trinity broadcasting

The World’s Largest Christian TV Network Has a Lot to Hide

Trinity Broadcasting Network (or TBN) is the largest Christian TV network in the world. Its shows are currently available in 95 percent of American homes.

TBN has its headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, in the modest building you see above. The network offers free tours to the public, so I headed down to check it out. 

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This guy (above, right) was the tour guide for my group, which was made up of me and a visiting Boy Scout troop. I’m not sure if he was new or something, but he left A LOT of the company’s history out of his tour, so I’ll be filling in some gaps for him as I go. 

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Our tour began in the grand entrance hall. As we walked through, the tour guide explained to us that TBN was started in the early 70s by married couple Jan and Paul Crouch in an effort to spread Christianity to as many people as they could. 

What he failed to mention is the church’s reliance on what’s known as “prosperity gospel.”

If you’re not familiar, prosperity gospel is a system in which you’re told that the more money you give to the Lord, the more blessings the Lord will give to you in return. In this instance, “the Lord” refers to “Trinity Broadcasting Network." 

They gather these donations by holding telethons in which they promise viewers miracles in exchange for donating money to TBN. And being poor isn’t a problem: The network tells viewers that God especially likes it when people who are poor or in debt donate money they can’t afford. "He’ll give you thousands, hundreds of thousands; he’ll give millions and billions of dollars,” Paul Crouch once told his viewers, according to the LA Times.

The company is reported to bring in tens of millions of dollars in tax-free donations annually. It is unclear if God held up his end of the bargain to those who donated.

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Next, we were taken around a small museum area that featured various old copies of the Bible, some of which were more than 100 years old. 

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What happens when backwards televangelists play Stairway to Heaven forwards.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Demo impressions.

Here’s a list of facts gleaned from the demo, bullet-pointed for your convenience.

Siberia:

First of all I must say it looks fantastic. It certainly reminds me of Tomb Raider II Golden Mask.

  • ·        Snow will limit Lara’s speed. Player will have to consider the environment if they plan to retreat from the enemy
  • ·        Camps are back. Fast travel, upgrades and crafting can be done here just like in TR2013
  • ·        You will need various ingredients to craft things. This is very much like the crafting system they used for Far Cry 4
  • ·        Lara will have multiple bows to choose from to please both stealth and action fans.
  • ·        Lara’s health regenerates over time but you can craft “medipacks” from berries and cloth.
  • ·        You can use medipacks just like in the classic Tomb Raider – no need to pause, just press the hotkey
  • ·        You can craft various types of ammo too. For example, Lara can craft poisoned arrows from mushrooms.
  • ·        She also can find a gasoline tank and craft some sort of bigger version of a Molotov
  • ·        The bear guards an entrance to the Tomb. There will be a few bosses like him
  • ·        Brian calls the bear “Mishka” or “Misha” which in Russian means “cute little bear”
  • ·        Lara lost Jonah and some of her equipment at the beginning of the level.
  • ·        Lara restores the abandoned camp, This is some sort of a tutorial to introduce you to crafting and collecting
  • ·        There are wolves
  • ·        There are “quick time events”
  • ·        The Soviet base is the biggest location that Crystal Dynamics have ever created
  • ·        The base is filled with side missions, crypts, documents, artefacts and, of course, tombs
  • ·        Lara can use various items to distract enemies. For example, she found a walkie-talkie and threw it to cause a distraction
  • ·        Lara listens to the broadcast from Trinity over the radio. This is how she learns about the organisation
  • ·        Lara uses the environment to kill enemies (she can for example pick up a rock and smash it off their heads)

Syria

The location that was once referred to as Oasis has finally been revealed. Lara goes to North Western border of Syria. It starts with Lara’s guide driving them in a Jeep. A military helicopter suddenly follows them. Lara learns that the guide sold her out (TR4 anyone?) but he gets shot by the helicopter right away. The car crashes. Lara is obviously the sole survivor.

  • ·        Lara is looking for a tomb of some “prophet”
  • ·        There are some artefacts to collect. They look like little chests
  • ·        Lara climbs mountains using her bare hands!
  • ·        Lara has a voice recorder with her father’s notes on it. She listens to them where appropriate. This is very similar to Werner’s diary in the Angel of Darkness.
  • ·        In order for Lara to translate a monolith she needs to increase her language proficiency. She does it by observing and reading various drawings on the walls etc.
  • ·        Lara interacts naturally with the environment – she will touch walls as she goes by etc.
  • ·        The camera gets “dirty” and “wet”
  • ·        Tips are displayed on Loading Screens
  • ·        There are LOADS of traps and puzzles to solve.
  • ·        Lara can use environment to solve puzzles. IE she can flood the lower level to reach the higher level (just like Tomb Raider Anniversary, St Francis Folly => Neptune Hall)


Transportation, lodging, and E3 badge provided by Crystal Dynamics and Xbox as a part of the E3 2015 Ambassador Program.