Buying Your Way Into Heaven
Last week while the Royal elite were getting married and sucking up all the press corps, evangelical pastor David Wilkerson passed away at age 79. Why would a New Atheist care…I’ll tell you why. Pastor Wilkerson was one of the few pastors that did speak up against what is called the Prosperity Gospel (Prosperity Theology, Prosperity Doctrine, Health and Wealth gospel or what I call, fakey fake). Anytime that anyone speaks up to the ills that religion causes is OK by me, especially if it comes from within (I happen to think that is one of the more effective ways to debunk religion).
Basically the Prosperity Gospel tells the practitioner that God wants you to be rich. The more wealth you have, the more that you give to your pastor and church, the more God is shining his love upon you and the better you can do God’s work.
“In this sermon, David Wilkerson denounces the so-called Prosperity Gospel, calling it a “perverted gospel…an American gospel invented and spread by rich American evangelists and pastors. Rich!”
“This poison [the doctrine that God wants all Christians to be rich] is spread all over the world,” Wilkerson said. “If money is the object, if prosperity is the object, you’ve missed the cross, you’ve missed the Gospel and you’ve got to repent (link).”
The first thingy that comes to everyone’s mind is Mathew 19:24 which is the “camel” “eye of the needle” passage. Second is JC f*ing up homies in front of the church because he was pissed that they were money grubbing in front of his dads house, or, he wasn’t getting a cut of the profits-afterall, he was a Jew*. I have written about it previously here.
The Prosperity Gospel is practiced among many different varieties of Christians, most notably the Pentecostals (that is the speaking in tongues xtians, which is of course, fakey fake). Benny “Controversy surrounds me” Hinn and young boy loving Pastor Eddie “My porn name is Eddie Long” Long are two of the many pastors that are teaching this distorted gospel. Both are wildly popular pastors and their churches number in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. So what could be wrong with being rich and earning God’s praise along the way (besides getting rich with the purpose of earning God’s praise).
What about the poor and struggling peeps. What about the poor believers that live in dirt in third world countries. Don’t they deserve God’s love. Currently, in this economic downturn, families are struggling to make ends meet, to have food and a place to live. The Basics like clothes, transportation and fuel are difficult in these times. Part of P-Gos is giving to the church, specifically the head of that particular church. If your pastor has limo’s, a huge mansion and hella bling, then God is smiling upon him, and indirectly, you. Well, that is what they want you to believe.
This reminds me of that great George Carlin joke, if God is so powerful, then why does he always need money (dammmmm, I miss that guy). He doesn’t, people need money (and they want it too). In the religion I was raised in it was about love and faith and a lot of suffering. Christ suffered and so did his apostles and other followers; suffering was a way to God. If you had faith, then in the afterlife you would be rewarded-key word, afterlife. Apparently not anymore. What ever happened to that saying “you can’t buy your way into heaven.” I guess it got lost in the shuffle, got lost on the way to the bank.
The Prosperity Gospel is classic, and at the same time, ugly cherry picking. While there are vague passages** that can be interpreted to say that God wants you to be rich, only a fool would subscribe to such belief (and the bible can be interpreted to say anything). What is next, God wants you to have a trophy wife and control of others, shun people in need, look out for number one or nonexistent heaven forbid, God wants you to kill.
At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.
* Is that a bad joke…good.
** Malachi 3:10 – “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (New American Standard Bible).
Deuteronomy 8:18 – “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (New American Standard Bible).
John 10: 10 – “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
3 John 2 – “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
*** Matt 19