The nature of humans hasn’t really changed a stunning amount in the past 2000 years. Like the first century AD, there are still leaders among men who follow the same playbook. This happens anywhere that immoral men can gain advantage through being dishonest, including in religion.
“And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”Matthew 21:13
Men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth…suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment…Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.1 Timothy 6
People will always find ways to extract money from others by telling them what they’d like to hear. For many, the “health, wealth, and happiness” message is very appealing, and some among Christians, “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.” —2 Tim 4:3
In Titus, God referred to this extraction as vile, sordid gain. The natural state of man is alone, naked, and with nothing other than his skin. Anything beyond that is not a “right,” but rather a blessing for which we should be incredibly grateful. Thomas Sowell was correct when he said,