Christian tourist attractions, mythmaking, and identity formation
Part of the Critiquing Religion: Discourse, Culture, Power series
Christian Tourist Attractions, Mythmaking, and Identity Formation examines a sampling of contemporary Christian tourist attractions that position visitors as the inheritors of ancient, sacred traditions and make claims about the truth of the historical narratives that they promote. Rather than approaching these attractions as sacred expressions of religious experience or as uncontested accounts of history, the book applies recent work on mythmaking and identity formation to argue that these presentations of the past function as strategic discourses that serve material concerns in the present. From an approach informed by social and materialist theories of religion, the volume draws upon a variety of methodological approaches that enable readers to understand the often-bewildering array of objects, claims, demands, and activities (not to mention the seemingly endless array of gifts and personal items available for purchase) that appear at attractions including Ark Encounter, the Creation Museum, the Holy Land Experience, Bible Walk Museum, Christian Zionist tours of Israel, and the recently opened Museum of the Bible.
Discourse analysis, practice theory, rhetorical criticism, and embodied theories of cognition help make sense not only of the Christian tourist attractions under examination but also of the ways that "religion" is entangled with contemporary social, political, and economic interests more broadly.