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Fri Apr 10, 2015, 08:28 PM

Is there a bigger scam than "Prosperity Gospel?"

"Prosperity Gospel" states that ones wealth is a sign of how much God has blessed them. If someone is poor, then they are probably going to Hell. If someone is rich, then God loves them. Of course, you can make God happier by donating to the church, but Prosperity Gospel dictates that people who donate to charities are idiots who should have just kept their money instead. Yes, people actually believe this. I'm serious.

Especially egregious is that "prosperity gospel" is usually taught in Mega-Churches where the preacher jumps into a $100,000 sports car after mass and drives to one of his mansions. What's ironic is that most followers of it are poor themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology#Reception

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is there a bigger scam than "Prosperity Gospel?" (Original post)
Oneironaut Apr 2015 OP
TexasProgresive Apr 2015 #1
edhopper Apr 2015 #3
msongs Apr 2015 #2
longship Apr 2015 #4
2naSalit Apr 2015 #5
Gore1FL Apr 2015 #6
Oneironaut Apr 2015 #9
Mariana Apr 2015 #11
cbayer Apr 2015 #7
Igel Apr 2015 #8
AwakeAtLast Apr 2015 #10
IphengeniaBlumgarten Apr 2015 #12
Major Nikon Apr 2015 #13
gcomeau Apr 2015 #14

Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 09:24 PM

1. How about the repuklicant party? n/t

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 10:15 PM

3. same scam

Give to the powerful and they or He will take care of you.
Whether it's tax breaks or church donations.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 10:08 PM

2. superstitious people are easy prey for religion nt

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 10:51 PM

4. I would say faith healing.

Which I think is far worse because it takes sick people away from medicine. And they suffer for it.

People like Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn are far worse the prosperity gospel scumbags.

But they are all utter douche bags.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 11:03 PM

5. L.D.S. n/t

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 12:52 AM

6. I always found it Funny the way Joel Olsteen starts his weekly pitch for cash.

"This is my Bible: I am what it says I am; I have what it says I have; I can do what it says I can do."

He very clearly hasn't read it. I realize most have not, but he gets paid, quite well, to read it for people and give them the weekly condensed rehash.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 11:48 AM

9. Osteen is the poster boy for douchey televangelism

He is the living stereotype. I wonder how many people it took for God to save to pay for Osteen's haircut?

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 04:12 PM

11. Why do you think his job is to read the Bible for people?

It seems obvious to me that his job is to get as many people to put as much money into the collection plates as he can. He is very, very good at that job.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 09:22 AM

7. Actually, that's not my understanding of prosperity gospel.

I don't think there is a correlation between one's wealth and how much god has blessed someone, but more a reflection of how much faith and love an individual has for god.

It's about personal empowerment and coming to terms with god. If someone is poor, it's not because god doesn't love them and it doesn't mean they are going to hell. It's because they haven't done the work needed to get rich (including giving lots of money to their church).

But the bottom line is that it is snake oil being sold by shysters in order to line their own pockets.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 10:17 AM

8. Few churches that embrace this make it the central gospel.

That's something a few do; those are routinely condemned for it. Mostly it's outsiders who need a strawman: They see the groups that spout this to excess and then act like every suggestion of blessings for obedience are precisely this. A fine-brush is needed whenever examining a fairly complicated set of views when you're an outsider and have strong motivation to get it precisely wrong for one's own psychological, political, social, or ideological reasons.

The opponents are often hypocritical. They rely on traditional Xian views for support--then deny that's anything but a really horrible argument when it comes to aspects of doctrine they don't like. Faculty will say that a true Xian will have a hard, poor life as they rely on tenure and book royalties to have a really nice house and life. And when those who aren't wealthy spout "prosperity gospel" tripe, say they have to give up everything (mis-citing a Christ they often don't believe in) even though they often have less than those insisting it's necessary to give up everything. The response is, "Well, that's not my belief, that's yours"--when it's really neither person's. (Similarly, a lot of people argue that American Xians really can't ever be called persecuted, and point to the massacres that happened from time to time in the past. Then they turn around and say that the poor are persecuted, that massacres aren't really the definition of persecution. Making less than 133% of the poverty level is persecution.)

Most churches that have some version of this still don't make it central. Nor is prosperity necessarily seen as a sign of greater righteousness--that's the heresy. Some people fall for this; for others that aren't just looking for justification (to think they're great or to think they're good Xians), it definitely isn't. The ascetic movement (which is still alive in attenuated form, by the way) falls for the same kind of heresy: It says that outward signs and status show your standing with God. All you have to do is manipulate those and God's in your pocket. Get more $ and God's automatically pre-approved your application for salvation. Junk your junk and live in a cave, and you're fast-tracked for credit approval in the Divine Treasury. For both sides, it's really about self-salvation and making sure other people, losers all, recognize how truly awesome they are.

Take my old church. It always had some version of what could be called "prosperity theology". If you do well, you'll be blessed. If you work hard and are righteous, you'll be rewarded. There's no automatic requirement imposed by God to suffer. God doesn't so much reject people when they have a sufficient diet and housing--he rejects people whose focus is on external things like that instead of trusting him. The rich young man wasn't pitied because he was wealthy; he was condemned because he loved his things more than he loved God. On the other hand, sinners also do well, and often do much better than the righteous. Meanwhile the righteous can be tested, as was Job, and be brought to ruin.

The opposite viewpoint is equally insane. God checks your finances, and says you're blessed or cursed based on assets. It's not your attitude towards God; God's really all about the benjamins. If you have a lot, you're a sinner. Of course, you can become righteous by giving your money to the poor so they're now reasonably wealthy (presumably they automatically become unrighteous as soon as they fail the divine means-testing). Perhaps the real way to righteousness isn't helping the poor but just burning all your cash. Then we could all be at subsistence level poverty and homeless, and the advocates of this view would be happy. (That's not what they want, of course; it's not that others have, it's that others have while they don't have.) But it used to be the case that the poor were truly poor and as a result relied on others and had to recognize that, rightly or wrongly, they were dependent on others good will; they didn't follow Jesus, at least in the NT narrative, because he offered them food as a bribe but because it was easy for them to rely on God and not their own money.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 12:48 PM

10. Just like Jesus

Just in case

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Sat Apr 11, 2015, 04:44 PM

12. Historical note

This sounds like a perverse development from Calvinist theology -- also a bit perverse, i guess. Calvinists assert that a great deal is predestined, including who will be saved, and that only God knows who will achieve salvation. This made his followers anxious -- confession, repentance, good deeds were no guarantee of being among the lucky ones ("The Elect". However this anxiety made them strive really hard in all their endeavors and when they succeeded in some worldly way, they breathed a sigh of relief: "Look, God has allowed me rewards, maybe I'm one of the Elect." It has been suggested that this Calvinist anxiety was a significant force in the rise of capitalism in Northern Europe. (There's a book on this by Max Weber.)

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 01:36 PM

13. Scientology and other assorted cults perhaps

The Mormon church seems to separate people and their money pretty efficiently.

All organized religion is a scam. Some are just better at it than others.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 01:59 PM

14. How about "we'll give you eternal bliss filled life"

 

..."but only after you die. And no coming back to tell anyone about it so just take our word for it."


That's at least as big a scam.

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