The Gospel of Prosperity
The PCC is a new growth from the centuries old Protestant Christian Church. While most of the PCC's core beliefs are functionally little different from modern Christianity, the convention has embraced financial and material wealth as being equally important as spiritual well being and considering the two equally important sides of the same coin. The Convention began in the middle of the Petroleum Era as a very minor faction, but remained present through the Resource Wars and the Second Dark age, where it was primarily adopted by the residents of the arcologies in North America, Europe, and parts of Africa. Through the Second Renaissance, the Convention would gain a massive surge in popularity as the Osteen-Malachite Bible was published and released in electronic format for the 3rdNet and later updated and re-released for the CogNet. Several charismatic Cogneevangelists rose, espousing the peace and prosperity Faith.
The Prosperity Christian Convention was born from the tumultuous times of the Petroleum Era, as cheap fuel dwindled, and things started gearing up for the Resource Wars. Class warfare and unrest characterized the time period and there was a great amount of animosity that fostered between the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor. Each considered itself brutalized and at the mercy of the other two, and politicians, the media, and others attempting to influence popular opinion used this societal distrust as weaknesses to exploit or weapons to wield.
The Prosperity Doctrine was adopted and the first versions of the Osteen-Malachite Bible were written in the American South, and were disseminated around the world, with the more extreme message that success was a blessing from God, and that hardships endured were curses from God. This alienated the common audience of most religious pushes, the poor. The existing branches of the Protestant Faith pushed back, challenging that the Prosperity doctrine punished the poor and the oppressed by claiming that their poverty and suffering was caused not by the voracious appetites of the western world and financial based warfare, but because they were unclean and disowned by God.
The Prosperity Convention incubated for decades as a small faith that was isolated within the confines of the Arcologies and the densely populated megacities, especially in North America. As the Dark Age rolled on and the Population Contraction squeezed population centers down, the Prosperity Convention gained popularity. Those who lived safe comfortable lives within the arcos considered themselves blessed, and superior to those who lived outside of the magnificent structures (see arcopolarization for more)
The McEOs and Corporate Christianity
One of the more pervasive influences in the Arcos and megacities were the megacorporations and vertically integrated zaibatsus. These entities found that stable populations not fractured along religious and ethnic lines proved superior customer bases, and sought stabilizing influences for society. While the military companies profit from war, the MegaBanks and holding corps benefitted from the selling of durable goods, and personal loans, and intrabusiness loans more. War was fine, but not at home, it had to be fought elsewhere, ideally somewhere poor.
The Megacorp (Mc) exective officers and other ranking members of the corp started adopting the success friendly Prosperity Doctrine. It held them up, and placed little condemnation on their wealth and power and instead of venerating poverty and the suffering of the poor, it demonstrated that to be scourging from God upon the backs of the vulgar unenlightened masses. As the Megacorps embraced the resurgent faith, they started packaging it and selling it. It was first sold internally through motivational courses, speakers, and other human interaction, and it was Bank of the Northern Hemisphere (NBNH) that sponsored the first televangelist series on the 3rdNet and HoloNet broadcasting systems.
The Osteen-Malachite Bible
One of the most influential books of the 2nd Dark age, the OM-Bible was corporately sponsored, but rather than serving a single megacorp, the book was compiled, deconstructed, recompiled, and finalized by the apocryphal Diet of Kentuckiana. There, representatives and theologians sponsored by Union Aerospace, Omni-Consumer, NBNH, Yoyodyne, and half a dozen other corps and megacorps made the decisions and completed their task in just under a year.
The Osteen-Malachite Bible favors the prosperity doctrine, and sets up an organization to parallel the Catholic Church, but rather than building all these things at once, social engineering and planning was put into place to see and guide the growth of the Convention, and the creation of the organization as a religious body with strong friendly ties to the megacorps and the new Earth governments. After almost a century, the PCC is economically on par with most MegaCorps but is still for the most part owned by the corps.
