Saturday, February 28, 2009

Holy Land Theme Park?

Last night DH watched Religulous (another topic in and of itself) and they featured The Holy Land Experience, a theme park devoted to Christianity. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. I recognize not everyone can make the true pilgrimage to the Holy Land for financial and safety reasons and this my be a good substitute. Never being to either the theme park or across the Atlantic, I can't comment on how similar the theme park experience is. Just seeing the pictures of the theme park however, it looks way too "fake" for me. I believe part of the true Holy Land experience would be recognizing the historical/religious signifigance of a city that is millenia old. Also, I've had experiences where I've felt a spiritual presence and I don't think I'd feel the same presence at the theme park as I would in Israel.

Now for the shows...OMG they reminded me of the shows I'd see at the Disney themeparks. And...guess where this theme park is located? Orlando. I'm truly torn on my thoughts of the shows. At first it bothered me that the park so violently imiated Jesus's life, but then I remembered in grade school how we performed the stations of the cross for the younger grades. Then it started to bother me that they turned Jesus' life in a musical and are charging people, but then I remembered how I've paid to see Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat.

So what's bothering me about this place? I don't think I can completely verbalize it. I think a large part has to do with the fact I'm going to through a spiritual crisis right now and trying to redefine my faith. I think I also find the logo too commercialized and the fact that it's in Orlando is overkill to me. I tried to find a picture of the sign and this is the best I could find, sorry it's blurry. I don't know, I just look at that it screams "amusement" to me rather than education or spirituality. I feel like as a society in general we're looking to believe in something bigger than ourselves and some individuals have transformed this desire into a marketing strategy. I believe it's beneficial to provide spiritual opportunities for others but I personally think it's almost criminal to capitalize on society's desire to feel a part of something bigger.

I know this can be viewed as controversial and please feel free to comment with your thoughts on the matter.


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