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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Prosperity and Salvation/Enlightenment/Spirituality

    I was wondering considering a TV show which mentioned the so called "prosperity gospel" in Christianity.

    Which I as an RC see as related to Calvinism, election, pre-destination and favour which I tend to believe are contra to the actual words of Christ as recorded in the bible and understood by myself.

    I was thinking also about how prosperity or wealth was considered in many spiritualities or religions, there seems to be unanimity about it being something which is unworthy in some way in comparison with other spiritual goals, even if there are marked contrasts and disagreements as to what those spiritual goals are (ie buddhism is non-theist, Abrahamic Faiths are theist).

  2. #2
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    There is nothing farther from the prosperity gospel than calvinism. From my understanding the prosperity gospel movements pops up out of charismatic, baptist, and nondenominational branches of the protestant church. I would hazard to guess most calvinists consider prosperity theology as falling outside of orthodoxy.

    There is a huge difference between believing that unmerited righteousness is received by the elect and that there is some sort of cosmic quid pro qua where if you do what God wants he will make you rich. Frankly it's the exact opposite of calvinism which teaches that you cannot merit God's favor. He bestows wrath and glory according to his own will for his own glory.

    Ftr Christ uses the word "elect" at least 8 times in the esv version of the gospels. I won't even get into Paul.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I just see a similarity between the Calvinist views that being pre-destined to salvation as a member of an elect can be indicated by material wealth as similar to that of the prosperity gospels, although you're right it depends upon how you frame it, one may entail a belief that favour follows action while the other that it is heavenly caprice.

    I'm not convinced in the theory of election no matter how many times the word crops up in the text, in Mathew the only time that Jesus talks about God's final judgement it appears that the commies are going to be favoured the most and that action or merit does indeed come into it.

    Calvinism arose as a reaction to Roman Catholicism and Methodism arose as a reaction to Calvinism and I'm sure that other movements arose as reactions in turn, its all an example of how badly change can be managed and internalised without fragmentation. Similar processes have been repeated in every single ideological, cultural or major theoretical movement you care to mention.

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    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Actually, there is a relationship between Calvinism and prosperity theology, by way of the protestant work ethic (which, granted is more of a side-effect of Calvinism than any core doctrine). The Elected have their natures uniquely changed by God into natures that allow for divine obedience. Personal success following from a spirit of self-discipline can therefore be seen as a sign of personal salvation.

    Prosperity theology jettisons the Calvinist emphasis on the depravity of man (perhaps partially in reaction to the negativity of Calvinism), and shifts the emphasis to God granting personal abundance--not as a side effect of a transformed nature, but as a sign of God's direct generosity. I think it leaves some core aspects of Christianity behind when it does so, but you can see some of its roots in Calvinism.

    (Hey, I agree with Lark for once! Who knew? )

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    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Also, the roots of it, at least in the US are the Puritans, who saw both physical prosperity now, as well as salvation, as the results of Election (justified all the colonialism, slavery, witch burning, etc; and then, you have "Covenant Theology", which guarantees that the descendents of the elect are also elect. Totally what the book of Romans (that much of Calvinist doctrine bases itself on) was teaching against, as that's precisely what the Jews believed their being the [physical] descendants of Abraham meant)!
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    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    There are so many straw men here I think my head is going to explode.
    Sadly I have Homework tonight and will not be able to address them all now.

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    Priestess Of Syrinx Katsuni's Avatar
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    Two big things here:

    Religion is spiritual, and it wants yeu to gain spiritual growth. Material possessions do nothing to encourage this, and can sometimes inhibit such. Religion sees no reason for yeu to have material possessions due to this.

    The second issue, is that just not seeing a reason to have something isn't good enough; a reason to NOT have it is preferred. Religions don't run themselves; they need financing somehow, especially if they are to prove their god is better than everyone else's. As such, yeu have no need for yeur possessions, however, the church of whotever would love to gold plate its' pews and make nice glass windows and put gems on everything to show off how elegant and pretty it is compared to the other religion. Unless yeu're buddhist, then they just take the first point of 'material wealth interferes with spiritual growth' and runs off the end of the world with it.

    Either way, either they want yeur money, or they want noone to have money. The ones that want yeu to have money are generally called pyramid schemes and generally aren't regarded as religions.

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    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    There are so many straw men here I think my head is going to explode.
    Sadly I have Homework tonight and will not be able to address them all now.
    this..


    I agree with what you first said. All you have to do is simply look at prosperity churches.. They are all of the charismatic/pentecostal variety (not that all charismatics are prosperity oriented though). From my conversations with some people like this, there isn't any indication of Calvinism or predestination in their words. It's just all about the power of prayer... err.. or something. And the preachers sometimes teach weird little "tricks", how to phrase successful prayers properly.. how to think positively.. a lot of pop psyche stuff, almost like The Secret.

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