“Did Christianity Cause the Crash?”

The title of this post is taken from the title of Hanna Rosin’s fascinating article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic. It covers the ever-growing “prosperity gospel”: the belief that God will provide material wealth for those of great faith. Rosin describes the movement and documents cases of believers (like many non-believers) buying houses they could never afford in the first place because they felt God would provide for them.

The prosperity gospel is much larger than you might think:

  • 50 of the largest 260 churches in the US preach the prosperity gospel.
  • A Pew Research study found that 66% of Pentecostals and 43% of “other Christians” (half of the total respondents) believe that “wealth will be granted to the faithful.”
  • The same survey shows that 73% of religious Latinos agreed with the statement, “God will grant financial success to all believers who have enough faith.”

It’s weird. When I read what Jesus said (made much easier by What He Said), all I see are commands to give until it hurts. And then give some more.

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