Critics of contemporary economics complain that the commitment to free markets is a form of religion. As it turns out, there is something to this claim—but in a deeper, more historically grounded sense. Contrary to the conventional view of economics as an entirely secular product of the Enlightenment, Benjamin M. Friedman demonstrates that religion has exerted a powerful influence from the outset. Beginning in the eighteenth century, hotly contended lines of religious thought within the English-speaking Protestant world decisively shaped what we now call economics. Friedman immerses us in the era's debates about God-given human character, the afterlife, and the purpose of our existence. These deep religious influences also go far in explaining the puzzling behavior of those today whose views seem sharply at odds with what would be to their own economic benefit. As one of the nation’s preeminent thinkers on economic policy, Friedman provides fascinating insights into our current debates by exploring the little-recognized force of religion.