Religion for Sale

November 19, 2007 at 6:57 pm 1 comment

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (or Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, etc.)—that special mix of nostalgic warmth and frustration at how commercialized this time of the year has become. Our decorations are up, our December plans are made, but hitting this cynic’s sweet spot is a new book called Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age, by Mara Einstein, Forest Hills resident and professor of Media Studies at Queens College. Here’s a blurb on it:

Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age (Routledge, 2007) takes a hard look at why religion is, and needs to be, aggressively marketed in a society overrun by commercial clutter. In order to be heard above the noise of other advertised products—and make no mistake religion is a consumer product—religion and religious products must use every trick in the marketing arsenal….

In light of this competition, faiths have become brands—easily recognizable symbols and spokespeople with whom religious prospects can make immediate connections. Joel Osteen is a Sunday morning Dr. Phil. Kabbalah is that thing practiced by Madonna. To some even Oprah is a faith brand, dispensing a populist form of televised religion.

This blending of the sacred with the secular, however, has consequences…We have to question whether religion will survive if it becomes so of the market that it loses its unique selling proposition—the very ability to raise us above the commercial culture.

I’ve already read it and can attest to its being both enlightening and entertaining. Einstein also has a blog on which she offers further and ongoing insight on this important subject.



Entry filed under: adult ed., Forest Hills, Judaism, literature, local notable, religion, timely topic.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brands of Faith » Blog Archive » Inter-blogging  |  January 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    […] Splitting Hairs in Forest Hills — This is a more local blog for people in the Queens community. It’s a terrific community site which often discusses religious topics. […]


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