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Mirroring the capitalist world around it, the American Protestant Church preaches a prosperity gospel, a theological, economic, and social force within American religion. This research examines the history and emergence of the prosperity gospel and its relationship to capitalism. Its theology teaches adherents that they will be blessed with material prosperity in the form of health and wealth if they practice its teachings, that is, if they are capitalists. The core idea that religion begets wealth bridges Christianity and capitalism, allowing believers to believe they are Christians while unconditionally accepting market capitalism. In this research, I demonstrate how three streams of thought led nominations of American Protestantism to this point: New Thought, Pentecostalism, and American gospel; in the first, believers accessed supernatural powers of healing through prayer; the second followed the ideas of New Thought but emphasized material prosperity over health; and, finally, these elements coalesced with American individualism and the so-called Protestant work-ethic (of Max Weber) into the prosperity gospel's message that this capitalism masquerading as Christianity would bring blessings upon followers.



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Prosperity Gospel