Category: Religious Merchandising

Christian video game sparks controversy

Popular Christian Books Spawn Video Game Christian Video Game Draws on Popular Book Series; Some Feel It’s Contrary to Bible Teachings DENVER – The streets of New York have never looked so barren. An occasional taxi or bus motors down a boulevard as people wander aimlessly among eerily vacant buildings. Soon, black helicopters loom overhead and armed soldiers close ranks on the streets below. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill video game: “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” is based on the best-selling “Left Behind” book series about the apocalypse. But it’s the apocalypse without dismemberment or graphic bloodshed, though the game has an

Jesus Loves A Machine Gun

It’s the new ‘Left Behind’ video game, where you maim and murder and hate, all in God’s name. Praise! Are you a true believer? Do you just know deep down in your black Wal-Mart socks that every word of the Bible is the absolute literal truth and nothing dare be doubted and anyone who thinks that God is merely an ambisexual omniblissful bloom of moist divine nondenominational honeydew melon should be strung up by their small intestine and beaten with sticks sharpened by Mel Gibson’s teeth? Do you feel, furthermore, that human cretins like, say, gays and Jews and Wiccans

Preachers Of Profit

TAMPA – Insomniacs and fans of graveyard-shift TV may have spotted a curious program recently starring one of the Bay area’s most prominent men of God. There was Randy White, the hip, contemporary pastor of Tampa megachurch Without Walls International, flashing a smile and urging viewers to call a toll-free number on the TV screen. White wasn’t promising eternal salvation on this night. Just a bottle of Omega XL fatty acid pills at $49.95 a pop. “I guarantee you emphatically and unequivocally it’s going to change your life,” White says on the infomercial. His wife, televangelist Paula White, also appears

Cashing in on 6-6-06

“Omen” film promoters, Ann Coulter and Radio Free Satan all look forward to June 6. Anyone living and driving in L.A. the past few weeks has seen them. Looming over the city, black and ominous, the billboards and posters announce “You Have Been Warned” and “The Signs Are All Around You.” Each is anchored with the date “6/6/06.” Drop the “0,” and you get 666. That’s “the number of the beast,” according to the New Testament’s Book of Revelation, just one of many interpretations though all of them are dark and frightening. For some Armageddon believers, it represents the date

New Cellphone Services Put God on the Line

In late 2004, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi asked Abrasha Burstyn, the chief executive of a small Israeli cellphone company, for a phone that could put the secular world on hold. Cellphone companies, at the time, had started to load their products with entertainment features, and the rabbi wanted none of it. He was in search of a phone without Internet capabilities or text messaging. He didn’t want cameras, music downloading, or anything else that could “distract” the pious. He was looking for a device that could make and receive calls. Period. Mr. Burstyn, 58 years old, soon found that many other

Traveling on faith

Using a religious compass as their guide, tourists visit U.S. and international sites of spiritual significance. From the hallowed halls of the Vatican to the Great Pyramid of Giza, a growing number of Americans are embarking on faith-based vacations – and Littleton-based Globus wants to become the burgeoning travel market’s brand leader. “People are looking for an intimate experience of their faith,” said Kevin Wright, head of Globus’ Religious Travel Department, which has seen demand triple since its creation in 2004. “People don’t just want to hear a passage from the Bible. They want the physical connection of actually being

Christian gamers create themes to reflect beliefs

ATLANTA — “Grand Theft Auto” has been impounded in the Gardner household. So have 1,000 other video games filled with debauchery, decadence and carnage. Today this family’s interactive entertainment is far more divine. Electronic Bible games loaded with tests and trivia. Digital duels between David and Goliath. Adventures and challenges with pious themes where any violence appears virtuous. Hallelujah! At last! “It wasn’t easy, but (my children) realize the violence and the things they saw wouldn’t help them in life,” said Janice Gardner, mother of three boys and two girls ranging in age from 25 to 11. “We’re down to

‘Left Behind’ producers use church screenings to plug DVD sales

LOS ANGELES — The filmmakers of “Left Behind: World at War” figured a little preaching to the choir would help market the Christian-themed thriller. They preceded the movie’s DVD release Tuesday with screenings at about 3,200 churches across the United States and Canada, hoping to build word-of-mouth for the straight-to-video sequel in Kirk Cameron’s series of films about Armageddon. Cloud Ten Pictures, which produces the “Left Behind” movies, did not yet have attendance estimates on how many people caught “World at War” during the weekend screenings. But the company went into the weekend projecting as many as 1.8 million people

Time for Jesus Inc.: Christian offerings go mainstream

The Christian video game industry has a heavy cross to bear. A small customer base, even smaller development budgets and competition from a mainstream market that sells violent games by the truckload has traditionally meant spiritual gaming barely registered a blip on the national radar. But a growing mainstream fascination with divine entertainment has a variety of companies hoping to cash in big on Christian video games. “Right now the . . . industry is just ready to explode,” said Ralph Bagley, chief spokesman for the Christian Game Developers Association and often called the “Godfather” of Christian video games. Christian