Pages

Berger: theology and sociology

ByGARY DORRIEN

The quintessential Berger-moment had arrived, one paragraph before the end of the lecture. Peter Berger had built up to this moment with a variation on Max Weber’s argument that an ethic of responsibility makes better politics than a moralistic ethic of absolute ends. The Weber argument had yielded a tapestry of essential Berger-themes: intellectual objectivity is a worthy ideal; there is such a thing as ‘value-free’ social science; moral protest has its appropriate place; liberation theology is empirically false; capitalist modernization is empirically superior to its real-world alternatives; the ‘New Class’ of social engineers and academics is selfpromoting and self-flattering; practical consequences are usually more important than convictional morality; everyone has a right to be indifferent to politics; most social science has a fatal utopian streak (Berger, 1988, pp. 4-7, 15-18).