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Prosperity Belief and Liberal Individualism: A Study of Economic and Social Attitudes in Guatemala

Description: Globalization has facilitated the growth of “market-friendly” religions throughout the world, but especially in developing societies in the global South. A popular belief among these movements is prosperity belief. Prosperity belief has several characteristics which make it compatible with liberal individualism, the dominant value in a globalized society. At the same time, its compatibility with this value may be limited, extending only to economic liberalism, but not to liberal attitudes on social issues. Data from the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life’s 2006 survey Spirit and Power: Survey of Pentecostals in Guatemala is used to conduct a quantitative analysis regarding the economic and social attitudes of prosperity belief adherents in Guatemala in order to examine the potential, as well as the limits, of this belief’s compatibility with liberal individualism. Results suggest that support for liberal individualism is bifurcated. On one hand there is some support for the positive influence of prosperity belief on economic liberalism in regards to matters of free trade, but on the other hand, prosperity belief adherents continue to maintain conservative attitudes in regards to social issues. As prosperity belief and liberal individualism continue to grow along global capitalism, these findings have implications for the future of market-friendly religions and for the societies of the global South.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Huang, Lindsey A.
Partner: UNT Libraries