Museum of the Bible Launches “New Testament Experience”

Forget Disneyland, with its endless lines and overhyped characters: A new attraction is coming to town, and it’s so compelling you’ll certainly plan for a second coming. The New Testament Experience, presented by the controversy-laden Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC will open to the public tomorrow, March 29, offering guests the most exciting three-part affair since the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The so-called “immersive experience” does not appear to involve any virtual reality (VR) or other immersive elements, at least according to an online customer representative who clarified via chat that “it is like watching a movie.” According to information shared by the Museum of the Bible’s press team, the first part is titled “The Prologue” and will guide visitors through the early history of Jesus’ biblical story.” This “prophetic backdrop,” which includes an overview of Creation and the Garden of Eden, is what some people might call “The Old Testament” and other people might call the “Torah,” but some Bible worshippers like to think of it as the slanting scrolling text at the beginning of Star Wars before all the cool stuff happens.

YouTube video

A trailer for the Museum of the Bible’s forthcoming film Road to Emmaus

Just in time for Easter, part two, “The Story,” consists of an original short film depicting the content of Luke 24, a biblical passage also known as the “Road to Emmaus.” Freshly risen from the grave, Jesus appears to travelers on the road and talks to them incessantly about the good news that the prophecy is true, thus proving that even before the automobile, it was possible to be the world’s worst Lyft driver. As a trailer for the film suggests, it will be everything promised by The Passion of the Christ (2004), minus budget, practical effects, and the ambient stink of association with Mel Gibson. So, just the Christ, mostly. As of this writing, the trailer has racked up 120 views on YouTube; I smell early Oscar buzz!

Finally, part three, “The Epilogue,” really drives home the message that Jesus is returning, in case any aspect of Christianity has failed to impress that point upon us. Press materials do not elaborate on how this part of the experience is structured, so one can only assume it follows the traditional model of hardcore indoctrination and shame-based punishment for free thinking (followed by potluck and fellowship). Or at least that’s what one might glean given that the chairman of the museum’s board of directors is the Christian conservative Steve Green, president of the Hobby Lobby craft stores notorious for denying their employees access to contraceptives.

Of course, you won’t want to limit yourself on your visit. The New Testament Experience is just one of the offerings at the Museum of the Bible, located “just steps away” from The World of Jesus of Nazareth, an interactive interpretation of the village in the first century. There’s also special collections, including Celebrating the Bible in Women’s History, which appears to be mostly photos of women and their Bibles (AS IT SHOULD BE). You might seek overnight accommodations at the nearby Bethlehem Motel, but it seems like it’s almost always booked.

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