THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY: RACE, CLASS, GIVING, AND VOTING

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2010-06-16T15:11:21Z
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[Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University
Abstract
The Prosperity Gospel is the doctrine that God wants people to be prosperous, especially financially. Adherents to the Prosperity Gospel believe that wealth is a sign of God's blessing and the poor are poor because of a lack of faith. In this dissertation, I conduct a study of the Prosperity Gospel through logit analysis of data collected through telephone survey (N=1003) by SRBI for Time magazine. I report findings in four main areas: (1) there are multiple Gospels of Prosperity, and the Prosperity Gospel is transdenominational; (2) while income has no effect on adherence to the Prosperity Gospel, blacks, the "born-again" or "evangelical," and those who are less educated are more likely to seek out Prosperity messages; (3) Prosperity adherence does not affect how much people give financially to either their churches and other religious causes or to nonreligious causes; (4) Prosperity adherents vote in about the same proportions as the rest of the population, and those with a Prosperity orientation tend to have voted for Bush in the year 2004 and identify as Republican. This project is an example of how future research in the sociology of religion should acknowledge and take seriously the two dominant theoretical perspectives (i.e. neo-Marxianism and Weberianism) on which the subfield stands. Overall, the Prosperity Gospel is a fairly flexible theology that is well-suited to be adapted to varying social locations, particularly in a society like the United States that is radically individualistic.
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Thesis (Ph.D.) - Indiana University, Sociology, 2009
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class, giving, prosperity gospel, race, religion, voting
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Doctoral Dissertation