Are Riches and Material Prosperity
"blessings" from God ?
It may sound like paying God a compliment to thank him for material prosperity. But there are some serious theological issues with the view that prosperity, good fortune of any kind, and even good health, are "blessings" from God.
The main problem is that if we interpret good things that happen in people's lives as "blessings" from God, what should we call the bad things that can only happen if God wants them to happen, such as the losses of thousands of the people in the Christmas Tsunami of 2004, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005 (which killed and made homeless many times more people) and Hurricane Katrina in 2005?
If you and your family of five boys and five girls were drowning at sea and someone with a big boat came along and saved the boys, but left the girls to drown, when he could have saved ALL of them, would you praise him for saving your sons and forget about his allowing your daughters to die?
How can we credit GOD for our "blessings" without crediting him for our "curses" as well? How can we view God as responsible for the prosperity of the very few, some of whom have more wealth than they could possibly use in a hundred lifetimes, without thereby making God likewise responsible for the misery of the millions of people who are starving to death for lack of such "blessings"?
In my humble opinion, it would be better theology to view those who have received more of the good things in life than others (through no effort of their own) as "fortunate" rather than "blessed". And rather than viewing prosperous people as the beneficiaries of some kind of reward from God, shouldn't we view them as entrusted with a responsibility to share their good fortune with others, in keeping with Luke 3:11 : "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food (in excess of what he needs, or anything else) must do likewise".
Although the Old Testament may have often treated earthly prosperity as blessings from God, Jesus did very much the opposite, requiring that in order to be saved the prosperous must distribute their riches to the poor. Jesus clearly favored the poor over the rich.
When people of means proclaim that God has "blessed them" with their riches, isn't that a way of saying that their prosperity is God's doing and that consequently it should not be questioned?
Is it God who has "blessed America"
with its riches and dominance of the world ?
Christian Conservatives have a love/hate relationship with America. On the one hand, when talking amongst themselves, they despise America for its secular Constitution and "separation of Church and State". See a whole web page we devote to this matter at
On the other hand, when America is compared to other nations, these same Conservatives suddenly imagine that God has so blessed America, that it must be "the apple of his eye." They think of it as the best country in the world, the one blessed with the most God-given natural wealth and prosperity.
From the beginning, white Europeans have treated "the New World" as a gift from God.
They thanked God for enabling them to "discover" the "new world"! White European churches sent "missionaries" to "convert" the peaceful inhabitants of this "new world" – which was hardly new to the people who had been living here for hundreds, if not thousands of years –. Before Columbus, the representative of "Christianity" began the killing of thousands upon thousands of the "infidels" who supposedly needed to "find Christ", this is the way he described them:
"[T]hey are so free with all they possess, that no one would believe it without having seen it. Of anything they have, if you ask them for it they never say no; rather they invite the person to share it, and show as much love as if they were giving their hearts; and whether the thing be of value or of small price, at once they are content with whatever little thing of whatever kind may be given to them."
If God "blessed" America with the scourge of white European Christians who conquered, enslaved, converted and/or killed millions of the former Americans, by virtue of their superior ships, canons and guns, then what kind of God is this?
After conquering lands to which they had no right, and either killing or chasing off the former Americans – who often believed that the land which they occupied and cared for belonged to God and was to be used for the benefit of ALL of God's children, – those supposedly "Christian" white European conquerors and missionaries proceeded to enrich themselves and their "new world", through the use of millions of "new Americans" dragged over from Africa, people who would work almost for free. Once again, there are those who imagine that it was God who "blessed" the white, so-called "Christians" with the superior ships, canons and guns and their "entrepreneurial spirit" that made "the New World" so prosperous. Although there are at least six times as many European Americans as African Americans today, prior to the abolition of slavery, six times as many Africans had emigrated to the Americas by force, as had White Europeans come to these shores voluntarily.
Once again, if God "blessed" America with this scourge of white Europeans, who conquered, enslaved, converted and/or killed millions of the Africans, by virtue of their superior ships, canons and guns, then what kind of God is this?
To see why the "discovery" of the Americas is not an event that true "Christians" should celebrate, explore the many insightful pages of www.ColumbusNoHero.Org
This brings up a related issue.
According to a 2006 Pew Research Center study, the more Conservative, the more pious and the more Republican you are, the happier :
[ http://pewresearch.org/social/pack.php?PackID=1 ]
"Some 45% of all Republicans report being very happy, compared with just 30% of Democrats and 29% of independents. This finding has also been around a long time; Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the General Social Survey began taking its measurements in 1972." (and this holds true for all income levels:) "If one controls for household income, Republicans still hold a significant edge: that is, poor Republicans are happier than poor Democrats; middle-income Republicans are happier than middle-income Democrats, and rich Republicans are happier than rich Democrats."
"People who attend religious services weekly or more are happier (43% very happy) than those who attend monthly or less (31%); or seldom or never (26%). This correlation between happiness and frequency of church attendance has been a consistent finding in the General Social Surveys taken over the years."