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Prosperity theology - your views?

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Authentic or a scam?

The theology is a particular take on religion to which some Christian churches subscribe. Nevertheless you can imagine that it's an ideology that members of other religions could easily pick up and adapt to their own uses.

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Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.[3] 

The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God's will for his people to be blessed. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith.

This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

 

The wiki link above has a fairly detailed examination of various aspects of the theology.

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A critical perspective of Prosperity Gospel

The following academic paper links the Prosperity Gospel with an economic philosophy that underpins contemporary economic thought in America and much of the West.

This is an interesting example, in my opinion, of a theology developing in response to an economic system and which encourages its adherents (often the less well-off) to behave in a manner that does not challenge the prevailing economic orthodoxy but to help them cope with it.

 

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Neoliberalism relies on optimism.

Without faith in meritocracy—unwavering belief that rewards will eventually and justly come to those who work hard enough—support for the capitalist system and belief in neoliberalism would unravel.

How that optimism is perpetuated in the face of persistent income inequality and exploitation within the workplace requires an examination of those cultural institutions which reinforce and reproduce optimism over practical experience.

The Prosperity Gospel is a modern, neoliberal variation of Pentecostalism that is premised on the belief that a Biblical covenant between the individual believer and God guarantees that believer blessings of health and wealth, provided she demonstrates adequate faith.

Accordingly, for those who are less adept at navigating the business world, financial success is still available for those believers who can dedicate themselves with the same frenzied ambition to the spiritual world.

 

Mary V Wrenn, Selling salvation, selling success: neoliberalism and the US Prosperity Gospel, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 45, Issue 2, March 2021, Pages 295–311,

 

The author concludes:

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The Prosperity Gospel thus supports and sustains neoliberalism; the Prosperity Gospel is an institution which provides refuge to individuals from the exigencies of the market as well as a social practice which reinforces individual responsibility and fault. The Prosperity Gospel is the spiritual articulation of neoliberalism as well as a reinforcing institution.

 

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Another scam artist seems to be working this 

 

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He added that the Genie Script's promotional videos seemed to draw on "New Thought" religious belief, which has its roots in late 19th Century America and has influenced some parts of Christianity through the so-called prosperity gospel. It suggests that healing and prosperity are available to Christian believers if they have enough faith.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-67703018

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This is a ponzi scheme that robs poor people and gives the money to rich people. The church I attended as a child was heavily into that. They would coerce the poor people in the church to give 10% of their total income to the church and told them that God would make them rich. So if they made 24,000 a year (poverty level in the US), they would have to give 2,400 to the church, otherwise the pressure on them would increase until either they gave it or they left the church. So what happened, none of these people that I knew of became rich and most of them left the church at some point while the ones at the top of the leadership became very wealthy, fancy cars, big houses, etc. 

Some of the money went to fixing up the church building, paying utility bills, and feeding the poor but most got 'kicked up' to the top leadership. This 'prosperity doctrine' is not in the bible and it is spun out of whole cloth by doing verbal acrobatics with the bible verses. Also, this only started in the 40s and 50s (less than 100 years ago) while Christianity has been around for 2000 years. It began as a way for churches in the US and other parts of the world to raise money, places where the govt didn't support religion financially. It has gotten out of control and is now just a money making scheme that takes advantage of poor, naive, uneducated people. 

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Not only is this a comical Ponzi scheme, but a repackaging of the Calvinist doctrine of the 'elect' (the people whose outward prosperity is supposed to be a sign of their superior faith and salvation) to justify the current global capitalist-imperialist world order.

Not only does this have no basis in Islam, but our understanding is even diametrically opposed to this- the nearer you are to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), the more difficult will be your tests, and they can involve suffering and poverty. The case of Ayyub (عليه السلام) , for example.

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On 5/25/2023 at 12:17 PM, Haji 2003 said:

Authentic or a scam?

