Prosperity Theology
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Basic Information

Prosperity theology is a religious belief among parts of Christianity that God provides material wealth and prosperity for those he favors. This has been criticized among other Christians as a perversion of traditional Biblical teachings - pointing out, among other things, that Jesus did not live in prosperity. However, even this is under dispute by some adherents of prosperity theology, alleging that "Jesus never would have had disciples or a large following if he was poor. He would not have been able to command their respect"[2].

The Prosperity Gospel was very popular among the Plutocrats of the Gilded Age. The German economist and scholar Max Weber, in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism argued that Calvin's emphasis on predestination led Calvinists to see material success as a sign of God's favor. More recently, the book The Prayer of Jabez has espoused a "Name it and claim it" theology where if you pray hard enough God will change your life for the better.

The Book of Job pretty much shoots down the whole idea, though. Pity.


1. Did Christianity Cause the Crash? - an examination of American followers of Prosperity Theology.
4. The Gospel of Supply-Side Jesus — a liberal satire on conservative values by comedy writer-turned Senator Al Franken. Blasphemous, but funny.

Game and Story Use

  • This kind of approach would make a great faith for many adventurers - if you haul huge amounts of treasure out of the dungeon, clearly you are favored by the gods!
  • On the other hand, people adhering to such a belief would also make great villains - after all, poor people have clearly been disfavored by the gods, and thus deserve whatever has been done to them!
  • Prosperity Theology also provides an interesting example on how to "creatively reinterpret" other prophets of other religions to alter (even pervert) the message.
    • In a setting with more supernatural overtones, Prosperity Theology might even have been invented by the devil.
      • Consider: Many Gnostic religions consider the Biblical God to be an evil being who created and controls an illusory world. Prosperity Theology teaches that those favored by the Biblical God will receive material rewards. Could both of these be right?
  • Try reversing it. Instead of wealth being a sign of divine favor, is wealth a way to earn divine favor?
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