If I were to describe my religion, I would say that I'm a Christian with a dash of Wiccan and some Buddhism thrown into the mix, so when we went to Las Vegas on business lately, I thought I'd try to see the town through the "eyes" of each of these philosophies in turn.
Whitley and I have never been crazy about that town, since neither of us is interested in gambling. Our whole lives have been a gamble, so taking risks like that isn't fun for us.
Whitley went to Vegas when he was a college student and actually got thrown out of a casino for counting cards in a game of Blackjack! He said he just assumed that was what you were supposed to do.
In Whitley's upcoming Dreamland interview with psychic healer Echo Bodine, she mentions being told that she has all three of the basic psychic abilities, and one of these is SMELL. Whitley has that ability too--he can always tell when the Visitors are around, because he smells them, and he can also smell tension and desperation in gamblers (which is why he dislikes Las Vegas). He calls it "casino air."
The "strip" reminds me of Disneyworld, where I took our son so many years ago. Everything is beautiful, but fake--maybe even BETTER than all those imperfect things that God has wrought. After a weekend spent at Disney, we saw a real bird land on a real tree and had to stop for a minute before we realized that these were the actual things.
We all know about the fake Venice and Egyptian pyramids in Vegas, but I didn't know about things like the fake Victorian houses there. It's a totally manmade environment.
A Christian take on Las Vegas would probably be one of the most commonly MISquoted Bible verses--First Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Most people think it says, "Money is the root of all evil," but the actual verse is much more subtle.
I suppose one could meditate on the artificiality of our lives and the necessity for detachment from worldly things (especially if you lose all your money in the slot machines) in the Buddhist manner, but the constant noise and "clanging" of those machines makes meditation pretty hard for a novice like me.
Everywhere we went, I saw rows of lit billboards featuring videos of beautiful showgirls, a profession I didn't know still existed. In my Wiccan mode, I must say that I found that delightful: Las Vegas a place that WORSHIPS women!
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.