What are the differences between The Gospel of Wealth and the Social Gospel?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The major difference between the Social Gospel and the Gospel of Wealth is that the former saw the rich as something of a source of societal problems while the latter saw them as the source of solutions to the social problems.

Both gospels acknowledged that there were problems in society.  The Social Gospel argued that many of the problems in society came about because the rich were abusing the poor.  They felt that things like unrestrained capitalism created conditions that made the poor worse off.  They felt that all people should act in more Christian and egalitarian ways.  This would solve many of society’s problems.

By contrast, the Gospel of Wealth argued that the rich were the ones who could best solve society’s problems.  The rich were (as Social Darwinism tells us) the fittest people.  Therefore, they should essentially take care of the other, less fit people.  They should use their money to help those people, but they should retain complete control of the money because they (more than the poor or the government) knew best how to use the money for the benefit of society.

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