God, movies and cancer

Hollywood bean counters have started calling them "God films." The typical faith-based indie has a tiny budget and most of the actors are amateurs or second stringers from television. It doesn't take much money to promote one because churches are eager to hold pre-release screenings that fire up clergy and volunteers to spread the word -- on foot and online. Southern Baptist entrepreneurs in Georgia made the pro-marriage drama "Fireproof" for $500,000 and it grossed $40 million at the box … [Read more...]

A spiritual year at the multiplex

In one of Hinduism's most sacred poems, the lord and sustainer of the universe chooses to be incarnated in human form -- the ancient term is "avatar" -- to help the Pandava people fight evil invaders and defend what is right. In director James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar," a U.S. marine is transformed by technology into a blue-skinned warrior on a planet called Pandora, where he helps the Na'vi people fight evil corporate invaders and defend their sacred lands and traditions. There seem to … [Read more...]

The Book of Denzel

The first time Denzel Washington read the "Training Day" script, he had an intensely personal reaction to his character -- the charismatic, but fatally corrupt, detective Alonzo Harris. "I try to bend even the worst of my roles, like 'Training Day,' " said Washington, the day after a press screening of "The Book of Eli" in Los Angeles. "The first thing I wrote on my script was 'the wages of sin is death.' " After that biblical pronouncement, the superstar pleaded for a crucial change in this … [Read more...]

‘Lying’ about God onscreen

When it comes to comedian Ricky Gervais, journalist Paul Asay openly confesses that he is a fan. This may seem strange since Asay works for Plugged In, a media Web site sponsored by Focus on the Family -- a powerful brand name in evangelical media. Yes, he knows the hip writer, actor and director is a proud, articulate atheist. However, he also thinks that Gervais is "actually quite talented and a very funny guy." Thus, Asay had mixed feelings when he reviewed, “The Invention of Lying,” … [Read more...]

Dark Knight of the soul

For many years, Marc Newman used a simple test when asking college students if they thought some actions were always right and others were always wrong -- slavery.Then something strange happened in his philosophy of communication classes. Students began arguing that slavery might be acceptable in certain cultures and under certain conditions. Besides, who were they to judge others?So here's a new question. What if you had two ferries and each contained a bomb. One ferry is full of criminals, … [Read more...]


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