Monday, April 03, 2006

My Own Miniature Pluralism Project

This weekend I made a little road trip down to West Virginia to see my best friend at Marshall University. It was a 7 hour drive and it was through the states of PA, MD, and WV. I couldn't count how many religious artifacts I saw on the side of the road when going through MD and WV. Countless scenes of the 3 crosses from Jesus' crucifixion. There were billboards everywhere trying to put the fear of God into peoples lives with condemning Bible verses. More license plate coverings and bumperstickers than I have ever seen before covered automobiles with WV and MD tags. There were two items of scenery that stuck out to me more than anything else. The first was a huge sign on the side of the road corresponding with a massive structure being built right next to it. It read "reconstruction of Noah's Ark" by whatever church it was being built by. This was right alongside a major interstate. The second item was a church in Maryland alongside the interstate that was called the Lighthouse Church and had a gigantic lighthouse erected right next to the church.

For the first item, the ark, I thought to myself 'what's the point?' Does re-building an ark that was spoken about in Genesis get people to believe more? If so, how deep can their faith possibly be? Also, how much money is being spent on this structure? Couldn't the money go to a much better cause? Then for the 2nd, the lighthouse, I thought to myself that this might be one of the cheesiest, most superficial ways to get people to come to a church. "Hey let's try going to the lighthouse church, the lighthouse looks really cool." There were no bodies of water anywhere near the area. What was the point of the lighthouse? Very tacky.

Nonetheless, all artifacts were strictly Christian in nature. What does this say? Sure the states were WV and MD, located in the bible belt area of the country, and probably have lower educated people. But I find it hard to believe that they are so close-minded and so in your face about it. I know Eck brought up many instances of pluralism in the United States, but I believe she failed to focus on the opposite end, that which shows no diversity at all. In this case I believe that "Soul Searching" gave more evidence for lack of diversity in the US as being more prevalent than the instances of pluralism Eck gave. It amazed me to see these artifacts and gave me reason to believe that we really aren't that diverse at all in the United States.

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