Sunday, June 29, 2014

Prosperity Doctrine Fuels Cultural Subjugation

The Prosperity Doctrine 

What is it?  It is the belief that by giving the church money that your material wealth will increase as a direct result.  But also, let me take it a step further.  The prosperity doctrine in several forms other than this form have been used to assert cultural superiority on the basis of cultural or societal success.  Let me give you a few examples:  Firstly let us examine the Native American Boarding Schools.  The boarding schools weren't just easy places to send Native children, but were a place where culture and language were driven out of children in the name of White-American superiority as late as the 1960s.  Children were seized from reservations and placed in these schools where their cultural identity was literally beaten out of them.  The justification for such measures stemmed from the belief that Native cultures were savage cultures and uncivilized.  That Anglo-white culture was superior because it was a "Christian" culture.  Further to how it relates to the Prosperity doctrine would be statements like "God has blessed the US, therefore our society should be Christian because of the blessings bestowed upon it."  Or other statements like "White people have proven to be God's chosen, look at the wealth and power we've amassed."  Or other assertions like the one's above.  The assertion of property does not give rise to the belief that it makes other cultures inferior, less deserving of respect and love and compassion, or even more so, that other religions are inferior to Christianity.  The false belief that Christianity is superior to any other religion is despicable in every way to me.  It's the same thing as saying that a White person or a Black person or an Asian-descended person are of any lesser value than any other skin-toned person (Race is not the appropriate term to describe skin color).

A variation of the Prosperity Doctrine was used to justify the subjugation of Black Slavery in the Americas.  The belief that our civilization was superior and that blacks would live better as slaves beneath us was often cited as justified reasoning to own a slave.  That blacks were poor living in hovels and dirt-floored huts in Africa means that they were not following God and should be saved from themselves.  The viewpoint that someone who is suffering economically must mean that they do not follow the teachings of Jesus is a deeply horrible falsehood.  The belief that someone is suffering financially simply means they are suffering financially and has no relation to their belief or non-belief in Jesus.  There is a difference between someone who say has a gambling problem and has thrust himself into insurmountable debt because of it, and someone who just got landed with three kids and no job through no fault of his or her own after a nasty divorce.  Blacks were also subjected to this cultural genocide that was observed in Native American boarding schools.  Many masters sought to raise God-fearing slaves, and prohibited expressions of their original culture...not that it really stopped it, but it actually ended up being something even better as the two cultures blended to form a unique culture in of itself.  And mind you, this also happened with Native Americans' contact with White civilization as well and numerous others that we came in contact with such as Hawa'ii, India, Africa, and the South and North American peoples.  Culture was adopted from the cultures we contacted and the best parts of it were incorporated into them.  The Cherokee culture so very much identified with the tenants of Christianity that much of the ideology was viewed as extremely compatible and even adopted...even though the aftermath of such contact were atrocities like "The Trail of Tears" and a despicable president (Andrew Jackson) that is personally responsible for the genocide of 4000 Cherokee personally.

In Europe, prosperity was used to justify the Serf system and to exalt kings and lords over the common folk.  The divine right of kings and the divine assertment of lordship over people is often justified by wealth.  "Wealth means God favors you" is often a fallacious and even dangerous doctrine for one to assert.  Even a rudimentary shows that Christ himself had a worrisome view of the wealthy and seldom had anything to say about them that could be mistaken as favorable.  "It is far easier for a rich man to fit through the eye of a needle than for him to get into Heaven" is often a good one to remember.  Jesus basically saying in a nutshell that the love of money is so strong that it either is the man's Lord, or The Lord is.  They can't serve both.  "Give all your money away to the poor and serve me" was also popular.  "The love of money is the root of all evil" is definitely anti-greed and anti-prosperity doctrine.  James' condemnation of favoritism to one person above another...though the subtext to me definitely reads like specifically referring to the wealthy and well-connected.

The Prosperity Doctrine in many ways and in it's various forms has been used to justify religious and cultural subjugation, and genocide for generations in our past.  I cannot comprehend how any person claiming to live by the principles set by the Christ-Jesus can engage in such despicable and inhuman treatment.  And I cannot believe for one second that God loves any one person less just because of their skin tone or sexuality or other religion.  If we are called to be servants of all mankind and we are called to be compassionate, loving, and generous, then I find no ethical, moral, or even legal justification for subjugating and killing off any culture or religion or ethnicity in the name of "religious superiority" asserting "We're prosperous, therefore we're the best of God's people."  If we are truly the best of God's people, then let us humble ourselves before others, and be the servants of those less fortunate.  The prosperity doctrine is poison, toxic, and not in line with Christ-like Values.  It should be discarded as a doctrine, and the fundamentals of Christian thinking and action should prevail.

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