Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel was handed down to us from both our religious and secular histories. It is a form of Christianity that thrives only in the U.S. Our country is one where God wants you to dust yourself off and try again. God does not want you to live off of handouts. The link says about the Prosperity Gospel, …this tradition has come to represent the worst of the conflation of American-style capitalism, religion, and Republican party politics.
In the religious sphere we have had a history of flashy preachers. But, their message of lift yourself up with Jesus comes in part from the secular source called “New Thought.” It stressed mind over matter. The individual is responsible for his or her own happiness, health and economic circumstances. Applying mental energy was sufficient to cure any ills.
Pentecostalism brought with it the idea the individual finds God without clergy as an intermediary. If the individual can do this, why cannot that individual find prosperity by himself. The “spiritual gift” one has to talk in tongues is the gift he/she has to prosper. Along with Pentecostalism has been the Calvinistic “Protestant Work Ethic.”
Thus, when Joel Osteen walks onto the stage before 15,000 people, thrusts the Bible in the air and says this book will make you rich people really like it. Those who say he is Mr. Bible Lite may not understand there are apparently deep yearnings in the U.S. for this to be true.
The Prosperity Gospel might be called America’s religion.