Download Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture by R. Laurence Moore PDF

By R. Laurence Moore

Faith in the United States is up on the market. the goods variety from a plethora of item in questionable taste--such as Bible-based nutrition books (More of Jesus. much less of Me), Rapture T-shirts (one includes a basketball online game with part its gamers disappearing within the Rapture--the caption is "Fast Break"), and bumper stickers and frisbees with inspirational messages--to the unabashed consumerism of Jim Bakker's background united states, a grandiose Christian subject matter park with vast water slide, shopping center, and place of work complicated. we have a tendency to examine those phenomena--which additionally comprise an extended line of multimillionaire televangelists and the virtually manic merchandising of Christmas giving--as a pretty fresh improvement. yet as R. Laurence Moore issues out in promoting God, faith has been deeply considering our advertisement tradition because the starting of the 19th century. In a sweeping, colourful background that spans over centuries of yank tradition, Moore examines the position of faith available on the market, revealing how spiritual leaders have borrowed (and invented) advertisement practices to advertise religion--and how enterprise leaders have borrowed (and invented) faith to advertise trade. it's a ebook peopled via a desirable roster of yank originals, together with showman P.T. Barnum and circuit rider Lorenzo Dow, painter Frederick Church and dime novelist Ned Buntline, Sylvester Graham (inventor of the Graham cracker) and the "Poughkeepsie Seer" Andrew Jackson Davis, movie administrators D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Norman Vincent Peale and Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. Moore paints insightful images of figures resembling Mason Locke Weems (Weems's marriage of competitive advertising and an ethical mission--in such bloodly, violent stories because the Drunkard's taking a look Glass or God's Revenge opposed to Adultery--was a massive place to begin of America's tradition industry), non secular orator George Whitefield (who reworked church providers into mass leisure, utilizing his appearing abilities to enthrall enormous throngs of people), and Dwight Moody, a former salesman for a boot-and-shoe operation who based a spiritual empire established at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago (and who marketed his conferences within the leisure pages of the newspaper). Moore additionally exhibits how the Mormons pioneered rest actions (Brigham younger outfitted the famed Salt Lake Theater, seating 1,500 humans, months sooner than paintings at the Tabernacle started), how Henry Ward Beecher helped the ardent Protestant turned the consummate customer (explicitly justifying the construction of pricey mansions, and the gathering of artwork and vintage furnishings, because the right traits of pious men), and the way the 1st modification, in denying spiritual teams the prestige and fiscal solvency of a country church, compelled them to compete available to buy for the eye of usa citizens: non secular leaders may possibly both provide in to the sway of the industry or watch their church buildings die. starting from the increase of gymnasiums and "muscular Christianity," to the production of the Chautauqua stream (blending devotional providers with live shows, fireworks, bonfires, and funny lectures), to Oral Robert's "Blessing Pacts" and L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology, promoting God offers either attention-grabbing social background and an insightful examine faith in the United States.

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In the early nineteenth century, these considerations gave Protestant reading enthusiasts much to ponder. Might it be better that some people read nothing rather than some of the coarse material that the market was putting in their way? In the case of African-American slaves, the answer for a large and significant group of white Protestants was "yes," although it was difficult for them to explain what was "coarse" about the Declaration of Independence. Aside from the case of slaves, coercive restrictions did not help much to resolve the imagined problems about reading.

Within a few years of that domestic scene, Whitefield entered Oxford and came under the aegis of a group of earnest young Christian men which included Charles and John Wesley. God imparted to the "re-born" Whitefield the gifts of a powerful preacher; and before his death in 1770, he had used his talents to convert tens of thousands of English-speaking sinners, both in the British Isles and in England's colonies. Of equal importance, Whitefield's style of preaching, which reportedly could hold as many as eighty thousand people spellbound in open fields, turned a portion of the Protestant Christian ministry away from intellectual preparation and instruction toward emotional exhorting.

The Methodist Quarterly Review did not review a novel until 1856 but was prepared soon thereafter, in 1860, to show how the "modern novel" was becoming morally acceptable. From Moral Sensationalism to Moral Pornography Religious moralists, even after they cautiously found ways to approve some best-selling novels, still had plenty to worry about. Women authors and their clerical allies represented only one part of the commercial expansion of the book trade in the first half of the nineteenth century.

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