Challenged by my pastor, Chuck Auschwitz of Conway First Baptist Church in Orlando, I’d like to present a brief comparison of two world views that at first would seem to be dissimilar, but upon deeper reflection, have a set of core values or beliefs that are identical. These world views are political Socialism and Prosperity Gospel; both, which I hate.
For some, Socialism is notoriously hard to define because there have been several varieties of it in existence over the decades. In some ways, Prosperity Gospel can also be hard to define in that there is no hierarchal authority that expresses the core values of its theology. However, learning through history we can deduce a set of principles common to both.
I’d like to propose that there are certain behaviors and beliefs that are common to both. We might say that Prosperity Gospel is the Socialism of religion and Socialism is the Prosperity Gospel of politics (except that only politicians gain prosperity through Socialism, which, ironically, is just like Prosperity pastors).
Let’s look at seven things that are common between Socialism and Prosperity Gospel.
First, both world views have an ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY. This means both views believe that its adherents are entitled to certain benefits (which I will explain as we continue), that are also part of the six remaining commonalities. The entitlement mentality can be easily portrayed with the phrase, “Me, me, me.” When a socialist says everyone must have guaranteed income he is really saying that he must have guaranteed income (regardless of work). For the Prosperity adherent, when he remarks that everyone should have supernatural health he really means he must have it. Both world views couch their rhetoric in benefits for the whole society, but when it gets to the bottom line it’s really all about, “Me, me, me.”
Second, Socialism believes that OTHERS, such as the wealthy, MUST PAY for the benefits of everyone else. Prosperity Gospel holds that GOD MUST PAY (or provide), for their benefits. We’ve heard this take a variety of forms over the years: income equality, the rich paying their fair share, and so on. This is similar to Prosperity adherents who note that God has provided certain principles that if applied, will always obligate God to bless the adherent. This is explained in my third point, below.
Third, Socialism requires that payment for benefits MUST BE FORCED UPON THE WEALTHY class against their will. Similarly, Prosperity Gospel adherents believe THEY CAN OBLIGATE GOD to provide them with the benefits they seek. We should not fail to recognize that Socialism will either force the wealthy to surrender their wealth, or eliminate their wealth in favor of a so-called, classless society. And all done under “The law.” There is no place where Socialism has been tried that did not do this. So too, the Prosperity adherent seeks to force God to act based upon his Old Testament Law, to bless him with certain benefits.
Fourth, under Socialism, FREE HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT FOR ALL. Under Prosperity Gospel, SUPERNATURAL HEALTH IS A SPIRITUAL RIGHT that God is obligated to provide under certain conditions. This doesn’t need much explanation. Though the approaches are different, the principles are really the same.
Fifth, under Socialism, INCOME IS GUARANTEED. Under Prosperity Gospel, RICHES ARE GUARANTEED. Whether it is through a high minimum wage or forms of welfare for those who do not work, Socialism seeks seeks to provide what they term as a basic livable wage for all that is guaranteed by exaction from those better off. Sadly, everywhere it’s tried it always results in more poverty, not less. The same is true with Prosperity adherents. These victims are told to significantly and sacrificially to increase their giving dramatically and they will see God bless them with a great increase in their income or property. Just like the socialist variety, poverty is often the result.
Sixth, both socialism and Prosperity Gospel are “SELF” CENTERED. I actually mentioned this in my first point about the, “Me, me, me” attitude. Politically, Socialism is about the benefits one can receive from the government, paid for by others. Prosperity Gospel does the same thing. It’s all about the benefits one can receive from God, provided and “paid for” by God.
Seven (this is more of an observation rather than a principle), SOCIALISM IS A POLITICAL HERESY AS PROSPERITY GOSPEL IS A RELIGIOUS HERESY. Socialism seeks a utopian society where class is erased, or certain classes are repressed for the benefit of the masses. Prosperity Gospel does the same for its adherents until someone doesn’t have, “Enough faith,” to activate God’s blessings. Under Socialism the rich are the cursed. Under Prosperity Gospel it is the poor who are cursed for their lack of faith to obtain wealth.
While these two world views are not the same in a political sense, they are in a spiritual sense. Both hold a low view of society and God being that both are reduced to a means to obtain a certain end. The principles they apply are too similar to deny. And while most Prosperity adherents may be conservatives, without realizing it they are using liberal, leftist principles to get what they want.