The World of Religious Board Games, Toys, and Dolls
By Nikki Bado-Fralick and Rebecca Sachs Norris
Welcome to our world--the world of religious games, toys, and dolls. We have wandered through a fascinating and often humorous land filled with cuddly Jesus dolls and dolls with hijabs, resurrection eggs, Passover plague toys, karma points, celestial weapons, and Jesus bandages. Sometimes we find them perplexing or offensive, other times amusing or educational. They evoke the magic of childhood combined with the mystery of religion, all through the mundane media of plastic, cardboard, and paper.
Our book "Toying with God" explores how the historical connection between games and religions set the stage for the variety of religious board games on the market today. For many, linking religion with games or play is contradictory or even sacrilegious, but religious toys are often manufactured to teach religious ideals and ethics.
In this gallery we showcase 18 of the fascinating religious board games, toys, and dolls featured in our book. See how they all have the same goal in mind: to teach adults and kids aspects of faith through play.
Authors: Rebecca Sachs Norris is associate professor and chair of the Religious & Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, as well as the Regionally Elected Director of the New England-Maritimes region of the American Academy of Religion. Nikki Bado-Fralick is associate professor and director of the Religious Studies Program at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.
Photographer: Courtney Cutler
Some photos and text are reprinted from "Toying with God” by Nikki Bado-Fralick and Rebecca Sachs Norris, with permission of Baylor University Press (www.baylor.edu). Copyright 2010. The content cannot be reprinted, republished, or redistributed without further permission. All rights reserved.