Faith, Fortune and the Future: Christianity and Enterprise in Human Development


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Authors
Heslam, Peter S 
Abstract

jats:pInsufficient attention has been paid to the interface between religion, business and development, allowing assumptions and stereotypes to abound. This paper takes a broadly conceptual and sociological approach to the development potential of the Evangelical Pentecostal Charismatic Movement (EPCM). Taking their cue from Weber, three questions are addressed, and three corresponding suggestions are made that are important to understanding this potential. Using the notion of ‘calling’ as an example, the first suggestion is that the cognitive, behavioural and social characteristics of the EPCM that are significant for development relate closely to personal and corporate purpose. Secondly, in contrast to what Weberian and secular perspectives tend to assume, the EPCM and its associated virtues will not necessarily decline as economies grow. Thirdly, while alternatives (such as Confucianism) are possible, the EPCM demonstrates considerable potential in terms of practical development impact. None of this challenges existing evidence that the movement is influenced by the ‘prosperity gospel’; by world-denying pietism and supernaturalism; and by socio-economic factors often described as ‘neo-liberal’—influences that have received much scholarly attention. It does indicate, however, that a more nuanced understanding of the movement and of its causal relationships is needed, given the complexity of the religion–business–development nexus.</jats:p>

Description
Keywords
5005 Theology, 50 Philosophy and Religious Studies
Journal Title
Religions
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
2077-1444
2077-1444
Volume Title
12
Publisher
MDPI AG