Some theological scholars believe the "Prosperity Gospel" fed off the housing bubble through magical thinking
A recently posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on scriptural promises of God. But the believer's note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. "Last Sunday," it read, "You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace."
This is a perfect example of the catch 22 of religion. If you are doing great then God is happy. If you eventually end up losing your shirt due to dumb economic decisions perpetuated by your church, then it's "God's Plan". If you get a new house after ruining your credit it is a confirmation of your piety paying off.

The scary thing is that religion prospers in bad times for this very reason. It feeds on the confirmation bias of believers who selectively interpret good things as a positive indication of faith and bad things as a neutral "plan" of their spirit. Just like a gambler that sees only the winning hands believers only see the good things. Bad things are always rationalized as good or neutral such that nothing that contradicts their worldview is ever accepted as fact.
Says Anthea Butler, an expert in pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York state, "The pastor's not gonna say 'go down to Wachovia and get a loan' but I have heard, 'even if you have a poor credit rating God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you'll get that house, or that car or that apartment.'" Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma, "It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, 'if you give this offering, God will give you a house. And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy." If so, the situation offers a look at how an native-born faith built partially on American econoic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.
I'm sure the pious among you will be saying by this point, "Yeah, but I don't practice Prosperity Theology." If so, ask yourself how this is different from saying, "It must have been in God's plan," when a child dies (rationalizing an event that runs counter to the belief in a loving God active in our world), or saying, "God was looking over me," after you survive an accident or when something important goes your way (confirming a belief without proof that this was indeed God's plan, or even proof that God has a plan detailed enough to account for your specific fortune/misfotune)

I'll part with a shot of blissful ironic humor from Jesus and Mo: