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The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation is a nonfiction book, first published in 1917, by the American novelist and muck-raking journalist Upton Sinclair. It is a snapshot of the religious movements in the U.S. before its entry into World War I.In this book, Sinclair attacks institutionalized religion as a “source of income to parasites, and the natural ally of every form of oppression and exploitation.”Most clergymen are hypocrites, but they are not entirely to blame. Like other men, they are victimized by “the competitive wage-system, which presents them with the alternative to swindle or to starve.”Sinclair savages the Episcopal establishment for transforming the proletarian Jesus into a defender of wealth and privilege, and for a long history of alliance with political power in England and the United States.Turning to the “nonconforming” Protestant sects, adherents of “The Church of the Merchants” are focused on achieving prosperity within the existing economic system. So are the devotees of the mostly California-based ‘new religions’ or ‘cults’, including New Thought.Sinclair wants to rescue the true message of Jesus, the friend of the poor and brother of all men.The writing is fluent, vivid and personal. At the same time, almost every paragraph is built upon evidence that includes historic and contemporary quotations, articles, events, and anecdotes. It is not meant to be objective, but to present a compelling case. It reads like the exhaustive oral argument of a very able prosecuting attorney.
Acerca de Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) is a celebrated American author best known for his 1906 novel, The Jungle, which exposed to poor working conditions and potential health violations in the meatpacking industry. The novel caused a public uproar which resulted in sweeping changes of the industry and catapulted Sinclair into the limelight. He went on to write nearly 100 books and won the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
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