Selling God

Selling God : American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture

3.82 (39 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Description

Religion in America is up for sale. The products range from a plethora of merchandise in questionable taste - such as Bible-based diet books (More of Jesus, Less of Me), Rapture T-shirts (one features a basketball game with half its players disappearing in the Rapture - the caption is "Fast Break"), and bumper stickers and frisbees with inspirational messages - to the unabashed consumerism of Jim Bakker's Heritage USA, a grandiose Christian theme park with giant water slide, shopping mall, and office complex. We tend to think of these phenomena - which also include a long line of multimillionaire televangelists and the almost manic promotion of Christmas giving - as a fairly recent development. But as Laurence Moore points out in Selling God, religion has been deeply involved in our commercial culture since the beginning of the nineteenth century. In a sweeping, colorful history that spans over two centuries of American culture, Moore examines the role of religion in the marketplace, revealing how religious leaders have borrowed (and invented) commercial practices to promote religion - and how business leaders have borrowed (and invented) religion to promote commerce. It is a book peopled by a fascinating roster of American originals, including 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, film directors D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Norman Vincent Peale and Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. Moore paints insightful portraits of figures such as Mason Locke Weems (Weems's marriage of aggressive marketing and a moral mission - in suchbloody, violent tales as The Drunkard's Looking Glass or God's Revenge Against Adultery - was an important starting point of America's culture industry), religious orator George Whitefield (who transformed church services into mass entertainment, using his acting talents to enthshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 326 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 33.02mm | 680.39g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • 0195082281
  • 9780195082289

About R. Laurence Moore

About the Author: R. Laurence Moore is Professor of History at Cornell University and author of Religious Outsiders and the Making of Americans.show more

Rating details

39 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 26% (10)
4 38% (15)
3 28% (11)
2 8% (3)
1 0% (0)
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