Article 43

 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Religious Diversions Part 14 - New Age and Prosperity Gospel

image: hollywood

Our society is desperate to make excuses for the MONSTERS of our era, perhaps because we would rather not entertain the possibility that there is a dark side to humanity.
- True Evil

[A]nother danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after the present unpleasantness ceases.”
- Islamic Or Republican Fascism?

“America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.”
- John le Carr

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who dont do anything about it.
- Albert Einstein

Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
-Romans 12:2

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A New Kind of Prosperity Gospel

By Bruce Epperly
Patheos
June 20, 2010

The identification of faith or POSITIVE THINKING with success has been at the heart of the prosperity and health and wealth gospel movements among Pentecostal Christians. The PROSPERITY GOSPEL asserts that God wants believers to be healthy and wealthy in mind, body, and spirit. Prosperity results from our faith—our willingness to believe, receive, and act upon God’s promises of material and physical success. Alongside the Pentecostal prosperity gospel is the new thought or new age affirmation that people can create their own realities by visualization and positive thinking. Most recently, the best-selling new thought text, The Secret, affirmed that prosperity is solely the result of positive imaging and affirmative spirituality. If you get your thoughts right or have enough faith, these respective systems suggest that you will find wealth, health, and happiness.

While there is much to affirm about the relationship of positive thinking, visualization, and heart-felt faith with physical, mental, relational, and spiritual well-being, I believe there are serious problems with both the new age/new thought and Pentecostal understandings of spirituality and prosperity. First, both are highly linear in approach: they assert that right thought or faith alone matters. If you have faith, you will succeed; if you don’t, you will fail in every aspect of your life. Positive thinking ensures success; while negativity leads to disease and failure. Accordingly, both approaches NEGLECT THE RELATIONAL AND SOCIAL NATURE OF LIFE. They believe that regardless of our environment, economic situation, physical condition, mental health, or family of origin, we will succeed if we only have enough faith or affirmative consciousness.

Second, both the prosperity gospel and new age optimism are highly individualistic: we succeed entirely as a result of our own faith or positive thinking and don’t need the support of others; nor is it necessarily appropriate to interfere, especially in some new age versions, with the negativity that others experience. This viewpoint obviously has political and social consequences: there is a reason people are poor, and that reason is lack of faith or negative thinking. A less sophisticated understanding of poverty identifies the poor as LAZY.

Posted by Elvis on 04/18/21 •
Section Dying America • Section Spiritual Diversions
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