The theology is a particular take on religion to which some Christian churches subscribe. Nevertheless you can imagine that it's an ideology that members of other religions could easily pick up and adapt to their own uses.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

 

The wiki link above has a fairly detailed examination of various aspects of the theology.

O believers! Indeed, many rabbis and monks consume people’s wealth wrongfully and hinder ˹others˺ from the Way of Allah. Give good news of a painful torment to those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s cause.

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Posted (edited)
On 2/25/2024 at 1:11 PM, Abu Hadi said:

This is a Ponzi scheme that robs poor people and gives the money to rich people. The church I attended as a child was heavily into that. They would coerce the poor people in the church to give 10% of their total income to the church and told them that God would make them rich. So if they made 24,000 a year (poverty level in the US), they would have to give 2,400 to the church, otherwise the pressure on them would increase until either they gave it or they left the church. So what happened, none of these people that I knew of became rich and most of them left the church at some point while the ones at the top of the leadership became very wealthy, fancy cars, big houses, etc.

Some of the money went to fixing up the church building, paying utility bills, and feeding the poor but most got 'kicked up' to the top leadership. This 'prosperity doctrine' is not in the bible and it is spun out of whole cloth by doing verbal acrobatics with the bible verses. Also, this only started in the 40s and 50s (less than 100 years ago) while Christianity has been around for 2000 years. It began as a way for churches in the US and other parts of the world to raise money, places where the govt didn't support religion financially. It has gotten out of control and is now just a money making scheme that takes advantage of poor, naive, uneducated people. 

@Abu Hadi @Ashvazdanghe I am a bit curious: is this different from the situation in Shia Islam, and if so, to what extent? How is khums typically spent? As far as I know even the clergy are not prevented from seeking some degree of material refinement, at least in other areas of their lives. I don’t know whether khums can be used to cover certain personal household expenses. Can it?

Edited by Northwest
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Northwest said:

@Abu Hadi @Ashvazdanghe I am a bit curious: is this different from the situation in Shia Islam, and if so, to what extent? How is khums typically spent? As far as I know even the clergy are not prevented from seeking some degree of material refinement, at least in other areas of their lives. I don’t know whether khums can be used to cover certain personal household expenses. Can it?

Khums is 20% of your savings after a year and only paid once on that money. I would say about 70% of Shia Muslims don't pay any khums at all and they are not harassed about. This is because they use all their income to pay their expenses. Khums is a savings tax and not an income tax.

Prosperity theology is a tax on your total income before taxes (10%). So even if u don't have money to feed your kids or pay your rent you are still required by the Church to pay the 10 % or else you are harassed. That is the difference

As for the lifestyle thing I don't know how many Shia ulema you know but they don't live lavish lifestyles, lol. 

Sayyid Sistani, the most popular Shia alim in the world lives in a small apartment and doesn't even have a car. No fancy cloths, vacations, or expensive watches. No fancy things at all. 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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1 hour ago, Abu Hadi said:

I would say about 70% of Shia Muslims don't pay any khums at all and they are not harassed about.

I actually never met any Shia who pay khums. I believe our ulema should talk more about this issue.

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Posted (edited)

I live in the US, one of the wealthier countries where Shia live, although there are many poor Shia here, contrary to what people think. 

If you live somewhere like Pakistan or India where 99% of the people are poor, it makes sense that you wouldn't know anyone who pays khums. 

If you live in the US, Europe, Australia, Canada, then about 30% of the Shia from my experience are not poor. They are either middle class or wealthy, i.e. they pay all their expenses for the year and have money left over, which they save. 20% of that money should be paid in khums. If they don't pay (and they have the savings), they are committing a major sin and they are in fact robbing the poor people (because this is what khums is for, to help the poor and the needy) and also robbing Imam Zaman(a.f.s). 

I know that most of the middle class and wealthy people, even in the US, etc, don't pay khums and their doing major sins. Imam Ali((عليه السلام)) said that if even 10% of the people who were supposed to pay khums payed it, there would be no poor people. 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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