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Article

American Prosperity Gospel and Athletic Narratives of Success

Religious Studies, William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23185, USA
Academic Editors: Eric Bain-Selbo, Sean T. Coleman and Joseph C. Spears
Religions 2022, 13(3), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030211
Received: 29 October 2021 / Revised: 4 February 2022 / Accepted: 28 February 2022 / Published: 2 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race, Religion, and Sport in 2020)
When athletes give interviews about their success, they tend to iterate on themes of self-assuredness, dedication to a goal, positive thinking, and divine blessing. By examining the history of prosperity theology in the U.S., we can see one possible source of this rhetoric. Prosperity theology teaches believers that God wants them to be healthy and wealthy and that the means to achieve health and wealth are at a believer’s fingertips. All one must do is give faithfully to one’s church, never waver in one’s belief that God will grant health and wealth, and act as though one has already received the blessing one desires. While scholars have long critiqued prosperity theology for obscuring structural inequalities, particularly those that impact people of color, the philosophy remains popular in many congregations across the U.S. and is nearly ubiquitous in black churches. Examining similarities in the rhetoric of prosperity gospel and athletes’ narratives of their success shows that these narratives also contribute to the faulty logic of meritocracy by ignoring systemic inequalities. View Full-Text
Keywords: prosperity gospel; professional sports; black church; megachurch; sports coverage; sports ministry; Christian athletes; meritocracy; structural racism prosperity gospel; professional sports; black church; megachurch; sports coverage; sports ministry; Christian athletes; meritocracy; structural racism
MDPI and ACS Style

Blazer, A. American Prosperity Gospel and Athletic Narratives of Success. Religions 2022, 13, 211. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030211

AMA Style

Blazer A. American Prosperity Gospel and Athletic Narratives of Success. Religions. 2022; 13(3):211. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030211

Chicago/Turabian Style

Blazer, Annie. 2022. "American Prosperity Gospel and Athletic Narratives of Success" Religions 13, no. 3: 211. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030211

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