Saturday, January 31


Disclaimer: If you take religion way too seriously and think unicorns don't exist because they were arrogant and refused to get on the ark, turn back now!

Think of the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen. No seriously, think of something. Got it? Now multiple that by ten. At this point you are not even close to how terrible the Holy Land Experience is. About one mile from Universal Studios sits a "re-creation" of various biblical sites and the biggest sham of religion in a country that does a remarkable job of taking religion to the extreme. My sister summed it up best: "The dumbest thing I have ever seen."

The con artists who thought up this whole enterprise must be laughing on their giant piles of money right now. Building this atrocity not only suckers money away from honestly religious people, it also gets people like me who come to laugh at the people who take it seriously.

We arrived just in time to catch a reenactment of the Passion. For those not so religiously-inclined, it's when Jesus goes to meet his maker, though technically Jesus is also his maker if you believe in the Trinity. The entire production was over the top, though my favorite part was when they flogged Jesus with a miniature version of the foam noodles we played with at the beach as kids. The Roman soldiers took turns so the one not hitting could reapply fake blood to his noodle. When they raised Jesus on the cross you could see the metal rings he was holding--obviously they wouldn't actually nail his hands to the cross--and, if you remember your bible well enough, he forgave two fellow crucifixees that weren't actually there. At one point, right when Jesus was about to expire, they were playing the theme song from Gladiator over the loudspeakers. Wasn't that a little after his time?

I almost felt bad when I started laughing and looked to my left and saw a woman crying. But when I looked to my right and saw my sister laughing, I couldn't contain myself.

When they placed the body in the tomb, smoke began rising from within and suddenly Jesus appeared on the hilltop and told everyone to chill, he was OK. Afterward I saw that Jesus' tomb not only had a smoke machine, it also had a back door. So that's how he got out! The bible leaves out many of these little details.

The rest of the park was extraordinarily lame. There was the world's "largest indoor model of Jerusalem" that looked like a classroom of 3rd graders had spent an afternoon working with papier mache and toy figurines. You could also walk into a whale's mouth and see Jonah suspended in its stomach. What is the moral of that story? That the digestive juices of a whale aren't enough to kill a man?

Also there was Moses in the midst of parting the Red Sea which you walked through as sharks and fish stared out at you from the water wondering, "WTF?!" That reminded me of when I saw a descendant of the burning bush in Egypt and I asked my sister what she thought the real story was. According to her, Moses had been doing a little too much acid with his buddies and when he wandered off into the desert they decided to mess with him. One guy got behind a bush and lit it on fire while the other guy climbed up to a cliff with a megaphone shouting "Moses! Lead your people out of Egypt!"

I personally appreciated the statue of Jesus walking on water with his hand out. There was a step so you could hold his hand and walk on water with him. Rest assured, pictures were taken and hilarity ensued. At the time I thought I had just wasted $35, but just sitting here writing this has made the whole experience worth much more than the pittance we paid.

As always more picture here.

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