The Weird Phenomenon of Jesus Theme Parks

Summer is coming, and it’s time to head for a theme park. This is a short fascinating video about what Poseidon Entertainment calls “Jesus Theme Parks.”

The only one that seemed the least bit devout was the one in Connecticut. The one in Argentina is truly bizarre! Of course, the video covers the two ken ham anti-science parks.

There is an important omission–The defunct Heritage USA park, run by the fraudulent televangelist Jim Baker and his ex-wife, Tammy Fae Baker, of eye makeup fame. Jim Baker is out of jail now, and currently hosts a television program with his latest wife and talks about the end of the world. He also endorses products that help one prepare for an apocalypse.

Have you even been to any of these parks?

The Weird Phenomenon of Jesus Theme Parks

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Nope. While not a theme park, I have been to the Museum of the Bible in DC, and they actually do a very good job, steering clear of the culture wars for the most part. They have gotten criticism due to improper vetting and how they obtained some artifacts, but it is still a nice place.

I have to admit, it sort of bothers me at times to see pictures of Jesus around church, so I find these amusement parks pretty offensive at times. In the same manner that C. S. described it, they become the ultimate example of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

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Why would that bother you?

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The ark encounter has been a place a lot of my friends and family go to. I just avoid talking about it mostly. Maybe I should turn it into a listening discussion, where I can ask them why they think it’s helpful and learn more about what they think is important.

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Brilliant strategy, Randy!

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In 2001 my husband and I were in FL in the Orlando area on vacation, and out of curiosity, decided to go to the Holy Land Experience park. My inner skeptic was very busy analyzing everything. My impression was that it was all kind of weird. I don’t remember all that much except a video that was supposed to be evangelistic. It was supposed to tie the Passover sacrifice and Jesus’ death together. All I remember was that there was a gruesome, graphic section that would be uninterpretable without already knowing what it was about, As far as propaganda goes, it really was a failure, I think.

While the very idea of such parks feels incredibly cheesy to begin with (Jesus as entertanment, Kids!) much like @jpm, I’m not comfortable at all with depictions of Jesus. However, I understand that that reaction may be inconsistent, because I respond differently to art and have watched The Chosen and (mostly) felt ok with it. I guess the idea of Jesus being the mascot, so to speak, of the theme park that we paid to enter is more in the vein of my reaction. This feels a lot like some form of “works rightenousness.”
Which brings to mind the question of why most people go to these places, and if a very subtle sense of works rightenous is not, at least somewhat, involved.

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Here in the Olde Worlde the worst I have encountered is the Anglo-Catholic kitsch at the shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. There again our cathedral bookshop is full of twee, superficial Anglican ‘spirituality’. Spring cleaning at church yesterday and found a box of toxic waste in the form of a turn-or-burn Chick-type tract in the youth room. Unfortunately I didn’t get to dump it and the vicar made off with it. If I find it, it goes in recycling.

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These amusement parks do sound like Christian conference grounds and camp grounds. I guess that they also combine elements of Christian movies and music concerts. I remember reading that there was quite a controversy about Paul Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” It was felt to be demeaning to make an allegory. I do worry about the false messages, though.

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Yeah, the only Christian show ground in the UK that liberals can bear is Green Belt. It’s huge! Brian Eno’s there this year! It was most gratifying to see a Morris Cerullo stand, peopled by many desperately smiling volunteers, get no traction at all but polite, elegantly matched smiling dips of the head in passing. More than you’d give the demure JWs under the railway bridge.

Why pack up wife & kids to go to the Holy Land when you can go to a Theme Park and see: quality knock-offs; save money on travel; bring your parents too, to help watch the kids; be in an English-speaking environment; spend quality-time with family; eat 'Merican food; avoid potential internecine conflict; and maybe even have “a religious experience”, all at the same time. The only draw-back is “the crush”. What’s weird about that? :laughing:

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I know this stuff feels really important to a lot of people I know, but it all strikes me as so weird. Our little enclaves, where we never have to worry about contamination from “the world.”
I lost the interest in the few comferences I’d been to in early college, and my distrust of CCM in general makes concerts challenging.
Once again neither fish ner foul.

You’d have to watch the video to see why. Or maybe not.

Apart from the biggest case of white washing in history (blue eyed Jesus anyone?how about blonde Virgin Mary?) there’s the weird case of people starting to warship icons, praying to statues etc. That’s enough to bother me.

Nailed it on the head Terry, two most important things in the world.

Is that what normally happens to you on foreign holidays?

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So you don’t believe in Nativity displays? Or illustrated children’s Bibles or Sunday School materials?

In the real Holy Land Jews, Arabs, and everyone else speak English proficiently. It’s taught in the schools. Traffic signs and other signs are in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

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What’s there to believe? I don’t think for a second that the real situation looked anything like that.

The question wasn’t about educational materials. And it would depend on the quality of said materials and illustrations, can’t comment in general

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Well, it doesn’t keep me up at night, but as Marta said, the blue eyed long haired European Jesus is a little weird, there is the whole graven image thing, and you have some people worshiping an image rather than God. In a way, I think Orthodox icons are less troubling as they are more abstract representations, and more likely to facilitate worship than be objects of worship themselves. Again, not a big deal to me, just a bit of discomfort.

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Ha! Actually never, … I threw that “advantage” onto the list to make it longer AND because “potential internecine conflict” must be the reason all those soldiers, out and about, carry large weapons, no? :wink:

Doña Sabetodo must have missed the :laughing: at the end of my post.

Somebody want to ask @jpm how many Baptist churches have crucifixes behind their altars?

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There certainly are worst things, but having said that, if you were not white, and kept seeing white washed images of not only Jesus, but God himself (you know, white old dude sitting on a throne in the clouds) then how would you feel? And would that give some kinda sense of entitlement to the whites(especially male), them being so alike to God?

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It might if no one has ever seen them. but …
To know if Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, just ask God — He was there

Screenshot 2022-05-30 at 07-00-52 Elder Spencer J. Condie To know if Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son just ask God — He was there

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I think you are capable. Last count was 78,643. The rest had baptistries with a picture of the Jordon River behind them. It was interesting, we recently had a musical production given by our kids (Moana, which has demi-gods and such in it, so that is another topic of discussion0 and for the set they took the crucifix down temporarily that was behind the stage. The pastor had a few older (than me) congregants complain that we were drifting away and no longer a Christian church. Sort of supports the thought that we can make religious symbols objects of idolatry. Not that any of us are innocent of such. .

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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