The Average Prosperity Christian
The PPC is the bastard child of social engineers and corporatism looking to sell religion, that found fertile soil in an outdated materialistic aspect of Christianity that would have normally died during the Second Dark Age, where most materialistic faiths withered and died. The average Cosmic Era Osteenian is little different from Modern Christians. They live in their cities and homes, and they are for the most part happy and content with their lives, spiritually girded by the knowledge that their prosperity, or perception of prosperity makes them morally, and spiritually superior to those who are poor, or oppressed.
The PCC has a strong CogNet congregation, and the organization is very tech savvy. They have erected massive virtual cathedrals in the CogNet, and host paradisical retreats on CogNet islands, and even run Heaven/Hell divine simulations. Millions attend weekly services, ranging from receiving the Blessings of Prosperity before Black Friday Salebrations to ordination of new Ministers of the Faith.
Cults of Personality and Iconography
The PCC is held together by a network of slightly rivalrous evangelists, with each commanding massive flocks of followers, spinning a slightly different message, or emphasizing a different aspect of the faith. These different ministers have their own livery, and icons and flags. The congregations of the virtual megachurches are in many ways very similar to major league sports fans. They have their colors, and their patron saints and mascots (and often the difference is minor) and the minister is an equal parts Father Figure, Sports Coach, and Celebrity.
Current Practices and Issues
The Prosperity Christian Convention is one of the leading groups opposing rights and privileges for artificial life forms, and synthetic forms of life, such as androids, production series clones, and AI. These things they identify as not human, and not worthy of Prosperity.
The PCC also does do work to help eliminate poverty, or to make the endurance of poverty not as bad. The PCC doesn't believe in providing welfare, as they belief that is merely subsidizing people who have offended God. Their aid comes with contracts and stipulations, electronic bibles are handed out, and food, medicine, and shelter might not be offered to those who do not accept the Gospel of Malachi and admit that their poverty is a direct result of their ungodly behavior.
Hot Buttons Against
Fornication with Machines in the Flesh
Mass Production Clones
Citizen Privileges for Robots
Welfare State Politics
Hot Buttons For
Genetically Modified Designer Pets
Cloned Children, Genetically Enhanced Children
CogNet Commercialism and Materialism
The Union of Church, State and Corporation
In the Atlantic Federation, the PCC is the second most powerful religious organization, only surpassed by the Chrislamists. The adherents of the syncretic fusion of Christianity, and Islam have created a massive power bloc that dominates most of the African continent, and has major footholds in Europe, India, SE Asia, Australia, and North America. The ranks of the PCC are growing, as an increasing number of wealthy and aspiring wealthy adopt the faith. Its integration with the megacorps and the state agencies has ensured that the PCC has enjoyed advantages not enjoyed by religion since the Medieval Period.
Author's Note: the PCC is a very plastic, very artificial religion, and its values are superficial and materialistic, but these are the values of the Cosmic Era. While the modern person would scoff at the notion of watching evangelists through streaming media being comparable to going to church, I would rather imagine that a resident of the 1700s would similarly scoff at the notion of Church lasting an hour on Sundays and consider modern persons (the average lay person) to be just as wastrel and frivolous as the residents of the CE would seem to us.
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? Responses (4)-4
This makes complete sense for how the Cosmic Era seems to be shaping up. I do wonder how it could have formed during the Petroleum Era (since modern Christianity is against materialism), but its growth in later eras seems perfectly natural.
I do like you putting the controversial issues their for or against in there, which helps further define them as an organization, and I also like the idea of competing evangelists.
Because it exists now. The Osteen Malachi Bible is a direct reference to Megapastor Joel Osteen and the Book of Malachi.
The most horrifying part of this submission is that it already exists and seems to effectively gain support....
Very fitting into the Cosmic Era setting.
Another great background peice for the Cosmic era. A good defanged religion to pay lip service to.