The Money Cult By Chris Lehmann-A Review

Make room on your bookshelf next to Jeff Sharlet’s  The Family and C Street and Kevin Kruse’s One Nation Under God. The Money Cult offers yet another look at the entwined history of American Christianity and capitalism. Rather than the Weberian analysis given by Kruse, Lehmann takes the stance that the underlying foundation of  the American Protestant tradition is in fact a Gnostic one, which I found to be fascinating. He traces this back to Puritan times, then begins his history of economic Christianity. He does a very detailed job, including an explanation of Mormonism as the quintessential American religious experience. He does not neglect the modern evangelicals, and indeed the book begins with the popular Joel Osteen. If you are looking for a reason not to view Christianity with a  jaundiced eye, this book is not for you. He casts it, at least the American Protestant version, as not so much a spiritual pursuit as a thinly veiled economic and financial system that revolves around profits, power, and the creation of wealth.

 

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