Sunday, May 06, 2007

Are Our Churches also Disneyified?

Disneyisation is the worldwide control of the arts, entertainment, media so that a particular worldview, values and filtered knowledge are disseminated. Its message is that happiness can be bought.

It exports escapism, American culture, products, and a delusion that happiness can be bought and everyone lived happily ever after. Disneyisation has united the world under one culture that regards human beings as consumers. Christians are taught to be consumers of church services and other spiritual things rather than as participants. Through the media, arts, movies, and music, we are exposed to a delusion of a worldly worldview. The consumer worldview worship Mammon as god.

There is some similarity in Mark Chan’s disneyization and Tom Sine’s McWorld. Tom Sine notes that “McWorld is driven by aspirations and values of modernity and is aggressively at work creating a one-world consumer culture in which shopping mall is replacing the church as the centre of religious devotion, and all of life is reduced to a commodity.” (Sine 1999, 52). Both Chan and Sine discern that consumerism will be a major influence on Christians in the 21st century.

John Carpenter, former lecturer at Singapore Bible College thinks that Chinese Christians will be at greater risk,

“Confucianism has a “legalistic” wing that provides strong virtues than can help Asian societies economically progress just as Calvinism helped parts of Western society progress. Unfortunately, it also has a soft, humanistic wing that assumes “man is the measure of all things.” One wing encourages capitalism. The other wing will, by emphasizing the goodness of human nature, encourage consumerism. If Christians in Asia are going to confront consumerism, they will have to uproot all such tendencies to human-centered religion and ideology.” (Carpenter 2002, 109).

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